kniferights

As we noted yesterday, you can’t always tell whose side a politicritter is on — whatever the issue — by the letter after his or her name. To wit, the current effort to decriminalize common pocket knives in the Empire State. Do you like to tote a Benchmade Mini Grip? Under current law, if you’re caught with one in the City that Never Sleeps, you’ll find yourself cuddling up with a flatulent guy with a cauliflower ear affectionately named Knuckles in a cell on Rikers Island. And a lot of the opposition to turning that state of affairs around is a gaggle of upstate ostensibly pro-2A GOPers. Which only makes you wonder what will happen if and when someone in New York gets the “oomph” to take on the SAFE Act . . .

You can read more about what’s going on there at The Truth About Knives. And you should. And if you want to help, check out what TTAK’s managing editor Clay Aalders has to say on the sorry subject:

If you are not familiar with the giant mess that is New York City’s ridiculous interpretation of the New York State “gravity knife” law, all you really need to know is that possession of illegal knives, the overwhelming majority of which are extremely common EDC folders, accounted for 60,000 prosecutions in the past 10 years. This makes it among the top 10 most prosecuted “crimes” in the city. The situation is so unjust that even the Village Voice (of all people) is calling for a change and supporting this legislation.

This can change, but KnifeRights.org needs your help TODAY! A bill which would make prosecutors prove “unlawful intent” is being stalled by New York State Republicans but still has a chance to make it onto the legislative calendar before the session adjourns.

If you live, work, or travel through New York State, KnifeRights needs you to call and/or email Rules Committee Chairman John Flanagan and politely ask that he move A.4821/S.3675 to the floor for a final vote.

You can read more background on the situation at TTAK. You can find the entire KnifeRights.org press release/call to action with Chairman Flanagan’s contact information below the jump. If you are a TTAG Reader in New York, now is the time to act. Please call or email. Here’s the kniferights.org press release:

June 19, 2015: URGENT ACTION ALERT New York Bill to “Fix” Gravity Knife Law & Stop Thousands of NYC Arrests Needs Your CALLs and EMAILs TODAY! Time is running out, but we are still in the fight after the NY Legislature extended its session into next week. After a major behind-the-scenes lobbying effort, the bill to “fix” New York State’s gravity knife law in an effort to protect New York City knife owners, A.4821/S.3675, has finally been released by the Senate Codes Committee and has now been assigned to the Senate Rules Committee. This bill has already passed the Assembly.

A.4821/S.3675 would require that prosecutors prove “intent to use the [gravity knife] unlawfully against another” in order for someone to be prosecuted for possession of a “gravity knife.” There have been over 60,000 gravity knife prosecutions in NYC in the past 10 years with the rate doubling in recent years.

If you live, work or travel in New York, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING NOW and EMAIL and CALL Rules Committee Chairman Senator John Flanagan RIGHT NOW and politely request that he move A.4821/S.3675 to the floor for a final vote.

CALL and EMAIL Chairman Flanagan NOW!

Phone: 518-455-2071
Email: flanagan@nysenate.gov

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56 Responses to ‘Gravity Knife’ Law Reform Effort in NY May be Bad Omen for Eventual SAFE Act Fix

    • I think the NY style of thinking about weapons is a cancer. You don’t leave that mass of terrible in place unless you have to. Slowing it in NY slows it from spreading south.

        • angryaz,

          Ooh, ooh! I’ll start a GoFundMe account for this important and glorious project!

        • Keep the Adirondacks, Finger Lakes, and Great Lakes regions safe. Everything from Albany and to the South and East of there I have no use for.

          In spite of all the crap the City of NY makes the rest of us endure, the rest of the state isn’t so bad.

        • I’m living in Brooklyn now (grew up here, my family is here), and even I feel this way sometimes. There’s a lot to appreciate about NYC, but some issues like self-defense and the right to keep and bear arms make living here intolerable. I hope Knife Rights succeeds so that I can carry a folding knife with a locking blade. Right now I carry a legal completely concealed fixed blade with a blade under four inches but a regular folding knife would be less conspicuous and more convenient. As soon as I can, I’m leaving New York again for a free state.

      • This problem in no way is unique to NY. Many if not most police departments use the number of arrests as an indication of officer productivity. While there is no “official” quota, this incentive is a de-facto quota.

        Cops will use any law they can to make an arrest. They simply don’t care about justice or fairness in any way, they are acting in their own self interest (like everyone else) and responding to the incentives in the department.

        • That’s crap. While those officers exist, they aren’t all cops by any means. It is true, though, that you can push a department to have more of that type (urban areas with stupid laws tend to include more for a number of reasons).

      • Except both the doctor and patient are adamant that doing nothing, or better yet, piling on the carcinogens, is the best course of non-treatment. Screw ’em.

        It’s too late to fix the country. It’s gone too far and the momemtum is against surviving intact. It’s also too early for the Shot Heard Round the World II.

        America has grown too large, bloated and become ungovernable. Best we can hope for at this point is a peaceful, conscious uncoupling of free states from slave states, and each resulting union existing side by side, but separate and sovereign.

