On the heels of New York Governor Cuomo’s Veto of a bill that would have ended the arrest of people carrying pocket knives in New York City, important pro-knife legislation has been introduced in the United States House of Representatives. Authored by Knife Rights and introduced by Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, the Knife Owners’ Protection Act of 2017 (KOPA) would repeal the infamous Federal Switchblade Act of 1958, eliminating restrictions on interstate trade and travel with automatic knives.
“The Federal Switchblade Act was an asinine idea when it was passed in 1958 in a wave of Hollywood-inspired politically motivated hysteria,” says Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter. The law has affected the sale of automatic knives across state lines for nearly 60 years. With 40 states now permitting automatic knives in one way or another, KOPA will facilitate legal interstate commerce of these popular blades.
KOPA provisions also protect individuals traveling with automatic knives. Currently, travel through an area with restrictions on automatic knives brings a genuine risk of legal complications, fines, and even arrest. “KOPA will simply provide safe harbor to someone traveling with knives where they can legally be possessed at the points of origin and ultimate destination,” Ritter says. Under KOPA, the owner could legally travel through jurisdictions that outlaw automatic knives so long as they kept the blades locked away.
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KOPA has a long way to go before it becomes law. With a new administration, Washington will be busy working through a backlog of legislation. In a perfect world, Ritter says that KOPA will make its way through the House and Senate by the end of 2017. Ritter is asking knife users to take a moment to email your member of congress and urge them to co-sponsor the bill. It is still early days, but with enough grassroots support from the knife community, he is optimistic about the bill’s chances. “I’ve been working towards this for a decade. I’m excited about the opportunities and prospects.”