June 16th, 2009

U.S. Customs Rule Change May Block Importation of Folding Knives

The American Knife and Tool Institute (AKTI) recently warned Americans of a U.S. Customs’ proposal to re-interpret the Switchblade Knife Act of 1958. The USCBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) has proposed a new standard that would bar importation of any knife with “release-assisted” opening. AKTI fears this could be applied to a wide variety of commonly-used knives including those with a finger stud or thumb-hole to allow one-handed opening.

Customs proposes to criminalize modern assisted-opening knives by defining them as “switchblades” under federal law. AKTI cautions: “The U.S. Customs’ proposal indicates it is directed at only the importers of assisted-opening knives. However, the language used in their revocation document is so broad and uses virtually every term ever applied to any knife that opens with one hand. We fear that they are attempting to bypass the will of Congress and that once they succeed in getting assisted-openers defined as switchblades, they could move against all folding knives. These include multi-tools, traditional pocket knives, one-hand openers, and assisted-openers.”

Smith Wesson folding knife

To learn more about this issue, visit the AKTI website. The AKTI has prepared form letters you can send to your legislators. You can also write directly to USCBP at:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Office of International Trade, Regulations and Rulings
Attention: Intellectual Property and Restricted Merchandise Branch
Mint Annex, 799 Ninth St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20229

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