Happy Birthday Knife Rights

Today is the 10th birthday for Knife Rights. We owe a debt of gratitude to Doug Ritter for taking the initiative to form the organization. The post below tells about the article that inspired him to take action and the successes that they have had over the last 10 years.

July 25, 2016: Knife Rights was born ten years ago today after I read an outrageous and highly inflammatory article headlining the Wall Street Journal, entitled “How New, Deadly Pocketknives Became a $1 Billion Business” demonizing so-called “tactical knives.” A discredit to the Journal, the overwrought and sensationalist article was filled with distortions, misrepresentations, innuendo, outright lies and cherry-picked quotes pushing a transparent rabid anti-weapon and anti-freedom agenda. But, the story didn’t quite spark the anti-knife response the reporter probably hoped for — in fact, it had precisely the opposite effect.

Reading that article I became incensed at the blatant, misguided attack on our everyday tools. I realized that there was no NRA for knife owners. There was no aggressive, proactive grassroots organization working to stop the U.S. from sinking into the anti-knife, anti-freedom pit that already exists in Europe and the U.K.

That article ignited a new civil rights movement. Over the past decade Knife Rights has literally rewritten knife law in America. More knives and more freedom couldn’t have been further from his objective, but that’s exactly what he got. Thank you, Wall Street Journal.

One wonders what the editors were thinking when they chose to illustrate that fateful article with their poster child for evil and dangerous “tactical knives” – a diminutive Buck Knives “Metro” lock-blade keychain folding knife / bottle opener with a 1.125-inch one-hand opening blade. In any case, it demonstrates the absurd idiocy of assigning malevolence to an inanimate object based on physical characteristics. No knife is inherently “deadly” — that’s an irrational and nonsensical label.

A cornerstone of Knife Rights’ principles is that inanimate objects like knives must be used by someone against another in order to become deadly weapons. Even then, often they are used for self-defense, not offensively. Knives are simply essential everyday tools used by millions of Americans at home, at work and at play and occasionally they are “arms” used to protect a life. Removing knives from statutory lists of per se (intrinsically) “deadly weapons” is an ongoing goal of Knife Rights.

We formally founded Knife Rights in December of 2006, adopting the slogan “A Sharper Future™ as our objective. The foundation for Knife Rights was expressed as “Essential Tools – Essential Rights™.”

It took a few years to get our legs under us, but in 2009 Knife Rights provided the key grassroots knife owner’s component of a coalition of groups that opposed U.S. Customs’ efforts to redefine a switchblade to include these same one-hand opening knives. The end result was that Congress passed a fifth exception to the Federal Switchblade Act that protected one-hand opening and assisted-opening folding knives.

Springboarding off that success, in 2010 we began our efforts to rewrite knife law at the state level. Knife Rights passed the nation’s first ever outright repeal of a state knife ban (switchblades, dirks, daggers and stilettos) in New Hampshire and the nation’s first ever Knife Law Preemption bill in Arizona, ridding the state of its inconsistent patchwork of local knife restrictions. This proved all the naysayers wrong; those who said it couldn’t be done.

It was, indeed, possible to repeal switchblade and other knife bans. Having proved those defeatists wrong, we have never looked back. Since 2010 we have been going gangbusters, proving again and again that Knife Rights can do what was once though impossible:


Alaska ● Arizona ● Georgia ● Indiana ● Kansas ● Maine ● Missouri ● Nevada
New Hampshire ● Oklahoma ● Tennessee ● Texas ● Utah ● Washington ● Wisconsin


Florida ● Maryland ● New Jersey ● New York ● Nevada ● Washington

Knife Rights has also been active in federal and state courts protecting and advancing knife owners’ rights. Never backing down from a challenge, our first lawsuit filed five years ago took on New York City’s persecution of retailers and tens of thousands of knife owners carrying common pocketknives. While that lawsuit is still ongoing, we’ve been involved in one way or another with a dozen other lawsuits or trials where knife owners’ rights were imperiled. We have been on the prevailing side in every one!

Knife Rights is The One Getting It Done™ for knife owners in America. With the generous support of many of you reading this, our success is unprecedented, unparalleled and unrivaled.

However, we cannot rest on our past wins. The fight continues and it takes money to accomplish what we do. Your donations are the engine that drives us forward.

Some Good News On Knife Rights In New York

There may be some hope for New York yet. The State Senate just passed the Knife Rights sponsored bill that stops New York City’s switchblade and gravity knife arrests by a vote of 61-0! The State Assembly had previously passed the bill by a vote of 99-12. The bill now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) for his signature.

