Thursday, May 25, 2017

Competing Federal Knife Bills Blunt Reform Efforts

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 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 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 introduced 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.

Knife Rights can be contacted at this link

AKTI can be contacted at this link

For those who live near Atlanta, AKTI will be at  booth #16 in the Blade Show on June 2-4, 2017. Knife Rights will be at booth 706.  A one day ticket for the show costs $18 online, $20 onsite.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.


Anonymous said...

You can write all of the incremental bills you like and let it take for ever OR you can write one bill that forces all states to comply with the physical wording of the second Amendment. rights can not be licensed or taxed or they are mere privileges. The US congress never had constitutional authority to write the 1934NFA or the 1968 and 1986 GCAs. States have never had the authority to write laws concerning federally guaranteed rights. By the separation of powers in the tenth amendment the second amendment is a federal issue not giving the states any authority to write laws concerning federally guaranteed rights. The united states congress is forbidden to write laws concerning any constitutional rights and specifically the second amendment by the Phrase in the second amendment "Shall Not Be Infringed". If we have a constitution and a bill of rights and WE DO. The Oath of office requires elected Officials to up hold and enforce what is written to the letter not what they wish it said. there is no definition of what arms are in the constitution and no authority vested to create a definition. Rocks are every where and are clearly a deadly weapon, ever seen a registered or licensed Rock? even a convicted felon can pick up a rock .

Anonymous said...

If you take into consideration all of the thing incompetent legislators never take into consideration when it comes to weapons that are not licensed or even considered as weapons these stupid laws are self explanatory. Gypsies wear belts with very heavy buckles, they can use them like nun chucks. then there is French foot fighting that is classed as a martial art. Tomahawk or hatchet for camping, base ball bats, golf clubs. it makes no difference what someone uses for self defense. I saw a video on U-Tube recently, American special forces were training with I believe it was Venezuelan special forces. One of the sizeable Venezuelan troops challenged one of the Americans to a full contact fight. They squared off and the Venezuelan took first swing and the fight was over the American green Beret took out the Venezuelan with one finger. For a long time I wore steel towed boots, one guy found out how much they hurt. it only took six weeks for him to walk without help. start licensing golf clubs and see how long that lasts for legislators to complain. make them eat their state dinners without steak knives. as far as I am concerned a civilian can own any thing the government can and I do mean any thing, we have the laws in place to deal with any one that refuses to be civil. You meet force with force what ever it takes no matter what the configuration of the weapon is.