Why The “NRA Of Knives” Is Fighting To Combat This Knife Law (HBO)

In New York City, about 4,000 people are arrested each year for the crime of carrying a common folding knife.

Many of the defendants turn out to be people who need the knives for work, including electricians, plumbers, and construction workers. But under a 1958 New York state law, they’re often prosecuted for carrying a gravity knife — defined as a knife where the blade drops out of the handle and locks into place by the force of gravity — and possession can result in a felony conviction and years of jail time.

“It didn’t make sense to me — for a pocket knife to have somebody’s life ruined is crazy. It really is.” Roderick Prude, a cafeteria cook whose arrest for possession of a gravity knife was bumped up to a felony, told VICE News.

Around 84 percent of people prosecuted under the law are people of color, prompting advocates to push back against what they see as an absurd and discriminatory law.

These activists have found an unlikely ally in Doug Ritter, head of Knife Rights, a grassroots organization devoted to getting rid of knife laws across the United States that acts as a sort of NRA of knives. And they’ve been gearing up for a fight: Knife Rights filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in 2011 against the city of New York and District Attorney Cy Vance over the statute against gravity knives.

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49 thoughts on “Why The “NRA Of Knives” Is Fighting To Combat This Knife Law (HBO)

  1. The idea that conservatives only use knives or want knife laws changed just isn't true. I'm a liberal to my core, but also a huge knife enthusiast, collector and user. I also am somewhat fortunate to live in Arizona (especially on this issue). I was once stopped for a tail light that was out and the cop (rather nice actually, but probably was still trying to see if he could book me for anything) had me get out of the car to see the broken light. As I stepped out he said, "do you have any weapons on you?" I just bit the bullet and told the truth of, "I've got a pocket knife in my back pocket" and he shrugged saying, "thanks, but I meant like guns or anything" to which I said no. The casualness is real (mostly) in Arizona.

  2. No extremes are good.

    "No knives illegal" yeah, get stabbed with a tri blade knife, dumbo.

    "Whaaaaa whaaaaaaa ban everything" nice, a nanny state where the government can outlaw anything they want

  3. Remember that we get a vote this November to remove Cuomo who has rejected gravity knife reform twice despite bipartisan support. It's not only NYC, but Upstate suffers from the NYC mentality as well. At a minimum it should be up to municipality but it should be removed entirely. Near by Michigan dropped their auto ban and I think NY needs to drop it from the State laws too. If they are going to treat gravity knives how they do, then why don't they enforce it on stores? Definitely more than a "safety" issue keeping it on the books.

  4. I dont walk around with my scutch hammer….but i can take it to work no problem…..if i work in a harness….i need a knife i can use with one hand, in case.

  5. We Need to just start exercising our RIGHT to bear arms… and Knives are included in that Right. They can pass laws banning knives, guns or whatever weapons they want, but they are ALL illegal, unjust, unConstitutional laws and have No Power. It is We, The People who have the power and it is We, The People who need to Fight these laws with everything we have!! If we let others fight for us we lose, just like we have when all these insane laws were passed in the first place. The People are not only Right to disobey unjust laws, but it is our Duty to do so.

  6. There is no reason to carry a pocket knife, or "box cutter". My work even self retracting blades are now banned because too many idiots have accidently cut themselves causing LTIs or MTIs. Gravity knifes are banned for a reason, especially in crowded places like dense cities.

  7. It's because black people are targeted primarily in NYC. Casey Neistat .. one of the internet's most famous bloggers actively has gravity knives on his channel … yet because he's white and rich … will never be prosecuted. As "liberal" as NYC thinks it is … its by far one of the most racist cities in the country, only second to Madison, WI.

  8. Should get a really hard to flick open knife and walk around NYC and the one cop that throws his arm out that actually
    gets the knife open with a flick and wants to take you to jail for it, stab that fucking knife into his goddamn throat. We need cops they’re going to use their fucking brains and we gotta weed out the rest of these dipshits.

  9. I bought a novelty type knive/lighter but the little 1” inch blade was spring assisted. It wasn’t even sharp it was more like an envelope opener/ lighter and I missed my daughters birth cause a cop found it in my tool bag I used it to light my torch here I don’t even smoke and I went to jail. I’ll help fight this law anyway I can. When I went to court the judge said he knew the knife cause his nephew had one and showed him. But put my ass in jail anyway.

  10. I was a heavy lift rigger for 25 years. I am third generation in that trade. I have carried a knife all my life. It has served me a thousand times. But never once to commit violence. New York has taken away guns, Now they are after knives. Where will the madness stop? Next will be baseball bats then rocks and bricks. (Can I apply for a concealed carry permit for a brick?)
    Violence and bullying is the real problem. I have seen it every day of my life.

    But, NO ONE wants to take on the root causes of our problems. The erosion of our rights continues unabated. The time is NOW to step up and fight for what rights we have left.

  11. I didn't know what a Gravity Knife was until I was sitting on a New York County (Manhattan) Grand Jury with 22 other people. Guess how it turned out for the defendant…

  12. People who support the police and support gun and knife rights at the same time are blind, police will enforce unconstitutional and illegal gun and knife bans all the time. They are the front line tyrants.

  13. I was driving a friend home from work once and I was showing him my collection of knives then threw them in the back seat.. well it had to be the day that I got pulled over. Picture it, A 1988 Firebird being driven by 19 year old guy with 6 hunting knives all over the back….he yelled to his partner :"He's got knives in the car!!!!"That guy seemed like he couldn't get out of the car fast enough to get to his partners side. Keep in mind it was 1999 at the time.. When I told them they were tools and belonged in the tool box I had in the truck they were cool with me after they established I was not using them as weapons.
    Point is, I could not get away with that now.

  14. Why is my beloved Kershaw self assist open knife OK (in Calif), maybe it's not in NY. While being stopped for not having a light on my license plate, my kubaton keychain was questioned by police but it was legal as it did not have the little metal finger support.

  15. A cop once told me that he has seen prosecutors in court almost break their wrist trying to open a knife with one hand to prove that it is an illegal knife so that they culd charge someone with a felony. This is in NYC. The city where "EVERYTHING" is illegal.

  16. aaand that is what you get for fighting the "war on terrorism", just kiss good bye your freedom (i still believe that was an inside job from the deep state)

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