From Knife Rights:

NY Senate Passes Bill to Stop Bogus NYC Gravity Knife Arrests
Next to Governor Cuomo  

Knife Rights’ Gravity Knife and Switchblade Reform Bill, S6483-A/A9042-A,
passed the New York Senate today on a unanimous vote of 61-0. Knife
Rights’ Director of Legislative affairs, Todd Rathner, has spent many
weeks on the ground in Albany this session working closely with our
friends there to shepherd this bill through politically treacherous
territory. All that extraordinary personal attention has paid off with
this unanimous vote. The Assembly previously passed this bill 99-12. 

However, it is not over yet. S6483-A/A9042-A still needs to be
signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Governor will not officially
receive the bill for his consideration until it is transmitted.
Transmission of the bill could take a few weeks, so please be patient
with the process. When the time is ripe, we’ll ask for your help, but
until then there’s no benefit to contacting the Governor about this

Knife Rights would like to thank the following people who
played a key role in helping to get this legislation through the
legislature. Assembly Member Dan Quart (D) our primary sponsor in the
Assembly, Senator Diane Savino (D) our primary sponsor in the Senate,
Senator Michael Nozzolio (R) who made passing this bill a priority this
session and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R) whose staff worked
closely with us to get the bill to the floor for a final vote.

Knife Rights would also like to acknowledge the invaluable
assistance and support of The Legal Aid Society of New York, as well as
the many other organizations that supported this bill. We’d also like to
thank all of you who called or emailed Leader Flannigan asking for a
vote on this bill. Your calls and emails make a difference.

S6483-A/A9042-A add clarifying bias-toward closure exclusions
to the state switchblade and gravity knife definitions, similar to that
included in the revision to the Federal Switchblade Act that Knife
Rights helped pass in 2009. This clarifying exclusion should prevent the
bogus Gravity Knife arrests and prosecutions of honest law-abiding
individuals in New York City who are carrying common folding knives,
tools that are legal to carry everywhere else in the U.S.

Neither Gravity Knives nor Switchblades have a bias towards
closure found in common folding knives to keep the blade safely closed
in the pocket. Only in New York City has the NYPD and District Attorney
Cyrus Vance, Jr. abused the states’ gravity knife law to prosecute those
carrying simple pocket knives by claiming they are illegal Gravity

The City’s Village Voice newspaper found two years ago that
there had been as many as 60,000 gravity-knife prosecutions over the
past decade! Hundreds of innocent pocket knife carriers are being
arrested every week! You can read the Village Voice article at: http://bit.ly/1MiJbvv

Knife Rights’ Federal Civil Rights lawsuit against New York City and
District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. over these unconstitutional arrests
and prosecutions continues with oral argument scheduled for tomorrow,
June 16, which will be just over five years since the lawsuit was filed.
The trial continues because until, and only if, Governor Cuomo signs
the bill does the case become moot. The public is welcome to attend the
oral argument, click here for more information about attending.

Knife Rights Needs Our Help In New York

New York City is not only one of the most anti-gun jurisdictions in the country but also one of the most anti-knife. Their prosecutions of honest citizens for “gravity” knives is over the top. There is a bill in the New York Senate that would correct many of these abuses by clearly defining both switchblades and gravity knives. A correct definition would eliminate prosecutions for having your average lock-blade knife.

Knife Rights is urging that anyone who lives, works, or merely visits New York to contact Sen. John Flanagan who chairs the Senate Rules Committee and ask him to schedule a vote on S6483A.

Their alert is below:

CALL or EMAIL TODAY to Schedule S6483A for a Vote


The next hurdle to getting Knife Rights’ New York Knife Law Reform bill (S6483A)
passed to end the widespread persecution of those carrying pocket
knives in New York City is to get the Senate Rules Committee to pass the
bill so it can be voted on by the full Senate.

If you live, work or travel in New York and New York City, please CALL or EMAIL the Chairman of the Rules Committee, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, TODAY
and simply deliver the message that you are “calling/writing to
respectfully request that Leader Flanagan please schedule S6483A for a
vote” and then thank him. Please be POLITE and RESPECTFUL. 

CALL Majority Leader Flanagan TODAY at: 

EMAIL Majority Leader Flanagan TODAY at: flanagan@nysenate.gov

Again, please be POLITE and RESPECTFUL, just deliver the message: “I am calling/writing
to respectfully request that Leader Flanagan please schedule S6483A for
a vote,” and then thank him. That’s it, keep it short and simple and above all BE POLITE and RESPECTFUL.

