American Knife & Tool Institute’s BLADE Show Event Raises Funds for Legislative Initiatives
The recent second annual American Knife &. Tool Institute (AKTI) fundraiser at the BLADE Show was a huge success, raising funds to help the nonprofit organization advocate on behalf of the entire knife community. Titled “Free to Carry” this year, the work of AKTI to ensure that knife owners are free to carry the knife of their choice was highlighted.
“The Interstate Transport Act recently reintroduced by U.S. Senators Mike Enzi R-WY and Ron Wyden D-OR at AKTI’s request will provide enhanced protection for knife owners traveling through the patchwork of state and local knife laws. We have a comprehensive federal bill that has bipartisan support and will provide the protection needed,” reported CJ Buck, AKTI President.
He went on to announce that “We have spent several years working directly with state legislatures to repeal archaic and ambiguous legislation regarding both Automatic knives and Gravity knives. This has laid a strong foundation to now repeal the Interstate Commerce restrictions imposed by the Federal Switchblade Act which is highly misunderstood to prohibit the possession of automatic knives. This is an entirely separate federal issue from traveling with knives across different jurisdictions. With Automatic Knives fully legal in a majority of states, we are now prepared for the initiative to repeal the restrictions on our businesses and remove the confusion created by the Federal Switchblade Act.”
Bruce Voyles did an outstanding job contributing his auctioneering expertise to raise double the funds as last year. Custom knives by high-demand makers such as Lucas Burnley created some lively bidding by enthusiastic Burnley fans and made for an enjoyable evening.
Custom and highly individualized knives were donated by makers Tony Bose, Lucas Burnley, T.W. Downing, Alan Folts, D’Holder, Steve Jernigan, Russ Kommer, Marfione Custom Knives, Ken Onion, Jeff Park, Ken Steigerwalt, Brian Tighe, Ed Van Hoy, Tom Veff, Jesper Voxnaes, and Brad Zinker.
“We were honored with having Special Forces Michael “Rod” Rodriguez and Jeremy James Valdez attend and speak. Both servicemen are featured with portraits in President George W. Bush’s book Portraits of Courage,” said Jan Billeb, AKTI Executive Director.
A copy of Portraits of Courage was auctioned that included signatures of Rodriguez and Perez on their individual stories of service and courage.
Several AKTI members made generous donations that were part of the silent auction items available. Attendees had a selection of knives to bid on from BTI Tools, Benchmade, Boker USA, Browning, Buck Knives, Camillus, Chris Reeve Knives, CRKT, Gerber, Kai USA/Zero Tolerance, Leatherman, Ontario Knife Company, SOG, Spyderco and W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery.
“With increasing the attendance and doubling the funds raised, you have to call this event a tremendous success,” said Rod Bremer, CEO of CRKT, and chair of the event. “We thank the AKTI board and other members who provided silent auction items and other support, and all the generous custom makers who made special knives. It was a fun evening visiting with makers and supporters.”