Court Opines Feds Won’t Enforce the FSA and Dismisses Knife Rights’ Case

Knife Rights’ federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of significant portions of the Federal Switchblade Act on Second Amendment grounds was dismissed because the named federal agencies- the U.S. Attorney General and Department of Justice-declared they do not enforce the Act, and haven’t done so since 2010, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas opined that the Act is a moribund (dying/obsolescent) statute with no “credible threat of future enforcement.”

Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said that, “sometimes, an unexpected setback can actually create a win of sorts, but that’s not the end of it by a long shot.”

John Dillon, lawyer for Knife Rights added that, “Yesterday, the Court unexpectedly dismissed our Second Amendment challenge to the Federal Switchblade Act on standing grounds, believing that the federal agencies have abandoned enforcement of the Act. But, have they?”

Ritter noted that the Court’s “claiming that the Federal Switchblade Act is a dead letter, when the ban is still ‘on the books’ may be reassuring to some, but it is a bizarre conclusion. Nothing prevents the federal government from changing course and initiating enforcement and prosecutions in the future, despite court findings of no ‘credible threat of future enforcement.'”

The federal agencies had the option of taking judgment (as the City of Philadelphia did last year in our lawsuit) or making a settlement offer, which would have disposed of the law for all time and assured no future prosecutions of U.S. manufacturers and knifemakers, but they chose not to do that. Instead, they tried to sidestep the issue by declaring under oath that the Federal Knife Ban is not enforced…as of today. The Court, not the AG or the DOJ, came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be enforced in the future. That’s no guarantee at all.

Knife Rights does not agree with the court decision, and firmly believes that the interstate commerce ban in the Act remains unconstitutional under the Second Amendment (the import ban was not addressed in the lawsuit or decision). Longtime supporters will recall that we won an appeal on a similar standing issue dismissal in our case against New York City over the city’s abuse of New York’s gravity knife ban (since repealed).

We have a few weeks to decide on our next course of action, and yesterday’s decision will not stop us from protecting its members against enforcement or prosecution of the Federal Switchblade Act going forward. If anyone is arrested or threatened with prosecution under the Federal Switchblade Act, please contact Knife Rights immediately.

Click here to read the judge’s decision.

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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 49 bills passed repealing knife bans in 31 states and over 200 cities and towns since 2010.

Knife Rights Foundation pursues litigation in support of knife owner civil rights.