If Emailing, use the SUBJECT: Please Schedule S6483A for Senate Vote

you call, they may ask you the city and state where you live, for their
call record. If you email, include your city and state. In either case, if you live out-of-state, explain how you work in, or travel to, New York / New York City.
adds clarifying bias-towards closure exclusions to the state
switchblade and gravity knife definitions, similar to that included in
the revision to the Federal Switchblade Act that Knife Rights helped
pass in 2009. This clarifying exclusion should prevent the bogus Gravity
Knife arrests and prosecutions of honest law-abiding individuals in New
York City who are carrying common folding knives, tools that are legal
to carry everywhere else in t
NYC Donate Buttonhe U.S.

Gravity Knives nor Switchblades have a bias towards closure found in
common folding knives to keep the blade safely closed in the pocket.
Only in New York Cit
y has the NYPD and
District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. abused the state’s gravity knife law
to prosecute those carrying simple pocket knives by claiming they are
illegal Gravity Knives.

The City’s Village Voice newspaper found two years ago that there had been as many as 60,000 gravity-knife prosecutions over the past decade! You can read the Village Voice article at: http://bit.ly/1MiJbvv

Hundreds of innocent pocket knife carriers are being arrested every week!

Meanwhile, our Federal Civil Rights lawsuit against New York City and District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.
over these unconstitutional arrests and prosecutions continues with a
trial date now scheduled for June 16, which will be just over five years
since the lawsuit was filed. The quicker solution is to get S6483A passed.

Constitutional Carry And Switchblades?!

I knew yesterday was the first day of constitutional carry in the state of Maine. Rob Vance and I celebrated that with an update to Every Picture Tells A Story.

What I didn’t know and found out this morning it was the first day that switchblades became legal in Maine.

October 15, 2015: Maine’ LD 264, “An Act To Restore the Right To Possess Certain Knives That Are Used by Many Citizens as Tools,” repealing the state’s ban on switchblade (automatic) knives is now in effect. Maine is the ninth state to allow switchblades since Knife Rights started it Sharper Future™ campaign six years ago.

Automatic knives are now legal for civilians without restriction in 28 states, and legal with various restrictions in 10 more. Nine of those 28 states have been added by Knife Rights since 2010. Knife Rights passed the nation’s first repeal of a automatic knife ban in 2010 in New Hampshire and has since passed repeal of automatic knife bans (and repealed other knife restrictions) in Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas. In Oklahoma,this year Knife Rights’ legalized concealed carry of an switchblade (automatic) knife which goes into effect on November 1st.

Seeing both of these efforts pass gives me hope for Maine. They will be inundated with Bloomberg’s money as he and his evil minions try to get a referendum on universal background checks put on the ballot. Mainers are a tough lot and not easily swayed by false emotion. I hope the same will prove true of all the newer in-migrants from places like Massachusetts and New York.

From Knife Rights On Proposed Ivory Ban

I am a firm believer in conservation. Notice I said conservation and not preservation. Preservation is for artworks; conservation is for land and animals. Locking up a forest makes it susceptible to disease and fire. Likewise, legitimate hunting of elephants and other ivory bearing animals gives them an economic value. With an economic value comes protection and anti-poaching initiatives. I may never hunt an elephant but I recognize that both the numbers and herd health will be helped by hunting.

Banning the trade in ivory legitimately brought into the United States in the 20th century will do nothing to stop current poachers. If anything, it will increase the economic reward to poachers. It is akin to the so-called war on drugs. Efforts to dry up supply just increase the street price of cocaine, meth, etc. and increase the incentive to the cartels to try and smuggle it into the country.

The comments on the Fish and Wildlife Service proposal close on Monday. I sent my comment in today. Here is what Knife Rights has to say about it:

Comments are due on Monday, September 28, 2015, to oppose the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Proposed Rule Change
that would implement a domestic ivory ban affecting millions of
Americans, including owners of ivory-handled knives and knives with
ivory embellishment. With very few very limited exceptions, it would be
illegal to buy, sell or trade any ivory or any item with even the
smallest bit of ivory included. Not a single elephant will be saved by
punishing owners of decades-old perfectly legal ivory that has been in
this country since before import bans were implemented in 1990.
Practically all the poached ivory goes to China or Asian countries,
virtually none of it come to the U.S
. (Click here for additional details on the Proposed Rule Change and a link to the published NPRM)

Rights abhors the poaching of all species. The proven solution is to
attack poaching at the source, not punish lawful ivory owners in the
U.S. who cannot have any effect on poaching in Africa. Successful
anti-poaching programs in Africa have demonstrated that an integrated
comprehensive approach that encourages the locals to fight poaching does
work to save elephants.

the investments of millions of Americans will not save a single
elephant in Africa. This is the worst kind of “Feel Good – Do Bad”
government action.

