Thursday, October 9, 2014

Knife law gets a lot of unsuspecting people in trouble

From the Village Voice:

Neal ended that night in a squad car. There was only one problem: The knife he was carrying was not a gravity knife. At least, not by most of the world's definition.

According to the vast majority of police departments and district attorneys in New York State -- not to mention knife manufacturers, labor unions, and almost everyone else who knows a thing about knives -- what Neal was carrying was a perfectly legal folding knife. When gravity knives were banned under New York State law in the 1950s, the legislature actually had a very specific style of weapon in mind -- a foot-long terror that bears no resemblance to a knife like the one Neal had. True gravity knives, for all intents and purposes, have been extinct for the better part of a century; today they're relegated mostly to the antiques section on eBay.

Nonetheless, under the department's unique interpretation of Penal Code 265.01, almost every pocketknife on the market today can be considered a gravity knife. It's as if authorities in New York City were using an antiquated law against flintlock muskets to prosecute BB-gun owners.

And the prohibition is as strict as it is all-encompassing. A knife that can be shoehorned into that definition is not only illegal to carry, it's illegal to possess at all, even within one's home. The only narrow exceptions apply to those "actively engaged" in hunting and fishing, and are essentially meaningless in New York City.

The penalties are severe, too, as Neal would learn. As a prior offender, he was eligible for a felony "bump up," rendering the pocketknife Neal possessed the legal equivalent of an unlicensed, unloaded pistol. Though the court said he likely had no idea his knife was illegal, and he wasn't accused of using it toward any nefarious end, he was convicted nonetheless.

After a series of appeals, he was sentenced to six years in prison.


Anonymous said...

They can do whatever they want if they dont like you.
That knife looks nothing like a 007 (the "foot long terror described). The reporter is full of shit being the blade on a 007 is approx 6 inches.
Its becoming worse then old world China in this state !

Anonymous said...

Spineless cowards in Albany and morally bankrupt DAs and denizens of 1 police plaza.

Anonymous said...

So what is a legal blade one may carry? Is a 3 finger long lock blade or a mini Swiss Army knife or a cigar trimming teenie tiny blade OK? Honestly, ain't it time to cut the shit?

Anonymous said...

But it's OK for several cops to pump 41 9mm slugs from several Glocks into Amadou Diallo without due cause for flashing...maybe...a silver "gun like" Snickers bar? How do you spell Gestapo?

Anonymous said...

I'm an old guy who's always carried a pocket knife. Frankly I feel a little more secure for protection and for the little things like peeling apples.I always thought my little knife was legal in NYC being that it wasn't bigger than four fingers which was the old measuring method but I checked NYC knife laws and I found out my knife was illegal because it had a locking blade and I could be facing felony charges if a cop found it on me.
Years ago going into jury duty or to go into Boro Hall the officers at the metal detectors would let me take it in or sometimes give me a property slip.
Since 9/11 I've been told a few times at Federal buildings that I can't come into the building with a knife and if they take it I won't get it back.
Recently at the Social Security office on Jamaica get in you have to take off your shoes and belt and they found me knife and suggested I hide it out on Jamaica Ave. otherwise they can't give it back.I didn't think it was a good idea to hide a knife so I let them take it.
Years ago many kids had pocket knives and we even played games like stretch with them and we also played with realistic looking guns in the streets and I don't think you could do that anymore either.
I still carry a small pocket knife but without a locking blade.