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A Hard Earned Knife Rights Victory! Freedom (Finally) Wins in New York!

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Critter, May 30, 2019.

  1. Critter

    Critter Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 23, 2003
    [Post in General approved by Spark]

    Nine years of hard work and effort, including eight years of costly Federal litigation and the threat of losing big time at the U.S. Supreme Court (see below), has finally convinced New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign A5944, repealing the state’s bans on Gravity Knives. Cuomo previously vetoed two similar bills which Knife Rights Director of Legislative Affairs, Todd Rathner, also worked on tirelessly in Albany.

    Although the bill leaves the definition of a gravity knife intact, the statutory repeals make the knives legal, stripping New York City and District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. of their ability to continue to abuse the definition of a gravity knife and continue to arrest and prosecute people by claiming a common lock blade folding knife or utility knife is an illegal gravity knife

    The repeal is effective immediately.

    Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the end of knife owners being harassed by the New York Police Department. READ OUR WARNINGS at this LINK on why knife owners in New York and especially in New York City need to still be careful about what knife they carry going forward and how they carry it in NYC.

    Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said, “After nine years fighting, it is a relief to close the book on this extraordinary abuse of authority by a corrupt system that has terrorized over 70,000 honest, law-abiding people, disproportionately minorities, for simply carrying a common tool used daily in their lives. I am thrilled that we and our partners across the political spectrum in this fight have finally prevailed, but it is a sad commentary on the state of politics and justice in New York State, New York City and at the Second Circuit that it took this long and that tens of thousands of innocent folks had to suffer so much for so long.”

    “This is a big win for Knife Rights, the people of New York, and for the sponsors who tenaciously fought to get these injustices stopped. I am very proud to have worked with them on the ground in Albany as we fought so long to get this done,” said Rathner. We congratulate our longtime legislative allies in this effort, sponsors Assemblymember Dan Quart and Senator Diane Savino, as well as Senator Robert Jackson, for gaining unanimous approval of this bill this time around and for helping to assemble the coalition of diverse organizations and politicians who urged Cuomo to sign the bill after two previous vetoes of similar overwhelmingly passed bills.

    “No stage hand, no plumber, no maintenance worker, no office worker, no New Yorker should have to risk their freedom to carry a tool because of a vaguely worded 1950’s era statute,” said Assemblymember Dan Quart. “I’m proud to have been a part of this unlikely and diverse coalition that included public defenders, union members, criminal justice reform advocates and Knife Rights. Knife Rights’ tenacious 9-year fight in Federal court against this unjust and unconstitutional enforcement scheme proved an important element in this struggle.”

    We are very thankful for the support of our friends at The Legal Aid Society who have been on the front lines in this fight.

    Legal Aid Society’s Martin LaFalce said, “Repealing New York’s gravity knife statute has been a team effort with Legal Aid and Knife Rights partnering to lead the charge. Governor Cuomo’s signature was clearly influenced by Knife Rights determined litigation strategy and partnership with Legal Aid. Together we exposed the wrist flick test as constitutionally absurd and NYPD’s enforcement of the statute flagrantly discriminatory.”

    We’d also like to credit journalist Jon Campbell whose series of articles starting in 2014 in the Village Voice publicized these abuses and helped immeasurably to catalyze public support for a solution. Also credit to VICE News who more recently highlighted this issue and Knife Rights’ efforts to solve it to a broad audience, further arousing opposition to this abuse.

    Cuomo’s action on this bill came as briefing was completed in Knife Rights’ appeal of its federal civil rights case on these gravity knife arrests to the Supreme Court of the United States. With a strong case including a 4 to 1 circuit split against the Second Circuit on an important constitutional issue, three strong amicus briefs from across the political spectrum and, just recently, feeble and obfuscatory opposition briefs from NYC and DA, the possibility of Knife Rights’ case being heard increased significantly.

    A conference to decide whether to take up this case is currently scheduled for June 13th.

