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Knife Rights' Summary Judgement Motion Seeks to End Federal Switchblade Act

Knife Rights today filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in its federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of portions of the Federal Switchblade Act. A motion for summary judgment asks the court for a judgment on the merits of the case before the trial where there is no dispute of material facts and only a question of law needs to be decided. Knife Rights’ motion sets out the indisputable facts under the standard laid out last year by the U.S. Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen.

Click to read the Motion for Summary Judgment.

Click to download the Appendix and Exhibits (1MB).

In our motion you will find some interesting history that seems to have been mostly lost to the community memory. Did you know that according to Senate Report No. 1980 that was produced in 1958 for the hearings on the proposed Federal Switchblade Act, “In the United States, 2 manufacturers have a combined production of over 1 million switchblade knives a year?” It goes on to say that, “It is estimated that the total traffic in this country in switchblade knives exceeds 1,200,000 per year.” WOW! Just, wow!

The Bruen decision makes it very clear that any “arm” that is “in common use for lawful purposes” is protected by the Second Amendment. Sure sounds like automatic knives were in common use in 1958. No doubt, they are in common use today.

Diving further into the Federal Switchblade Act’s history, it gets even better. Did you know that the Department of Justice opposed passage of the Federal Switchblade Act? This is what they had to say back then (emphasis added):

The Department of Justice is unable to recommend enactment of this legislation.

… by prohibiting the transportation of a single item which is not inherently dangerous but requires the introduction of a wrongful human element to make it so.

Switchblade knives in the hands of criminals are, of course, potentially dangerous weapons. However, since they serve useful and even essential, purposes in the hands of persons such as sportsmen, shipping clerks, and others engaged in lawful pursuits, the committee may deem it preferable that they be regulated at the State rather than the Federal level.

WILLIAM P. ROGERS,
Deputy Attorney General.

After Bruen we know that state bans are also unconstitutional. The same Justice Department that initially opposed the Federal Switchblade Act because these common knives are “not inherently dangerous,” even if misused by criminals, and had “useful and even essential, purposes,” is now trying to defend the unconstitutional Act because…well…why, exactly? Good question, but it is very hard to imagine any rational answer. Their response brief to our motion for summary judgment in which they will attempt to defend this indefensible unconstitutional statute is due in November (though an extension is possible).

Attorney John Dillon of the Dillon Law Group said, “Since 1958, your right to freely purchase and acquire common, ordinary automatic pocket knives via interstate commerce has been unconstitutionally prohibited. Until the Bruen decision, the Second Amendment has been treated as a second-class right, which has allowed the government’s overreach to continue. That ends now.”

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Unconstitutional Federal Switchblade Act Chronicles™.

Please support this Knife Rights’ lawsuit with a tax-deductible donation to the Knife Rights Foundation at: www.KnifeRights.org/donate (select Knife Rights Foundation)

Knife Rights is America’s grassroots knife owners’ organization; leading the fight to Rewrite Knife Law in America™ and forging a Sharper Future for all Americans™. Knife Rights efforts have resulted in 44 bills enacted repealing knife bans in 28 states and over 175 cities and towns since 2010.

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