“Common Sense Award” Recognizes the Senator’s Work to Remove Federal Regulatory Burdens Hindering Manufacturing Growth, Interstate Commerce, and Consumer Practices
The American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) presented Senator Mike Crapo, R-ID with the “Common Sense Award” last week in Washington, D.C. The award is designed to honor Members of Congress who have worked across party lines to further common sense legislation that benefits law-abiding knife owners throughout the nation.
With this annual presentation, AKTI honored Senator Crapo for his work on the Freedom of Commerce Act, legislation that will repeal the Federal Switchblade Act of 1958 (15 U.S.C. § 1241 – 1244) and allow consumers to purchase any automatic knife legal in their state, regardless of where it was manufactured.
“In states allowing the possession of switchblades, it is imperative that law-abiding citizens and sportsmen have the ability to buy and sell the tools vital to their trade,” said Crapo. “This measure would remove one of the many federal regulatory burdens that have hindered manufacturing growth, interstate commerce and consumer practices for far too long. I thank AKTI for recognizing me with this honor.”
Automatic knives, which are defined based on their opening mechanism, are used primarily in the professional trades and by outdoor recreationalists. In both of these examples, the use of a one-handed knife that opens automatically is often critical to effectively and safely accomplishing the task. To illustrate, a roofer may carry an automatic knife in his pocket as part of his customary tools. While perched on a ladder, he only has one hand to open and lock the blade, making the automatic open a necessary feature. This same example could be used for a fisherman, who is holding his catch with his left hand while simultaneously using an automatic knife to cut the line of a swallowed hook with his right hand. In both cases, the task may be technically achievable with other tools, but is accomplished more quickly and more safely with an automatic knife.
The Federal Switchblade Act of 1958 (FSA) leverages the federal government’s interstate commerce power to prohibit the purchase, sale, and trade of automatic knives between any and all of the 50 states, Washington, DC, any U.S. territories, and any place outside thereof.
The FSA does:
- prohibit the possession of automatic knives in U.S. territories and on Native American Reservations;
- prohibit a consumer from purchasing any automatic knife not manufactured in the state in which they are making the purchase;
- prohibit the importation of all foreign automatic knives, as well as knife parts, even if the manufacturer or importer is a U.S.-based company.
The FSA does not:
- prohibit the possession or sale of automatic knives within any U.S. state or the District of Columbia;
- apply to contracts entered into by the Department of Defense.
The FSA hurts consumers and knife manufacturers throughout the United States by using federal law to:
- limit consumer choice;
- create unnecessary burdens on manufacturers and retailers by prohibiting most out-of-state sales;
- impose a barrier on states’ rights to legislate the availability of a tool within their borders;
- infringe on free trade by outlawing the importation of automatic knives.
The Freedom of Commerce Act will:
- repeal 15 U.S.C. § 1241 – 1244;
- allow domestic manufacturers to ship and sell their products to buyers located in other states;
- permit the importation of automatic knives and knife parts.
The legislation will not:
- supplant or amend current state laws on automatic (or any other) knives;
- legalize the possession or carry of automatic knives (except for Native American Reservations and U.S. territories).
“Working with Mike on The Freedom of Commerce Act was a great process in seeking a sustainable solution to legislation that created issues without really generating a benefit,” said CJ Buck, President of Post Falls, Idaho’s Buck Knives. “The Common Sense Award was created to highlight legislators who use careful thought and vision together for long-term, real solutions. That’s why, on behalf of the American Knife & Tool Institute, we are proud to present it to Mike.”
About the Federal Switchblade Act
Myths About Automatic Knives
State Laws Regarding Auto-Open Knives