NYC Anti-Knife Ruling Has Disastrous Implications


People falsely arrested or threatened with arrest cannot sue in a federal lawsuit against New York City and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., according to a Wednesday anti-knife ruling by a U.S. District Court Judge.

If not overturned, a Knife Rights (KR) news release reported, the anti-knife ruling could have wide-ranging effects on knife enthusiasts throughout the USA, including re-classifying legal knives as illegal “gravity knives” and/or “switchblades.”

Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled plaintiffs falsely arrested or threatened with arrest over “common pocketknives” cannot sue in part because the case documents don’t specify which knives would be illegal under NYC’s interpretation of New York state law—this despite the fact NYC’s inability to specify legal and illegal knives on a consistent basis is the exact reason the case documents cannot specify which knives are legal and which knives are not!

For the purposes of the case in question, “common pocket knife” is a legal term that covers knives with locking blades and a bias towards closure, KR’s Doug Ritter noted. As such, the legal term does NOT include traditional pocketknives in trapper, whittler, stockman and other old-time patterns.

The ruling is in response to a suit brought on June 9, 2011, by Knife Rights, Inc., John Copeland, Pedro Perez, Native Leather, Ltd., and Knife Rights Foundation, Inc., against D.A. Vance and the city of New York. The plaintiffs allege that the defendants’ “application of New York Penal Law 265.01’s prohibition on the possession of switchblade knives and gravity knives to possessors of common folding knives makes 265.01 void for vagueness under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

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Meanwhile, as KR reported, thousands of citizens in NYC have been arrested on “illegal” knife charges. “In at least one instance of which we are aware,” a KR release stated, “the result of the bogus arrest was that the victim’s entire knife collection was confiscated from his home,” adding that gun owners have had their firearms confiscated based on bogus knife arrests, too.

For information on how to fight Forrest’s outlandish ruling, visit

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  1. This is simply another pothole, admittedly a very annoying one, in any federal civil rights lawsuit. It’s just a way to delay matters in hopes that we will run out of money and go away. That’s not going to happen! Knife Rights is already working hard on our appeal, which considering the flimsy and outrageous ruling, is almost certain to be won. — Doug Ritter, Chairman, Knife Rights