Knife Rights is hot off the heels of helping get a switchblade ban repeal and knife law preemption bill passed in the state of Montana.
In fact, the knife advocacy organization held a signing ceremony for the bill, which was attended by Ethan Becker, Governor Steve Bullock, activist Joe Paschal, ACLU of Montana Director of Advocacy and Policy S.K. Rossi, and more.
Even cooler, all involved received an inscribed Pro-Tech SBR (Short Bladed Rockeye) automatic knife.
Texas Knife Bill Moves Forward
While all of this was happening, a bill in Texas that would remove location-based restrictions on knives in the state moved forward after it was passed out of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee. This bill — along with its companion House bill — are still in the early stages of passage, so it would still need to pass a committee and both chambers.
Knife Rights has announced it is appealing a case related to the abusive enforcement of New York’s gravity knife ban to the Supreme Court.
Earlier this year, a panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of New York City and District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr in the suit brought by Knife Rights. Knife Rights alleges that the city’s policy of treating pretty much any locking folder as an illegal gravity is unjust.
We’ve written about this case for a few years now (read my 2011 article on the initial lawsuit) and have covered all the twists and turns of the story — including efforts by the state legislators to remedy the issue only to be twice thwarted by the governor.
With the appeals court ruling in favor of the city, Knife Rights only has one more option: the Supreme Court. The lobbying organization is submitting a petition for a writ of certiorari, which asks the highest court in the land to hear the appeal.
The Supreme Court is asked to hear roughly 7,000 to 8,000 cases each year but only picks a small handful. So, the odds of the court accepting the case is slim.
If you collect or enjoy knives, you’ve likely heard of the knife advocacy group started by knife designer Doug Ritter called Knife Rights.
Well, thanks to an article published in The Washington Post on September 15, people all over the country had the joy of learning all about the group’s effort to repeal restrictive knife laws in the United States.
I highly recommend reading the whole thing here.
An image of Todd Rathner of Knife Rights by Bridget Bennett for The Washington Post
Reporter Todd C. Frankel did a pretty good job presenting both sides of the argument and portraying the organization in a fairly positive light.
Here is a nice excerpt from the piece:
Ritter, 65, said that knives, like guns, should be considered arms protected by the Second Amendment. He doesn’t support any restriction on knives — not on switchblades or push daggers or even the ballistic knives that shoot like spears from a handle. Todd Rathner, director of legislative affairs for Knife Rights, holds a one-handed open knife during the Usual Suspect Gathering.
That’s become a winning argument. Twenty-one states have repealed or weakened their knife laws since 2010, many of them with bipartisan support, including Colorado, Michigan and Illinois. New York came close to doing the same last year. Ohio could be next. Texas passed its bill last year despite a high-profile stabbing death just days before lawmakers voted. And Knife Rights, with little financial backing, has been working behind the scenes to help make it happen.
“A lot of people said it would be impossible to repeal a switchblade law in any state. Insane. Tilting at windmills,” Ritter said. “Turns out they were wrong.”
The story was not without its faults though.
The Knife Rights Ultimate Steel Spectacular has returned in glorious fashion.
Each year, the knife rights organization launches an amazing fundraising campaign to raise money for the cause. For 2018, they have gathered more than $175,000 in prizes (so far) to give away to those who donate. Because all the knives and guns are donated to Knife Rights, 100 percent of the proceeds to go to help funding the organization.
Here is a quick breakdown of the entry process.
- $20 gets 1 entry
- $40 gets 2 entries
- $60 gets 4 entries
- $80 gets 6 entries
Along with a Knife Rights membership at $60 or above, higher donations also get cool gear branded with Knife Rights while supplies last.
- $100 gets 9 entries + Kizer Kesmec
- $200 gets 22 entries + SOG Ultra C-Ti
- $300 gets 37 entries + Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight
- $400 gets 60 entries + Colonial Nemesis
- $500 gets 90 entries + Cold Steel Swift II
- $1,000 gets 150 entries + Hogue Damascus/CF A01 Microswitch
Those who donate before May 16 are also eligible for an early bird bonus drawing with more than $35,000 in prizes. To be eligible for the main drawing, you have to donate by August 1. Drawings will be done within two weeks of the closing dates.
The issue of gun rights and laws is becoming an increasingly hot topic with people on both sides of the aisle digging in for a long and contentious fight.
But what similar issue can get both sides of the political spectrum fighting together for a common cause? Knife rights and laws.
I’ve written about this dozens of times, but an old law banning “gravity knives” in New York City has been abused by law enforcement to apprehend and arrest thousands of New Yorkers.
