Knife Rights

Most people in the U.S. would offer you a shiny aluminum foil hat if you were to claim our knife rights are in danger. I know even the most enthusiastic supporters of gun control I have talked to express extreme skepticism when I have brought up the regulations on knives in the U.K. “That’s just silly”, they say. Yup. It is silly. But it’s also true. Today’s QOTD was just one hint of what is going on in the U.K.

And even if you are up to speed on the sad state of affairs in the U.K. one may reasonably claim we don’t need to worry about that in this country because the ninnies who would take away our knives must first take away our guns. That claim sounds reasonable but is it?

While at the NRA convention I stopped by a booth with an intriguing banner:

I barely spoke to them as I took a picture of their banner, picked up a business card, and hurried on. But I knew at the time it was going to be a blog post.

Visiting their website I discovered a link to this WSJ article: Deadly pocketknives become a $1 billion business. It’s every bit as one sided and Chicken Little like as any Brady Campaign media release.

So what about someone who claims we don’t need to worry about knives when we are at least holding our own in the trenches on the gun rights front? My response is, “They are flanking us.” What is going to be your response when some hysterical activist or legislator says, “We already outlaw tactical knives why can’t we get rid of the guns as well?”

So, beyond the obvious commercial airplanes and John McCain public appearances, where are our defensive knives currently restricted? You know that switchblade knives are outlawed in many jurisdictions and the public opinion on them is roughly equivalent to that of machine guns. That battle is essentially lost. I don’t know for certain on the “assault weapon” analog–the locking blade, one handed opening knives, but the WSJ article linked to above reports that Atlanta prohibits people from carrying pocket knives in public with blades longer than two inches. Yet, according to the article this isn’t restrictive enough. Knife Rights could do those of us who carry defensive knives and pro-freedom activists a big service by compiling a list of political jurisdictions that are hostile to people even defending themselves using even a knife.

Another thing Knife Rights could do is work for preemption at the state level to remove the patchwork of laws that might trip of a visitor to some city that has no idea Chicken Little clones have taken over the city council. It would also be nice to see some D.C. versus Heller like cases involving knives and citing either/both state and federal constitutional protections for the right to keep and bear arms.

Here is what the Knife Rights Foundation [501(c)(3)] and Knife Rights [501(c)(4)] organizations have as their mission statements:

Knife Rights Foundation is dedicated to:

  1. Encouraging safe and responsible use of knives and edged tools through education and outreach;
  2. Educating knife owners, public officials and the general public about the history of knives and edged tools;
  3. Educating knife owners, public officials and the general public about knife and edged tool related laws and regulations

Knife Rights is dedicated to:

  1. Providing knife and edged tool owners an effective voice to influence public policy and to oppose efforts to restrict the right to own, use and carry knives and edged tools;
  2. Encouraging safe, responsible and lawful use of knives and edged tools through education and outreach, enhancing positive perceptions of knives and edged tools and their owners and users;
  3. Encouraging the marketing of knives and edged tools in a responsible manner conducive to the organization’s goals;
  4. Cooperating with advocacy organizations having complimentary interests and goals;
  5. Providing knife and edged tool owners with services that they will find valuable in order to build membership to enable success in our primary objectives.

I wish them success not just because its the right thing to do but because they are defending my flank on the gun rights issue.


8 thoughts on “Knife Rights

  1. I find it interesting that one handed knives which are credited with saving so many lives, including my wives and my own, are outlawed in many places. They’re also standard issue to military personal so they can cut themselves free in a wreck. When you’re in a wreck, the best way to get free is to cut yourself free. I have NEVER unclipped a seat belt at a major auto wreck, even when I was involved. Benefit of a one handed knife, I only need ONE hand. The amount of movement required endangers the parties involved.

    This whole issue is a matter of control. People who are willing to take the initiative to protect themselves and others are not acceptable as they do not rely on “Mother Russia” to protect them. Guess self defense isn’t the only issue now, it’s just basic self preservation.

    I’m glad to know there’s already people moving to cover the flank.

  2. As usual the socialist state of the UK is ahead of you here as well. Many of our people have been arrested for having Swiss Army knives and other such blades which are not really illegal. Yet this is failing miserably as well. Since the beginning of this year 17 youths have been stabbed to death in London alone.

    Soon we will only be able to have sporks as forks will be too dangerous.

  3. I remember running across the knife rights folks a while back. Didn’t they start out as the “American Knife and Tool Association”? Anyways, it’s too bad we need an organization to work on anti-knife legislation. I once looked up the federal law on switchblades (and gravity knives and the other category — can’t recall if there’s a defined name, but knives where the blade detaches completely and is propelled as a projectile). Truth is, I can open my Applegate-Fairbairn pretty quickly as it is, and it’s hard to imagine the reduced opening time of a switchblade making any difference. For that matter, the “opening time” of a fixed blade is zero, so the hysteria over switchblades is pretty demonstrably stupid.

    The other thing about the federal switchblade law is that it’s so openly ignored — at least based on my observations at the gun shows. Makes me assume the federales just don’t care, and I wonder when the last time was anyone was busted for causing a switchblade to enter into interstate commerce. The manufacturers (based on what I know about Benchmade) protect themselves by getting certifications for the LEO exemption from their distributors and direct-sale customers. (Hmmm, not sure Benchmade does direct sales, actually.) And there’s also an exemption for people with a disability such that they have the use of only one hand.

    As I understand it, generally, an edged weapon with a blade longer than 3.5 inches is considered a weapon, but of course, know your local laws before relying on something from a blog comment. Something to keep in mind if you think about concealed weapon laws.

    And I love my Kershaw assisted-opener. Good design by Ken Onion, and I’m rarely without it.

  4. Ooops, just checked Title 15, Chapter 29. The exemption is for Armed Forces, not LEOs. Also, the term I was looking for is “ballistic knife”.

  5. Well, I’m being all spammy now, as my brain engages post-post.

    Benchmade notes 18 USC 1716 (G) (2) (1-4), summary:

    Switchblade knives can be shipped to […] or the government of any state or territory of any county, city, or other political subdivision of a state or territory ordering, procuring or purchasing such knives in connection with the activities of such government.

  6. Um, HELLO! Knives covered by Second Amendment! 2A language does not specify what KIND of arms. Same arguments apply. Keeping and bearing knives is a civil right.

    Only half-TIC.


  7. I can’t keep up with all the gun stuff. If they manage to take that from me I don’t guess I’ll need a knife.

  8. If you can’t stand the knives, stay out of the kitchen.
    (derr, the longest and sharpest blades most people own are in the kitchen)

    The NRF’s language bothers me a bit. It
    s as if they’re saying (and repeatedly) “We’re not criminals, honest. Really we’re not.”

    Instead, I think they’re language should be more aggressive. More like, “We’re dedicated to exposing the utter insanity and pathology of those who would attempt to restrict these simple tools… We intend to aggressively pursue, with legal action, any legislator ignorant and stupid enough to even discuss restrictions on blades, such that he/she will be unable to hold any political office higher than city dog catcher after we’re through with them…”

    It’s not as if making one’s own knife would be even slightly challenging either– prisoners do it in prisons all the time.

    As with gun laws, who is going to obey knife laws– the criminals?

    Also like gun laws– if there’s no good reason to carry certain blades, or if they’re too dangerous, why are cops and soldiers carrying them?

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