The Beginning of Common Sense Knife Reform in NYC?

Image courtesy Knife Rights

Those of you following the situation in New York City know that Knife Rights has been working hard at overturning their vaguely worded and abusive knife laws that can be interpreted to classify many common locking knives as “gravity knives.” Their case can only be strengthened by the recent decision in another case, where a judge dismissed a gravity knife prosecution “in the interest of justice.” While certainly cause for celebration, there is a still a long way to go. Knife Rights’ full email announcement is after the jump, but here is their current advice to knife owners living or traveling in the Big Apple.

Note that New York City administrative code has an under-4-inch length limit and requires knives be carried concealed. Knife Rights recommends that you never carry your knife clipped to your pocket in New York City. Even when covered by a jacket, simply moving the jacket aside to get to a wallet has been enough to get folks arrested. Always ensure your knife is completely concealed at all times, including not “printing” on the outside of your clothing. In addition, be extremely circumspect about using a knife for any purpose in a public setting.

Note also that NYC has interpreted the state law against gravity knives such that if an officer can “wrist flick” the knife blade open and the knife blade locks open, that knife is an illegal gravity knife. NYC takes this position even if it requires multiple tries and use of exaggerated arm thrust or motion. Using this interpretation, most any lockblade knife might be deemed an illegal gravity knife.

(Knife Rights Email Blast – 7/28/2014)

New York Court Sets Aside Gravity Knife Charge

In a remarkably commonsense decision, a New York court has set aside a Gravity Knife prosecution “in the interest of justice.” Click here to read Judge Webber’s decision. This decision is getting a lot of attention among knife owners, however…WARNING! Residents of New York City and those traveling there should NOT take this as meaning that they can now carry any folding knife they want (see more below).

This is a positive outcome for a number of reasons, but most importantly because, while it unfortunately affirms the so-called “wrist flick test” as a means of identifying a Gravity Knife in New York, which we assert in our Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit as being an unconstitutionally vague test, it recognizes that a great many people carry and use such knives for lawful purposes, in New York as well as throughout the U.S. Further, the court acknowledged that the law has been criticized for its harsh impact on the law abiding citizen and specifically cites the case of Knife Rights’ plaintiff John Copeland as one example. The court then goes on to note that the legislature has made several attempts to try and ameliorate the harsh nature of the law by making intent to use for a criminal purpose an element of the offense, rather than mere possession. Finally, the court found that the fact that the defendant had no criminal intent was, in part, a basis for dismissing his indictment, “in the interest of justice.”

WARNING! Residents of New York City and those traveling there should NOT take this as meaning that they can now carry any folding knife they want that is otherwise carried in compliance with NYC rules (under 4-inches and carried concealed).  In New York the “Supreme Court” is something of a misnomer and this is not an appeals level court. We have no expectation that the New York City Police Department or District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr, will suddenly stop arresting anyone who they can allege to have a gravity knife based on the “wrist flick test.” We continue to provide the same cautions for NYC knife carriers that we have given for some time:

Note that New York City administrative code has an under-4-inch length limit and requires knives be carried concealed. Knife Rights recommends that you never carry your knife clipped to your pocket in New York City. Even when covered by a jacket, simply moving the jacket aside to get to a wallet has been enough to get folks arrested. Always ensure your knife is completely concealed at all times, including not “printing” on the outside of your clothing. In addition, be extremely circumspect about using a knife for any purpose in a public setting.
Note also that NYC has interpreted the state law against gravity knives such that if an officer can “wrist flick” the knife blade open and the knife blade locks open, that knife is an illegal gravity knife. NYC takes this position even if it requires multiple tries and use of exaggerated arm thrust or motion. Using this interpretation, most any lockblade knife might be deemed an illegal gravity knife.

Knife Rights’ Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit against New York City and DA Vance continues. Knife Rights is committed to fighting for your civil rights. Please help support Knife Rights and get chances to win some extraordinary prizes in our Ultimate Steel Spectacular, ending in just 4 daysDONATE TODAY!

 

 

comments

  1. GC says:

    Wow! I never realized that things were that bad in New York. The thing that gets me about these kinds of knife laws is that the people behind them will use a seven inch carving knife in their kitchen and see it only as a tool; or go to a restaurant where other patrons are using steak knives and see those knives only as tools. But the person who uses a knife to open a package in public is unstable and the knife can only be a weapon. That is seriously messed up.

  2. PR24 says:

    You know, here in Arizona we have NO knife laws to speak of. Yea, you can pack a Benchmade auto opener & not get arrested. In fact many coppers have them too & generally end up chatting with the owner about their particular model.

    Ironically, we don’t have any mass slicing, dicing, filleting, or other nefarious acts of cutlery. So with that said, we must be a bunch of unmitigated savages with next to no knife crime…..compared to the civilized city folk of New York. After all, they’re “safer” than we….

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The Beginning of Common Sense Knife Reform in NYC?

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