We have been covering the situation in New York City for some time now. For those who don’t know, New York City under District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. has been using a state level gravity knife statute to
ruin the lives of prosecute citizens for carrying ordinary pocket knives, the kind that can be bought even from hardware stores within the city. The pressure is building though, and soon the rug might be pulled out from under Vance and the NYPD.
Things really started to hit the mainstream last year when the Village Voice took the ball and ran with it, discovering that over 60,000 people have been prosecuted in New York City in the decade leading up to 2014, mostly African Americans and Latinos. Just as the origins of gun-control were designed to keep former black slaves from arming themselves, this law has been interpreted to disproportionally lock up minorities.
Just a couple of weeks ago, a bill to amend the state law passed out of committee, after languishing for the last two sessions. Some of the bigger players in the media are starting to take notice, and for once, both sides of the aisle seem to (finally) agree on something.
From Business Insider[emphasis mine]:
“What we need to do is focus on making sure we’re not putting 90 people through the system just to make sure the 10 people who might be bad are also put through the system,” he said. “To be perfectly blunt, it is just an unbelievably stupid law that needs to go away.”
And that is the title they went with for the article… “An ‘unbelievably stupid’ New York law about knives could be changed very soon.” Bravo!
I know I’ve said this before, but things may finally be ripe for change. Bipartisan support is certainly the strongest it has been yet. As the article points out, the bill will soon be voted upon in the Republican-controlled Senate, and the Democrat-controlled Assembly has approved gravity knife bills for the past two years, and is expected to again. Another quote from the article sums up why. Thanks in no small part to those of you who have contacted people in the legislature, they are waking up to the fact that:
“It’s one of those laws where it has done almost nothing to protect New Yorkers, and it has been abused to harm so many people.”
We’ll be sure to keep you updated as the bill(s) progress. If we need you to pick up your phones and keyboards, we’ll let you know!