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Thread: How is an "Assisted Opening Knife" defined?

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User SpyderEdgeForever's Avatar
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    How is an "Assisted Opening Knife" defined?

    In regards to recent laws against them, how do people and how does the law define an "assisted opening knife"? Is it any blade with a hole or thumb stud, or other mechanisms as well?

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User The Deacon's Avatar
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    AO's came into being to take advantage of loopholes caused by the wording of most anti-switchblade legislation. Namely, the parts that require the blade release to on the handle and the energy storage device to be a spring. AO's release by starting the blade manually and/or use torsion bars for energy storage. AFAIK, most places that consider them illegal use the same basic definition as that used for switchblades, only with a bit looser wording that eliminates those loopholes.
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User ASmitty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Deacon View Post
    AO's came into being to take advantage of loopholes caused by the wording of most anti-switchblade legislation. Namely, the parts that require the blade release to on the handle and the energy storage device to be a spring. AO's release by starting the blade manually and/or use torsion bars for energy storage. AFAIK, most places that consider them illegal use the same basic definition as that used for switchblades, only with a bit looser wording that eliminates those loopholes.
    Exactly. In over-simplified terms, an assisted opening knife springs open like an automatic knife except that the blade needs to be started manually by the user rather than being opened by a simple push of a button located on the handle of the knife. SOG assisted openers are probably more akin to autos than any other. SOG assisted openers use the same kind of coil spring as most modern auto knives and their locking mechanisms create a bias toward closure as the button (or axis mechanism) do on some of the more popular modern autos.

    The main difference is that on the autos, the button actually locks the blade in the closed position until it is released, whereas with a SOG assisted knife, enough force "applied to the blade" (that's where the difference arises) overcomes the bias toward closure and allows the spring to take over.

    In assisted openers made by other makers (Kershaw, Taylor Brands, etc) the "torsion bar" is not exerting pressure in the correct direction to open the blade when the blade is fully closed. Starting to open the blade changes those dynamics and the torsion bar takes over and propels the blade.
    "A flute with no holes is not a flute. A donut with no hole, is a danish."

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User ASmitty's Avatar
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    On an additional note, a few years ago US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attempted to make it illegal to import assisted opening knives by having them declared automatic knives. Quick action by Knife Rights prevented this from happening. Knife Rights was able to prevent ICE's measure by having the federal switchblade ban amended. The switchblade ban contains a list of exceptions to the ban. This list was amended to state that any knife that requires force be applied to the blade to begin opening to not be allowed to be considered switchblades under the law.
    "A flute with no holes is not a flute. A donut with no hole, is a danish."

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User SolidState's Avatar
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    "How is an "Assisted Opening Knife" defined? "
    It is defined by the arresting officer and the judge at the trial.
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