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NY Supreme Court case WARNING

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by hso, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    URGENT New York State WARNING
    Are Assisted-Openers Now Illegal Switchblades?

    b38793a0-5f33-42f4-9144-a70dc22f63ac.png
    As if New York wasn't already a confusing legal and regulatory nightmare for honest, law-abiding knife owners, the highest court in the state just upheld, in a one paragraph opinion, the conviction of a person in possession of an assisted opening (spring-assisted) folding knife under the theory that it was an illegal switchblade knife under New York law.


    The decision was overwhelming, 6 to 1, but it's worth noting the excellent dissent by Judge Jenny Rivera which is detailed, analytical, logical and very well-reasoned.
    Click here to read the decision including her brilliant dissent.
    Assisted opening folding knives are widely and routinely carried by millions of law abiding individuals, and given the momentous nature of this decision, certainly affecting hundreds of thousands of pocket knife owners in New York State, a review of the briefs suggests that the seriousness of the issues at stake was not presented to the court. The prosecution fundamentally mischaracterized the nature of the knife as being a switchblade. The significant and fundamental differences between a switchblade and the assisted-opening folder the defendant was carrying were not before the Court.

    In addition to completely redefining what a knife's handle is, essentially eliminating the difference between the handle and the blade, the Court disregarded the fundamental difference in how the two types of knives operate - switchblades being automatic (an essential element of the definition) while assisted-openers are not.

    Given that this confusion goes against clear historical precedent and that nobody in the real world is likely to interpret that statute in that manner, it creates a trap for all knife owners who would rationally never consider an assisted-opening folder to be a switchblade, especially if they were intimately familiar with plain wording of New York's switchblade statue.
    265.00 Weapons Crimes - Firearms and Other Dangerous Weapons
    Definitions
    ...
    4. "Switchblade Knife" means any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife. (emphasis ours)

    Regardless of whether we win our current civil rights case against New York City and District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. over their unconstitutionally vague gravity knife prosecutions of those carrying common folding knives, the hundreds of thousands of knife owners who possess an assisted-opening folding knife anywhere in New York state could now be liable to being prosecuted for simply possessing a per se(inherently) illegal switchblade under §265.01, which is a serious crime, a fourth degree misdemeanor with a potential penalty of a year in jail. And, as we have seen far too often in our Federal gravity knife case, anyone who has had a prior conviction, even decades ago, is likely to have the charge against them upgraded to a felony with potentially years of jail time and loss of civil rights.

    Actually carrying an assisted-opener will certainly raise the likelihood of arrest and prosecution.
    At this juncture we must warn anyone living in New York State, or who visits or travels through New York State, that you risk arrest and jail if you carry an assisted-opening folding knife. Retailers within New York State may want to consider their potential criminal liability in continuing to sell assisted-opening knives.

    We'll certainly be looking to find a solution to this problematic decision, but for now, discretion is the better part of valor with regards to assisted-opening folders in New York State.

    And, just to be clear, this assisted-opener issue that covers the entire state of New York is entirely separate from New York City's gravity knife arrests and prosecutions; as well as New York City's administrative code prohibiting open carry of a knife (including being clipped to a pocket or "printing") and its under 4-inch blade length limit. Details at: https://kniferights.org/legislative-update/new-york-city-administrative-code-knives/
     
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  2. RA40

    RA40 Member

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    Thanks for posting this!
     
  3. Blue Feather

    Blue Feather Member

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    How will this affect those of us who live in free states governed by sane legislators and inhabited by rational people? Does it set precedent across the nation? I’m not being sarcastic, I’m serious.
     
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  4. dh1633pm

    dh1633pm Member

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    Most free states have no intention of following such folly. The folly is ours and ours alone. States like MA, CT, CA, and MD might follow, but I wouldn't see others.
     
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  5. Blue Feather

    Blue Feather Member

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    Here’s what scares me: Didn’t Lincoln say something to the effect of united we stand; divided we fall? We are certainly divided.

    Even more scary is hearing of some poor soul getting convicted of a serious charge simply because they were in possession of a $60.00 Kershaw assisted open knife.
     
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  6. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    If this is the law, as stated in the brief: Penal Law § 265.00(4) defines a switchblade knife as "any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife." than the problem lies with the legislature, not the judiciary.

