State Assembly Wants to Make It Harder to Go to Prison For Carrying a Knife

June 11, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

For years, carrying even a simple pocket knife in New York could have put you at odds with the law. The state Assembly has voted in favor of an amendment to the controversial gravity knife ban that would require prosecution to prove suspects arrested with the knife had malicious intent. The Village Voice explains why this is so significant:

While the law was intended to ban a specific kind of knife perceived as especially dangerous half a century ago, it has been applied much more broadly by law enforcement within New York City. It now essentially criminalizes almost all modern pocketknives. Any knife that can be flicked open can be considered a gravity knife under the interpretation used by the NYPD, a standard that can apply to many common folding knives. As many as 60,000 people — more than 80 percent of them people of color — have been arrested for gravity knife possession in New York City over the past ten years.

“There’s an inequity in the law, in that people who purchase gravity knives at a hardware store can then be stopped, frisked, arrested, and convicted, for simply having possession of it,” said Dan Quart (D-Manhattan), who sponsored the bill.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the Senate will take the same stance as the House. If the other “identical” bill currently in the Senate is any indication, then the odds don’t look good. Added to that, the fact that New York is currently experiencing a spike in crime, probably doesn’t help the bill, either. The Voice reports that the bill is “being quietly opposed by law enforcement.” Now might be a good time to review your Knife “Dos and Dont’s.”

(Photo: shankar s.)