I’ve written a few times about proposed knife bans – usually in the UK, and unfortunately also in Canada – over concerns about sharp, pointy knives that could cut someone. No kidding. But I had always considered this to be the rantings of various nutbars. But now we see an actual threat to knife ownership in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave (or the USA for short).
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency is proposing a new definition that could be used to eliminate 8 of 10 legal pocketknives in the United States right now, according to activists who are gearing up to fight the plan.
The federal bureaucracy is accepting comments – written only – that must be received by June 21 before its planned changes could become final, but Doug Ritter of KnifeRights.org, said the implications of the decision would be far-reaching, since many state and federal agencies depend on the agency’s definitions to determine what is legal in the United States.
For a long time, those switchblades that have long stiletto blades that are spring-ejected powerfully from the side or end of the handle have been illegal in the United States, but now a review by the agency of its own approval in 2008 of a particular type of knife for import is raising serious alarms.
“They are saying that any knife that you can open quickly or any knife that you can open with one hand is therefore a switchblade,” Ritter told WND.
It really makes you wonder what is happening within the Obama administration, although I doubt that these are instructions coming down directly from the White House.
A possible explanation is that we are seeing the reaction of a bureaucracy emboldened by how they interpret the current administration’s philosophy on governance and control.
………. the change came after the incoming administration of President Barack Obama reassigned some managers at the agency.
“What we do know is when the incoming administration reshuffled assignments at Customs, it moved the responsibility for knives and switchblades from one organization with Customs to a new organization,” he said. “That group has, as far we can tell, virtually no experiences, background or anything with knives.”
On the other hand it may be just the normal and ongoing practice of a federal bureaucracy that sets and changes regulations with seemingly little oversight and less concern about consultation with the public.
I wouldn’t hold out much optimism on the chance of getting the agency to withdraw their proposed regulation change unless some serious political pressure can be applied.
More info here.