What to Know
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that ends the legal ban on so-called gravity knives
- The items no longer banned are folding knives with locking blades that can be opened with a flick of the wrist
- In approving the bill, the governor — who had twice vetoed similar versions of the bill — said 'the legal landscape has changed'
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that ends the legal ban on so-called gravity knives, a term used to describe folding knives with locking blades that can be opened with a flick of the wrist.
In approving the bill Thursday, the Democratic governor — who had twice vetoed similar versions of the bill — said "the legal landscape has changed."
A federal district judge in March ruled the law was too vague and unconstitutional. The judge said that people should be able to know with certainty whether carrying a gravity knife is legal.
The knives are common work tools used by laborers, chefs and carpenters. The ban was first implemented in the 1950s to stem the use of switch blades by street gangs.
In 2015, an I-Team analysis of court records found the NYPD outpaced all other New York police departments combined, accounting for 82 percent of the state’s minor weapons arrests. Most of those arrests were for possession of unlawful knives. Meanwhile, the rate of conviction on those charges was just 18.5 percent, suggesting most of the cases were dismissed or plead down to lesser violations.
After the I-Team investigation, former State Senator Michael Nozzolio (R – Seneca Falls), then Chair of the Codes Committee, pledged to review the gravity knife bill – which had been previously stalled in his committee.
“Until your story it certainly hasn’t been a priority to review although in the few days of this session remaining, we are going to see a review of the measure,” Nozzolio said in June of 2015.
The following year, the bill passed with broad bi-partisan support.