    A decision in favor of the plaintiffs against the City and DA Vance in our case would make it much harder for the Second Circuit to abuse the issue of vagueness, as they have in our case, to make other cases opposed by these politicians go away, again, as they have also done previously. That possibility was so concerning that even DA Vance, who previously steadfastly opposed any reasonable solution and who is a close confidant of Gov. Cuomo, reversed his prior opposition to the Governor signing any bill that would stop his abuse.

    As cited in the Governor’s signing statement, it didn’t hurt that in another case recently a Federal Judge in New York issued a very narrow ruling saying that the City’s “wrist flick” test was, indeed, unconstitutional, although in limited circumstances that did not substantially impact the ability of the City and DA to continue the arrests and prosecutions. That case relied heavily on the briefs in our case. But, despite its serious limitations and the fact that NYC and Vance were working around it, that decision provided some public cover for Cuomo and Vance without revealing their real fear, losing at the Supreme Court in our case. They hope the signing of this bill will moot our case.

    Even better for Vance, if they don’t lose to us in court, Vance won’t be forced to pay our million dollar legal bills for eight years of Federal litigation, which he’d consider doubly painful on top of the embarrassing loss he’s facing. (This is also painfully illustrative, by the way, as to why we oppose the Interstate Transport Act (S.542) in the U.S. Senate because is leaves individuals and other open to similar financial abuse while providing the appearance of solving a problem that it does not adequately accomplish.)

    NOTE: The repeal also applies to true gravity knives, such as the German Paratrooper Knife that we demonstrated in Federal Court. Please note the WARNING below as to New York City. In particular, some of these aforementioned true gravity knives have blades that are 4-inches or longer and would not be legal in NYC.

    Knife Rights is Rewriting Knife Law in America!™ with your help. 31 bills enacted in 22 states since 2010! Support Knife Rights’ efforts to Forge a Sharper Future™ with a donation in the Ultimate Steel™ Spectacular and get a chance to WIN from OVER $150,000 in Custom Knives, Guns & More! www.UltimateSteel.org
    Mo2, fonedork, golden_dragon and 12 others like this.
  2. metsfan


    Oct 26, 2012
    Thank you to Mr Ritter, KnifeRights, The Legal Aid Society and all those involved. As an NYC native, I called Cuomos office last week upon seeing the call to action, as instructed by KnifeRights and I’m happy to see a very silly law get eliminated. Thank you again to all those involved and I look forward to shake Mr Ritters hand at Blade next week.
    Bad Ninja, JC972 and Prester John like this.
  3. wroughndt

    wroughndt Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2011
    Thank you so much for getting Montana’s auto ban repealed! I have bought several autos since then and owe it all to you and your group. Thank you.
    Bad Ninja, JC972 and Prester John like this.
  4. Sonnydaze

    Sonnydaze Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    Good job; well done! Thank you from all of us.
    Bad Ninja, JC972 and Prester John like this.
  5. madcap_magician

    madcap_magician Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Feb 27, 2005
    Some of the most exciting news in knives this century.
    Bad Ninja likes this.
  6. Pomsbz


    Jul 31, 2015
    Bad Ninja likes this.
  7. V-1

    V-1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 14, 1999
    That is great news. Thanks to everyone involved in this 9 year struggle.
    Really feel bad for all of the innocent people who got caught up in the legal grinding machine for a small pocket knife...
    Bad Ninja and JC972 like this.
  8. slyraven


    Feb 19, 2019
    Extremely appreciated! Fight the good fight my friends.

    It is a truly sad situation when it takes so long and millions to solve such corruption.
    Bad Ninja likes this.
  9. Bad Ninja

    Bad Ninja

    Dec 19, 2018
    Supreme Court was about to slap NYC's head hard, and possibly set the stage for multiple lawsuits, and overturn "criminal" cases...so they preemptively folded.
    Last thing NYC overlords wanted was for the SC to set precedent, and encourage more challenges.
  10. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    Impressive :thumbsup:
  11. Sergeua

    Sergeua Gold Member Gold Member

    May 1, 2016
    Congrats, come to Canada next :)

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