American Knife & Tool Institute’s Legislative Efforts
Federal and State Legislative Initiatives Including:
- Protection for Traveling Knife Owners
- Repeal of Restrictions on Auto-Open Knives and Other Useful Tools
- Clarification of confusing knife laws and ambiguous terms
- Statewide Knife Preemption for Consistent Laws
AKTI has been successful in removing, clarifying and correcting poorly conceived and ambiguous legislation and educating legislators on knife issues on behalf of the entire knife community. We support reasonable, responsible legislation and measured non-partisan efforts to resolve issues. We promotes knives as an essential and valuable tool in everyday life.
In many states there is a short window of time to get bills introduced, through both houses, agreed upon and signed. Because the legislative process takes substantial time, it can frequently require several legislative sessions to get bills passed and new laws effective. You can review current state knife laws here.
AKTI greatly appreciates the many elected officials and their staff who have partnered with us for common sense knife legislation that is reasonable, responsible and supports consistent enforcement. We also thank other organizations that help with letters, testimony and contacts. It really does take a team effort and we thank everyone on our team.
Some bills are introduced by legislators because you, as a constituent, ask them to. Some bills have been the direct, hard work of our lobbyist and/or company member. We are sharing with you all pro-knife legislation we know about. Click on the bill number link for any available additional details.
Be sure to follow what’s happening by bookmarking this page and sign up to receive our Grassroots Supporter emails. Please wait to contact your elected officials until we send an Action Alert. We only want to contact legislators if and when it is necessary. Thank you.
Interstate Transport Act S. 542 – This legislation will give traveling knife owners a federal protection they have never had before from the varying knife laws in different jurisdictions. Read more.
Issue: Varying laws from state to state
Summary: Would protect law abiding knife owners traveling between states from conflicting state knife laws, provided the knife they possess is legal in both the state of origin and state of destination and they are properly stored according to the law.
Status: Passed the U.S. Senate on December 11, 2018, by Unanimous Consent. With all the political wrangling on Capitol Hill over funding and the political shutdown, it was impossible to get any bills passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. We have made huge progress and will be working to get the Interstate Transport Act passed into law this session (116th Congress). 2019-S. 542 introduced February 25, 2019 and passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on April 3 without an amendment.
Freedom of Commerce Act S. 1588 – This bill will remove the commerce prohibitions in the Federal Switchblade Act of 1958.
Issue: Consumers cannot purchase any automatic knife they would like, even if legal in their own state.
Summary: Act repeals 15 U.S.C. § 1241 – 1244 and allows domestic manufacturers to ship and sell their products to buyers located in other states.
Status: Re-introduced May 22, 2019, by U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch at AKTI’s request. Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
Issue: Automatic knives are considered Category II weapons. Limited use is allowed with a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID).
Summary: Working to remove restrictions to the ownership and carry of automatic knives and eliminate confusion.
Issue: Knife definition for possession of weapon by convicted felon.
Summary: HB 2652 would allow convicted felons to possess an ordinary pocket knife with a blade no longer than 4 inches in connection with lawful employment or a kitchen knife used as intended for food preparation or consumption. See AKTI’s comments here.
Issue: Owning or possessing a knife is not an issue, but carrying, manufacturing or selling certain knives is illegal. Job and business opportunities are lost because valuable automatic knives cannot be made or sold in Massachusetts.
Summary: Working to remove the confusion and restrictions on manufacturing, carrying or selling of automatic knives. Currently supporting HB 2108.
Michigan HB 5286
Issue: Municipalities with more restrictive knife laws than the state law.
Summary: Rep. Steven Johnson introduced HB 5286 on December 5, 2019, to prohibit local governments adopting or enforcing knife ordinance more restrictive than Michigan state law.
Status: Passed House. To Senate Commitee on Government Operation on March 17, 2020. Michigan is full time legislature so Senate has until end of year to take action.