    Sloppy, stupid laws are the fault of the legislature and we should not expect the Courts to overturn sloppy or stupid laws, rather to interpret whether the sloppy and stupid laws are being applied, as written. New York State residents have a remedy to this, and that is getting their State Legislature to remove this stupid law from the NY legal code. These stupid, anti switch blade laws were passed in the 1950's, this article : Why Switchblades are Banned. provides a good history of the 1950's hysteria about switchblades. Incidentally, for those too young to remember, the same idiots banned Comic Books. See Comics Code Authority at Wiki

    I am glad to live in a state which if the knife fits in your pocket, it is legal. If you can't get the NY legislature to remove their stupid and out dated anti switch blade laws, then move to one of those good states that don't out law switchblades.
     
  7. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    No
     
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  8. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    The court in question is the NYS Court of Appeals, not a NY Supreme Court. The latter is actually a trial court, one in each of NY’s 62 counties.

    The ruling is in a state court, not a Federal court, so only applicable in NY.
     
  9. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    Wow that is horrible!
     
  10. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I like Arizona's knife pre-emption law which prevents that conflict issue, and I am fond of my Benchmade Auto Stryker auto knife. This ruling is, of course, a sack.
     
  11. unclenunzie

    unclenunzie Member

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    For those who may be unaware - in NYS the highest court is the NYS Court of Appeals. Counter-intuitive naming, but there it is.
     
  12. grter

    grter Member

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    What model and make of knife was he carrying there is mention of a button on the blade. I don't agree with the decision but I am not sure if that distinction may make a difference in future cases.

    When I went to a high school class on the constitution and structure of the court system I asked what happens when a judge hands down a ridiculous interpretation of a law he told me that would not happen and made a convincing argument of checks and balances in place to prevent that. I guess he could not have been more wrong.
     
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  13. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    i used to be in ny switchblade were allowed if u had a fishing licences and also have a folder over a something like 6in like a folding filet knife. who knows anymore in this state. if i found work tomorrow in say Pa. Tn. or Al. relay any other state. id be out the next day. my mother pays 18,000 in state and property and school tax each year for 1/2 acre.
     
  14. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    I could never figure rhat one out. The law says it’s legal to possess a gravity knife or switchblade if using it while hunting, trapping, or fishing as long as you’re in possession of a valid hunting or fishing license. But per se possession is illegal any other time, so what are you supposed to do with it when you’re not hunting, trapping, or fishing?

    What county does your mother live in?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
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  15. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    orange
     
  16. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama Member

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    Unfortunately it spreads. Even here in AZ, a lot of mentality follows folks as they flee from the commie states to free states.
     
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  17. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    Crazy enough, it was worse on the other side of the Hudson, like Westcher, where I lived for 25 years.

    I used to hunt in Sterling Forest in Orange County.
     
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  18. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    good u got out sterling forest was good years ago i dont know now i never had to hunt there yet. seen some big bucks come out of there.
     
  19. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    Our Governor in Wisconsin wisely repealed all switchblade laws and prohibitions against styles of knives to include Balisongs. You can carry a knife without a permit as long as your criminal or mental past doesn't prevent you from owning a firearm. You can conceal a knife with your CCW permit.

    A knife is an instrument of it's use; if your slicing onions or opening boxes, it's a knife, if you are cutting someone, it's a weapon....defensive or otherwise.
     
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  20. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Just a nitpicky detail, but the legislative body repeals and the executive simply signs the bill into law, ignores it and allows it to pass into law or vetoes. The heavy lifting was done by KR with their legislative partners to get the bill passed and onto the governor's desk.
     
  21. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    Good point.
     
  22. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama Member

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    Having to have special permission to carry a knife such as requiring a ccw sucks to me.
     
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  23. 98Redline

    98Redline Member

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    In PA I can legally carry a pistol but a switchblade is illegal.:confused:
    Where the hell is the logic in that law?

    Having a CCW (LTCF in PA) should be essentially carte blanche for carrying any sort of offensive weapon you desire. If the state says I am good to go to carry a firearm, then a knife that opens by itself shouldn't be an issue.

    ...now don't get me started on needing a permit and permission in order to carry my firearm.
     
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  24. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    No special permission, but a ban if you are banned from owning firearms, you can't strap on the iron maiden and go to town,
     
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  25. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama Member

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    Got ya!!
     
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