Customs and Border Protection – Importation Rule

Working with a coalition, the Government Affairs group helped an Oregon knife manufacturer stop an adverse rule from being implemented by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). While the rule making was administrative in nature, the issue ultimately had to be decided through the legislative process.

Customs and Border Protection attempted to revoke long-standing binding rulings on assisted-opening knives that would have classified the knives as “switchblades.” Such a classification ultimately could have led to the outright ban of sales on the tool in the United States. Assisted-opening knives are widely used in the construction industry, military, law enforcement and by the Boy Scouts of America. The proposed rule change would have prohibited the importation of assisted opening knives. While the rule itself was seemingly narrow, its potential reach was wide ranging, ultimately impacting a diverse constituency from domestic manufacturers, retailers and end users.

After attempts with CBP failed to first extend the comment period and then craft a compromise definition of an assisted-opening knife, we asked Congress for assistance. Through a grassroots campaign that consisted of constituent contact and Member education, we brought together a diverse group of Members of Congress in support of stopping the new rule. Through legislation, we succeeded not only in stopping the implementation of the rule, but were also able to codify the definition of an assisted-opening knife, thus eliminating future threats.

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