As of Wednesday, Sept.
23, over 1,500 comments have been submitted. Too many are from people
who make simplistic and emotional statements about saving elephants or
repeat factually unsupported slogans from non-profit organizations
making millions of dollars off this campaign to ban ivory.  However,
many others are thoughtful comments explaining why the proposed rule
punishes innocent Americans without doing anything to stop poaching in
Africa. We need you to add your voice of reason to those opposing this absurd, abusive and illegal ivory ban.

Ideally, your comment should be personal and specific, but comment regardless. 
Form letter comments are not as effective as individual comments, but
regardless, please comment because every comment in opposition counts!
Use the information below to develop your comment.

The Proposed Rule Change is arbitrary and capricious.  It punishes
people who have invested in ivory, including ivory-handled knives and
knives with ivory embellishment, that was legally imported decades ago
which has nothing to do with recent African elephant poaching.

The government should focus resources on stopping poachers in Africa and
prosecuting criminals who smuggle ivory to Asia if it wants to stop
elephant poaching.  Punishing innocent Americans who own or trade ivory
that was legally brought to this country before the poaching crisis has
no rational relationship to poaching African elephants, so the Proposed
Rule Change seriously violates the federal Administrative Procedure Act.

FWS misrepresented data and studies about ivory in the United States. 
CITES data shows that hundreds of tons of illegal ivory flows to China
and Asia, but almost none of it comes to the United States.
Even Dr. Daniel Stiles, an expert FWS relied upon in the Proposed Rule
Change, submitted a comment pointing out how FWS has misrepresented his
The legal ivory import control system in place before February 2014 was
working in the United States, and government prosecutions show that they
were certainly capable of investigating and successfully prosecuting
the very few people who break the law.  Creating a new class of
criminals from people who need to sell or trade in otherwise legal ivory
will waste resources, distract from enforcement efforts against actual
poachers and smugglers, and unfairly persecute people who abided by
international trade bans that were already in place. Along with creating
bad policy, FWS’s misuse and misrepresentation of data is an egregious
violation of the federal Information Quality Act. (Click here for more background on this blatant violation of the law)

* FWS’s claim that less than 2% of ivory sales will be impacted by this ban is nonsense.  (Here you should describe how the ban would impact your business or collection individually, where applicable.) 
Conclude by stating that this ban falls almost entirely on small
businesses, so the FWS certification in the proposed rule that it would
not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small
entities as defined under the Regulatory Flexibility Act is false.  As
is their finding under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement
Fairness Act that there is not a disproportionate impact for small or
large businesses.

* The exceptions in the Proposed Rule
are useless and do not adequately allow legal and legitimate commerce as
directed in Executive Order 13648 on Combating Wildlife Trafficking in
July 2013.
  To qualify for any exception, a person would need
to provide documentation about import, sales and transfers that was not
required in the past, so it was never created.  FWS undermines all of
the exceptions, which are irrational, vague and arbitrary in any case,
by placing an unachievable burden on legal ivory owners.  The agency
also fails to describe specific documentation burdens with specificity,
so even if an owner or business has some documentation about an ivory
item, he or she cannot be certain whether documentation is adequate.
These failures are serious violations of the federal Administrative
Procedure Act.

* Add any additional personal objections
to this irrational and abusive rule that is unfair, un-American and will
not save a single elephant in Africa. Please be polite in your comments
so they will be taken seriously. 

Conclude by
demanding that FWS must either withdraw the proposed rule entirely for
its failure to follow the law or, alternatively, at a minimum publish an
extensive revision correcting its many errors for a full new notice and
comment period. Nothing less is acceptable.

The above are suggestions that you can adopt or add to as you see fit.

