A Brief Timeline of Highlights in AKTI’s History
Check out News for the many states where AKTI has introduced knife legislation to protect the rights of individuals to own and use the knife or edged tool of their choice or is working with individuals and other organizations on pro-knife initiatives.
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 industry. Organizational groundwork was developed, and the American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) incorporated in the state of West Virginia with an initial Board of Regents.
1998 – 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. 2 million box stuffers were distributed with knife products.
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.
2000 – 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. 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.
CA – SB 274 – AKTI successfully revised 653k amending it that a “Switch blade” knife 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) with major effort by Buck, Benchmade and others to clarify that knives designed to open with one hand were not switchblades. Due to issues from the District Attorney Assn, it was revisited and the bias toward closure language that AKTI developed was added.)
AKTI letter writing effort in support of CRKT against a U.S. Customs’ seizure.
2001 – A Legislative Action Plan to include presentations to state legislators was developed.
FL – 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.
2002 – AKTI members began discussion of standard knife definitions and AKTI provided updates on TSA regulations to assure traveling knife owners were aware of changes and put knives in checked baggage.
2003 – 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 wording of legislation was given. The communications coordinator wrote a “Guide to Knife Naming.”
2004 – 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 S659 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. NY knife seizure cases were responded to with definition information and referrals to expert witnesses. AKTI opposed a Michigan ban on “multi-bladed devices.”
2005 – The AKTI Knife Definitions (PDF) was approved and distributed to members, press, lawmakers and others. AKTI encouraged TSA to allow knives back inside airplanes.
2006 – A free newsletter program to retailers was initiated to provide as a service to customers. AKTI developed a state-by-state plan to change restrictive knife laws. An AKTI newsletter reviewed state court cases that determined assisted-opening knives are not switchblades.
AR – HB 1235 – AKTI successfuly repealed Code 5-73-121 – In Arkansas it is no longer a weapons offense to carry a knife with blade 3-1/2″ or longer.
2007 – 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 checked airline bags. An industry survey was conducted and the “2007 State of the Sporting Knife Industry” was published for membership use.
CA – AKTI provided an _amicus curiae_ brief in the Lopez appeal which affirmed 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.”
2008 – 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.
SC – SB 968 – AKTI successfully removed South Carolina’s knife law that made any knife with a blade over 2 inches a weapon.
2009 – AKTI promptly opposed the introduction of a Hawaiian bill to ban all folding pocket knives.
TX – H 4456 – In response to court cases, AKTI successfully introduced a Texas bill 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 TX switchblade definition language.
2010 – AKTI reviewed its vision, mission and goals, and the objectives and strategies to achieve them. Responded to several issues and prepared for the next legislative session to remove restrictive knife laws. Launched a new website with increased resources. The Board of Regents was expanded in size to increase the organization’s impact. Approved revised standard definitions.
Opposed confiscation of knives by Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
2011 – AKTI became a partner and supporter of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Governor’s Caucus, and National Association of Sportmen’s Caucus. Began a monthly knife online auction to raise money for the Legislative Fund.
NH – Supported Rep. Jenn Coffey’s legislation to remove all knife restrictions.
Boston – Opposed licensing of knife retailers.
2012 – AKTI published 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 “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 allowing knives back on airplanes. Effort failed due to organized pushback from airline unions.
Received “Blade Magazine Industry Achievement Award” for legislative accomplishments.
2013 – AKTI presented roundtable and seminar on the devastating financial affects of counterfeiting, what knife businesses can do to protect themselves, and why consumers should buy original product.
Met with federal legislators to introduce legislation regarding interstate transport of knives.
Completed long range planning and refocused committees, approving committee missions for Finance, Membership, Marketing, Education, Legislation and Anti-Counterfeiting.