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Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

News on the War on Pocketknives

Back in June, I wrote about a proposed "rule change" (in other words, an end-run around the legislative process) at the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) that would have banned the importation of most folding knives (a whopping 80%, by one estimate), as "switchblades." I'll repeat here a quote from an email I received then from the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA):

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) on May 21st proposed revoking earlier rulings that assisted opening knives are not switchblades. The proposed new rule would not only outlaw assisted opening knives, its new broad definition of a switchblade could also include one-handed opening knives and could be easily interpreted to cover most other pocket knives, even simple old-fashioned slip-joints.

At this point, one-hand opening and assisted opening knives are 80% of U.S. knife sales. For most knife companies, they represent all or the majority of their product lines. These are the knives Americans take with them to work and to play everyday.
This, obviously, would have been an egregious "solution" to the plague of "pocket knife violence". What? You didn't know that our society is in the grip of such an epidemic? Don't feel bad--I didn't either--good thing CBP was on the case! In fact, according to World Net Daily, this new proposed rule may have stemmed from some HopeandChange™ at CBP:
He said the change came after the incoming administration of President Barack Obama reassigned some managers at the agency.

"What we do know is when the incoming administration reshuffled assignments at Customs, it moved the responsibility for knives and switchblades from one organization with Customs to a new organization," he said. "That group has, as far we can tell, virtually no experiences, background or anything with knives."
Anyway, that's all background. The reason I'm bringing this up again is that legislation has just passed both houses of Congress, as part of a Department of Homeland Security (of which CBP is a sub-agency) appropriations bill, meaning it should be fairly safe from veto, that protects assisted opening knives from being classified as "switchblades."
Last week, the House of Representatives approved the conference report setting appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security. This final bill included language preventing spring-assisted knives from being classified by the Department as switchblades. The language was first championed by Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio.)
It's ridiculous that this even came up (and what's wrong with switchblades, anyway--does anyone really think that "knife violence" is being kept at bay by banning them?), but at least the threat seems to have been neutralized.


tom said...

An assisted opening knife can easily be made a switchblade with usually minor modifications anyway, as can a simple lock back buck knife or 3.99 special in the impulse buy aisle at home depot. If one wishes to make a non-thumb-stud or thumb-hole knife into one, wouldn't take much time in the shop to do so.

Brits have trouble with people stabbing each other with kitchen knives...could it be because they outlawed the sale of most other types of knives? If you carry a switchblade every day for the rest of your life and never stab anybody with it and sometimes use it to dress game or open boxes, are you a criminal?

If a person actually works with knives of a folding sort a lot, it makes no sense not to carry an automatic or assisted opening knife, as many times when you need a knife the other hand is busy and opening folding knives with your teeth is stupid.

A knife is a knife is a knife. As is, would they prefer prominently displayed skinners and other hunting knives on everybody's belts (legal in most states) or pocket knives that only need one hand to use?

As an aside: Back when you could carry pocket knives on airplanes, Texas airport security (LONG PRE-TSA) had no problem with me flying to Chicago with a Spyderco folder with a half serrated blade for use in say, umm, CUTTING SEATBELTS AND OTHER THINGS FREE IN CRASHES which is why many First Responders carry such Spydercos and Benchmades. On my return flight, Chicago airport security made me check the same knife because it might be useful for freeing people from seat belts and other things in an air crash....Cue up the Face-Palm. Yeah, I was gonna saw my way out of a 737 with a Spyderco Delica.....yeah right....douchebags.

Government never knows best. Doesn't matter what branch they work for. They are and always will be an impediment to rational human behavior. REMFs in the military and Homeland Security/TSA/Customs in the private sector.

Bring Back Bill Jordan and Charlie Askins to "border duties"!!!!!!!!!

They'd kick some sense into these dildos.