Knife Rights responds to 2nd Circuit “Gravity Knife” decision

Gravity knife lawsuit

As we reported the other day, , a panel of the 2nd Circuit US Court of Appeals dealt a setback to the legal effort to overturn New York City’s unjust interpretation of the New York “gravity knife” statute. Knife Rights has issued a response, and has announced that they are petitioning to have the case brought before the entire court.

From Knife Rights:

On Friday, June 23rd, a three judge panel of The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of New York City and District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. in Knife Rights’ long-running federal civil rights case challenging the City’s policy of treating any locking blade folding knife that can be “flicked” open as a prohibited gravity knife. Knife Rights intends to petition for review of this erroneous decision by the full Court — a process known as en banc review.

In a 45 page decision, the Court failed to focus on the essential constitutional problem with the law — that is, the total inability for anyone to ever determine if a knife they wish to possess is legal. Like the trial court, the Court of Appeals mistakenly focused on the past instead of the key Constitutional Due Process problem faced by folks any time they wish to choose a knife to lawfully possess in the present.

The Court found that the law had, at least once in 2010, been constitutionally applied to Plaintiff Native Leather and that therefore the entire lawsuit had to fail. The Court found that Native Leather did not show that in 2010 its knives responded inconsistently to the wrist flick test and therefore it did not show that that particular application of the law was vague. But, this approach fundamentally misunderstands the key argument.

The question isn’t whether Native Leather tested its knives properly in 2010. The question is whether there is any test Native Leather could ever apply and identify legal knives. There isn’t. There wasn’t in 2010, and there isn’t now. In 2010 there was no test Native Leather could have applied in order to identify knives that it could lawfully sell. That’s because the wrist flick test will never tell you that a knife is legal. Therefore there was nothing Native Leather could do in 2010 that would identify knives that were legal to sell.

The Court mistakenly found that it is perfectly constitutional for the police to use a test that tells you what conduct is illegal, but does not tell you what conduct is legal. That being the case, how is a person supposed to know how to engage in legal conduct? He cannot under this Court’s ruling.

Knife Rights will be filing its petition for en banc review shortly.

Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said, “We are certainly disappointed that the Court did not focus on the significant injustice that is being perpetrated upon thousands of honest knife owners carrying common pocket knives in New York City. We hope that the full Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will recognize the errors made by this three judge panel.”

Any knife owner in New York City or traveling through New York City, must remain cautious about possessing and carrying any lockblade common folding knife, lest they be arrested and prosecuted for possession of an illegal gravity knife. Click here for more information on New York City’s odd laws regarding carry of knives.




  1. Sam L. says:

    I have a 2.25″ SAK that I’m pretty sure will pass the test because there’s so little grip available on the blade and the knife is so lightweight. But I don’t know NYC cops, and I don’t want to meet any.

    1. Unfortunately, the DAs in NYC have the attitude: “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.” Cyrus Vance in particular runs his office by public relations.

  2. Michael says:

    Won’t go there, encourage people I know there to suck it up move to a Free state. I did, almost 30 years ago and I regret only that I didn’t do it earlier. Oh, I won’t and will not do business there. 30

  3. T1 of 2 says:

    According to my reading of NYC knife law, any single edged fixed blade of 4 inches or less is legal. I carry a Helle Eggen 3.98 inch bladed belt knife that is a modern interpretation of a puukko knife.

  4. Xknight says:

    In yhe NYPD Academy and duting probationary assg’ts in precincts patrolmen are taught to open knives with a risk flick. Friend of mine who’s been on the job 15 years told me and then opened my SA lovking blade Evo with a risk flick while tweezing the main blade between his fingers. Now opening my SA German Army blade with one hand is no problem but the Evo does not oresent itself as a one hand blade, yet if the NYPD catches you with one the cop will open it and you will be in the system

    1. To them that is a feature not a bug

  5. Peter John Tripoli says:

    I can’t define a Gravity Knife, but I know one when I see it?

  6. WNY Gun Guy says:

    2nd Circus Court is the most biased in the country. It’s in NYC, so that shouldn’t be shocking considering how warped the city’s politics are.

    Most 2A cases effecting all of NY State ultimately die in this court with the jokers on the bench upholding whatever legislative nonsense was passed by our state’s leftwit NYC majority.

    I expect the 2nd Circus to uphold a FULL ban on firearms in NY when the Dems finally realize that nothing is holding them back from passing one. The Court’s reasoning will be the same tired “it’s for public safety” nonsense topped with “you can still own a musket”.

    I’ll admit that I had higher hopes for this case in the sense that a so-called “test” by individual cops seems to be extremely variable, leading to huge amounts of uncertainty and fear from citizens of running afoul of any given DA’s interpretation of the law. Even some leftwit groups were filing in support of the Knife Rights Case, as minorities were harassed and convicted more than whites. (Which means Cyrus Vance Jr’s a racist, right?)

    In the end, you will have an easier time convincing the devil to become a Christian than getting these commies in black bathrobes to rule in favor of any 2A related cases.

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Knife Rights responds to 2nd Circuit “Gravity Knife” decision

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