This topic is intriguing and caught the interest of Vice, which shot a short video detailing the background of Doug Ritter of Knife Rights and the NYC knife laws.
NOTE: Due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, the event has been postponed by Knife Rights until further notice.
For more than 140 years, the Bowie knife has been outlawed in the state of Texas, the very same state in which the knife was born.
But thanks to a new law passed a few months ago, Bowie knives (along with daggers, swords, spears, dirks, stilettos, and poniards) will be legal to carry nearly anywhere starting Sept. 1.
In celebration of this momentous enactment, Knife Rights is sponsoring the Texas Bowie Knife Liberty Celebration at The Alamo on Sept. 2. The knife advocacy organization is promoting the event as a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bowie) event in which the public will be able to proudly carry a Bowie knife in public for the first time in their lives.
The event is brief but there will be a special showing of historical Bowie knives in the mission’s collection and presentations about the history of the Bowie knife.
It also coincides with the famous mission’s “First Saturday at The Alamo” program that transforms The Alamo back to the times of the 1830s.
Knife Right’s massive fundraising event called the Ultimate Steel Spectacular is back and — well — it’s spectacular.
Every year Knife Rights launches its Ultimate Steel campaign to raise money because fighting for your right to carry knives doesn’t come cheap.
This year, the knife-advocacy organization has more than $200,000 worth of prizes to give away to those who donate to the cause.
Here’s how it works: You pick one of 10 donation amounts and receive entries based on the amount. For $20, you get one entry. For $60, you get four entries as well as a free bonus entry. As you get to higher amounts, you also get some nice add-ons. For example, at the $300 mark, you get 37 entries (including 22 free entries) and a free Colonial Nemesis, which is valued at $200. Those are available in limited quantities.
Thanks to a distorted reading of New York City knife laws, the NYPD has sent as many as 60,000 people to jail over the past decade. According to the Village Voice, simple possession of a pocket knife has even landed defendants in prison for up to seven years.
Knife Rights has been taking on the city for the past few years, arguing that the laws are unjust, capricious, and unconstitutional. In some cases, people have been arrested for carrying legal knives like the Buck 112 Ranger or Leatherman Surge—not exactly gravity knives.
Now the organization has garnered support from a group traditionally on the other side of the political spectrum: the NAACP.
These two groups make strange bedfellows, but they are fighting for the same thing: justice for unfairly targeted groups.
Few organizations have done more for knife rights than Knife Rights.
The advocacy organization is dedicated to influencing positive public policy in pursuit of knife rights, encourage the safe use and marketing of knives, and provide knife owners with services.
To say that Knife Rights is a success is not doing the organization justice. Knife Rights Founder and Chairman Doug Ritter has taken on NYC for its anti-knife laws and pushed pro-knife laws around the United States. Here’s an interview we did with Ritter back in 2011 to learn more about the early days of the movement.
While the organization has done so much for knife owners, there’s still a long way to go. Unfortunately, pushing through legislation and fighting legal battles doesn’t come cheap.
Since its inception in late 2006, Knife Rights has worked hard to lobby against those with an anti-knife agenda. The organization has done a ton of advocacy for knife rights and has made a huge impact with knife legislation. We covered just a little of what they’ve done in an older blog post.
At the NASC Annual Sportsman-Legislator Summit in Oregon, Knife Rights released their first annual review of the worst and best knife laws in America.
Here’s more from Knife Rights on the ranking:
The ten worst anti-knife cities stand out for their outright persecution of honest knife owners and extraordinarily restrictive anti-knife ordinances, far more severe than even the state laws in those areas.
You can see the rankings over at Knife Rights but we thought we’d share it here as well. Some of the information about the laws in the cities are taken from Knife Rights.
Here are the 10 worst cities for knife owners.
10. Aspen, Colorado
In Aspen, it’s illegal to carry a concealed knife of any type in a car, unless you have a concealed weapons permit. It’s perfectly legal to buy marijuana in Aspen, but don’t even think about driving with your pocketknife hidden somewhere.
9. Corpus Christi, Texas (Update: removed from list in 2015 with the passage of Texas’ knife preemption law)
I’ve lamented the fact that there aren’t many useful knife apps out there, aside from the fantastic Steel Knife Composition App from zknives.com, but now you can add another to that list: the LegalBlade app.
Created by Knife Rights, the app gives you information on knife laws for all 50 states, along with info on select cities and jurisdictions in the U.S.
As someone who travels frequently, I’ve been waiting for something like this to come along. Knife laws in the United States are a confusing mess. Each state has its own variations of certain laws and some cities have different laws than neighboring ones.
