As the advocacy organization for the knife community, AKTI works for the benefit of the knife industry and all knife users.
To ensure that the knife industry thrives and grows, AKTI addresses common issues for our members, including restrictive knife laws, anti-counterfeiting, social media censorship, Proposition 65, and more. AKTI and its members have successfully educated legislators on knife issues and supported positive changes to knife laws. We promote reasonable, responsible legislation and measured non-partisan efforts to resolve issues. To ensure that knife owners feel confident to possess and use their tools, AKTI provides valuable knife law, safety, and use information and works to remove restrictions to knife owners’ ability to buy the knife and edged tool they choose.
Being successful is always a team effort. We thank the many members, elected officials, other organizations, and individuals who have been involved in AKTI’s successes.
Below are major highlights of AKTI’s work to advocate for the entire knife community.
2023 – AKTI’s 25th Anniversary Year
- Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania becomes the 45th state that allows automatic knives.
- AKTI launches a social media censorship initiative to address issues the knife community is having with closed accounts and rejected ads.
- AKTI hosted an Industry Celebration event at the Blade Show, honoring Les de Asis with the “AKTI Industry Integrity Award” posthumously.
- More brands participated in giving knife owners a chance to win a knife in Carry With Confidence giveaways.
- Virginia – Thanks to AKTI member Blue Ridge Knives, Virginia’s automatic knife repeal was successful.
- Ohio – Knife preemption enacted.
- Industry brands began supporting AKTI with Carry With Confidence giveaways.
- Ohio – Ohio success – automatic knives are now legal to manufacture and sell.
- The role of AKTI’s anti-counterfeiting committee’s focus expanded to focus on additional industry issues and concerns.
- AKTI submitted a request that Proposition 65 proposed changes be withdrawn.
- AKTI’s Legislative Committee continued making contacts and finding sponsors for legislation to remove restrictions or clarify knife laws that prevent knife owners from being able to buy and use the knife of their choice.
- While legislative activity was stalled due to the COVID pandemic, AKTI provided valuable information to members for dealing with the implications to their business of the coronavirus.
- Urged states and localities to consider the knife & tool industry as essential and critical
- The “AKTI Career Center” was opened on AKTI’s website to connect knife industry jobs.
- Continued updating and expanding State Knife Law and Statewide Knife Preemption information.
- Published Know Your Knife Laws articles of expanded information about understanding knife laws and their interpretation.
- Shared valuable Amazon selling and brand protection information.
- Ohio – SB 140, to allow the manufacture and sale of automatics, moved to the Governor’s Desk.
- Continued to garner support for the federal Freedom of Commerce Act and the Interstate Transport Act.
- West Virginia – Joined the growing list of states enacting knife preemption laws.
- AKTI continued its partnership with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses to increase interactions with legislators.
- AKTI successfully re-introduced two separate key federal knife bills in the U.S. Senate.
- Freedom of Commerce Act was re-introduced by Senator Crapo to repeal switchblade interstate commerce restrictions imposed by the Federal Switchblade Act of 1958.
- Interstate Transport Act was re-introduced by Senators Enzi and Wyden and passed Senate Commerce Committee.
- Issued warning regarding “undetectable knives” in New York state knife law amendment.
- Worked with the New York Legal Aid Society and others to finally change the New York State gravity knife law.
- Ohio – Worked with Senator Joe Uecker to remove automatic knife restrictions with the introduction of SB 140.
- Montana – Proudly helped with the passage of HB 155 to enact knife preemption and remove the restriction on the blade length of automatic knives.
- Vermont – Worked with Rep. Pat Brennan on the introduction of a bill to repeal the prohibition on the sale and possession of automatic knives.
- AKTI introduced a new website section with experts providing advice on intellectual property and brand protection.
- AKTI continued its support of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.
- Goldie Russell was awarded the AKTI Industry Integrity Award for her outstanding dedication and contributions to the industry and service to AKTI.
- AKTI’s Interstate Commerce Act passed the U.S. Senate by Unanimous Consent. We made tremendous progress on this legislation which will give traveling knife owners federal protection they have never had before from varying knife laws, but it was stalled due to politics in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Key Senate staffers received the AKTI “Common Sense Award.”
