In a small but important step in getting the Federal Switchblade Act repealed and providing greater protection to knife owners, the Knife Owners’ Protection Act of 2018 was officially introduced to the Senate. This is a companion to the same bill introduced to the House in 2017.

Commonly called KOPA, the act would remove restrictions on the interstate trade of automatic knives while also giving additional protections to knife owners traveling through states without worrying about the local laws. There are currently 44 states who allow some carrying or ownership of switchblades.

Bill Introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker

“I am pleased to introduce the Knife Owners Protection Act,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), who introduced the bill. “This legislation would provide law-abiding knife owners the appropriate protection when transporting knives across state lines. It would also repeal the antiquated Federal Switchblade Act. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to advance this sensible policy for knife owners.”

KOPA is the baby of Knife Rights, an advocacy organization for knife owners. Knife Rights and its chairman Doug Ritter have been working on KOPA for more than eight years. The organization wrote it in 2010 and first introduced it in 2013.

“We are proud to have Senator Wicker leading the KOPA effort in the Senate, a bill that will actually protect traveling knife owners and repeal the archaic and useless Federal Switchblade Act,” Ritter said. “It is clear that Senator Wicker understands the plight of knife owners placed in legal jeopardy by the patchwork of knife laws they encounter traveling in America.”

Despite being introduced as early as 2013, there hasn’t been much movement from either chamber of Congress in the previous sessions.

However, with the same bill now introduced in both chambers, there is a very slight chance both could be passed and then sent to the President. Because about 90 percent of all bills introduced to the Senate and House ultimately die, Knife Rights needs your help.

Contact Your Senators and Representatives

One of the most important things you can do as a knife owner at this point is to contact your senator or representative to encourage them to co-sponsor the legislation.

Because contacting politicians can be time-consuming, Knife Rights has made it easy for you.

Click here to find and email your senators and representative with a preloaded email written by Knife Rights. Or you can click here to call your senators (the link also goes to a script for what to tell them).

KOPA vs. ITA

The Knife Owners’ Protection Act is just one bill in Congress that deals with the protection of knife owners crossing states. The other is the Interstate Transport Act, which has been promoted by the American Knife and Tool Institute. Although AKTI and Knife Rights both want the same thing, they are each supporting their own bills.

KOPA seems like a more robust bill that not only repeals the Federal Switchblade Act but also provides more protection to knife owners thanks to the Right of Action clause in the wording.

I am not too familiar with the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act but apparently some vague or absent wording caused some states like New York to arrest people carrying firearms when they should have been protected.

The Interstate Transport Act has already passed a committee so we will see how things shake out.

Donate to Knife Rights Today

With the timeframe for passing KOPA potentially ending in January, Knife Rights is pushing hard to get this bill passed. It even hired a lobbying firm to help do some of the heavy lifting.

Still, the work Knife Rights does doesn’t come cheap.

That’s why I encourage you to donate to the organization. The best part is there’s still time to donate to the Ultimate Steel Spectacular for a chance to win knives and other cool prizes. Donate here.


Tim

Timothy Martinez Jr. is the community director for Knife Depot and the editor of The Cutting Edge. If you have any questions or ideas for The Cutting Edge, you can contact him at Tim@knife-depot.com.
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