Monday, May 19, 2014

From Knife Rights On Their NYC Case Appeal

Knife Rights has appealed their case challenging New York City's knife laws for their vagueness to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. US District Court Judge Katherine Forrest had ruled against them saying that they hadn't specified the knives in question and thus didn't have standing to sue. Given that the whole point of the lawsuit was the very vagueness of what was or wasn't a "gravity knife", this ruling was more than a bit absurd.

From Knife Rights including a link to their appeal:
Last week, Knife Rights filed an appeal of a U.S. District Court's absurd ruling in its ongoing Federal Civil Rights lawsuit against New York City and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. The 62-page legal brief can be viewed at:

The lawsuit challenges the City's practice of treating common folding knives as prohibited "gravity knives," then arresting and prosecuting law-abiding knife owners and intimidating retailers into paying large cash "sanctions" to avoid prosecution. Under the City's vague and subjective approach, it is impossible to know whether any particular knife will be treated as legal or prohibited.

Last Fall, U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled that the case could not proceed because Knife Rights and three other plaintiffs (who were falsely arrested or threatened with arrest for possessing common folding knives) did not identify specific knives being wrongly classified in their complaint, and therefore lacked standing to sue. Requiring identification of specific prohibited knives, in a case about the inability to know what is prohibited or permitted, turns the very idea of this lawsuit on its head.

Judge Forrest then added insult to injury by refusing a request to let Knife Rights amend the complaint to attempt to comply with her requirement that specific knives be identified. Briefing on the appeal will continue for several months.

UPDATE: Second Amendment scholar and attorney David Kopel has a good write-up on the case in the Volokh Conspiracy. You can read it here.

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