New York Knife Laws

Updated for 2023

New York’s knife laws are intricate, reflecting the state’s concern for public safety. The laws are codified under New York Penal Law 265.01(1), which classifies the illegal possession of certain knives as a criminal offense. This guide aims to demystify these regulations, providing clear and practical information, and ensuring that you are up-to-date with the latest legal interpretations.

Legal Precedents and Statutes

Recent legal decisions, such as People v. Berrezueta (2019), have clarified the definition of a “gravity knife,” leading to changes in enforcement practices. Additionally, the repeal of the “gravity knife” ban in 2019 under the New York Penal Law ยง 265.00 has been a significant update, reflecting a shift in legal attitudes towards knife possession.

Updated Knife Regulations

As of the latest update, the following knives are illegal in New York:

  • Switchblades
  • Metal Knuckle knives
  • Ballistic knives
  • Plastic knuckles
  • Cane swords
  • Machetes
  • Razors

Carrying these without an appropriate reason, such as for fishing or hunting with a valid license, can result in criminal charges.

Size Matters: Blade Length in Focus

In New York City, carrying a knife with a blade longer than four inches is prohibited. This law is particularly stringent in public transportation settings, where the NYC Transit Authority bans all dangerous weapons.

Local Laws and Variances

Different municipalities within New York have their own specific regulations. For instance:

  • Buffalo prohibits the open carry of knives on city property.
  • Rochester bans carrying pointed knives, except for pocketknives with blades of three inches or less.
  • Syracuse outlaws carrying swords, razors, dirks, and similar weapons.

Q&A Section

Q: Are Karambits legal in New York? A: Karambits are legal for utility or hunting purposes, provided the blade is no longer than three inches. However, double-edged Karambits are considered deadly weapons and are illegal to carry.

Q: Can I legally carry a knife on school grounds? A: New York State law does not specifically ban knives on school premises, but schools have the authority to set their own conduct rules prohibiting weapons.

Q: Are minors allowed to carry knives in New York? A: It is illegal for individuals under 16 to carry “dangerous knives.” Proving unlawful intent is challenging, especially when minors possess common tools like box cutters.

Stay Informed and Compliant

Understanding and complying with New York’s knife laws is crucial for residents and visitors alike. Always consult with a legal professional for advice specific to your situation, and keep abreast of any legal changes to ensure your compliance with the law.

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