Federal Judge Fails To Understand NY Knife Law. And That’s A Bad Thing.


A federal judge in New York has dismissed Knife Rights’ lawsuit against the NYC ‘gravity knife’ law which treats just about every folding knife as a gravity knife. Judge Katherine Forrest ruled that the plaintiffs, arrested knife owners and raided knife dealers, have no standing to challenge the law for being unconstitutionally vague and over-broad.

The mind reels…

As we know, NYC penal code section 265.01 prohibits the possession of switchblades and gravity knives. Under the jackbooted interpretation of the NYPD, and with the backing of DA Cyrus Vance, Jr., the term ‘gravity knife’ is taken to include any locking knife that can be wrist-flicked open by gripping the blade and using an extremely exaggerated motion of the wrist to swing the grips open from the blade.

Image: Chris Dumm for TTAK

Void where prohibited by law.

This common-senseless definition bans just about every locking knife ever made, including the Buck 110, which no sane person would ever call a ‘gravity knife.’ (Yes Cyrus Vance, I’m calling you out as senseless. Go ahead and sue me.)

Judge Forrest decided that the arrested and raided plaintiffs, who were all victimized for possessing knives that inadvertently fell within NYC’s ass-clown definition of ‘gravity knife’, lacked the standing to challenge the law. This is because they failed to tell the court which knives they wanted to own which might or might not be banned.

Judge Forrest had never sat on a judge’s bench before she was nominated in 2010 by (you guessed it) Senator Charles Schumer. Her only listed experience was in antitrust law, a highly technical and lucrative legal field. She had no criminal law or constitutional law experience until she was sworn in in October 2011, and this decision shows that Judge Forrest is a complete greenhorn when it comes to anything that’s not antitrust-related.

First she somehow believes that the confiscation of your property, and the express threat of future prosecution, do not constitute ‘actual harm’ to the plaintiffs. This is the basis of the ‘lack of standing’ ruling.

Next she faults the plaintiffs for not telling the court which specific model of knife they’d like to own but cannot, because they don’t know if it would be considered a ‘gravity knife.’ This is a highly technical and de minimis defect in the pleadings (if it’s a defect at all) which is routinely cured by allowing the plaintiffs to amend their filings to say “Your Honor, I want to own a Buck 110 or similar lockback knife.”

The basic problem is that she fails to understand that NYC’s law is so vague, even by the DA’s admission, that the exact same knife could be considered a ‘gravity knife’ by one cop, and ‘not a gravity knife’ by another. Or that two different specimens of the same model of knife could each go either way, depending on which cop tested them or which one they handled.

Judge Forrest should have done better here, because she hasn’t always been a rubber-stamp for government outrages. Just last year the freshman judge ruled in favor of activists and journalists who feared being detained under sweeping new  laws authorizing indefinite military detention. A more conservative judge would have considered that claim too speculative to confer standing, but Judge Forrest blocked the law.

She should have blocked this one too. Knife Rights is appealing the dismissal.


Finally, she made a profound procedural error when she dismissed the lawsuit instead of allowing leave for the



s decision is here.


  1. Bill says:

    Good to hear Knife Rights is appealing.

  2. ChuckN says:

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but it
    can get you a judge’s robes.

    1. Mark N. says:

      Most lawyers are ignorant about many aspects of the law. Law has become a very specialized business. I have over 25 years experience in civil litigation (personal injury, insurance, and business disputes), but I have never handled a criminal case, a probate action, or a family law matter; without a bunch of studying, I am not competent to do so. Anti-trust? Securities violations? Patent and trademark? Fuggedabouit.

  3. BLAMMO says:

    If you carry virtually any locking blade folder, of any length into NYC, you do so at your own risk. Also, if you don’t, you do so at your own risk. Your choice.

  4. Major_Northeast_City says:

    N.Y.C. isn’t the problem…. the problem is the imbecile D.A. of Manhattan, ‘Cyrus Vance Jr.’ and his dictator rulings.

    It was D.A. of Manhattan ‘Cyrus Vance Jr.’ and his office who sued online dealer ‘Blade HQ’ several years ago for shipping knives to N.Y.C., unfortunately ‘Blade HQ’ being a small business did not have the incredibly high amount of monetary funds required to fight the office of the D.A. of Manhattan and just gave up, this was so intimidating that several other online dealers unfortunately also allowed themselves to become “intimidated” by the D.A. of Manhattan and they too stopped shipping to N.Y.C. and to the rest of the Sate of N.Y. in general…. despite the fact that D.A. of Manhattan has no jurisdiction in the rest of New York State (outside of Manhattan).

    D.A. of Manhattan ‘Cyrus Vance Jr.’ and his office were so successful at intimidation tactics and threatening legal action, that they successfully intimidated the largest sporting goods store in Manhattan to not only stop selling knifes… but to get rid of every single knife in their store.

    Thankfully….. there are literally DOZENS of other online dealers who have not been “intimidated” and happily and cheerfully ship knifes to N.Y.C.

    Sadly, ‘Cyrus Vance Jr.’ was recently reelected to the office of D.A. of Manhattan.

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Federal Judge Fails To Understand NY Knife Law. And That’s A Bad Thing.

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