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Legal Aid Society Amicus Supports Knife Rights’ En Banc Rehearing Petition in NYC Gravity Knife Lawsuit

Legal Aid Society has filed an Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) brief in support of Knife Rights’ petition for a rehearing en banc (by the full court), in Knife Rights’ long-running federal civil rights case against New York City and District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. At issue is the City’s and DA’s policy of treating any locking blade folding knife that can be “wrist flicked” open as a prohibited gravity knife.

Legal Aid Society’s brief advances three arguments in support of Knife Rights’ petition for en banc rehearing. Using an example of a current client prosecuted under the gravity knife law, including video of nine attempts to open his knife, they show that the wrist flick test is wholly indeterminate.

Second, they argue that discriminatory enforcement of the gravity knife law creates a constitutional notice crisis that the Court failed to address. They note that, “NYPD tactics leave a vast supply of folding knives on display throughout New York City, giving thousands of unwitting New Yorkers the impression that items on shelves at Ace Hardware or AutoZone are lawful tools.”

Finally, they address directly the issue of discriminatory enforcement, explaining that “striking down the wrist-flick test will relieve thousands of Black and Latino men from the anguish of discriminatory policing and overzealous prosecution.”

Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said, “we sincerely appreciate the continued support from the Legal Aid Society in this fight against the City’s prosecution of knife owners, many of which are Legal Aid clients. They know better than anyone just how discriminatory and unjust are these gravity knife prosecutions.”

Any knife owner in New York City or traveling through New York City, must remain cautious about possessing and carrying any lockblade common folding knife, lest they be arrested and prosecuted for possession of an illegal gravity knife. Click here for more information on New York City’s odd laws regarding carry of knives.

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