In early January, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs introduced legislation authored by Knife Rights called the Knife Owners’ Protection Act of 2017 (KOPA), (H.R. 84), a follow-on to their earlier KOPA bills first introduced in 2013. The legislation would protect knife owners traveling with their knives through states where the knives are illegal and would repeal the infamous Federal Switchblade Act of 1958, eliminating restrictions on interstate trade in automatic knives.
Rather than support the Knife Rights’ bill, earlier this month, the American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) announced it would be introducing a bill of its own. The industry group offered a different solution to the travel problem in the form of the Interstate Transport Act (ITA), (S.1092), a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Mike Enzi and Ron Wyden. The bill would not repeal the Federal Switchblade Act of 1958, a law that has affected the sale of automatic knives across state lines in one way or another ever since.
“I’ve examined both pieces of legislation very carefully and I’m concerned about the approach the AKTI is taking and knife owners should be too,” attorney Evan F. Nappen tells us. Nappen, an expert in knife and gun laws and author of Knife Laws of the U.S., Loopholes, Pitfalls and Secrets, suggests that the AKTI bill would give knife owners the false impression that they were protected when in many instances they wouldn’t be. “In states where anti-weapon and anti-knife attitude problems are the worst, it would leave them vulnerable to arrest and prosecution with little to no recourse,” Nappen says.
Nappen tells us that the Interstate Transport Act (ITA), (S.1092) suffers many of the same drawbacks that the 1987 Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) does. “It would put knife owners at the same risk that traveling gun owners have faced for decades.”