FWS does not accept comments by e-mail or fax.  You need to submit comments online by 11:59 PM, September 28 at:  Fish
and Wildlife Service (FWS) Proposed Rule: Endangered and Threatened
Wildlife and Plants: African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) Rule;
or http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-HQ-IA-2013-0091-0001

You can also view comments already submitted at this website. (Alternatively, if that link doesn’t work, then go to http://www.regulations.gov. Once at the website, search: FWS-HQ-IA-2013-0091) 

on the “Comment Now” button in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
Follow the instructions on screen for submitting comments. When
submitting comments, you can either identify yourself or type
“Anonymous” in the required name fields.  You can type your comments
directly into the provided text box, copy and paste into the text box or
upload a file (below the text box).

If you must submit comments by mail, they must be postmarked by 11:59 PM, September 28. Mail them to:

Public Comments Processing
Attn: FWS-HQ-IA-2013-0091
Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: BPHC
Falls Church, VA  22041 


But What If…

Knife Rights put out a release this past Friday that I didn’t notice until Monday. In it, they discuss the arrest for having a “concealed switchblade” of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. I have posted the release below along with the links.

Knife Rights brings up some interesting points and makes me say, “What if”.

What if Freddie Gray had not been arrested.

What if police treated all knives like ordinary tools.

What if knife laws weren’t based on a 1950s West Side Story myth.

What if the knife hadn’t had a clip – would he still have been stopped.

I’m not saying Baltimore wouldn’t have erupted in the not so distant future. They will always be more incidents that the hucksters and their complicit media allies will play up. I am also not saying that Freddie Gray might not have been arrested for something else. I am saying that policies, laws, and ordinances the encourage the police to stop anyone with a knife that has a pocket clip are flawed, out of date, and unreasonable.

May 1, 2015 – Gilbert, AZ: In the case of the arrest on a knife charge and subsequent death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged that Freddie Gray was falsely arrested and that the knife in his pocket was not an illegal switchblade. Mosby is filing murder charges against one officer while others are being charged with crimes including manslaughter and assault.

According to news reports and court documents, Freddie Gray was arrested after a police officer supposedly found a “switchblade” in his pocket. But, the court documents (click to review) reveal something else: “The officer noticed a knife clipped to the inside of his front right pants pocket. The defendant was arrested without force or incident,” the documents say. “The knife was recovered by this officer and found to be a spring-assisted, one-hand-operated knife.” (Emphasis added.) Note that the officer did not refer to the knife as a “switchblade.”

Maryland law (§4–101) prohibits concealed carry of switchblades, but open carry and possession are not illegal. The court documents state that the knife was visibly clipped to Gray’s pocket. Therefore, it was not concealed, and accordingly not illegal, even if it had been a switchblade. But, it clearly wasn’t even a switchblade according to the court documents — it was an assisted-opening knife (meaning that the blade had to be opened manually part way before the spring assist was engaged and opened it the rest of the way).

Maryland does not have knife law preemption, so municipalities such as Baltimore are allowed to fabricate laws more restrictive than the state itself. Baltimore’s city code (§ 59-22 Switch-blade knives) prohibits the sale, carry or possession of “any knife with an automatic spring or other device for opening and/or closing the blade, commonly known as a switch-blade knife.” While it might be possible in theory to interpret that unusual definition of “switch-blade” to include assisted-opening knives, such an interpretation would conflict with virtually all other switchblade definitions throughout the country. Additionally, the court documents show that the arresting officer clearly knew it was not a switchblade; the officer easily could have referred to it as a switchblade instead of accurately describing it as a “spring-assisted, one-hand-operated knife.”

While it is theoretically possible that without the presence of a knife in his pocket, Gray might have been arrested on some other trumped-up charge, it is clear that the presence of a knife was used as the actual basis for the arrest, and the practice has unfortunately become a common one.

Thousands of law-abiding citizens are regularly harassed and arrested for nothing more than carrying this basic tool, and that is unacceptable. Knife Rights is committed to forging a Sharper Future™ by passing knife law preemption and removing all restrictions on the lawful carry of knives. Those who misuse any tool (knife or otherwise) in the commission of a crime should be severely punished, but law-abiding citizens who possess knives should be left alone.

Charging Documents in Freddie Gray Case: http://www.kniferights.org/263171878-Freddie-Gray-Charging-Documents.pdf

Maryland Switchblade Law: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmStatutesText.aspx?article=gcr&section=4-101&ext=html&session=2015RS&tab=subject5

Baltimore Switchblade Law: http://baltimorecode.org/19/59/59-22/

As a final aside, I met with a client yesterday who always brings me inexpensive knives as a gift.  The knife I got yesterday had a clip and was a switchblade.

