Editor, Wall Street Journal:
The irony of your May 14 article “Stay Sharp” is that a New York City based publication has commended to its readers pocket knives that are virtually impossible to purchase in the city because they have been wrongly demonized by New York County D.A. Cyrus Vance, Jr.
Vance has targeted these common, practical and perfectly legal one-hand opening pocket knives as part of a campaign to persecute and prosecute law-abiding knife owners and retailers, falsely claiming them to be illegal “gravity knives.” Vance has charged many people carrying knives indistinguishable from those shown in your article with 4th Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon, punishable by up to a year in jail. Vance has also targeted retailers selling these knives, seizing their inventory and intimidating them into paying involuntary “contributions” to a Vance-administered slush fund to avoid prosecution,–to the tune of almost two million dollars.
Unjustly persecuting honest citizens and businesses over a common, everyday tool is an extraordinary waste of taxpayer dollars that clogs up the courts and costs the city badly needed income and business. Virtually all the criminal charges brought in this scam end up being dismissed. You would think that Vance could find enough real crime in the city worthy of his attention, rather than trying to turn innocent citizens into criminals by picking on one of man’s oldest and most useful tools.
Chairman and Executive Director