Competing Federal Knife Bills Blunt Reform Efforts
Article first appeared at Ammo Land.
Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- With Donald Trump as President, now is the time to reform federal knife laws and to protect knife owners from abusive state laws.
Two different bills have been introduced, one in the House, H.R. 84, by Knife Rights, and one in the Senate, S. 1092, by American Knife and Tool Institute (AKTI). The two bills are based on continuing efforts by both groups. They are superficially similar, but differ in crucial details. Both bills are fairly short.
As with all legislation, you have to read the language very carefully and critically to understand some of the differences.
The Knife Rights bill creates serious reform and institutes significant protections for knife owners across the nation. While based on the concept of the Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA), it corrects numerous flaws in that legislation.
It provides penalties for local officials who violate the law. It protects all legal acts of possession, carry, or transport. It eliminates the federal ban on the interstate commerce, manufacture, or importation of automatic knives. The repeal of that ban is long overdue.
The AKTI bill is also based on FOPA. Unfortunately it offers only minimal improvement over existing law, and contains all the flaws that have been noted in FOPA. There is no means to enforce the law against local officials who ignore it.
There is no repeal of the federal ban on automatic knives. The wording is such that the protections only apply to knives that may be legally possessed and carried at the beginning and end of the travel. Note the phrase “possess and carry” at the end of the excerpted section of the bill. From congress.gov AKTI’s S. 1092:
(a) Transport of knives.—Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by any Federal law, rule, or regulation from transporting, shipping, or receiving a knife shall be entitled to transport a knife for any lawful purpose from any place where the person may lawfully possess and carry such knife to any other place where the person may lawfully possess and carry such knife if—
There are numerous states where some knives may be possessed, but may not be carried. Texas is one such state. Common bowie knives may be possessed, but are illegal to carry in most circumstances. (Knife Rights is lobbying hard to correct that situation, it may happen this year). Compare the paragraph above to that in Knife Rights’ bill. Just a few words make an enormous difference. Instead of “posses and carry”, there is “possess, carry, or transport”. From congress.gov Knife Rights’ H.R. 84:
(a) In general.—Notwithstanding any provision of any law or any rule or regulation of the United States, or of a State or any political subdivision of a State, any person who is not otherwise prohibited by Federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a knife or knives shall be entitled to transport a knife or knives from any place where such person may lawfully possess, carry or transport such a knife or knives to any other place where such person may lawfully possess, carry or transport such a knife or knives if—
The use of a comma and the word “or” in the phrase “possess, carry or transport” means that each separate action is protected. When the word “and” is used, as in the ATKI bill, it requires that both actions be present for the protection to exist.
Reform of knife laws has been popular across numerous states. But in some states, such as New York and New Jersey, abuse of knife owners by local officials has become common. ATKI and Knife Rights should be natural allies who work together to restore the Second Amendment rights to keep and bear knives. Knives are arms protected by the Second Amendment.
Knife Rights was able to have a sponsor introduce SB 245 in Michigan, for example. The bill removes the ban on automatic knives put in place in Michigan in 1952. ATKI supports SB 245. It is common sense that ATKI and Knife Rights work together to support federal reform.
Second Amendment supporters won a significant victory with the election of Donald Trump. The appointment of Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court shows that support was justified. Now is the time to push for reforms that would have been vetoed by President Obama.
The AKTI effort is appreciated. All efforts to restore Second Amendment rights are appreciated. But the AKTI bill, S. 1092, is too timid for the times. Under President Trump, more can be achieved. Knife Rights has an impressive record of passing and influencing state and federal legislation.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.