Thursday, September 29, 2016

NAACP Joins With Knife Rights in Support of New York Knife Law Reform

Image from Knife Rights  

The two knives in the lower left corner are actual gravity knives.  The others have resulted in prosecutions for possession of a "gravity knife" in New York City.  (update) The two knives (brass handled and black handled)  just to the right of the German gravity knives in the lower left corner, are American made gravity knives from the 19th century.  Thanks to Doug for the information.

Knife Rights has been aggressively working to reform the New York State law on pocket knives.  The law was passed in the 1950's as part of the trendy and hyped "switchblade" ban based on false information and emotional arguments.

Some organizations associated with "progressive" groups that are hostile to the Second Amendment have joined in support of this reform. Their concern with the law seems to be because black and Hispanics are the disproportionate targets, rather than from Constitutional concerns.

Knife Rights filed a federal lawsuit in 2013. The suit is working its way through the courts.  The lawsuit claims the law is vague, because people in New York City cannot tell whether a knife is a "gravity knife" or not until a policeman tells them.  The Village Voice believes that about 60,000 people have been arrested under the weird interpretation of the law by New York City prosecutors.

It may be months before a court decision is reached, years if the decision is appealed.

Knife Rights also pushed a legislative reform that would prevent most abuses of the law.  This year it passed both houses of the legislature with overwhelming margins: 99 to 12 in the Assembly, unanimously in the Senate.

It is unknown if Governor Cuomo will sign or veto the bill.  Mayor De Blasio has come out against it.

Two "progressive" allies have added their voices to urge Governor Cuomo to sign the bill.

The first was The Legal Aid Society, which is the largest public defender organization in New York City.  Given the abuse of the law by Manhattan CA Cyrus Vance, that is expected.

Now the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund has signed on.  From
The NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund — the organization founded by Thurgood Marshall and responsible for bringing Brown v. Board of Education, Loving v. Virginia and many other seminal civil rights cases — has thrown its support behind efforts in the New York legislature to reform the state’s broken gravity knife statute.

In a letter sent this week, the organization urged Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign a reform bill, passed by the legislature in June, designed to stop prosecutions that have attracted widespread criticism. "This law is problematic on its face and even more problematic in its application," the organization wrote. "It punishes New Yorkers for an innocent act, and it is overwhelmingly applied against African Americans and Latinos." (The full text of the letter is below.)
 Mayor de Blasio is in direct opposition to the Legal Aid Society and the NAACP.  It is ironic that de Blasio has been hostile to "stop and frisk" but wants to maintain the law that most "stop and frisk" arrests were made under.

These antiquated knife laws, passed in moments of hyperbole with little relationship to fact or logic, are being reformed and repealed across the nation.  Efforts by Knife Rights have been successful in New Hampshire, Alaska, Tenneseee, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Maine, Indiana, Texas, Nevada, and Wisconsin have all been successful.  Perhaps the Legal Aid Society and the NAACP will supply enough "pull" to get Governor Cuomo to sign the bill.

With the help of "progressive" organizations, the reform effort could be accelerated and multiplied.

At some point, knives will be judicially recognized as "Arms" protected under the Second Amendment.  

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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