Why ‘gravity knives' will remain illegal in NY

ALBANY - Gravity knives will remain illegal in New York.

After passing both the Assembly and the Senate two years in a row, Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill Monday that would have legalized gravity knives, a type of folding knife, in the state.

Cuomo said in his veto message that the bill was written in a way that “would essentially legalize all folding knives.”

The term “gravity knife” is a broad reference to any folding knife which has a blade that can be released by the the handle with gravity. Those type of knives and switchblades have been outlawed in New York since the 1950’s.

Supporters of the change said there have been a number of arrests of New Yorkers carrying pocket knives, tools and others knives needed for work. The Legal Aid society estimates around 5,000 New Yorkers are arrested yearly for carrying a pocket knife, saying the arrests mainly target minorities.

Between 2003 and 2013, the state arrested around 60,000 people for possession of gravity knives, according to the bill.

The state Assembly sponsors reported that most of those people that were arrested had no criminal intent, and most of them believed that the folding knives that they were carrying were legal.

Besides gravity knives, a number of other knives are also considered illegal in the state, including switchblades, Kung Fu stars, and metal knuckle knives.

The bill's Assembly sponsor, Dan Quart, D-Manhattan, criticized Cuomo's veto.

"Today's veto of gravity knife reform is a dark mark on our legislative process," Quart said in a statement.

"For the second year in a row, this legislation was overwhelmingly supported by a broad and diverse coalition. And, for the second year in a row, it was vetoed by one single signature.”

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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