BLADE Magazine

Stop New Jersey from Instituting Knife-Free Zones!

New Jersey has a bill pending that would establish “knife-free zones” around schools, parks and “public facilities,” according to Knife Rights.

New Jersey Assembly bill A1387, which would permit municipalities to establish huge swaths of “weapons free zones” around schools, parks and “public facilities” within which possession of “any dangerous knife” would be prohibited, under penalty of fine and imprisonment, was passed by the full Assembly, along with a package of 19 other anti-gun bills, by decidedly partisan votes.  HOWEVER, THIS BILL HAS NOT YET BECOME LAW.

The bill now moves to the NJ Senate, a somewhat more deliberative body where all indications are that there is no desire to steamroll the bill package that passed in the Assembly. A1387 will face brand new scrutiny and a full committee hearing in the Senate, if it is even moved forward there at all. Not all the bills passed by the Assembly Feb. 21 will even get a hearing in the Senate. In any case, Knife Rights officials say chances will be better to remove the “any dangerous knife” language during a hearing process, which was bypassed in the Assembly.

“We will alert you to act if and when the bill begins moving in the Senate process and it is time to write and call NJ’s senators about this insanity,” the Knife Rights report stated.

There are so many issues with this bill, specifically the “dangerous knife” provision, it’s hard to know where to start.

First, there is no definition of “dangerous knife,” a legally vague and ambiguous term that could apply to anything from a Swiss Army Knife to kitchen knives. As such, it will be left entirely up to cops on the street and then courts to determine what is or is not a “dangerous knife.” There is a huge potential for abuse of honest citizens by any cop, prosecutor or judge with an agenda or prejudice, as has been amply demonstrated for the last several years in New York City, which stimulated Knife Rights’ pending Federal Civil Rights lawsuit against the City and DA. The “dangerous knife” provision was added to the bill after a committee hearing last week from the Assembly floor and without any public hearing on the new provision!

The definition of “public facilities” is extremely broad and simply driving down many streets or walking past a park or through or past a public space would put citizens at risk in a state that has virtually defined “unreasonable” in regards to similar existing restrictions on firearms. The knife provision puts tradesmen who use knives for their jobs at risk, along with anyone who carries a common folding knife. It would also turn utility knives in hardware or convenience stores into illegal contraband if the stores are within the “weapon free” zones.

As but one example, were this legislation to pass and a “weapons free zone” be enacted by Jersey City, New Jersey, which is likely considering the Mayor’s extreme anti-weapon sentiment, anyone attending or exhibiting at the East Coast Custom Knife Show or New York Custom Knife Show in Jersey City could be subject to arrest at numerous points in their journey. It is virtually impossible to get to the shows’ hotel without encroaching on one or more of the proposed “weapons free zones.” (The irony is that these shows moved out of New York City to New Jersey to escape persecution by the anti-knife District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr.)

Finally, as with all such laws, the potential impact on crime is to actually increase the risk to law-abiding citizens within these “weapons free zones” without any positive impact on school or public safety. These gun or weapon free zones simply create a victim-rich location where it is advertised to criminals and madmen that their victims will be unarmed and defenseless.

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