- CJ Buck attended, and AKTI Supported the Sportsman-Legislator Summit of state legislators and industry leaders.
- Senator Joe Manchin was presented with AKTI’s “Common Sense Award.”
- Louisiana – AKTI supported a Louisiana bill to remove restrictions on automatic knives.
- Continued our legislative fundraising efforts with the third “Free to Carry” event at the Blade Show.
- AKTI introduced two separate key federal knife bills in the U.S. Senate.
Freedom of Commerce Act was introduced by Senator Crapo to repeal switchblade interstate commerce restrictions imposed by the Federal Switchblade Act of 1958.
Interstate Transport Act was re-introduced by Senators Enzi and Wyden to protect traveling knife owners from myriad of conflicting and confusing state and local knife laws.
- Colorado – Successfully worked with Sen. Owen Hill and Rep. Steve Lebsock in removing automatic and gravity knife possession restrictions.
- The “Free to Carry” fundraiser at the Blade Show was the second very successful giving-back fundraiser event.
- Senator Crapo was presented with AKTI’s “Common Sense Award.”
- Michigan – Worked with the Michigan State Police Association for the successful passage of SB 245, which repealed switchblade prohibitions.
- Montana – Supported the passage of HB 251, removing knives with a blade of four or more inches from the list of illegal concealed weapons.
- A new AKTI committee was formed to address the issue of counterfeit knives.
- AKTI published the 2016 “State of the Sporting Knife Industry Report,” a valuable tool for discussing knife issues with legislators.
- AKTI’s “Common Sense Award” was presented to Senator Martin Heinrich and Congressman Kurt Schrader for their work on AKTI’s “Knife Owners’ Protection Act” (now renamed Interstate Transport Act).
- The first “AKTI Giving Back” fundraiser was a resounding success at the Blade Show, with custom knifemakers donating valuable knives to the auction.
- AKTI presented the Blade Show and F+W with the “AKTI Integrity Award” for their support of AKTI’s anti-counterfeiting work in their show rules.
- AKTI President CJ Buck was inducted into the Blade Show Hall of Fame for his contribution to the industry through his extraordinary service and contributions to the knife community through his work with AKTI.
- Supported a successful California case with a legal brief that lock-back knives are not illegal daggers.
- AKTI successfully worked with the West Virginia Citizens Defense League to allow knife users to lawfully carry a knife, open or concealed, without a permit.
- The legislative team developed whitepapers on key states to target, including Ohio, Montana, Michigan, Colorado, Vermont, and others
- Presented Senators Mike Enzi and Ron Wyden with AKTI’s “Common Sense Award” for their continued efforts to pass the Interstate Transport Act to protect knife owners traveling from state to state.
- Filed an amicus brief in a California appeals case ruling that an open slip-joint knife is not an illegal dagger when carried concealed.
- Began a series of monthly knife law articles in Knife magazine (formerly Knife World).
- AKTI provided legislative support for Maine legislation to make automatic knives legal, Nevada pro-knife legislation, Texas knife preemption, and Montana pro-knife legislation.
- AKTI increased its legislative budget and efforts, engaging advocacy firm ADS Ventures (now called Tremont Strategies Group) for state-level knife reform and to provide more support on the federal level.
- Oklahoma – Assisted in the passage of SB 198, making it legal to carry an automatic knife.
- In response to AKTI’s efforts to encourage consistent knife laws from state to state, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi and Senator Ron Wyden introduced the Interstate Transport Act introduced (originally called Knife Owner’s Protection Act).
- Reliable, accurate, and regularly updated state law information became available on AKTI’s website.
- Automatic knives became legal in Tennessee.
- AKTI conducted a round table and seminar in Portland on the devastating financial effects of counterfeits, what knife businesses can do to protect themselves, and why consumers should buy original products.
- Met with federal legislators to garner support for legislation regarding the interstate transport of knives by traveling knife owners, and Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi agreed to sponsor the legislation.
- Completed long-range planning and refocused committees, approving committee missions for Finance, Membership, Marketing, Education, Legislation, and Anti-Counterfeiting.