UPDATE: Attorney Andrew Branca has an excellent post up at Legal Insurrection concerning probable cause and the arrest of Freddie Gray. He notes that whether or not the knife in question was actually illegal is irrelevant to the issue of probable cause. This reinforces my point that knife laws are so convoluted and so out of date that you probably could find probable cause to stop someone for carrying a Case Tiny Trapper which is all of 2 3/8 inches closed.

Mainiacs With Switchblades? Ayuh!

Congratulations to Knife Rights and thanks to those in Maine legislature who voted to repeal the ban on automatic knives aka switchblades. Knife Rights reports that Gov. Paul LePage (R-ME) signed LD 264, “An Act To Restore the Right To Possess Certain Knives That Are Used by Many Citizens as Tools”, which repealed the state’s ban on switchblade knives. Gov. LePage signed the bill on Thursday and it will go into effect 90 days from the end of the legislative session.

The bill’s text is about as simple as can be:

1 Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
2 Sec. 1. 17-A MRSA §1055, as amended by PL 2011, c. 464, §18, is repealed.
4 This bill repeals the provision of law making possession or distribution of dangerous
5 knives a Class D crime.

The vote on the bill in the House was 120 yea, 24 nay, and 7 absent. The Senate had a voice vote in concurrence.

 From Knife Rights (in part):

Knife Rights would like to thank and congratulate LD 264 sponsor Representative Joel Stetkis for his leadership in passing LD 264. As a freshman legislator it means a lot to us that Knife Rights’ victories in repealing bans in seven states previously gave Rep. Stetkis the inspiration and confidence to take on Maine’s ban as one of his first legislative efforts.

The new law takes effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns, so we can’t really give you a date at this point.

Automatic knives are now legal for civilians without restriction in 27 states, and legal with various restrictions in 10 more. Eight of those 27 states have been added by Knife Rights since 2010. Knife Rights passed the nation’s first repeal of a automatic knife ban in 2010 in New Hampshire and has since passed repeal of automatic knife bans (and repealed other knife restrictions) in Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.

Rep. Stetkis is a self-employed building contractor from Canaan, ME. I imagine as a builder he has used a knife a time or two as a tool.

Swiss Army Dirk?

A Swiss Army knife should be considered a dirk (or dagger) under the law so sayeth California Attorney General Kamala Harris. She is appealing a California Court of Appeals ruling that a Swiss Army knife, even if carried with the blade open, cannot be considered a dirk or dagger. The case is California v. Castillolopez.

I first heard about the case from Brandon Combs of the Firearms Policy Coalition over lunch at the NRA Annual Firearms Law Seminar. He was telling those of us at the table about the case and that the Second Amendment Foundation was joining with Knife Rights on an amicus brief.

As to Kamala Harris and the state of California, it is as if they have something against the Scots-Swiss carrying a Swiss Army knife in their sporran.

The joint release from SAF and Knife Rights on their amicus brief is below.

A legal brief urging the California Supreme Court to rule that common, non-locking Swiss Army Knives and similar pocketknives are not illegal ‘dirks’ or ‘daggers’ was filed on Monday.

George M. Lee, a partner at the San Francisco law firm of Seiler Epstein Ziegler & Applegate, wrote the “friend of the court” brief in the criminal matter of State of California v. Emmanuel Castillolopez on behalf of the civil rights organizations Knife Rights Foundation and Second Amendment Foundation.

Knife Rights would like to thank our good friends at the Second Amendment Foundation, Cal Guns and the Firearms Policy Coalition for their support of this brief.

The case stems from a dispute over section 16470 of the California Penal Code, which defines a dirk or dagger as “a knife or other instrument….that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death.” But, for everyday pocketknives like the one at issue in Castillolopez, the definition applies only “if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position.”

Castillolopez was convicted in 2012 by a San Diego County jury for illegally carrying a concealed dirk or dagger after law enforcement found a Swiss Army Knife with the blade open in his pocket following a traffic stop. The Fourth Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal later overturned his conviction, holding that Castillolopez’ pocketknife didn’t meet the statutory definition of an illegally-carried ‘dirk’ or ‘dagger’ because it didn’t have a locking mechanism.

“For simply having a common, everyday Swiss Army multi-tool with the blade open in his pocket, Mr. Castillolopez was charged, prosecuted, and convicted of a very serious crime,” explained Lee. “We strongly believe that the Court of Appeal correctly held that the State’s arguments are wrong on the law and hope the Supreme Court similarly disposes of the matter in its forthcoming decision.”

