In New York State, a person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree when “he possesses any firearm, electronic dart gun, electronic stun gun, gravity knife, switchblade knife, pilum ballistic knife, metal knuckle knife, [or certain other itemized types of ‘per se’ weapons].” See New York Penal Law (“P.L.”) §265.01(1) (emphasis added).
The Penal Law defines a “gravity knife” as “any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever or other device.” See P.L. §265.00(5).
This offense is a “Class A” misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail; or, if the person has previously been convicted of any type of criminal offense, it is a “Class D” felony punishable by up to a maximum of 7 years in prison. See P.L. §265.01(1); P.L. §265.02(1).
There is an exemption for licensed possession of a “gravity knife” in connection with hunting, trapping and fishing activities. See P.L. §265.20(6). Law enforcement authorities may, alternatively, enforce a different subdivision of the offense of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, which makes it unlawful to possess any dangerous knife “with intent to use [it] unlawfully against another.” See P.L. §265.01(2).