According to “A Comparative Analysis of Knife and Firearm Homicides in the United States,” knives are second only to guns as the weapon used in most murders in the United States. Despite this, there are not as many restrictions on knives.
The main federal law concerning knives is the Federal Switchblade Act.
About the act
The Federal Switchblade Act became law in 1958 and imposes restrictions on the manufacture, possession and transportation of switchblade knives across state lines. It defines a switchblade knife as a blade that the user can open automatically with the push of a button or other mechanical device.
While possessing such knives within a single state might not run afoul of federal regulations, the act of crossing state lines with these automatic blades triggers the law’s provisions. The act does have exemptions for those involved in the military, law enforcement or emergency response occupations.
The act’s purpose
The rationale behind the Federal Switchblade Act lies in concerns related to public safety. This concern came from the increased popularity of the knives after World War II. Lawmakers saw these knives as a weapon of choice for the youth in America at the time. They feared it would turn them into juvenile delinquents and lead to lives of crime. Therefore, they enacted this law to help stop the evergrowing availability of switchblades throughout the country.
Understanding the basics of the Federal Switchblade Act empowers individuals to make informed choices about their knives and related activities. It is also wise to know state laws since they can vary widely and do not always follow federal law.