NY Governor Vetoes Knife Rights’ Knife Law Reform Bill!

December 31, 2016: Waiting until the last possible moment, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has vetoed Knife Rights’ Gravity Knife and Switchblade Reform Bill, effectively giving the finger to New York’s Legislature that passed the bill by overwhelming margins, 61-1 in the Senate and 117-12 in the Assembly, and the large coalition of organizations, many part of his own constituency, which supported the bill.

Despite the thousands who called and emailed the Governor to sign the bill, and thanks very much for those who did so, he sided with the disingenuous arguments made by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., virtually the only ones who opposed the bill. In vetoing this bill he has potentially doomed thousands more to arrest and prosecution for carrying common pocket knives that won’t get someone arrested virtually anywhere except in New York City. Ironically, the Governor called the arrests “absurd” in his veto message, but still vetoed to further his the bill for personal polictical purposes. .

Next year’s session of the New York Legislature is almost upon us and we’ll be back again working to fix the state’s Gravity Knife law to prevent these arrests and prosecutions. This bill passed with such large majorities in both houses of the legislature that if passed and transmitted again in a timely fashion, they could override another veto.

In addition to Knife Rights, S6483-A/A9042-A was endorsed by:

Brooklyn Defender Services
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Legal Aid Society
Local One International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (AFL-CIO)
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – Legal Defense Fund<
National Rifle Association
New York Civil Liberties Union (NY chapter of ACLU)
New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
New York State Defenders Association
New York Times Editorial Board
Safari Club International
Sheet Metal Workers International Association (AFL-CIO)
The Katal Center
UAW Local 2325 – Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (AFL-CIO)
Urban Justice Center
U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-8)

New York State’s Office of Court Administration called for reform of the law to prevent these arrests and prosecutions, although it did not specifically endorsed this bill.

S6483-A/A9042-A, sponsored by Assemblyman Dan Quart and Senator Diane Savino, would have added clarifying “bias-toward closure” exclusions to the state’s gravity knife switchblade definitions, similar to that included in the revision to the Federal Switchblade Act that Knife Rights helped pass in 2009. This clarifying exclusion would have prevented the bogus Gravity Knife arrests and prosecutions of honest law-abiding individuals in New York City who are carrying common folding knives, tools that are legal to carry everywhere else in New York State and commonly carried legally throughout the U.S.

Neither Gravity Knives nor Switchblades have a bias towards closure found in common folding knives to keep the blade safely closed in the pocket. Only in New York City has the NYPD and District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. abused the state’s gravity knife law to prosecute those carrying common pocket knives by claiming they are illegal Gravity Knives.

The Village Voice newspaper found two years ago that there had been as many as 60,000 gravity-knife prosecutions over the previous 12 years! Legal Aid Society has confirmed that hundreds of innocent pocket knife carriers are being arrested every week in New York City! You can read the Village Voice article at:

Meanwhile, our five-year-old Federal civil rights lawsuit over the constitutionality of New York City’s “wrist flick” test awaits a decision which could settle the issue for certain.