Beware! That folding knife in your pocket may turn you into a criminal if the Obama administration gets its way. Although there has been a lot of fear and speculation that the new administration wants to take your guns, the most pressing threat now is actually to your pocket knives. With the changing of the guard at U.S. Customs, that agency has now embarked on redefining "switchblades" under federal law to include a wide variety of one hand opening knives that never were intended to be prohibited. In fact, many of the knives U.S. Customs now seek to prohibit under the Federal Switchblade Law had not even been invented at the time of its enactment! Furthermore, four previous U.S. Customs ruling letters (prior administrations) specifically determined "assisted opening" knives not to be defined as switchblades.
This new proposed U.S. Customs regulation is so broad that thousands of pocket knives will fall under its sweep and millions of knife owners will be affected. The problem is not simply that imports will be banned (which is bad enough), but that the "agency determination" will be used by domestic courts and law enforcement to determine what a "switchblade" is under both federal and state laws. Many states, including New Hampshire, fail to define switchblades and simply rely on the federal definition.
The knife industry tells us they employ nearly 24,000 Americans and have a nearly 6 billion dollar annual impact on our nation's economy. If this proposed ruling is allowed to stand, thousands of jobs will be lost at the direct cost of billions of dollars. That doesn't even begin to cover the enormous cost to the country of those that would become unemployed, the ruined businesses, foreclosed homes, years of litigation by both industry against CBP and who knows how many criminal trials and appeals as law-abiding Americans fight this abusive attempt to take away their knives, as well as many other devastating unforeseen effects of this ill-considered proposal. Thousands of American citizens' lives would be ruined. Millions of Americans would be impacted. The cost would be tragically huge, more so because it is neither necessary, nor desired by the vast majority of Americans.
U.S. Customs proposes to bypass Congress and expand the switchblade definition to include all knives that open with one hand. These include multi-tools, traditional pocket knives, one-hand openers, and assisted-openers.
Luckily, the two premiere knife organizations in the US, American Knife and Tool Institute
(AKTI) and Kniferights.org,
are fighting hard on this issue, but they both need your immediate help. Customs is attempting to jam this new regulation though at record speed.
the DHS Secretary Napolitano and Jayson P. Ahern, Acting Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and demand that they cease this assault on me and millions of other law-abiding knife owners at an extraordinary cost to our great nation. Their refusal to allow an extension on the unduly short 30-day comment period for this absurd proposal is an insult to Americans who deserve to be heard. Their contention that this issue requires their immediate action; that somehow they cannot wait a reasonable period for citizen input, is ridiculous. They simply don't want to hear from us.