Idaho

Buck Knives CEO ‘nervous’ about switchblade rule

C.J. Buck, president of Buck Knives, talks about plans for the company at the facility in Post Falls on May 20.  (The Spokesman-Review)
C.J. Buck, president of Buck Knives, talks about plans for the company at the facility in Post Falls on May 20. (The Spokesman-Review)

The president of Buck Knives says he’s concerned about a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency plan to reclassify certain imported knives as switchblades.

C.J. Buck, president and CEO of the Post Falls-based company, said the proposed new definition of a switchblade includes release-assisted knives and could apply to just about every folding knife in the country.

The proposed rule would apply only to imported knives, but Buck said he’s worried it could eventually be applied to trade between states.

“Almost any folding knife, you can open them part way and then flick them open,” Buck, a member of the executive committee for the American Knife and Tool Institute, told the Lewiston Tribune. “Our concern is that this (new definition) will flow back into interstate commerce.”

Last week, Idaho’s congressional delegation wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, urging her to withdraw the proposed rule change.

On a switchblade, the blade typically flips quickly out after pressing a button. Switchblades are legal in Idaho, but not in many other states.

The proposed definition includes knives that have a blade that an individual can open to a certain point, after which inertia assists the blade in opening the rest of the way.

Jenny Burke, public affairs officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said the proposed change is an attempt to bring consistency to rulings issued over the years.

“This came out of the blue,” said Buck, whose company employs about 220 workers and has an annual payroll of about $10 million. “Nobody in the industry even heard about it until the end of May, when we were already a week into the (30-day) comment period. Just all of a sudden, we’ve had to cough up thousands of dollars to defend ourselves against this black cloud.”

The comment period on the proposed ruling ended Sunday. A final determination is expected in the next 30 days.



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