May 22, 2019

Crapo, Risch Re-Introduce Legislation to Reduce Burdensome Regulations on Sales of Automatic Knives

Bill Would Enhance Manufacturing Growth, Interstate Commerce and Consumer Choice Beneficial for Idaho Sportsmen

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) re-introduced the Freedom of Commerce Act, S. 1588, which would allow consumers to purchase an automatic knife legal in their state, regardless of where it was manufactured in the U.S.  

“Access to tools vital to their trade is critically important for law-abiding citizens and sportsmen in states allowing possession of automatic knives,” said Senator Crapo.  “This measure would remove one of the many federal regulatory burdens that have hindered manufacturing growth, interstate commerce and consumer practices for far too long.” 

“Outdated interstate commerce laws have hindered new opportunities for American entrepreneurs to sell goods and services across state lines,” said Senator Risch.  “This bill updates our laws to ensure law-abiding sportsmen and women across the country can responsibly purchase needed equipment.” 

“The unencumbered transfer of goods, services and ideas across state lines is what America’s economic success is built on,” said CJ Buck, American Knife and Tool Institute President and Buck Knives CEO.  “If a state decides a product is legal to possess and use there should be no restrictions from the federal government on the interstate commerce of said product.  The Freedom of Commerce Act restores the ability of law abiding citizens to buy products they want that are legal in their state.” 

Enacted in 1958, the Federal Switchblade Act (FSA) leverages the federal government’s power over interstate commerce to prohibit the purchase, sale and trade of automatic knives between any of the 50 states or U.S. territories.  Current federal law prohibits the interstate sale and importation of switchblades, curtailing states’ rights to legislate the legality of certain tools within their borders.  

S. 1588 would repeal certain provisions of the FSA and allow domestic manufacturers to ship and sell their products to buyers in other states, as well as permit the importation of certain knife parts.  Moreover, the bill would not replace or alter any existing state laws regarding switchblades and other automatic knives.  Buck Knives, Inc., a knife manufacturer based in Post Falls, Idaho, supports the legislation.  The American Knife and Tool Institute also supports the legislation. 

Currently legal in 40 states, automatic knives are defined based on their opening mechanism and are used primarily by professional trades and outdoor recreationalists.  

Text of the legislation can be found here