In an eleventh-hour decision, yesterday New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed the Gravity Knife and Switchblade Reform Bill. The Bill clarified the definition of a Gravity Knife and Switchblade and would have enabled people to carry the vast majority of one-handed opening locking folders without risking arrest.
In a statement released yesterday evening, Knife Rights founder Doug Ritter expressed his disappointment in the decision. “In vetoing this bill he has potentially doomed thousands more to arrest and prosecution for carrying common pocket knives.”
Ritter went on to say that he’s not giving up the fight to reduce arrests and prosecutions in New York City and will work with the New York State legislatures to pass another Bill.
In a written decision, Governor Cuomo explained his rationale for the veto. “[The Bill] would place the burden upon law enforcement to determine the design attributes of each given knife,” he wrote. “I proposed modifications to the Legislature that would have allowed crafts and tradespeople to possess these knives without penalty, as well as create an affirmative defense for those who possessed gravity knives with no intent to use it unlawfully.”
Under Governor Cuomo’s ‘affirmative defense’ proposal, the NYPD would likely continue its loose interpretation of a ‘gravity knife’ and arrest most people carrying one-handed opening folders. It would be left up to the citizen to convince the courts they had no intent to use the knife illegally to escape a guilty verdict.