Washington Governor Signs Pro-Knife Bill Into Law


The SOG-TAC Mini-Auto from SOG Specialty Knives & Tools is one of many knives that will benefit from the new Washington pro-knife bill. (SOG Specialty Knives & Tools photo)

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire signed HB2347 into law Thursday, March 29, at a signing ceremony at the state capitol. This important legislation makes Washington state more friendly to knife owners and manufacturers by clarifying the definition of so-called “spring blade” knives (automatics/switchblades) so as to clearly make assisted-opening knives legal in the state.

    The clarification allows for both sale and manufacture of assisted-opening knives in Washington. HB2347 also makes it legal to manufacture automatics in the state of Washington. In addition, it would expand the existing law enforcement exemption for possession of automatics to members of the military and full-time first responders.

    Thanks to all who called and emailed throughout the process and helped to make this happen.

    Mike Vellekamp, one of the owners of Fox Knives USA, helped spearhead the effort to get the bill passed and was on hand with the governor when she signed the bill. If it were not for Vellekamp’s initiative and hard work, things would not be moving forward for knife owners and manufacturers in the state. He garnered the support of his 25th District Senator Jim Kastama and Rep. Bruce Dammeier to introduce the legislation that will benefit the state’s knife business, public safety personnel and individual knife owners.

    In testimony before the state house judiciary committee Vellekamp noted, “We need to get rid of the stigma that these are weapons and we need to start calling them tools because that’s what they are. The push for this bill is so that we can ensure the local law enforcement branches, our military and our firefighters get to use these valuable tools because when they get trapped, they need to get out. They need a tool at the ready that’s going to be there without needing another hand to open it.”

    American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) Advisory Member Spencer Frazer, founder of SOG Specialty Knives & Tools of Lynnwood, Washington, testified at the house judiciary committee hearing in support of HB 2347.

    “The definition of switchblade needs to be clarified, and this bill does that,” he commented regarding changes that include, “A knife that contains a spring, detent, or other mechanism designed to create a bias toward closure of the blade and that requires physical exertion applied to the blade by hand, wrist or arm to overcome the bias toward closure to assist in opening the knife is not a spring blade knife.” This is the same “bias toward closure” language that AKTI introduced and has been successfully passed in other states and incorporated in to the 2009 amendment to the Federal Switchblade Act.

    For more click on www.akti.org and www.KnifeRights.org.

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