I live in Texas where they are legal and knife laws are changing everyday for other states to become legal also that werent already. An auto is fast but no faster deploying than a good manual knife so i dont really understand all the controversy. I can also open/close most all of my knives one handed as well.
For anyone looking to get into autos boker kalishnikov and the boker strike (both Taiwan) are good affordable options and are well made autos. The kalishnikov specifically can be had in mutiple colors, blade shapes, even steels starting as low as $30-40. The strike is more tactical and heavier but same price and a good option also. The kalash can even be had in d2 and cts xhp for a little more. Bhq will put the kalash on sale for $30 several times a year and it can be had in mini an xl sizes as well.
Step up to the next value auto is the Kershaw launch series (american made) which range from about $70-100. Excellent Cpm 154 steel and lots of colors and at least 7 different models i find them an excellent value with good construction, steel, and US made. These are probably my favorite.
I own several of all the above mentioned autos and like them all. From here you can go up to protechs and other premium autos if your really getting into them. I like the protech newport myself. The benchmade cla is another ive had my eye on for some time after handling one .
Then there are OTFs. Lightning, and akc make some decent affordable entry level models $40-50. Then theres horizon bladeworks $70-150 which are high quality (china) with full cnc anodized aluminum handles and better steel options. Microtech (american) is pretty much the standard for out the front knives but expect to pay $2-300 ish.