The recent Wall Street Journal article titled, "How New, Deadly Pocketknives Became a $1 Billion Business," has served as a wake up call to knife owners everywhere who see in this a desire by "anti-everything" forces to quite literally take away our knives (read the WSJ article in PDF format (1 MB download) or in standard web format as published in another paper) The one knife used to illustrate the original WSJ article, Buck Knives' diminutive Metro, is essentially a bottle and soda can opener with a tiny 1 1/8-inch blade. What makes it "tactical" and such a deadly weapon that it should be regulated in the opinion of these fanatics is the safety feature of a locking blade and the safety and convenience feature of one hand opening and an "ergonomic" handle. If it weren't such a decidedly serious matter, it would be hilarious. But, there's nothing funny about this agenda.
Regardless of the errors and bias in this article, it was in one of the most respected and widely read newspapers in the nation. It has credibility that raises this issue from the back burner to the front. It is was put out on the wire services and was picked up by smaller newspapers and TV news.
Visit our Press page to listen to Doug Ritter (Knife Rights) and Les de Asis (President of Benchmade Knife Co.) discuss the Wall Street Journal article on Tom Gresahm's nationally syndicated Gun Talk Radio Show
Read the AKTI response to the WSJ article which takes the author to tasks for the misrepresentations and outright fabrications and lies that were in the WSJ article.
Blade Magazine Editor Steve Shackleford wrote an excellent editorial, "They Are Coming After Us," in the November issue. His conclusion is most apropos to our effort to organize; "In his efforts to bring down an industry, it may just be that he (Mike Fritz, author of the WSJ article) stumbled on a way to unite it." All I can say is, "amen to that." Click here to access and read Steve's editorial.
Every year the anti's introduce laws that would further restrict the knives you can own and carry. The knife industry started the American Knife and Tool Institute (ATKI) a few years ago to help combat these efforts and they have done a pretty good job up to now. However, ATKI has evolved into pretty much an industry organization and while it offers memberships to individuals, "ambassadors" as they refer to them, it offers the individual members not much more than that title.
Every threatened sport or product in this country has an advocacy group that represents the industry and also an advocacy group that serves the end users. For firearms, the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) represents industry for the most part and the NRA is primarily viewed as representing individual gun owners. In general aviation, GAMA (General Aviation Manufacturers Association) represents the industry and AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) represents the owners and pilots. In recreational boating, NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) represents the industry and BoatUS represents owners and operators.
Even though there is tremendous overlap both in membership and financial support, these groups are complementary, not competitive. The two organizations work closely to be more successful than either alone could ever hope to be. The difference between an industry group and a end user group is a very critical distinction to politicians and bureaucrats. The end users more pointedly represent voters to those who are often only responsive to whatever they feel may aid them in the polls, and for whom reason and rational thought are often of little consequence.
Knife owners deserve to have an organization dedicated to serving them, to not only provide for advocacy against unreasonable restrictions on their enjoyment and use of knives, but which also can provide the sorts of services and advantages that all these owner groups also provide their members.
We have a great road map for us to follow with lessons learned the hard and expensive way courtesy of these successful industry and consumer organizations. We would do well to emulate their successful strategies.
Knife Rights was formed by knife owners to serve knife and edged tool owners as their advocate against restrictions on knife and edged tool ownership and carry. Many industry insiders believe that knife owners are too apathetic, that until they see local or state laws proposed to restrict their freedoms, they won't do anything; that this effort is doomed to failure. They may be right, but I don't think so. What I know is that if we don't try, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I believe that this article is a call to arms for knife owners. I beelive we need to organize to prevent the ridiculous restrictions faced by owners in places like England and Australia, where most knives we take for granted here in the U.S are illegal, where thousands of knives have been confiscated, where simply carrying a legal knife is itself illegal unless you have a "good reason" to be carrying it, a determination that's almost entirely up to the local cop, and where using a knife in self defense is usually illegal.
This web page started out to simply look to see if there was support for this advocacy organization from knife owners. If we only got a few hundred interested, then the naysayers would have been right and we'd have dropped the whole idea. I am happy to say that they were wrong. We now have close to a thousand people who have signed up, so we know we're on the right track. Click here to read Doug Ritter's latest Update on Knife Rights. Now this page has turned into a means to collect the email addresses of those interested so we can keep you updated on progress and have a list to email once we are ready to collect money for memberships. Please encourage your fellow knife owners to drop by this page. The successful launch of Knife Rights rests in large part on you spreading the word and engaging your friends and colleagues.