Doug Ritter, founder and Chairman of the Knife Rights Foundation, said, “Ultimately, our important brief is about protecting knife owners from prosecutorial overreach by maintaining the historical definition of a ‘dirk’ or ‘dagger’ in California. If the State wins this case with their expansive theory on how a ‘dirk’ or ‘dagger’ is defined, every Boy Scout and slipjoint folding knife owner in California might one day be guilty of a felony. With millions of Californians at risk, and a potential bad state precedent to be set, we were compelled to stand up for their rights as we have elsewhere in this country when the government attempts to overreach in cases against knife owners.”

Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb agreed, saying that he hoped the high court would keep owners of regular, non-locking pocket knives from being subjected to felony criminal liability. However, he was quick to clarify that, “in order to secure the rights of law-abiding people, sometimes we have to take a strong position on a law’s application, even when the person at issue in a given case isn’t ideal.”

The Calguns Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition contributed assistance to the brief’s preparation.

A copy of the filed Amicus Brief can be viewed at:

The Opening Brief from California Attorney General Kamala Harris can be viewed at: http://www.kniferights.org/S218861_OBM_People.pdf

The Appellant’s Answer Brief can be viewed at:


The State’s Reply Brief can be viewed at: http://www.kniferights.org/S218861_RBM_People.pdf

Another Bill That Chris Christie Needs To Veto

The list of ridiculous bills that the New Jersey Legislature has passed and that Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) needs to veto has grown again. In addition to the magazine ban bill this is sitting on his desk, there is now a bill that totally bans ivory or “ivory products”. This ban extends to 10,000 year old ivory from mammoth tusks.

Ivory products are more than carved elephant tusks. They would include things like the keys on older Steinway concert pianos, 150-year old whale scrimshaw, slabs and handles from knives, old billiard balls, and the grips on George Patton’s revolvers. Banning the transfer of ivory or ivory products at the state level does nothing to stop elephant poaching in Africa.

Knife Rights has issued a strongly worded alert on this bill. Reading through the bill myself, I agree that it is all encompassing and permits no real exceptions. It is a bill that ought to be vetoed.

In a move
that caught just about
everyone by surprise, last
week the New Jersey
legislature quietly passed
a draconian total ivory ban
bill with no exemptions for
existing legal ivory and
that even bans
10,000-year-old mammoth
ivory. This
poorly drafted bill even
opens the door to outright
confiscation of
ivory-handled knives and
arrest of knife owners!

Rights unequivocally
supports legitimate
efforts to stop the
illegal slaughter of
elephants in Africa


bill will not save a
single elephant

instead of going after
poachers, smugglers
and traders of illicit
ivory, the New Jersey
legislature has
decided to launch an
all-out attack on
innocent New Jerseyans
by passing an absurd
TOTAL Ivory Ban

will not save a single
living elephant


Rights has asked Gov.
Christie to veto this
irrational and very
destructive bill.

you are a New Jersey
resident or do business
in New Jersey, WRITE or
CALL the Governor TODAY
and ask him to VETO

The NJ Ivory Ban Bill
outlaws ALL ivory from ANY
ANIMAL (elephant, hippo,
mammoth, narwhal, walrus,
whale, etc.). It makes it
illegal to to import, sell,
offer for sale, purchase,
barter or possess with
intent to sell (a
intentionally vague term of
law subject to abusive
interpretation that could
lead to knife confiscations
and arrests)
ivory or ivory product with no
exceptions for antique or
heretofore legal ivory
imported decades ago prior to
the existing 24-year-old U.S.
ban on ivory imports.

This ban would
irreparably harm owners of
ivory-handled and fossil
ivory-handled knives,
antiques, musical instruments
and any items containing ivory
legally imported into this
country decades ago by
stripping their value – a
taking of millions of dollars
from law-abiding New
Jerseyans. The ban would
criminalize legitimate
business owners and cause
immediate ruinous financial
loss for them. It will
cost the state millions of
dollars in tax revenue and
save a single living


bill will not save a
single elephant

because study after study
have shown no connection
between the legal ivory
market in decades-old
ivory in the U.S. and
poaching in Africa. International
and U.S. studies
document that virtually
all the ivory poached in
Africa goes to China
where it is valued at 6
times the price of
decades-old legal ivory
in the U.S.

Moreover, it is already a
federal crime to import
ivory into the U.S. and a
crime to possess or sell
illegally imported ivory.