Issue: It is a crime to manufacture, transfer or possess an automatic knife which is a very useful tool especially in emergency situation when only one hand is available to use the knife.
Summary: Working to revise definition and allow for use of automatic knives by law-abiding citizens.
Issue: Any one who possesses, displays, offers, sells, lends, gives away or purchases an automatic knife is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Summary: Working to remove the definition of a “switchblade” knife and restrictions to their ownership and sale for legal purposes.
Issue: The definition of gravity knife creates confusion with legal one-hand opening knives and has resulted inconsistent enforcement.
Summary: Working to clarify the definitions of switchblade and gravity knives, eliminating confusion and misapplication, by adding AKTI’s signature “bias toward closure” language or eliminate gravity knives as an illegal knife. This has been an ongoing effort for numerous years with support from the New York Legal Aid Society and others.
Status: Effective immediately A 5944, removes all references to gravity knives as a dangerous weapon. Signed by the Governor May 30, 2019. Read more
Issue: Complex and unclear knife laws that limit economic opportunities.
Summary: Working to clarify the law that pocket knives are legitimate tools and remove automatic knives from illegal deadly weapon list. (Ohio legislature meets throughout the entire year.)
Status: SB 140 introduced May 1, 2019, to remove prohibitions on the manufacture, possession and sale of automatic knives, springblade knives and gravity knives. Passed Senate June 27, 2019. Referred to the House Committee on Criminal Justice September 24, 2019. AKTI submitted written testimony of support.
Issue: Automatic knives, which are valuable tools, are considered “offensive weapons.”
Summary: Working to remove automatic knives from the list of “offensive weapons” to remove confusion created by law wording and court decisions. (Pennsylvania legislature meets throughout the entire year.)
Issue: Valuable one-hand tools with a blade of more than three inches is considered a weapon.
Summary: Working to remove blade length restrictions.
Issue: No uniformity of knife laws within the state which creates a lot of confusion and keeps knife users from carrying essential tools.
Summary: Creates statewide knife preemption by adding knives to the existing firearms preemption statute.
Issue: Possession, manufacture or sell of automatic knives
Summary: Working to remove restrictions for law-abiding citizens using automatic knives for everyday purposes and allow industry businesses to expand their product line.
Issue: Knife manufacturers are losing important business opportunities because the products they make cannot be bought or possessed by Washington citizens or visitors.
Summary: Automatic knives are currently legal to manufacture, but not legal for citizens to possess or sell. SB 5782 would allow the sale and possession of automatic knives.
Status: Introduced January 31, 2019. Several AKTI members including SOG testified at a public hearing. Passed the Senate on March 5, 2019, but stalled with an amendment in the House. This bill was re-introduced January 13, 2020, and passed the Senate on February 18. The bill was referred to the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee and AKTI Board of Regent Joe Mc Swiney from SOG testified. Other supporters have provided us with letters for the committtee. The bill was passed from committee on February 28 with a recommendation to pass and then stalled on the House Floor on March 6. We already working on the next plan of action!
Issue: Municipalities with varying knife laws creates confusion for knife users.
Summary: Statewide knife preemption limits the authority of municipalities to regulate the purchasing, possessing, transferring, owning, carrying, transporting, selling and storing of knives. SB 96 added knives to West Virginia’s definition of “deadly weapons” for purposes of statewide preemption.
Status: Passed and effective May 31, 2020.
Keep checking back for updates.
Here’s what you can do now:
- Know the current knife laws in the state(s) you live, work or travel in. www.stateknifelaws.com
- Ask your customers, friends and social media contacts to sign up as a free AKTI Grassroots Supporter. We need people willing to contact their legislators when necessary. Call to Action Alerts will be sent if action is needed in your state.
- Join AKTI – and do it Today! Our strength is in the support shown by concerned knife owners and the entire knife industry.
- Make a contribution to our Legislative Fund. Changing laws takes time, resources and MONEY.