The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Knife Rights Appeals NYC Gravity Knife Case to Supreme Court


Knife Rights has announced it is appealing a case related to the abusive enforcement of New York’s gravity knife ban to the Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, a panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of New York City and District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr in the suit brought by Knife Rights. Knife Rights alleges that the city’s policy of treating pretty much any locking folder as an illegal gravity is unjust.

We’ve written about this case for a few years now (read my 2011 article on the initial lawsuit) and have covered all the twists and turns of the story — including efforts by the state legislators to remedy the issue only to be twice thwarted by the governor.

With the appeals court ruling in favor of the city, Knife Rights only has one more option: the Supreme Court. The lobbying organization is submitting a petition for a writ of certiorari, which asks the highest court in the land to hear the appeal.

The Supreme Court is asked to hear roughly 7,000 to 8,000 cases each year but only picks a small handful. So, the odds of the court accepting the case is slim.

That’s partially why Knife Rights has shifted its claims related to the case. It is not just arguing that the law is unjust but that it could settle constitutional issues in federal courts.

Here’s more:

Beyond settling major constitutional issues, the Court will sometimes choose to resolve differences in the application of Federal law among different Federal circuit courts when its decisions are not applied the same throughout the U.S. The Second Circuit panel’s ruling regarding our constitutional vagueness claim in this case opens up that possibility with starkly split decisions between it and other circuits, as well as splits between a number of state courts. The writ explains why this case is important and worthy of the Court’s limited time.

Despite being a longshot, this is pretty much the only chance to overrule the precedent set by the court of appeals.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

Because taking a case to the Supreme Court (or even an appeals court) is expensive, the organization is asking for donations. You can donate here — it’s definitely a worthy cause.

We’ll keep you updated with any related news as usual.


  1. I’ve been carrying a Benchmade spring assit knife in NYC for years. Never knew it was illegal. Thought all I had to do was be under a 3 inch blade. Also been using the side clip, which I was told is illegal. (They said the knife has to be concealed.) I’ve been very lucky.

    I’m thinking of going to a fixed blade knife mounted on my backpack strap. Is that legal or does the fixed blade knife have to be concealed?

    • Tim

      January 3, 2019 at 10:43 am

      To be honest, I’m not even sure what’s legal or illegal in the city anymore. I’d be careful about carrying any knife of any size. What’s legal to one cop may be illegal to another — regardless of the actual law.

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