- Kansas – Supported Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee HB 2033 to enact statewide knife preemption and remove restrictions on automatics, dirks, daggers, and stilettos.
- Alaska – Worked with Rep. Mark Neumann on the passage of HB 33 to remove restrictions on automatic knives and enact statewide knife preemption. AKTI legislative committee members testified by phone in committee hearings.
- Indiana – Provided support for the passage of the removal of restrictions on automatic knives.
- Developed a plan of ten key states to initiate knife law changes and began initial contacts for support.
- AKTI published the 2012 “State of the Industry Report,” providing valuable data showing the importance of knives and the sporting knife and tool industry.
- California appellate court upholds AKTI’s signature bias toward closure language.
- Expanded informative articles on the AKTI website, including information about kids and knives and other educational topics.
- Revised the original “My First Knife” kid safety pamphlet and distributed 12,000 to the Mule Deer Foundation for the “M.U.L.E.Y” program.
- Worked with TSA on the possibility of knives back inside airplanes. The effort failed due to organized pushback from airline unions.
- Pro-knife legislation incorporating bias toward closure, clarifying one-hand opening knives are not gravity or automatic/switchblade knives, allowing the manufacture of automatics or enacting knife preemption introduced in Louisiana, Washington, South Carolina, and Alaska.
- Washington – Supported Mike Vellekamp’s efforts with HB 2347 to allow automatic knives to be manufactured in the state.
- AKTI Received the Blade Show’s “Industry Achievement Award” for legislative accomplishments.
- AKTI became a partner and supporter of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Governor’s Caucus, and National Association of Sportsmen’s Caucus.
- AKTI began a monthly online knife auction to fund increasing legislative activity.
- Boston – AKTI board members testified, successfully opposing the proposed licensing of knife retailers.
- Washington – AKTI Successfully Opposed Washington State Carrying Bill – A bill making carrying a concealed knife with blades 3.5 inches and longer a misdemeanor was withdrawn.
- AKTI updated its vision, mission, and goals, and the objectives and strategies to achieve them. A new website was launched with increased resources. The Board of Regents was expanded in size to increase the organization’s impact. Revised AKTI Knife Definitions were approved.
- New Hampshire – AKTI Supports Rep. Jenn Coffey’s New Hampshire HB 544. New Hampshire was now the freest knife law state in the U.S.
- AKTI worked with the New York Legal Aid Society to change the New York state law definition of gravity knives.
- AKTI opposed the confiscation of knives by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and issued warnings.
- Kansas – Kansas Adopts AKTI’s Bias Toward Closure Language – Ordinary pocket knives cannot be mistaken for illegal automatics.
- AKTI promptly opposed the introduction of a Hawaiian bill to ban all folding pocket knives.
- Texas – In response to court cases, AKTI successfully changed Texas law, adding an exemption to the switchblade definition that a switchblade “does not include a knife that has a spring, detent or other mechanism designed to create a bias toward closure and that requires exertion applied to the blade by hand, wrist or arm to overcome resistance and open the knife.” This clarified that assisted-opening knives are not switchblades.
- U.S. Customs – AKTI led the industry opposition to Customs’ proposed revocation of ruling letters that would have redefined switchblades to include any knife that opens with one hand. The Federal Switchblade Act of 1958 was amended to incorporate AKTI’s Texas switchblade definition language.
- Using data from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Survey, AKTI assessed which states had the greatest economic impact on knife purchase and use and began targeted efforts to make significant changes for use of knives in outdoor activities.
- South Carolina – SB 968 – AKTI successfully removed South Carolina’s knife law that made any knife with a blade over two inches a weapon.
- A free Grassroots Supporter email program was initiated to receive legislative updates and support AKTI’s efforts by contacting legislators when needed.
- Luggage tags were distributed at the Blade Show to warn people to put knives in their checked airline bags.
- An industry survey was conducted, and the “2007 State of the Sporting Knife Industry” was published.
- Arkansas – AKTI saves 1 million Arkansas knife owners and visitors – you’re no longer a criminal in Arkansas if you carry a knife with a blade longer than 3-1/2 inches.
