New York, NY: Knife Rights - America's premier knife owners' organization defending the right to own and use edged tools - announced it has bolstered support for its federal civil rights lawsuit to stop New York City officials from abusing a vague state law to make questionable arrests of law-abiding citizens carrying common pocket knives, and coerce knife retailers into making huge payments to avoid prosecution. An amended complaint adding two additional plaintiffs to the case was submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on May 23.
New plaintiff Native Leather, Ltd., is one of the New York retailers that New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., accused of selling illegal knives. Like other retailers who were threatened with prosecution (Home Depot and Ace Hardware among them), Native Leather surrendered much of its knife inventory, made substantial monetary payments, and stopped selling a number of common pocket knives (mischaracterized by the City as "gravity knives" and "switchblades") to avoid the DA's wrath. Because of the vagueness and inconsistency in the way the City and DA interpret state law, Native Leather still has no definite means of determining whether the DA's office will once again allege that its knives are illegal in the future.
The lawsuit challenges New York City's and District Attorney Vance's attempt to mischaracterize the most widely-owned pocket knives in America as contraband. The case seeks a judicial determination that the New York State laws regarding "switchblades" and "gravity knives" are unconstitutionally vague as applied to these common pocket knives with a bias towards closure.
"District Attorney Vance's politically motivated assault on, and continued threat to Native Leather, a small, law-abiding retailer simply trying to make a living in New York City, is unconscionable " said Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter. "I applaud Native Leather for joining our lawsuit and showing the courage of its convictions in standing up to DA Vance's bullying tactics."
"One-hand opening pocket knives are legal tools, used and carried every day by millions of law-abiding professionals, tradesmen and sportsmen for work and recreation," said Ritter. "Shame on D.A. Vance for demonizing common tools and turning honest citizens into criminals for purely political ends."
Also added as a plaintiff is Knife Rights Foundation, Inc., which has provided valuable support for the lawsuit.
The original plaintiffs remain in the case: Knife Rights, Inc. and two private citizens (John Copeland, an internationally acclaimed artist, and Pedro Perez, an artist and fine art dealer, both New York City residents). The defendants remaining are the New York County DA and the City of New York itself. Knife Rights is represented by attorney David D. Jensen, Esq. of New York.
The Memorandum of Law in Support of the Amended Complaint and a red-lined copy of the Amended Complaint can be downloaded at: http://www.KnifeRights.org/KRvNYamendedcomplaint.pdf
ABOUT KNIFE RIGHTS AND THE KNIFE RIGHTS FOUNDATION
Knife Rights is America's grassroots knife owners organization and supports legislative initiatives to eliminate irrational restrictions on one of man's oldest and most common tools, decriminalize knife possession and advance the civil rights of America's knife owners.
The Knife Rights Foundation works to educate, inform and protect knife owners, pursuing litigation in support of knife owners' civil rights when necessary.
Both Knife Rights and the Knife Rights Foundation (www.KnifeRights.org
) are dedicated to a Sharper Future for all Americans.
For more information contact: Doug Ritter (Chairman, Knife Rights)