American Knife & Tool Institute Commends Senators Enzi and Wyden on Re-Introduction of the Knife Owners’ Protection Act (note: future bill was renamed Interstate Transport Act)
Cody, WY (February 25, 2015) – The American Knife & Tool Institute’s (AKTI) continued efforts to encourage consistent knife laws from state to state are paying off.
U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, R-WY, and Ron Wyden, D-OR, re-introduced the Knife Owners’ Protection Act (KOPA) today. The legislation is a response to the current patchwork of state and local knife laws, which have increasingly presented problems to lawful knife owners during interstate travel. These laws usually center around the type of knife and length of its blade, among other attributes.
Currently, no federal protection currently exists for knife owners wishing to transport knives to and from states in which they are legal, but through jurisdictions with varying requirements. KOPA would allow legal interstate travel for knives, provided the knives are transported to and from states where the law allows possession of said knives, and they are transported in closed containers.
Since its inception, AKTI has served as the go-to resource for knife owners looking to ensure that they comply with all local, state, and federal laws related to knives. One of the biggest complaints and points of confusion AKTI hears about from knife owners involves the interstate transport of knives. While citizens are making every effort to comply with patchwork state and local laws, it has become clear that there is the need for a federal protection for sportsmen, hunters, and other law-abiding knife owners that does not interfere with state and local restrictions on knife use.
“In addition to massive confusion over conflicting knife possession and transportation laws, over recent years, we have had an increasing number of cases brought to our attention where individuals who are trying to abide by the law are stopped or detained as a result of patchwork, complex, and conflicting laws,” said AKTI Executive Director, Jan Billeb. “For example, we received a call from an individual on a flight that was diverted to New York City. He was on a hunting trip, had no intention of even traveling through New York, and was unaware of the state’s knife laws. But during this unplanned layover at a New York airport, the individual was arrested for possession of a knife, stored in his checked luggage, which was legal in his states of origin and destination, but illegal in New York.”
The passage of KOPA will allow citizens to transport knives over state lines for lawful purposes, and put an end to the massive confusion that currently surrounds the issue.
“Americans who are transporting a pocket knife shouldn’t have to worry that they will be arrested for just passing through,” said Enzi. “This is not theoretical, but a real problem. It is almost impossible for a citizen to be fully aware of the thousands of knife laws across the country. This bill would solve this issue.”
“This is a common-sense bill that respects state laws, ensures public safety and protects the rights of knife owners,” Wyden said. “It provides protections that don’t currently exist for knife owners traveling between places where knives are legal –as long as they keep that knife inaccessible on the trip.”
The Senate Bill 567 introduced today and also referred to as “Knife Owners’ Protection Act” , is an important key to protecting everyone who travels with knives. The burden on knife users of trying to know, understand and comply with several states’ laws will be replaced by these reasonable regulations:
- Knife users may transport their knives by normal travel including overnight stops, common carrier misrouting or delays, and other emergency or normal stops related to a journey through states (provided there is no intent to commit a punishable offense);
- Knives may not be directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the motor vehicle. If there is no compartment separate from the passenger compartment, then the knife must be in a closed container, glove compartment or console;
- If transported other than by motor vehicle, a knife must be in a closed container;
- An individual may carry an emergency knife or tool that has a blunt tipped safety blade or guarded blade, or both, for cutting seat belts. That type of knife or tool does not need to be locked;
- KOPA does not apply to the transport of a knife in an aircraft where passengers are subject to screening by TSA.
“AKTI greatly appreciates the hard work and leadership of Senators Enzi and Wyden on this issue and this legislation,” said CJ Buck, AKTI Legislative Chair. “Their commitment to a commonsense solution has been tremendous. We look forward to continuing to work with Senators Enzi and Wyden as KOPA makes its way through the Congress and thank them for listening to our suggestions to improve on the bill offered last year.” See story on last year’s effort.
Jan Billeb, AKTI Executive Director, added, “It has been awesome to work with my home state Senator and other Congressmen, to be able to meet with them personally in D.C., as well as at local events in Wyoming.”
The Senate Bill 567 (KOPA) was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
Why Do We Need To Protect Traveling Knife Owners?
- There is a confusing, frequently changing patchwork of knife laws across the U.S. In additional to each of the 50 states having their own laws regarding knives, there are many local laws and regulations within several states who do not have statewide knife uniformity laws.
- A knife legal in one location may have serious criminal consequences in another location.
- Even within legal jurisdictions enforcement can be inconsistent and cause law-abiding citizens problems.
What Does a Knife Owner Need to Know If This Act Becomes Law?
- Knives must be secured in a CLOSED container, glove compartment or console.
- Emergency knives or tools
- Do NOT have to be in a CLOSED container
- Must incorporate a blunt tipped safety blade and/or guarded blade
- State laws do NOT change
- Your knives must be legal in the state you begin your travel AND at your destination.
- Travel does not apply to commercial air travel – You must comply with TSA regulations regarding knives and put them in your checked luggage.
- If you are arrested, and in compliance with the Act, you have the right to receive reasonable attorney’s fees.
- There is no protection for anyone involved in criminal activity or with the intent to commit a crime.