The American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) filed companion bills in the Texas Senate and House on March 13, 2009. See AKTI Texas Bills.
AKTI took this action to rescue more than 11 million law-abiding knife owners from possible unfair, arbitrary and discretionary arrest for carrying knives they have been using for decades for hunting, fishing and on the job. Our bills will also clarify the situation for prosecutors and law enforcement.
An appellate court case in the San Antonio district in late 2007 wrongly interpreted, AKTI contends, the current language in the Texas statutes on knife possession. Specifically, the case broadly and incorrectly applied language in the switchblade statute in such a way that all folding knives could be considered illegal to possess and carry in the state.
One-hand openers and assisted-openers are not switchblades under current Texas law, AKTI contends. Neither type of knife opens by releasing a button on the handle. They both have a bias toward closure and a detent in the handle. AKTI’s new bill language very clearly makes that distinction.
Since Texas was named the #1 state in the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, any statute that broadly limits knife possession in the state could easily target millions of hunters and fishers. The FWS Survey indicates that Texas received $6.228 Billion in economic impact from those groups in 2006. Since the majority of hunters and fishers carry knives to skin game and fillet fish, residents and non-residents who pursue those activities with a knife in their possession would become de facto criminals if the Texas knife statute is not clarified.
The threat of arrest, confiscation and prosecution for a knife offense is so serious that sportsmen with discretionary dollars could forsake Texas as a destination. And millions of Texans who use knives on the job every day are put at risk. So are millions of other legitimate, law-abiding knife owners who use them when camping, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, or working in the rose garden.
Lives are actually put at risk without the clarification that the AKTI bills provide because police officers, firemen, EMTs and first responders would be denied use of knives that can be operated with one hand. If you’re prying the metal wreckage of a car frame off an accident victim, you may only have one hand available to cut the seat belt and free the victim before fire engulfs the scene.
AKTI recognizes this risk to an estimated 11 million people in the state and visitors who use and carry knives on a daily basis.
AKTI hired Mark Seale of the Texas Advocacy Group to present our suggested clarifications to the Texas Legislature in 2009.
Read the AKTI Introduced Bills (PDF).