Need for Gravity Knife Reform Shown in PIX 11 News Segment

As a bill sits on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk that would prevent unnecessary, harmful arrests by exempting widely-sold folding knives from the state’s gravity knife statute, Martin LaFalce, a Staff Attorney in The Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Practice, described the injustice of the current situation to PIX 11 News.

“These folding knives are treated by NYPD and local prosecutors as tools when they’re on store shelves. But once they’re found in our clients’ working hands, they’re treated as illegal weapons,” LaFalce said, adding that Legal Aid clients in gravity knife cases were electricians, stagehands, construction workers and custodians.

The PIX 11 story noted claimed public safety concerns from the New York City Police Department Commissioner James O'Neill and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio about the reform measure, S6483A/A9042A. Yet even with the legislation’s exemptions for the folding knives, prosecutors still would not be prevented from charging an individual with other offenses such as intent to use a weapon unlawfully.

“It’s a colossal waste of time,” LaFalce said of the law’s current enforcement. “If NYPD really viewed this to be a problem, they would target the source of these knives. They would prosecute retailers. They’ve never done it.”