Gravity knives no longer illegal in NYS

May 31, 2019

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that ends the legal ban on so-called gravity knives.

Gravity knives is a term used to describe folding knives with locking blades that can be opened with a flick of the wrist.

In approving the bill Thursday, the Democratic governor - who had twice vetoed similar versions of the bill - said "the legal landscape has changed."

A federal district judge in March ruled the law was too vague and unconstitutional. The judge said that people should be able to know with certainty whether carrying a gravity knife is legal.

"While I remain aware of the cautious community voices, I cannot veto a bill passed by the Legislature to address a decided constitutional infirmity in existing law, as recently affirmed by a federal court," said Cuomo. "I remain confident that our law enforcement community will continue to keep our communities safe by pursuing anyone who uses, or attempts to use, one of these knives in an unlawful manner."

The knives are common work tools used by laborers, chefs and carpenters. The ban was first implemented in the 1950s to stem the use of switchblades by street gangs.