Gravity Knife Possession Is No Longer a Crime in New York!
As of May 30, 2019, gravity knives are no longer categorized as a per se weapon under New York Penal Law Section 265.01(1). That means that a person may now possess a gravity knife legally in New York.
Before May 30, is a person was found in possession of a gravity knife—even if there was no other alleged illegal behavior, then the person could be arrested for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree. Arrests for gravity knives often occurred in New York following a stop and frisk or car stop, when a person was not doing anything illegal.
New York changed the list of per se weapons removing the term gravity knife from the law. The list of per se weapons, Penal Law Section 265.01(1) still includes such weapons as a firearm, stun gun, switchblade knife, blackjack, plastic knuckles, metal knuckles and Kung Fu star, to name only a few. That means that if a person possesses any of these per se weapons under New York Law, he or she could be arrested for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, even if there is no other alleged illegal behavior. However, these weapons are often recovered during a search and seizure that could be challenged prior to a trial during a criminal case.
One of the most controversial aspects of the gravity knife ban in New York was the bump up from misdemeanor to felony. This no longer applies to a gravity knife because they are no legal in New York. However, if a person is charged with possessing any pe se weapon in New York and the person has a prior conviction of a crime in any state, a prosecutor may “bump up” the charge to from Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, Penal Law Section 265.01, to Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, Penal Law Section 265.02(1), which is a felony.
Like any other object or weapon a person could still be arrested for possessing a gravity knife if there is an intent to use the gravity knife unlawfully against another person under Penal Law Section 265.01(2), which is a misdemeanor. However, this law applies to all weapons and objects and not only gravity knifes: “A person is guilty of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree when: He or she possesses any dagger, dangerous knife, dirk, machete, razor, stiletto, imitation pistol, or any other dangerous or deadly instrument or weapon with intent to use the same unlawfully against another.”
If a person is arrested for allegedly possessing a gravity knife with the intent to use it against another person, it is likely that there will be associated charges. If the person allegedly threatens another person with a gravity knife that could lead to charges of Menacing. If a person allegedly uses a gravity knife against another person that could lead to charges of Assault.