The lawsuit Knife Rights filed against District Attorney Cyrus Vance and the City of New York on June 9 continues to move forward, according to the Knife Rights e-mail newsletter.
Vance ordered the raid of retail stores in Manhattan in June 2010, confiscating 1,300 “illegal knives” and ordering the “offending” stores to turn over all their “illegal” knife inventory and their profits from the past four years of selling such knives, or face prosecution (see page 26, November 2010 BLADE®). Most of the so-called illegal knives were perfectly legal box cutters and standard one-hand-opening knives, among others.
The State of New York has been dropped as a defendant in Knife Rights’ suit after it was determined that the events occurring in New York City are strictly a New York City issue rather than an issue of state law. “That is good for us,” the Knife Rights e-mail newsletter noted.
“Recently, the City filed its response to our complaint, and as expected, DA Vance filed a motion to dismiss the suit,” the newsletter stated. “We are presently working to respond to the DA’s motion.”
According to the Knife Rights newsletter, the City does not appear to dispute the lawsuit’s basic claim that NYPD officers are using New York’s “gravity knife” law to prosecute possession of common and ordinary folding knives. “As anticipated, it appears that both the City and the DA intend to argue that the ‘gravity knife’ law encompasses one-hand-opening and assisted-opening folding knives, and hence, that the law is not ‘impermissibly vague’ as we claim,” the newsletter continued. “That circular argument is no surprise; after all, that’s the root of the lawsuit and those are the issues we are prepared to go to trial on.”
The newsletter indicated a magistrate judge has been assigned and a court conference has been scheduled for early November. “We are hopeful that we will be able to begin discovery from the City and DA Vance after this conference,” the newsletter noted. “No doubt there will be potholes aplenty along this road, but that’s how it works when you go toe-to-toe with one of the most powerful cities and DAs in the country. We’re up to the fight.
“In the meantime, never carry your knife clipped to your pocket in New York City. Even when [the knife is] covered by a jacket, simply moving the jacket aside to get to a wallet [and thus exposing the knife] has been enough to get folks arrested.”
Finally, the newsletter urged anyone arrested for possession of an “illegal knife” in New York to please contact Knife Rights at nycity@KnifeRights.org.