We here at Knife Depot strongly believe in the right for people to have access to one of man’s oldest tools—the knife. No organization does more to preserve your rights than Knife Rights.
The organization, as we’ve written about numerous times in the past, has done countless things to advance their mission of educating people about knives, giving knife owners a voice, encouraging safety, defending knife owners and accomplishing other knife-related goals.
If you’re looking to give back to the organization that helps keep a knife in your pocket, Knife Rights is giving those who donate the opportunity to win some gift certificates to several stores, including a $500 certificate to Knife Depot.
Your tax deductible donation to Knife Rights will not only offer you the chance to win a gift certificate but it will also be matched dollar for dollar be a benefactor.
Click here to learn more and donate to Knife Rights.
MIL-TAC CS-1 signed by Glenn Beck
We’ve written about the accomplishments and battles of Knife Rights and even interviewed founder Doug Ritter on this blog, but the organization that keeps on giving is planning on giving away more than $100,000 worth of knives, guns and gear to anyone who donates $20 or more to Knife Rights.
All the pieces of gear, including a Ted Nugent-signed Star-Light Tactical Folder, MIL-TAC CS-1, limited edition knives and tons more, were donated to Knife Rights, so 100% of donations will go directly to preserving your rights to carry a knife. Here’s another knife you could win.
ESEE 6P Fixed Blade signed by NRA VP Wayne LaPierre
You can win one of these blades by going to the Knife Rights page and donating some money.
Late last year, the New York City district attorney tried to throw out a knife-related civil rights suit against him and the city on the basis that there is no standing. Well, a judge has just announced that Knife Rights, which brought up the lawsuit, does in fact have a valid case and the suit will proceed.
As a refresher for anyone who’s late coming to this story, DA Cyrus Vance Jr. cracked down on knives in New York City by doing two things that Knife Rights claims is illegal. First, they prohibited retail stores from selling certain types of knives that aren’t usually considered gravity knives (which are illegal in NYC). Second, police arrested people carrying these same pocket knives, which, again, these should be considered legal.
Gravity knives, which is a legal term, are defined by being able to be opened with only the use of gravity. Unfortunately, the DA has broadened that definition to also mean knives that can be opened by the flick of a wrist.
So, Knife Rights teamed up with companies and citizens affected by this broad use of force. But the courts aren’t letting the DA get out of this one so easily. Here’s more from Knife Rights:
“Despite their attempts to make this case go away, NYC and DA Vance will now be held fully accountable in federal court by Knife Rights for their disgraceful attempts to demonize the most widely-owned pocket knives in America as contraband, and to intimidate honest knife retailers into making six-figure forced ‘contributions’ to the City, under threat of criminal penalty, in order to avoid prosecution,” said Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter.
What is the definition of “gravity knife?”
That (and the definition of “switchblade”) is the fundamental question at the center of a slow but ongoing lawsuit against the city of New York. The organization Knife Rights is embroiled in a lawsuit against New York County D.A. Cyrus Vance Jr. and the city itself for using unconstitutionally vague terms to target merchants and citizens who sell or use one-hand opening knives.
Although updates about the lawsuit have been few and far between, Knife Rights just announced that its suit has been bolstered by two new plaintiffs: Native Leather, Ltd. and Knife Rights Foundation, Inc.
Native Leather is another retailer accused by Vance of selling illegal knives. The company was forced to stop selling knives deemed “gravity knives” and “switchblades,” had to pay fines and gave up most of its inventory, according to Knife Rights. The kicker is that Native Leather is still unsure of what constitutes an illegal knife. That’s one of the many reasons they joined the lawsuit.
Here’s more from Chairman Doug Ritter:
For most knife enthusiasts, careful attention is paid to the physical knife itself. They focus on what type of steel the blade is constructed from, the durability of the handle, blade thickness, etc. However, an important aspect of the knife involves the convoluted state of affairs in the political and governmental spectrum because they determine what people can buy and own. It’s times like these when we can be thankful for those who fight the good fight for knife rights.
Few groups are doing more of the dirty work to protect our rights than Knife Rights. Founded with the intention of stopping the United States taking stances against knives similar to countries in Europe, Knife Rights has gone on a crusade to defend the rights of knife enthusiasts through legal channels.
Recently, Knife Rights and the American Knife and Tool Institute (AKTI) went up to Boston to advocate against a law requiring convenience stores to get a license to sell knives. While this might not seem like a major deal, this is a political move to demonize knives and gain points from constituents for being “tough on crime.” There is really nothing in the new legislation that would make Boston any safer from crime. There seems to be a concern that minors get knives from these stores to use with criminal activity, but there is already an ordinance that prohibits the sale of knives to minors. This new legislation is redundant and will only inconvenience small business owners.