- California – AKTI provided an_amicus curiae_ brief in the Lopez appeal, which affirmed our 653K amendment that a “switchblade does not include a knife that opens with one hand utilizing thumb pressure applied solely to the blade of the knife or a thumb stud attached to the blade.”
- A free newsletter program for retailers was initiated for them to provide a service to their customers.
- AKTI developed a state-by-state plan to change restrictive knife laws, eliminate prohibitions to automatic knives and enact statewide knife preemption.
- An AKTI newsletter reviewed state court cases that determined assisted-opening knives are not switchblades.
- Arkansas – AKTI introduced legislation to repeal Code 5-773-121 that carrying a knife with a blade 3-1/2″ or longer was a weapons offense.
- The AKTI Approved Knife Definitions were finalized and distributed to members, the press, lawmakers, and others to provide industry-approved definitions for legal knife terms.
- AKTI met with and encouraged the TSA to allow knives back inside airplanes.
- The AKTI Board of Regents approved AKTI’s Knife Measuring Protocol, and an initial suggested standard knife definitions was drafted.
- AKTI sent letters of support for the S659 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
- AKTI opposes New York City knife busts, provided information for law enforcement and expert witnesses, and gave materials and attorney information to retailer defendants.
- AKTI opposed a Michigan ban on “multi-bladed devices.”
- AKTI began the process of formulating a knife-measuring protocol by contacting state attorneys generals and the membership for input.
- A presentation on model law legislation and ways to influence the wording of knife legislation was given.
- The document “Guide to Knife Naming” was prepared.
- AKTI members began a discussion of standardizing knife definitions as an industry recommendation and for legal use.
- AKTI provided updates on TSA regulations to assure traveling knife owners were aware of changes and put their knives in checked baggage.
- A Legislative Action Plan that included presentations to state legislators was developed.
- Florida – HB 1227 – AKTI efforts successfully clarified the definition of a “ballistic knife” – that it must physically separate from the blade.
- Boston – Reversed Boston City Council proposed ordinance banning all knives with blades longer than 2-1/2”. AKTI Regents testified to the council.
- California – SB 274 – AKTI successfully revised 653k, amending it so that a “Switch blade” knife definition does not include a knife that opens with one hand utilizing thumb press applied solely to the blade of the knife or a thumb stud attached to the blade, provided that the knife utilizes a detent or other mechanism that (a) provides resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade, or (b) biases the blade back toward its closed position.”
(CA 653k had been revised earlier (1996) due to the major effort of Buck, Benchmade, and others to clarify that knives designed to open with one hand were not switchblades. Due to issues from the District Attorney Association, it was revisited, and the bias toward closure language that AKTI developed was added.\)
- AKTI published two pamphlets: Understanding Knife Laws and My First Knife.
- The Regents reviewed attorney Dan Lawson’s “Sensible Knife Legislation” document to increase knife legislation understanding and develop model knife laws.
- Regent Les de Asis introduced Oregon legislators to the knife industry, emphasizing economic impact and employment importance, which provided an important move during U.S. Customs’ seizure of knives from CRKT later in the year.
- AKTI campaigned in support of Columbia River Knife & Tool against a U.S. Customs seizure.
1999 – AKTI refined its mission and goals.
- The Advisory Member category was developed to assist the board with direction and programs.
- AKTI subscribed to a service and began monitoring knife legislation introduced on the federal level and in all 50 states and began developing a plan of which states to initiate knife reform in.
- SHOT Show announcement of the formation of the American Knife & Tool Institute, Inc.
- Organizational meetings were held, bylaws approved, the board of regents expanded, and Form 1024 Application for Federal Nonprofit Status filed.
- Committees were formed: Finance, Public Relations, Legislation, Membership, and Education.
- Two million box stuffers titled “The Time Has Come” were distributed with knife products to knife owners about AKTI membership for knife owners.
1997 – Industry leaders and representatives from various groups, spearheaded by CJ Buck and Les de Asis, who had recently dealt with knife law issues in California, met at various knife events to discuss the need and interest in the formation of a national nonprofit advocacy and education organization embracing every segment of the knife community.
The organizational groundwork was developed, and the American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) was incorporated in the state of West Virginia with an initial Board of Regents.