Welcome New York Times readers. Thank you for stopping by. It was quite an honor to be interviewed by Mr. Wilson yesterday. I was making a joke about NYC rats and the blowgun, but that seemed to have been missed on the phone.
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There are many stories we have been covering that pertain to New York City in particular. You all may or not be aware, but “illegal knives” are one of to 10 most prosecuted crimes in the city. The Village Voice’s Jon Campbell has documented how more than 60k of your citizens, the overwhelming majority of whom are minorities, have been jailed for carrying common pocket knives like the one I did in High School in the mid 90’s – in my case a Spyderco Native. Today, this knife could land me in jail in NYC in the course of simply going about my business, let alone bringing it into a “weapon-free zone”.
Think it is only related to the demographics profiled in “stop and frisk”? Not in the case of Indefinitely Wild Editor Wes Siler who was tackled by NYC police when they saw a pocket- clip of what turned out to to be a legal pocket-tool protruding from his pants.
There was the opportunity for this unjust situation to be remedied at the State level this past legislative session. However, upstate Republican Senator Mike Nozollio refused to advance the bill from committee.
“Sources in the legislature tell the Voice that the opposition may have been as simple as upstate Republicans being unwilling to support a bill from a liberal downstate lawmaker. But there was also some pushback behind the scenes from law enforcement officials, particularly Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. Vance spearheaded what was ultimately a halfhearted campaign to get purportedly illegal knives off the shelves of city retailers in 2010.
As we documented, despite threats to prosecute some hardware and outdoors stores for selling knives deemed illegal, Vance allowed a majority of those stores to later violate their “deferred prosecution agreements” without consequence. His office also appears to have abandoned a promised education campaign regarding illegal knives, even while aggressively prosecuting possession cases and using the campaign against retailers to justify doing so.”
Just a couple of weeks ago, the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit dealt unanimous rebuke to Manhattan Prosecutor Cyrus Vance Jr., allowing a lawsuit against the City over unjust gravity knife prosecutions to proceed. While they were severed as plaintiffs from that particular suit, KnifeRights.org has been leading the legal and legislative charges against the New York gravity knife statute for several years now.
This statute has been stretched beyond recognition by prosecutors in the 5 boroughs. It is being used to prosecute people for simply carrying extremely common pocket knives that are legal in virtually any jurisdiction in America. It is only an educated guess, but probably 80% of all folding knives on Amazon would fall under NYC’s over-expansive definition of “gravity knife”.
Please consider contacting your representatives in Albany and ask them to end the unjust prosecution of knife owners in New York City.
Finally, since it isn’t everyday that I get a boost in audience like this, I want to put in a plug for Project Healing Waters. They are an organization that uses fly-tying, rod-building, and fly-fishing as a vehicle through which to rehabilitate wounded veterans. I am a fly-fishing guide out of Knoxville, TN, and I am going to be one of several volunteers who will be taking veterans down the Clinch River in the morning in the second annual Smoky Mountain Grand Slam Challenge.
Please consider donating to this worthy organization if you are so inclined. Their operating budget is less than the advertising budget of a certain large and well-known veterans charity that will have a celebrity send you a blanket or something.
However, I have witnessed firsthand the difference that Project Healing Waters makes to those who have given so much for us all.