This week we wanted to take a look at one of the sportsmen’s best friend, the knife.

Like most of you I carry and use a knife on a daily basis.

One knife I really wanted to carry for years but didn’t and couldn’t was the switchblade.

A knife that opened one handed with the press of a button was way cool when I was younger and just practical as I got older.

Somehow along the way switchblades got a bad rap. Back in the late fifties the weapon of choice by gangs was the switchblade. Things weren’t much different then than now. Law makers on August 12,1958 trying to appear tough on crime passed the Federal Switchblade act. Many states and countries followed suit by passing their own versions of the law.

So, for decades switchblades were illegal. But somewhere along the line auto assist knives, became very popular and were available everywhere. An auto assist knife in case you’re not familiar, are ones that you can push the blade with your thumb a quarter of the way and an internal spring fully opens the blade.

Police, firefighters, mechanics, farmers and the guy on the street found many uses for the auto assist knives.

Only problem in some states like our home state of Illinois, the law not only banned switchblades but the language in the law said any knife with a spring was illegal.

For decades many citizens were violating the law along with businesses that sold these knives.

But a few years ago, a tour by a state senator to a small manufacturer in Northern Illinois called Rat Worx, would change all that.

The owners had ingeniously invented and patented a chain driven knife. The tiny chain wraps around the pivot of the knife and is opened by depressing a button.

This fascinated the senator who had always wanted to carry a switchblade but knew they were illegal.

So, he went to work to change the law in Illinois.

By demonstrating the knives that were legal and far scarier than a switchblade and pointing out that many first responders were carrying auto assist knives and big box stores had been selling them for years, the senator got almost unanimous support passing the bill in the senate.

However once the bill crossed over to the house it faced some hurdles. One representative felt there should be more regulation on who could carry a switchblade or auto assist knife and suggested tying the legislation to the FOID card, so one would have to possess a FOID card to purchase the knives.

Since the Democrats held a super majority the Republican House sponsor knew he would either have to accept the compromise or let the bill fail, which could have meant it would be years or maybe never before any such bill would pass.

The compromise was accepted, and the bill presented on the house floor but not without controversy. The legislator who wanted the changes, was absent the day the bill was voted on.

Ironically another Democrat legislator raised concerns that more people in her district might get arrested for not having the FOID card.

The bill’s sponsor said he would gladly accept an amendment to the bill to remove the FOID card requirement, an offer which went unanswered.

The bill barely passed but switchblades in Illinois are now legal and there are only about nine states in the country where switchblades are still illegal.

So, if you’re in the market for an auto assist knife stop in at Smoking Gun Worx. Yes along with the area’s largest selection of firearms, Smokin Gun Worx has numerous auto assist knives to choose from.

Smokin Gun Worx, buy, sell or trade, shoot, shop or train or get yourself a new auto assist knife.

Smokin Gun Worx 8785 North Baileyville Road Forreston, Illinois.

For the Gun Doctor I’m Tim Bivins

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