Knife Rights’ Knife Owners’ Protection Act, H.R.3478 (KOPA), was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today by sponsor Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ). Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter explained, “KOPA will protect law-abiding knife owners travelling throughout the U.S. from the vagaries of restrictive state and local laws. As long as possession of the particular knife is legal in the state where the journey starts and ends, and provided the knife is secured in accordance with KOPA, a knife owner would no longer be threatened with arrest simply for traveling from one place to another.” KOPA is the first proactive pro-knife federal legislation introduced in the nation’s history.

Additional co-sponsors are: Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), and Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX)

“Those who travel across the country with knives for work, recreation and self defense are presently subject to arrest and prosecution under a confusing patchwork of inconsistent state and local laws and regulations, said Ritter, “what is perfectly legal in one place may be a serious crime in another, resulting in forfeiture of property and carrying significant penalties including jail time. Enforcement is not uniform even within jurisdictions and is subject to the vagaries of political expediency at times. Sportsmen and workmen who travel are particularly vulnerable.”

“The culmination of almost three years of effort, Knife Rights developed the Knife Owners’ Protection Act to address this absurd situation in a commonsense manner that is fair and equitable and is based on established legislative and legal precedent,” Ritter noted, “we’ve fought hard to defend the right to carry a knife in the individual states, cities and towns, but KOPA represents a key initiative to protect law-abiding knife owners simply passing through areas like New York City where possessing the most commonly owned pocket knife in America today, the one-hand opening folding knife, may result in arrest and prosecution.”

Sponsor Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) said, “This legislation is long overdue. The Knife Owners’ Protection Act is a responsible and reasonable means of ensuring that knife owners throughout America can travel with assurance that their rights will be protected with equal respect for states with overly restrictive knife laws.”

The current situation with knives is similar to the circumstances with guns that existed prior to the passage of the Firearms Owner Protection Act (FOPA -18 USC 926A) in 1986, when Congress acted to protect law-abiding gun owners from a similar inconsistent patchwork of laws by insulating their travels if firearms possession was lawful at both the origination and destination points of travel.

Ritter noted “unfortunately, FOPA provides no protections whatsoever to knife owners, so they are completely unprotected from the same perils. It is entirely likely that a sportsman travelling with both firearms and knives who follows FOPA’s requirements to the letter and also locks up his knives in an abundance of caution, could be insulated against prosecution for firearms possession, yet be arrested and prosecuted for knife possession. That is a ridiculous situation. KOPA simply aims to protect knife owners in the same manner as KOPA protects firearm owners.”

KOPA has teeth to defend those who travel under its protection because it also provides penalties for law enforcement, prosecutors and others who ignore the protections provided. Similar to the protections and penalties generally provided in USC 1983 to those whose civil rights are violated, a falsely arrested citizen can be compensated for the expense of defending themselves from an unwarranted violation of the rights Congress has protected in KOPA.

Ritter closed by saying, “Knife Rights continues to lead the way with aggressive proactive legislative action to defend and protect knife owners’ rights. KOPA is just another example of our groundbreaking efforts to create a Sharper Future for all Americans.”

Logo courtesy Knife Rights

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