        The longer that political divorce is put off, the more messy and painful it will be when it inevitably comes.

        • As well-thought-out as the U.S. Constitution is, and as much thought, debate, and time went into its development, it’s baffling to me that the founders of this country didn’t include a process to allow states to leave the union peacefully.

    • The problem is those NY snowbirds move south when they retire. To places like Florida and Georgia. And you know what they do once they get there? They vote for gun-control Democrats in an effort to turn Florida into New York. It’s why Florida is a “swing” state instead of solid red.

  1. “As we noted yesterday, you can’t always tell whose side a politicritter is on — whatever the issue — by the letter after his or her name.”

    “that which you ignore, that which you tolerate, and that which you promote, define you equal to your own action or inaction” [TERMS, J.M. Thomas R., 2012, Pg. 43]

      • I’ve been wondering the same thing. He quotes it as though it’s a common publication, and we all have a copy on our nightstands. But the only references I can find for it are in every other Joe R. comment on TTAG.

        • “J.M. Thomas R.” == “Joe R.” I think. Also can be written as “Joe M. Thomas R.”

          So yeah I’m betting on him quoting himself here. Or his father or something.

  2. As a Brooklynite, this law is a huge thorn in my side. I’m glad our legislators are trying to do something about it. Will definitely call and email.

    • That’s the goal of a totalitarian government. Stifling laws that enable them to arrest anyone for any reason.

      • Absolutely. And why would such a situation be desirable? So that the ruling class has a way to eliminate anyone who opposes their principles.

  3. I wish the NRA would score this vote and crack the whip. GOP opposition to this is downright shameful.

    It is the right to bear arms.

  4. I’m particularly careful about what I carry when going into the City. I usually only take a Leatherman 300 because the knife blade and all the tools are internal (in contrast to the Charge or, my favorite, the Surge).

    Basically anything a cop can open with one hand will be deemed a switchblade or gravity knife. And it better be concealed. Showing the pocket clip or holster will get you jammed up.

    • We used to have that same problem in Southern California, until the Court of Appeal enforced what the statute made clear–assisted opening knives are not “switch blades” and are perfectly legal. But LA still has a 3″ blade length limit. I am guessing, but don’t know, that LA probably also tries to ban fixed bladed knives, which are legal if carried openly under state law. It bans swords as well, unless you are in a movie, which are also legal under state law. Previously, in both NYC and LA, they would put the strongest, quickest cop on the stand to “demonstrate” that a run of the mill knife (e.g. a Buck) could successfully be “flicked” open with one hand and was therefore an illegal “gravity knife.” Often times it took multiple tries, but as far as the judges were concerned, one success was sufficient for conviction.

      • Not quite accurate. LA ordinance actually only applies to knives carried in “plain view”

        If it folds, and is not illegal under state law, and is concealed it can be as long as you want (well LA also bans the sub-2″ switchblade which is legal under state law).

        One can open carry a fixed blade, but it must be less than 3″ (there are some exceptions of course even then).

        Concealing a fixed blade is generally considered violating the “dirk and dagger law” though technically not all fixed blades fall under that. I wouldn’t want to be the one to test what is and isn’t in court.

  5. Knives are just another form of weapon. Seems to me that if you have a concealed carry permit for a pistol then that permit should also allow the holder to conceal carry knives of all kinds, brass knuckles, extendable batons, mace and so on. The laws on some of these defensive tools are ridiculous. With a CPL in WA state you can carry a pistol but many types of knives are illegal if concealed, etc.. Makes NO sense. Which is why I think we could use a Concealed Weapon Permit which would also be used as an Enhanced Pistol Permit. Take some classes, pass a few tests, know safety, legal and moral issues and then you get the license. Along with the usual background checks, of course. There should be many benefits to this “Enhanced Permit” for the holder to sell this concept and get people to take the classes and the test. For instance, can carry in areas where a normal CPL holder cannot, penalties for accidental carry in prohibited areas reduced to misdemeanor and a small fine perhaps. Reciprocity with other States that require classes and tests to bet a concealed permit (that part should be easy). You get the idea. The regular CPL would still be available but the CWP would be designed so that most serious defenders would want that rather than the less effective CPL. Classes and tests given by local guns shops and ranges and certified by the State. Reasonable fees from the State to those holding the classes and giving the tests. Fees to the applicants would be set by competition among the private companies giving the tests. Similar to the way Nevada does their permits.

    • Yes.

      But no.

      I am not paying the State nothing just because I want to carry a pocket knife that can be opened with one hand.

      Besides, it’s a knife. What kind of training could you possibly deliver that would improve the safety of you and those around you? This is the grip and that is the part you hold. This is the blade and that is the part that cuts. Handle good, blade sharp, training done.

    • Don’t be all furtively carrying with an attempt to conceal that pocketknife, buddy. I’m also a WA resident so I know that stupid-ass RCW 9.41.250 almost by word.

      • Wait a minute, what?

        I’m in WA, too. What knives are illegal?

