Gravity Knife Ruling Third Recent Win against New York Disarmament Laws

This German FJM was designed not for fighting, but to help paratroopers free themselves from tangled lines (Jerryk50)

U.S.A. – -( “[T]he gravity knife statute is unconstitutionally vague,” Judge Paul A. Crotty of the United State District Court, Southern District of New York, wrote in an opinion and order filed March 27. “The Clerk of Court is directed to…enter judgment in favor of the Plaintiff…and close the case.”

That case is Joseph Cracco, Plaintiff, vs. Cyrus Vance Jr., Defendant, in his official capacity as District Attorney for the County of New York. Vance, born into a family of elite political privilege, is a longtime opponent of the right to keep and bear arms who says national concealed carry reciprocity “is supported, I’m sure, by ISIS.

So what is Vance actually doing about ISIS?

“I’m concerned about a travel ban on Muslim countries,” he has claimed, while disingenuously “justifying” his demands to disarm Americans and insisting “We should be having a gun debate right now, in America.”

“I’m not a politician. I’m a prosecutor,” he protests, leaving unsaid why his office was “probed for dropping cases after lawyers made big donations” to his election campaign.

The gravity knife edict is every bit as ludicrous as Vance’s ISIS smear, especially as applied, which Reason points out is enforced “almost exclusively in New York City and nowhere else in the state”:

“A 2014 Village Voice investigation found that between 2003 and 2013, the NYPD made 60,000 arrests for alleged gravity knife possession. Eighty-six percent of those arrested were black or Hispanic.”

That’s curious because New York Democrats fight like hell to import more gang members like MS-13, who promise to reward them with even more blood to dance in and exploit. But it’s easier to harass productive citizens who have no intention of breaking any laws, and doing so with subjective “tests” that are so vague and arbitrarily applied that compliance becomes a crap shoot.

It’s “safer” that way, even when it turns out the hapless, disarmed citizenry did nothing wrong.

“The Village Voice reported in 2015 that New York City paid out nearly $350,000 in malicious prosecution settlements involving gravity knives over the previous five years,” that article elaborates. “In Cracco’s case, he was returning home after work with his knife clipped to his pants pocket when he was stopped by NYPD officers … Cracco alleges that the officer who arrested him tried three or four times to flick open his pocket knife before finally succeeding.”

These guys really are jealous of their “Only Ones” status. Their interest is in maintaining an unchallengeable monopoly of violence, with Policemen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch threatening:

“We need to make it clear that if someone lifts even a finger against a police officer, their life could be on the line.”

That hardly bodes well for tolerance for gravity knives, and the March 27 decision is based on procedure rather than “shall not be infringed.”

“The Court recognized that the District Attorney must have discretion to prosecute or not to prosecute criminal matters,” Judge Crotty explained before announcing his decision. “The combination here, however, of a statute that does not specify how Cracco can identify a gravity knife and a practice of prosecuting possession of gravity knives in an unclear and inconsistent manner provides police and prosecutors ‘virtually unlimited’ or ‘unfettered’ discretion to enforce the gravity knife statue.”

So look for the state to reword the infringement, not to stop infringing. Nonetheless, it’s a significant win inasmuch as this is the third time recently that New York disarmament laws have been ruled unconstitutional.

James Maloney, the attorney who won the gravity knife ruling, was also the lawyer who got New York’s nunchaku ban struck down as unconstitutional in December. And a similar ruling regarding New York’s ban on “electronic dart guns” and “electronic stun guns” was won in March by attorneys Alan Beck and Stephen Stamboulieh.

About David Codrea:David Codrea

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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Get Out

Written like the stupid law in Florida that a gun can be OC if going to or from hunting or fishing spot? New Yorkers should get a valid hunting and/or fishing license a pocket fisherman and carry it around with them. If a cop says you’re not fishing while carrying a knife, whip out the pocket fisherman and drop a line in the sewer, ditch or pothole.

It is legal to possess a switchblade or gravity knife, while hunting, trapping, or fishing with a valid hunting and/or fishing license.

TS the Deplorable

When I was a cop in California some years ago, they had a “gravity knife” law. Basically, if you could whip your wrist fast enough that the momentum of the blade would cause it to swing open it was somehow deemed to have been caused by “gravity.” I had an old grandpa-type fingernail-cleaning pocket knife that over the years had been opened and closed so many times that it could be whipped open. I don’t recall any of my fellow cops ever charging anyone with it, and I know I certainly never did, but it stinks that it is on… Read more »


Socialist Dystopias like NY, MA, etc. are foreign countries, and thus not part of the USA.

Thomas Yanity

New York’s definition of a gravity knife is any knife that can be opened with a flick of the wrist. If your grandfather gave you a pocket knife that was his as a boy and the blade has become loose due to age and wear it can be considered a gravity knife. The current law does not provide a definite test for what makes a knife a gravity knife. It is up to the officers discretion. They can currently attempt to open a knife 100 times and only need to be successful once for them to charge you. They have… Read more »

M Reyna

New York is a crooked anti American State.
We also didn’t have a United States because
New York didn’t want to fight against the British
During the Revolutionary War. They voted Present
Like all Democrats do now days. WOW. Go figure.
Some things never change even after almost
240 years. I Vote present. Lol

Patriot guy

New York City doesn’t want anyone to be able to defend themselves or to add interesting items to ones. knife collection. So did arresting law abiding citizens stop crime in NYC? What about carrying a hammer? Is that a crime too? Does anyone remember Bernard Getz? The muggers were carrying sharpened screwdrivers! Are screwdrivers banned too? Don’t you hate mentally unstable, power crazed politicians who say “we know whats best for you. You must obey us, we are your masters!”

Wayne Renniger

Where can a ‘Gravity Knife be purchased. I am very interested in adding one to my collection.


Anywhere…try Arizona Custom Knives in Florida…good people, good service…mostly, lightly used stuff you can’t get anywhere else… their merch always looks exactly like the photos on their website. Check out the Spyderco Antimony. You won’t find a better starter knife…and it locks up tighter than a tent rope in the rain. F-K-A.

Heed the Call-up

Ed Newbold, one that opens with a flick/flip of the knife, with use of any springs. Some pocket knives that aren’t designed for that can still be opened that way, which where the defendant probably got into trouble.

Knife laws, just like firearm laws, are stupid and are not “common-sense”. They are passed by ignorant, fearful, and/or unscrupulous politicians. Possession, in and of itself, should not be a crime, committing a criminal act, with or without a weapon, is the crime, not any object or tool that may be used during the commission of said act.


Wow! 60,00 gravity knives in NYC? Sounds fishy. I have a couple of modern ones. I wonder if they are referring to the kind in this article. Those of WW2 vintage bring BIG bucks $$ ! And a gravity knife is just what the caption under the pic says. That lever on top flips up and forward,then pressed with the knife turned in a downward position. The blade drops. The the lever is flipped back in order to lock the blade. It all comes apart for cleaning or blade replacement. Pretty spiffy!

Ed Newbold

What is a “Gravity Knife”?

Patrick Shannon

What is a “gravity knife”? Answer: it’s the little cousin of the “assault weapon”.

Charles Moore

Good thing for him that he didn’t have one of those multi-blade, high-capacity Swiss Army Assault knives!! He might have planned to spoon somebody to death with it!! (Which is much more deadly and gruesome than what could be done with the reduced-capacity 1-1/2″ single blade reduced-capacity unsharpened knives that citizens should be allowed to keep locked up – separate from the blade – at home!)

Wild Bill

@Chuck Moore, What is a Patrick Shannon? Answer: It is the little cousin of a real propagandist.