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New York legal to make or sell liner locks AKA "gravity knives"?

Discussion in 'Knife Laws' started by jaymeister99, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. jaymeister99

    jaymeister99

    816
    Sep 14, 2010
    I'm sure the legality of liner locks in NY has been beaten to death. But is it legal to sell and/or make liner locks in New York state? From last years case law it seems to me that it is legal to carry a liner lock (aka gravity knife) for fishing or hunting, but at no other time. But it must be legal to have it in your home right?

    I'd like to make and sell folding knives but I'm a wee bit concerned about making locking knives. I've seen these sold at my local Bass Pro, Dicks, Cabelas, and Wally Mart. But are they REALLY legal to sell or make?
     
  2. PirateSeulb

    PirateSeulb Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 6, 2017
    So here is the crux of the NYC knife laws they are using excessive momentum to turn completely legal knives into "gravity" knives. This is why shops can sell them because they don't become "gravity" knives until an arresting office gets his/her hands on your property. Really as long as you conduct your business outside of NYC then you should be safe of any troubles at this time.
     
  3. hhmoore

    hhmoore Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 7, 2014
    @jaymeister99 I don't understand your "liner lock (aka gravity knife)" comment - the two terms are not synonymous.
    The simple answer to your question is that liner locks are not illegal in NYS.
     
    NMpops likes this.
  4. PirateSeulb

    PirateSeulb Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 6, 2017
    The "gravity" knife problem is not across all of New York State it is mainly focused in New York City. The problem isn't the law as much abusive interpretation of the law which is only flawed in being somewhat vague as the law predates liner or frame locks and most one hand opening methods we know and enjoy today.
     
  5. zzyzzogeton

    zzyzzogeton

    Feb 17, 2013
    Jay - a liner lock does not a gravity knife make. Except in NYC when a cop is looking to pad his/her arrest numbers.

    A true gravity has a blade that opens when the button/lever holding the blade in its stored position is pressed and due to the effects of gravity, slides into place and locks. The only true gravity knives made prior to the various pieces of legislation banning them ever passed was the German "paratrooper" knife of WW2. There were lots of "copies and variations" made after WW2, until various laws started getting passed banning them.

    Legislative prejudice has expanded the definition of a "gravity knife" to include switch blades (aka "automatic knives") and balisongs (aka butterfly knives). Switches were included by the inclusion in the description of the manner in which the blade is released, i.e., pressing a button in the handle of the knife. Balisongs fell into the definition with the addition of the phrase "opened by inertia" or words to that effect, depending on the actual legislation/regulation language.

    Many locking blade knives can be forced into the gravity knife arena with enough force applied while holding the handle, or when a pivot screw just isn't tight enough, or after enough wear on a tang, torsion bar, etc.

    A NYC cop gets as many tries as he/she needs to finally get a knife to open after flailing it around for a while. I've even heard/read of them pinching the blade open somewhat or slightly opening the blade using an integrated thumb stud or thumb hole in/on the blade and then continuing to flail away until the knife opens up.

    Do not allow a BS application of a flawed law affect what you want to do. Make all the liner locks knives you want. Liner locking knives are NOT illegal to make, sell or possess in NY STATE. They aren't illegal in NYC either, until a cop decides it is.

    The folding knives that are "illegal" in NY are illegal based on their OPENING METHOD not their locking method.
     
    PirateSeulb likes this.
  6. jaymeister99

    jaymeister99

    816
    Sep 14, 2010
    I have to respectfully disagree which is why I posted this question. Last year a case went to the NY Court of Appeals: https://www.law.com/newyorklawjourn...te-gravity-knife-ban/?slreturn=20180916192523

    It upheld an earlier ruling stating that any knife that can be flicked open by "centrifugal force" and locked in place is (under New York State Law) a gravity knife. I'm not an attorney but I do believe this unfortunately now created a case law that applies state wide and not only to NYC. The knives in question were liner locks that were being flicked open. I tried this test with several of my knives, including a Buck 110, a case lockback pocketknife, and of course a liner lock. All failed the flick test.
     
  7. jaymeister99

    jaymeister99

    816
    Sep 14, 2010
    First thanks for the big response, but I've already heard all of it, I know it is total BS and a garbage interpretation of the law. But unfortunately I'm thinking the case law now can be applied state wide. Until a few years ago I lived in the suburbs of NYC, I had zero concern about my liner locks unless I went to NYC, then I packed a non locking slipjoint. My concern is all it may take is one visit from a local cop on a power trip and I could be arrested for multiple counts of having a "gravity knife". But I'm no attorney.
     
    marchone likes this.
  8. hhmoore

    hhmoore Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 7, 2014
    But, even accepting that definition, it doesn't mean liner locks are illegal... because the law doesn't specify the lock mechanism. Many frame locks can be opened that way, as can some back locks (by a practiced hand)
     
    marchone likes this.
  9. jaymeister99

    jaymeister99

    816
    Sep 14, 2010
    Yup, under the ruling any knife that can be flicked open and locked into position is a "gravity knife". Unless I can feel warm and fuzzy about all this I wouldn't make/sell lock backs or frame locks either. But I don't have much interest in making those types of knives. I tried the flick test on all my locking knives. All managed to be flicked open except for a TL-29 type frame lock.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018
    marchone likes this.
  10. tom19176

    tom19176 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    Any knife you can flick open ( including holding the blade ) can be a gravity knife in all NY State, but it is mostly enforced in NYC that way. That said you can buy or make a knife with a HALF STOP as they can be either a lock back or liner lock and can not be flicked open.
     