        Because I have from 1 to 4 knives on me all the time, depending on whether I’m at work or not.

      • Well color me a gross misdemeanor.

        I just read that statute. What a load of crap.

        I believe that, due to the extremely broad definition of “spring-assisted knife”, my Kershaw Speedsafe is an ill eagle.

        I’m also furtive as hell.

        Whatever. I’ll take my chances.

  6. used to be able to open carry any blade in NYC. cops used to ask how can i get one.

    i used to make knives n swords… well anything medieval. had a lot of NYV cops as clients in the 90s. mow it would get me tossed in jail. same for NJ.

  7. From reading the Village Voice article, my take is that this knife bill is a democrat sponsored/supported, labor union supported/endorsed bill.

    Perhaps they’re simply doing what politicians do…negotiate and compromise. If they’re holding this bill hostage in order to shore up support for repealing the SAFE Act, then they’re doing the job that their republican supporters elected them to do.

    Repeal the SAFE Act=repeal the Gravity Knife law.

    Personally, I think concealed carry of any/all weapons by law abiding people for the purpose of lawful self defense should be allowed.

    • If that’s the Republican strategy, it’s a pretty dumb one. I highly doubt the Democrats care as much about this knife law reform as they do about maintaining the ridiculous restrictions in the SAFE Act.

      Holding this bill up to get repeal of the SAFE Act would be like a hostage situation where the bad guy has a gun to your wife’s head, and you’re threatening to spill paint on his new shoes if he doesn’t let her go.

  8. Much like California, the key is to contain the plague, then do what is possible to liberate the populace.

    Or reeducate.
    Or deport.
    I don’t care. I just want our rights back.

  9. I see the basket case NYC is today, in comparison to the dangerous city of old. I miss the freedoms we had in the days of old. Glad I left. A mobile prison where all are felons in waiting, and blind to this reality. Florida ain’t perfect, yet here the 2nd Amendment lives. Moleon labe.

  10. In my estimation, Upstate Republican’s are opposing this in an effort to soften NYC’s ability to simultaneously maintain “home rule” on a host of issues, and hold the state hostage in terms of the SAFE act and any other number of both social and fiscal issues. NYC wants to dictate to the rest of the state what types of arms may or may not be possessed state wide, while at the same time enacting home rule laws which prevent other state citizens from exercising their rights while traveling through the city.

    NYC’s interest in loosening it’s own knife laws is the same interest it holds in soft sentencing for gun offenders. It is not about punishing criminals but shaping the remainder of a very conservative and rural state in its own image.

    And to an above mentioned point about whether or not that knife law is important to Democrats regarding challenging the SAFE act, that knife law results in a substantial amount of convictions which prevent their constituents from gaining solid employment. If a person in NYS is convicted of any misdemeanor in NYS, the criminal possession of a weapon is elevated to that of a Felony conviction which in effect, makes many NYC residents all but unemployable. NYC needs to be forced to compromise.

    • I tip my hat to you, sir or ma’am, for the best Internet handle that I have ever seen! Thank you for the chuckle.

    • That last part doesn’t make any sense. Are you saying that these 60,000 knife convictions are actually felonies and not misdemeanors? Is this only for residents or everyone? I cannot image all of the tourists in NYC who regularly carry pocket knives, as I do, are felons–and felons precluded from owning firearms, if what you say is true.

      • The issue is that it becomes a felony if you have ever been previously convicted of a misdemeanor which could something as insignificant as smoking marijuana in public or having a DWI. A lot of people in less affluent communities end up getting stuck with a misdemeanor conviction at some point. This would also be for anyone with a conviction comparable on the elements to a NY misdemeanor from other jurisdictions.

  11. Does anyone have more information? The Republican opposition seems strange. Are they trying to do the same with guns as with knives?

    • Not all republicans think like you. There is still fear about the “very sharp blade” out in the rest of society.

  12. Things sure have changed for the worse over the years. I grew up in the NYC area and EVERYONE had a gravity knife. They were legally sold in all the radio and camera stores around Times Square. Blades a good 5 or 6 inches long as well. Legal because they were not spring loaded and therefore not “switchblades.” Typical white boy carry knife, as if any of us would have had the cojones to use one if it came down to an incident with a gangsta type. Those stores used to sell huge Bowie knives as well. I bet they are now illegal, too.

    • It must have been a few years. The radio and camera stores around Times Square turned into porn theaters and whatnot. Then the 90’s brought Rudy Giuliani in to clean the place up so it could be converted into a “Disneyfication” tourist-trap.

      Nowadays you actually have to work at getting mugged.

      A crying shame, I tells ya…

  13. “The once-great city of New York becomes the one maximum-security prison
    for the entire country.
    A fifty-foot containment wall is erected along the New Jersey shoreline,
    across the Harlem river, and down along the Brooklyn shoreline. It
    completely surrounds Manhattan Island.
    All bridges and waterways are mined.
    The United States Police Force, like an army, is encamped around the
    island.
    There are no guards inside the prison: only prisoners and the worlds
    they have made.
    The rules are simple. Once you go in, you don’t come out.”

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