Knife Rights and the AKTI offer a glimpse into the complex world of government by going to hearings and voicing opinions. Take the recent hearing in Boston for example. Only two councilors were at the hearing and they were the sponsors of the anti-knife bill. They contradicted their own statements and cited inaccurate news, which is very telling.
After posting a question to our Facebook page about whether it’s ever a good idea to have restrictions on knives, there were a variety of responses with some people arguing there should never be restrictions and others arguing there should be a few, like no knives at school and no knives longer than 6 inches for everyday carry. All of these are valid statement and a point of contention within the knife community.
However, one thing nearly all knife aficionados can agree on is that current knife laws should not be skewed or interpreted to crackdown on perfectly legal knives. Fortunately, Knife Rights is constantly running campaigns to defend knife owners’ civil rights and encourage safe use of knives. Knife Rights’ current lawsuit against New York City is the most important case the organization is working on, but the city is not going down without a fight.
In case you haven’t heard about the lawsuit, there’s been a crackdown on knives in New York City at the bequest of District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. A number of people have been arrested for carrying knives that should not be considered gravity knives, which are illegal in New York City.
DA Vance recently filed a suit to dismiss the lawsuit on the basis that there is lack of standing and failure to make a claim. Although these motions are simple formalities, Knife Rights came back with a scathing response. Here’s part of what it said:
It is literally possible for one knife to be simultaneous legal and illegal, and a person has no means of conforming his or her conduct to the law’s expectations. While the DA’s motion necessarily fails because it relies on selectively construing the facts in the DA’s favor, rather than in the Plaintiffs’ favor (as Rule 12(b)(6) mandates), a consideration of the merits shows how far off the mark the DA’s self-serving characterizations are.
New York resident John Copeland was shocked when he was nabbed by the police for having a folding knife with a three-inch blade that he bought from a reputable sports store in New York City. Apparently, police wrongly deemed this knife and many other folding knives an illegal gravity knife, according to the New York Post.
So, what’s the best way to get a city to address the problem? Sue them.
Knife Rights, the non-profit knife advocacy group from Arizona, has filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Copeland and another man against New York City District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who has been on a yearlong crusade to remove knives from the streets.
The only problem is, Knife Rights claims that Vance and police are wrongfully identifying any knife that’s easily opened with one hand as gravity knives.
Knife rights enthusiasts rejoice.
The New Hampshire knife rights preemption bill was finally signed into law by Gov. John Lynch meaning the law will take effect in 60 days, according to Ammoland.
For anyone who’s been following this story, the bill passed the state’s senate and house of representatives a while ago thanks to the effort of Rep. Jenn Coffey, author of the new book “Knives, Lipstick, and Liberty One Woman’s Journey.” But, with Gov. Lynch’s signature, the bill becomes law after 60 days.
New Hampshire is just the third state to enact knife law preemption, but the bill is another victory for the Knife Rights’ National Knife Law Preemption Campaign.
Essentially, what knife law preemption means is that counties or cities within a state cannot enact local ordinances prohibiting the use of certain knives. For example, a person with a several inch hunting knife might be fine in one county, but in the next, they might be breaking a local ordinance.
Knives and lipstick aren’t two items that usually go together very well (unless of course they’re combined to make one of those cool lipstick knives), but somehow Rep. Jenn Coffey embodies both of these by being a woman and the ultimate champion of knife rights.
So, who is this Jenn Coffey? She is a representative in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and the author of a new book titled “Knives, Lipstick, and Liberty: One Woman’s Journey.”
In the middle of last month, New Hampshire governor John Lynch signed her bill into law that according to Knife Rights means “New Hampshire now has no knife laws which stop law abiding citizens from buying, selling, owning, carrying, possessing, transporting, collecting, or lawfully using any type of knife.”
In The Cutting Edge’s interview with Knife Rights Chairman and Founder Doug Ritter, he expressed optimism that the New Hampshire law among others would help galvanize the movement toward more knife rights.
If you’re going to Blade Show 2011 in less than two weeks, you’ll have a chance to hear Jenn Coffey speak and get autographed versions of her book. Her story about how she went from an everyday woman to a politician and knife rights advocate will be heard at her workshop “Got Liberty? How to Repeal Anti-Knife Laws” on Saturday June 11th at 2:15 p.m.
Don’t miss this opportunity to hear her story.