16 June 2009

Cut By The Red Tape.

My friend Doug Ritter, who runs the excellent disaster preparedness website Equipped to Survive (which I write for on occasion), is also the founder and chairman of Knife Rights, an advocacy group for knife owners akin to what the NRA is for gun owners. ("Knife control," and things like this appear to be the next step in "crime control", so Doug's organization is rather necessary.)

Knife Rights is currently opposing proposed changes in the Federal regulations that would re-classify most of the one-hand opening knife blades sold in this country as "switchblades," and therefore illegal under Federal law. ("Switchblades" are spring loaded and pop open at the push of a button or release of a slide.) Since many State laws follow the Feds in this case, they would become illegal in a number of States well.

One-handed opening blades are very popular these days - most hunters and fisherman you see have one, and almost every person working in the electrical and IT fields, or in construction, sports one on their belt or clippped in their pocket. Most of the popular "multi-tools" sold in the US (including my Leatherman Charge) have such blades. All of these would become illegal if these rules changes take effect.

The issue has been noticed by Davil Kopel at Volokh Conspiracy and over at Instapundit. If you oppose these changes, write your elected representatives. And, join Kinfe Rights.


Bill in Ottawa said...

Goodness. Even here in Canada, one hand opening knives are legal. The police have some discretion to rule if a particular knife in question is primarily a tool or a weapon, but our general guidance to police seems sound. To quote the website of a friend who deals in knives:

"A weapon is an item which is designed to be used as a weapon, or an item which is used AS a weapon.

A table saw blade is NOT therefore a Throwing Star, because it is NOT designed to be used as a weapon. If you take it off its mounting and throw it, it becomes a weapon."

Another site recommends that if the nice policeman asks you to give him your knife, give it to him, get his name and badge number and argue about it later at the station.

The full list of prohibited and restricted weapons is published in the Canada Gazette which is available on line. It goes in great detail about prohibited firearms (primarily automatic weapons or concealable handguns), prohibited magazines (large capacity) and prohibited rounds (AP, incendiary, explosive or flechette). The prohibited knives are listed with concealable pepper spray and tear gas; one-handed crossbows; and nunchaku.

While much is made up here about the regulations being able to be changed on the whim of the Government, the last change was actually made in 1998 and the previous changes were almost 20 years earlier. The long-gun registry is much more controversial, mostly because of the very high cost of integrating all of the local police databanks into a national registry.

Anonymous said...

Gun owners should support the efforts to defeat the new knife based regulations. Gone are the days when we can say "ain't goring my ox". Speak up or they will eventually come to get you!

Capt Deacon Warren