  11. Knife_Collector_101

    Knife_Collector_101

    47
    Sep 21, 2018
    Maybe I'm being pessimistic, but I don't see this NY mess being cleared up anytime soon. It's going to take a major push from the public to get some kind of reform, and not enough people in NY seem to care about knives the way collectors and enthusiasts like ourselves do.

    Interestingly enough, it was ruled in court in NY years ago that butterfly knives actually AREN'T gravity knives because even though they can be opened via inertia/centrifugal force, the lock on them is optional. It's just a latch that hangs and doesn't lock the knife instantly upon deployment, so due to that one little feature, balisongs skirt the definition. However, that doesn't mean you should go about flipping a balisong in NYC. The cops there would most likely frown upon that!
     
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  12. Wolf01

    Wolf01

    2
    Jan 21, 2019
    I live in Westchester County, NY, and was recently charged with possession of a gravity knife. The knife in question was a Coast FX200, which if you look it up is a pretty ludicrous, and pitiful example of trying to enforce a similar type of law. I had to try very hard not to double up in laughter as the officer repeatedly tried to open it up as a gravity knife. He would put it down, do some writing, pick it up, and swing it several times, and put it down again. Rinse, and repeat several times, until he got it to open. Then he charged me with possession of a gravity knife as an E felony. Long story short, the charge was dismissed on the first appearance in court without any real discussion. I see many people trying to get the law changed with regards to gravity knives, but I think just getting the definition of what a gravity is, is probably an easier solution. I can’t find any literature as to exactly WHY a gravity knife is illegal, but I am going to make a common sense guess that it is because they are considered weapons. If that is the case, then a knife should be judged to be a gravity knife if it meets the following criteria: 1) If opening the knife using gravity is reasonably faster than opening it normally. For example, a Spyderco Merlin has a finger hole that can be grasped, and flicked downward, thus opening the blade. However, I can open the blade almost equally as fast by merely holding the blade normally, and using my thumb to open the blade. Under current NY law this knife is considered a gravity knife. 2) If the knife can be opened using a gravity method in a manner that makes it “combat” ready. Using the same Spyderco Merlin, grasping the finger hole, and flicking it open as a gravity knife does not leave it in a position to be used realistically in a fight, as you are grasping the top of the blade, near the rear/center position with two fingers. Now maybe SOMEONE can successfully fight with a knife in those circumstances, but I am pretty certain than the average citizen, absolutely cannot. Alot of knives in this day, and age, offer knives that utilize one hand/ease of opening features such as finger/thumb holes, and thumb screws/studs, and by narrowing the definition of a gravity knife, rather than trying to legalize them, you are at least eliminating a lot of reasons for false gravity knife charges. Just sayin’....
     
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  13. tom19176

    tom19176 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    Wolf01, interesting that Westchester would make an arrest like this. Where there other reasons you were stopped besides the knife? For an E Felony charge (CPW3) you must have some past conviction? All that said, I agree that knife is not a weapon type knife. On what basis were the charges dropped? Glad it worked out for you.
     
  14. Wolf01

    Wolf01

    2
    Jan 21, 2019
    Without going into it, yes there was another reason for being stopped, and yes I have prior convictions from 23 years ago. That being said, while they did not exactly explain their reasons for a dismissal, their general demeanor leads me to believe that they realized the ludicrousness of trying to make the charge stick. I assume that you looked the blade up, and see why I think that changing the definition of what constitutes a gravity knife might actually be the path of least resistance. Pity that poor life choices earlier in my life prevent me from entering the political ring where I could at least make an effort to effect some change on things like this. Of course in addition to the gravity knife issue, I would also make an effort to reform some of the criminal laws that impact individuals like me, so that an officer can’t add weak charges merely to boost a conviction probability, but that is an issue for a different forum...
     
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  15. tom19176

    tom19176 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    Thanks for responding. Yes I saw the picture of the blade and it is far from a weapon. KnifeRights has tried to change the wording of the law several times and our dear governor vetoed it two years in a row after it passed the both houses.
     
  16. drail

    drail

    320
    Feb 23, 2008
    These are stupid poorly written and defined laws. It is left entirely to the cops to determine what is legal and what is not. (and they have some pretty loose "definitions" they will use on you) Even if it impossible for you to flip it open using gravity - if some cop can - you're busted. And they obviously practice that maneuver a lot. While you may have never met a cop who believes "the law is whatever I say it is" - I assure you there are plenty of them out there.
     
  17. Knife_Collector_101

    Knife_Collector_101

    47
    Sep 21, 2018
    Yep. Not only are the laws often written poorly with extremely vague definitions, people are also often ignorant about them and what defines a liner lock knife vs. a switchblade vs. a stiletto vs. an OTF knife vs. a gravity knife vs. assisted knife. There are people who think side opening switchblades are assisted knives and only OTFs are switchblades while others think 'stiletto' means any auto-opening knife but it's just a blade shape. YouTube videos on knives are full of misinformed people who believe such falsehoods commenting on them. I don't want to say they're dumb, but they need to research this stuff better, because this is the kind of ignorance that can get them in trouble. Ignorance isn't an excuse in the eyes of the law.
     
  18. drail

    drail

    320
    Feb 23, 2008
    We are seeing this exact same thing with all of the laws being rammed through regarding "assault rifles" (there is no such thing). But the masses just nod their heads and say "Oh, okay".
     

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