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 successfully 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 nonpartisan efforts to resolve issues. We promote knives as an essential and valuable tool in everyday life.
There is a short window of time to get bills introduced through both houses, agreed upon, and signed in many states. 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 rational 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.
Legislators introduce some bills 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 the 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 emails. Please wait to contact your elected officials until we send an Action Alert. We only want you to contact legislators if and when it is necessary. Thank you.
Interstate Transport Act S. 542 – This legislation will give traveling knife owners 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: This legislation passed the U.S. Senate on December 11, 2018, by Unanimous Consent. Political wrangling on Capitol Hill over funding and shutdown made it impossible to move it further. In 2019 S. 542 was introduced and passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on April 3 without an amendment. More stalling. We continue to work to advance this protection for the knife community.
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. We continue to work to remove this hindrance to knife owners and the knife industry.
Issue: Automatic knives are not allowed and 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 because they are classified as weapons.
Iowa – 2021 Session Ended
Issue: Penalties for carrying concealed knives vary in severity based on blade length.
Status: HB 250, introduced on January 27, 2021, would remove penalties for concealed carry unless the knife is used in criminal activity.
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.
Issue: Some municipalities have more restrictive knife laws than state law.
Summary: Working to enact statewide preemption to prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing knife ordinances more restrictive than Michigan state law.
Status: HB 4066 was introduced on January 28, 2021. Referred to House Committee on Local Government and Municipal Finance.
Minnesota – 2021 Session Ended
Issue: It is a crime to manufacture, transfer or possess an automatic knife which is a very useful tool, especially in an emergency when only one hand is available to use the knife.
Summary: Working to allow the use of automatic knives by law-abiding citizens.
Issue: Minnesota is one of few states that does not include a constitutional right to bear arms (including knives).
Status: SF 1026 and HF 824 were introduced on February 8, 2021, to add the right to bear arms, including knives, as an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution.
Issue: Anyone 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.
North Dakota – 2021 Session Ended
Issue: Certain knives are classified as “dangerous weapons” and cannot be carried concealed (except with valid concealed firearms or dangerous weapon license issued pursuant to § 62.1-04-03.)
Summary: Working to remove name-based restrictions such as stiletto, dagger, switchblade, gravity knife, sword, etc., as “dangerous weapons” when carried concealed.
Status: HB 1339 introduced. AKTI provided written testimony to the Judiciary Committee. The bill was amended, and a legislative staff study was requested.
Issue: Complex and unclear knife laws that limit economic opportunities.
Summary: Working to clarify the law that pocket knives are legitimate tools, remove automatic knives from illegal deadly weapon list, and allow the manufacture and sale of automatics.
Status: SB 140 signed by Governor’s DeWine on January 11, 2021. Effective April 12, 2021. More information.
Issue: Several municipalities have stricter knife laws than state law.
Summary: Working to add statewide knife preemption for knives.
Status: HB 243 introduced to create specific preemption for knives in Ohio. Referred to the House Committee on Rules and Reference on March 31, 2021. Senate version SB 156 introduced on March 13, 2021. Referred on March 21 to the Senate Committee on Veterans and Public Safety.
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. (Note: Pennsylvania legislature meets throughout the entire year.)
Issue: Major South Carolina cities have varying knife ordinances in addition to the state knife laws.
Summary: Working to provide uniformity of knife laws by enacting statewide knife preemption.
Status: HB 3551 was introduced by Rep. W. Brian White and referred to the House Judiciary Committee, adding knives to the existing firearms preemption legislation. This continues our efforts since 2012 to enact knife preemption.
Issue: Valuable one-hand tools with a blade of more than three inches are considered a weapon.
Summary: Working to remove blade length restrictions.
Status: February 5, 2021, HB 201 was file to remove the ban on automatic knives three inches or longer. Referred to the Judiciary Committee, which killed the hearing for it last year.
Issue: No uniformity of knife laws within the state creates a lot of confusion and keeps knife users from carrying essential tools.
Summary: HB 254 was introduced on February 11, 2021, by Rep. Brennan, a re-introduction of previous efforts, and referred to the House Committee on Government Operations.
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.
Status: Unfortunately, HB 1224 to remove “spring blade” (i.e., automatic) knives from the definition of “dangerous weapon” and allow the sale and possession of these knives, died in committee. This legislation was a continuation of previous efforts. We will continue to work with coalition partners and members in Washington State to get this legislation passed.
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, Chaptered Act 64 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.
- Please contribute to our Legislative Fund. Changing laws takes time, resources, and MONEY.