New York and Michigan Knife Law Reform a Signature Away

It’s been less than two weeks since Governor Greg Abbott signed knife law reform legislation in Texas and Knife Rights hopes New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will follow suit. Legislators in both states passed Knife Rights’ authored reforms last week, but before the bills can be enacted into law, they need the Governors’ sign off.

Last year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed the Gravity and Switchblade Reform Bill in a controversial eleventh-hour decision. The 2016 bill sought to revise New York’s penal code language to exclude common folding knives from falling under the vague legal definition of “Gravity Knife.” Cuomo objected, stating that the proposed amendments would “place the burden upon law enforcement to determine the design attributes of each given knife.”

To address Cuomo’s concerns, 2017’s New York Gravity Knife Law Reform Bill removes ‘centrifugal force’ from the definition of a gravity knife and adds ‘solely’ to the phrase ‘by the force of gravity.’ By eliminating the vagaries in the legalese of the penal code, the bill would put an end to the infamous ‘wrist flick’ testing used to determine the legality of a knife in New York City. This policy is at the heart of Knife Rights’ ongoing lawsuit against New York City and District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.

“We’re cautiously optimistic. We believe that we have addressed the biggest issue [Cuomo] had with it last year, but we’ll see what happens,” Doug Ritter, Chairman and Executive Director of Knife Rights tells us. Knife Rights says the repercussions of a second veto would be devastating for many New York City knife users. “If he vetoes it, it’s going to mean another 6,000-8,000 people being arrested and prosecuted,” Ritter says.

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Meanwhile, Michigan’s Switchblade Ban Repeal Bill, which stands a better chance than the New York Bill, is headed to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk for a signature. “It passed with overwhelming support in both houses, and we don’t think he will find anything objectionable, but you never know,” Ritter says. The bill proposes a repeal of section 226a of the Michigan penal code – the portion of the law that declares switchblades illegal.

Knife featured in image: Kershaw Launch 4