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Congress Passes NRA-Backed Legislation Protecting Pocketknife Classification

Friday, October 23, 2009

Back in June, we reported on a proposed U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) rule change that would have expanded the Switchblade Knife Act of 1958 to include spring-assisted or one-handed-opening knives, and would have directly targeted the importation of  "assisted opening" folding knives.  (Read the proposed rule here.)  Assisted opening knives are frequently used by hunters, anglers, farmers, ranchers, firefighters, law enforcement and emergency personnel and anyone else who may need to open a knife with only one hand. 

The proposed regulations would have designated all such knives as "switchblades" -- despite the fact they do not fall under the federal definition of "switchblades" -- and would have made them illegal for import into the United States.

Fortunately, in July, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed an amendment to the Federal Switchblade Act as part of the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010This NRA-supported amendment then headed to a House-Senate conference committee. 

Last week, the U.S. House passed the amendment.  We are happy to report that this week, the U. S. Senate passed the measure as well. 

This crucial legislation will protect pocketknives used by tens of millions of Americans. The amendment will keep pocketknives from being classified as illegal switchblades. U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) authored the amendment and were instrumental in its passage through Congress. U.S. Representative Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Walt Minnick (D-Idaho) also played vital roles in the amendment's passage in the House. 

"This amendment was necessary to prevent commonly-used pocketknives from being branded as illegal switchblades," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.  "The National Rifle Association is grateful to Senators Cornyn, Pryor and Hatch and Congressmen Latta and Minnick, whose leadership fixed a provision that would have criminalized tens of millions of law-abiding Americans¾including millions of hunters and sportsmen." 

NRA also applauds the hard work of the American Knife and Tool Institute, Knife Rights, Inc., and the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation for their efforts to get this measure passed. 

The measure now awaits President Obama's signature.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.