For many hunters, fishers, campers, farmers, and virtually all outdoor-minded people, having a knife in your pocket is as natural as having a wallet in your back pocket. Personally, I was a public school principal for more than 20 years and used my small trapper every day for one task or another. Then came the tragedy of 9/11 and the world of traveling with knives changed. The TSA may change the rules to allow small pocket knives to comply with international norms, yet that directive has been put on hold. Whether traveling by air, bus, train, or even in your own car, you must comply with a variety of state and national knife statutes. Mike Haskaw does a great job of interviewing people like C. J. Buck, of Buck Knives, for the latest tips for knife travel. Check this blog posted by the American Knife and Tool Institute:
“There is no flexibility for TSA officers, only absolutes,” commented C.J. Buck of Buck Knives. “There has been an evolution within the PIL (Prohibited Items List) that is the final word in what can or cannot be carried through security and onto aircraft. Small knives of very specific description will soon be allowed; however, all other knives must be checked. It is perfectly legal to transport in your checked luggage anything that is legal to possess. Traveling by plane usually involves crossing state lines, so you should verify any possession restrictions, both state and local, regarding your destination.”
Travelers who board commercial bus lines are subject to stringent rules as well. Greyhound, for example, prohibits knives and other sharp or edged implements aboard its vehicles, although it offers a shipping service for those who require it. The bus line also abides by local laws when it comes to knives, and the fact that state lines are frequently crossed may pose additional issues for knife owners.
Driving a personal vehicle to a destination still requires a knife owner to understand the basic knife laws in certain jurisdictions. These statutes vary from state to state, considering blade length, types of opening mechanisms, and definitions of switchblade versus assisted opening.