Sosakonline Archive

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    For perhaps the first time in SOSAK history I am writing an article discussing knives made by all companies, not specifically SAKs or related knives.  Lately there has been a huge upheaval in the knife industry as US Congress and Customs tries to ban all assisted opening knives by re-classifying them as "switchblades."  Of course, under the new definition, the law could also be expanded to include one handed openers in the future, and that would affect SAK collectors directly since both Victorinox and Wenger produce one handed opening knives.  Of course most SAK collectors are also collectors of other types of knives, so this proposed ban is certainly worth paying attention to.  Blade Magazine has it right:

    I'm not going to make political statements, or blame one party or the other, as frankly, I don't see something like this as a Republican or Democrat type decision- this is quite simply a short sighted, muscle flexing, my dad can beat up your dad type of ban put forth by folks without all the facts, regardless of what color tie they wear.  The reality is that folks will find some way of doing damage to someone if that's what they want to do, whether they are carrying a knife or not, and I for one have been threatened often enough with broken glass, discarded pipes and hand tools often enough to attest to that.

    The real big issue for me is not just the effect this will have on the industry, which will be significant whether it passes or not, but also the effect it will have on the average knife user.  I have had people be shocked when I pull out a SAK for opening an envelope or trimming an errant thread from my coat, and they almost always ask if I'm "allowed" to carry a knife.  My answer is that yes, I am allowed, and so are they, and that this is a tool, not a weapon.  A ban like this furthers the stereotype that knife carriers/users are probably violent criminals rather than people who just like to be prepared.  This is in sharp contrast to just a couple of generations ago when men of all walks of life were expected to carry a knife.  The fine folks at CRKT printed this on the back cover of their 2009 catalogue and I think it sums up my thoughts as well:

Most of us at Columbia River Knife
& Tool grew up with knives. We remember
our first knives. We remember
the instructions from our parents
on how to use knives and how to
care for them. And we remember the
admonitions on when and where it
was appropriate to carry a knife.
We used our first pocket knives
as they were meant to be used: for
carving, for whittling, for making fire
starters, for cutting string, for making
crafts, for cleaning fish, and even
for removing a wood sliver now and
We were part of the great tradition
of responsible knife ownership and
education. It never occurred to us
that our knives could be weapons, so
we never used our knives to threaten
or harm anyone, and we certainly
would have been severely disciplined
by our parents and had our knives
taken away if we did.
We learned that it was an honor to
carry a knife, and that we were duty
bound to use it responsibly.
Sadly, in today’s culture, knives
have been demonized. Despite
Americans’ clear Constitutional right
to bear arms, knives continue to be
regulated and treated as evil by some
Of course, in the hands of the
wrong people, knives can be used in
destructive and evil ways. So can a
baseball bat. But that is not inherent
in what has been called man’s earliest
and most useful tool.
We encourage all parents to
continue this tradition of responsible
knife ownership. We especially recommend
the American Knife & Tool
Institute’s free downloads on knife
education and selection. For more
information, visit

(used with permission)

    Many different knife manufacturers and organizations have been getting involved with this current mess, and I would like to suggest that anyone who wants to know the latest news or the best ways to contribute, please take the time to look through them.  I won't be updating the info here as much as they are likely to, and they are better suited to get the message out.  After all, these are the sites I am getting most of my news from, and anything I write here will simply be regurgitating what they are already doing.

    You can also check the various forums for more information- I'm certain it wouldn't be too hard to track down info on,,, or some of the other knife related forums around.

    On a more personal note, I think it's sad to see this kind of thing happen, and that a few "bad apples" have to ruin it for everyone else.  Worse is that the powers that be seem to think that this will have some kind of effect, which I can guarantee it won't.  If knives are banned then guys will stab eachother in the streets with broken bottle, then beer will be outlawed and guys will take shovels to eachother, until shovels are outlawed, until everything is illegal and folks start dropping anvils on people's heads because that's the only thing left to them.  It's like trying to put a band aid on someone who's been crushed by a steamroller, and even if there was some evidence that this would somehow help the violent crime statistics, it seems like such an unpopular move that no political body would want to be associated with it.

    I'm usually one to try and toe the legal line, but they can have my knives when they pry them from my cold, dead hands.

    Ordinarily I leave the comments at the end of an article optional, but in this case I urge you to sign your name in support of your rights and the freedom of all people to carry a knife.