Adding Intent Would Solve Definition and Interpreting Problems
New York has been a problem area for knife owners for a long time. The American Knife & Tool Institutes has worked to help individuals who have been unreasonably arrested for possession of what law enforcement consider a “gravity” knife. We provide guidance and references for their attorneys as well as contacts at the New York Legal Aid Society who have successfully helped others. Our efforts to find relief began early in 2003 as the frequency of problems increased.
AKTI’s goal has been to find a legislative solution by making it clear that only individuals with an intent to use a knife illegally are criminals – not the knife, not the individual possessing a knife.
We advise all individuals living, working or traveling in New York – and especially in New York City – to be very cautious about the knives you have and how you carry them. Make sure that no part of the clip of your knife is showing either openly or under a coat.
FAILED (June 24, 2015) – Unfortunately the gravity knife issue solution failed to move again in the New York Senate. We will continue to work with supporters of this bill next year to resolve this confusing definition issue in New York state.
UPDATE (June 11, 2015) – The AKTI supported bill to add “intent to use unlawfully” to the law regarding gravity knives passed the Assembly and has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Codes. This is where the bill has stalled in previous attempts to resolve the problem of people incorrectly being charged with carrying a “gravity” knife.
AKTI will continue to work on this legislation and keep you informed. If you live, work or frequently travel in New York, be sure to sign up for our emails as a free Grassroots Supporter to receive any calls to action.
UPDATE (April 24) – New York bill to decriminalize possession of a gravity knife passed out the Assembly Committee on Codes. The American Knife & Tool Institute has submitted a memo in support of AB 4821 to all New York legislators.
Please contact your New York Assembly member and politely ask them to support AB 4821 to include gravity knives with other items that require a criminal intent to use unlawfully before possession is illegal.
UPDATE (February 13, 2015) – A sincere thanks to New York State Senator Diane J. Savino (D-23) for introducing Senate Bill 3675, an identical bill to Assemblyman Dan Quart’s legislation to add unlawful intent to gravity knife possession. We hope that by having both Houses of the New York legislature considering this pro-knife, pro-New York citizen bill that the chances will be greater of it passing.
(February 7, 2015) – Since 2013 the American Knife & Tool Institute has supported New York Assemblyman Dan Quart’s legislation to require prosecutors to prove unlawful intent before someone can be prosecuted for possession of a “gravity knife” – not defined in New York law.
2015 NY AB 4821 was introduced yesterday and needs the support of everyone living, working or owning a business in New York. It has been referred to the House Committee on Codes. Contact committee members and politely ask them to support AB 4821.
(January 8, 2015) – Expect news that bills in the New York Assembly and Senate to add “intent” to the New York gravity knife law will be introduced soon. Be prepared to contact your representatives and ask that this issue get resolved this year.
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Contact your state legislators and politely ask them to support these bills.
See additional background information below:
UPDATE (December 2014) – Unfortunately Assembyman Quart’s bill has failed to move this session. With the elections recently over and a shift in the Senate, we believe the opportunity for success next year has improved.
UPDATE (March 2014) – The American Knife & Tool Institute provided Assemblyman Quart with an additional letter of support for committee hearings (NY-Dan Quart re 2259-A-3-2014).
UPDATE (January 2014) – New York bill recalled from Senate and returned to the Assembly. Contact your legislators NOW and urge this bill move this year!
UPDATE (June 13, 2013) – The New York Assembly has passed Bill 2259A and is now headed to the Senate Committee on Codes.
Cody, WY (June 10, 2013) – The New York Assembly is considering a bill this week that would amend the New York state penal law to decriminalize possession of a gravity knife. Currently, a person carrying a gravity knife can be convicted of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
This legislation would ensure that law-abiding New York citizens and visitors are not criminalized for possession and carry of an essential and valuable tool to their occupation or recreational activity. These changes would eliminate the problems of confusion for individuals and law enforcement about what a gravity knife actually is versus a variety of knife styles available and commonly used by electricians, carpenters, hunters, campers and others.
New York 2259A would amend Section 265.01 of the penal law (effective November 1) so that a person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree when he or she possesses a gravity knife with intent to use the same unlawfully against another.
This is an effort the American Knife & Tool Institute has been working on for several years. We have conferenced with the New York Legal Aid Society who has strongly encouraged this bill be passed. The New York Legal Aid Society has had to represent numerous law-abiding individuals on knife issues and understand the problems involved with New York law not including intent to use a knife illegally.
AKTI provided a letter of support (AKTI-NY-Quart-A2259A-2013) and encouraged all Assembly Members to pass this bill.
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