This outrageous
and draconian bill also
represents an unconstitutional
“taking” of
protected private property,
violating both the Fifth
Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution and Article 1, #1
and #20 of the N.J.
While lawsuits
challenging this law, if
signed, wend their way though
the courts, untold hundreds or
thousands of ivory owners will
be arrested and prosecuted
under this absurd law.

This is “feel
good – do bad”
legislation at its

Jersey residents and all
who do business in New
Jersey should WRITE or
CALL the Governor TODAY
and ask him to VETO S.2012/A.3128.

Email Governor
Christie at: Constituent.Relations@gov.state.nj.us
Call the Governor at: 609-292-6000

When you call or
write, all you need to do is
ask the Governor to VETO
S.2012/A.3128, the ivory Ban
Bill. If you’d like to write
more, click
here for Knife Rights’ NJ
Ivory Ban Model Letter to

Need To Cut Back On Sugar? M&M’s Doesn’t Consider Knives “Family Friendly”

In my email this morning was an alert from Knife Rights. It seems that they had placed a business-to-business order for packets of M&M candies with the Knife Rights logo on it. The candies were for an upcoming promotion which I assume is the Blade Show. The order was placed, the salesperson was very friendly, and all was good until four days later when the salesperson called back saying his bosses had declined the order because the word “knife” was not considered “family friendly”.


I’ll let them continue the story.

The candy was ordered for an upcoming promotion through M&Ms’ customized Business to Business department.
The customer service representative, Christian, was very helpful and
the order was placed. Then four business days later we received a call
from Christian to let us know that they would not fill the order since
“the word knife is not family friendly.” That certainly came as news to
us! Christian apologized for the delay getting back to us, we had called
twice seeking confirmation the order would arrive in time, saying he
had argued hard for us, but that his bosses wouldn’t budge.
asked for a confirmation in writing of what he had told us, but when
that was not forthcoming, we sent an email to him confirming the
conversation we had and asking the company to correct anything that
wasn’t factually correct. Shortly thereafter, Christian’s supervisor,
Kathy, called. We had a similar conversation with her, to no avail, and
again asked that they confirm that they were rejecting the order for the
reasons both Christian and she provided, that the word “knife” was not
“family friendly.” Instead we received a totally disingenuous email:
“Thank you for your email and allowing us to respond to your concern.   
would like to confirm that we have received and processed your request
to cancel your order.  We are sorry to hear that you are cancelling your
order and hope to have an opportunity to make your next event more
special with personalized MY M&M’S® Chocolate Candies”.
To which we replied:   
for this, but your email falsely states that this order is being
cancelled at my request.  Please note that I do NOT wish for the order
to be cancelled — it was your
company decision to cancel the order because you object to the name and
mission of our civil rights organization.  I have had several phone
calls with representatives of your company trying to save this order. 
Your cancellation notice falsely stating that the order was cancelled at
my request only adds insult to injury, and is outrageous.
that email they went from simply making what we view as a poor business
decision by irrationally discriminating against Knife Rights, America’s
knife owners and our many Second Amendment supporters, and moved on to
falsely describing the entire transaction in a outrageous attempt to
avoid responsibility for their actions. Knife Rights did not cancel the order; M&M’s did. 
just thought you ought to know. For ourselves, we intend to wean
ourselves from their products. Mars, Inc. is the parent company and one
of the world’s leading food manufacturers, that while perhaps best known
for its chocolate and candy brands (M&M’s, Milkey Way, Altoids and
Life Savers to name but a few) is also in food, pet care and drink
products with many brands you know, including Wrigley, Uncle Bens, Seeds
of Change, Pedigree and Whiskas. You can find lists of their products
at: http://www.mars.com/global/brands.aspx

Halloween this year our family will carve our pumpkins using several
different knives, but instead of giving the children who come to our
front door M&M’s, Snickers and Milky Ways, as we have for many
years, they will be given a treat that will not bear the Mars, Inc.

you’d like to let them know how you feel about the word “knife” not
being “family friendly,” you can contact M&M’s at: 1-908-852-1000
(M-F 9:00-5:00) or via email using the form at: https://www.mms.com/us/contact 

 You can also leave a comment on M&M’s Facebook page.

My doc has been after me to cut carbs and sugar so
eliminating products from Mars Inc. will become one way I’ll be doing

I’m was surprised to find out that Seeds of Change, which I assumed was a small organic grower of seeds, is just another cog in a corporate conglomerate. I wonder how many back to the earth, Birkenstock-wearing, gardeners are aware of that. You might as well be telling them that it is owned by Monsanto.