Updated 7/18/2008 10/27/2005 3/15/06
New York - Penal Law Section 265.01. A person is guilty of
criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree when:
(1) He possesses any firearm, electronic dart gun, electronic stun
gun, gravity knife, switchblade knife, pilum ballistic knife, metal
knuckle knife, cane sword, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, metal knuckles,
chuka stick, sand bag, sandclub, wrist-brace type slingshot or
slungshot, shirken or "Kung Fu star"; or
(2) He possesses any dagger, dangerous knife, dirk, razor, stiletto,
imitation pistol, or any other dangerous or deadly instrument or weapon
with intent to use the same unlawfully against another; or
(5) He possesses any dangerous or deadly weapon and is not a
citizen of the United States...
Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree is a class A
- Section 265.00 Definitions...
4. "Switchblade knife" means any knife
which has a blade which opens automatically by hand
pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in
the handle of the knife.
5. "Gravity knife" means any
knife has blade which is released from the handle or
sheath thereof by the force of gravity of the application
of centrifugal force which, when released, is locked in
place by means of a button, spring, lever, or other
device. [Note: In NYC, and potentially in other NY
jurisdictions, this definition is construed to apply to
ANY folding knife with a blade that locks open. ]
5-a. "Pilum ballistic knife" means any knife which
has a blade which can be projected from the handle by hand
pressure applied to a button, lever, spring or other
device in the handle of the knife.
5-b. "Metal knuckle knife"
means a weapon that, when closed, cannot function as a set of
metal knuckles, nor as a knife and when open, can function as
both a set of metal knuckles as well as a knife.
- 265.04. It shall be unlawful for any person under the age
of sixteen to possess any... dangerous knife... A person
who violates the provisions of this section shall be
adjudged a juvenile delinquent. [Found unconstitutionally
vague by Superior Court, 1982; finding reversed by Court
of Appeals, 1983]
- Section 265.10... 1. Any person who manufactures or causes
to be manufactured... any switchblade knife, gravity
knife, pilum ballistic knife... is guilty of a class A
misdemeanor... 4. Any person who disposes of any of
the weapons, instruments or appliances specified in
subdivision one of section 265.01, except a firearm, is
guilty of a class A misdemeanor, and he is guilty of a
class D felony if he has been previously convicted of any
- Section 265.15 Presumption of possession, unlawful intent,
and defacement... 2. The presence
in any stolen vehicle of any weapon... specified in
sections 265.01... is presumptive evidence of its
possession by all persons occupying such vehicle... 3. The
presence in an automobile, other than a stolen one or a
public omnibus, of any firearm... gravity knife,
switchblade knife... is presumptive evidence of its
possession by all persons occupying such vehicle...
except... (a) if such weapon... is found upon the person
of one of the occupants therein; b) is such weapon... is
found in an automobile which is being operated for hire by
a duly licensed driver... then such presumption shall not
apply to the driver...
4... The possession by any person of any dagger, dirk,
stiletto, dangerous knife or any other weapon, instrument,
appliance or substance designed, made or adapted for use
primarily as a weapon, is presumptive evidence of intent
to use the same unlawfully against another.
S 265.20 Exemptions.
a. Sections 265.01, 265.02, 265.03, 265.04, 265.05, 265.10, 265.11,
265.12, 265.13, 265.15 and 270.05 shall not apply to:
1. Possession of any of the weapons, instruments, appliances or
substances specified in sections 265.01, 265.02, 265.03, 265.04, 265.05
and 270.05 by the following:
(a) Persons in the military service of the state of New York when duly
authorized by regulations issued by the adjutant general to possess the
(b) Police officers as defined in subdivision thirty-four of section
1.20 of the criminal procedure law.
(c) Peace officers as defined by section 2.10 of the criminal
(d) Persons in the military or other service of the United States, in
pursuit of official duty or when duly authorized by federal law,
regulation or order to possess the same.
(e) Persons employed in fulfilling defense contracts with the
government of the United States or agencies thereof when possession of
the same is necessary for manufacture, transport, installation and
testing under the requirements of such contract.
(f) A person voluntarily surrendering such weapon, instrument,
appliance or substance, provided that such surrender shall be made to
the superintendent of the division of state police or a member thereof
designated by such superintendent, or to the sheriff of the county in
which such person resides, or in the county of Nassau or in the towns of
Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip and Smithtown in the county of
Suffolk to the commissioner of police or a member of the police
department thereof designated by such commissioner, or if such person
resides in a city, town other than one named in this subparagraph, or
village to the police commissioner or head of the police force or
department thereof or to a member of the force or department designated
by such commissioner or head; and provided, further, that the same shall
be surrendered by such person in accordance with such terms and
conditions as may be established by such superintendent, sheriff, police
force or department. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as
granting immunity from prosecution for any crime or offense except that
of unlawful possession of such weapons, instruments, appliances or
substances surrendered as herein provided. A person who possesses any
such weapon, instrument, appliance or substance as an executor or
administrator or any other lawful possessor of such property of a
decedent may continue to possess such property for a period not over
fifteen days. If such property is not lawfully disposed of within such
period the possessor shall deliver it to an appropriate official
described in this paragraph or such property may be delivered to the
superintendent of state police. Such officer shall hold it and shall
thereafter deliver it on the written request of such executor,
administrator or other lawful possessor of such property to a named
person, provided such named person is licensed to or is otherwise
lawfully permitted to possess the same. If no request to deliver the
property is received by such official within two years of the delivery
of such property, such official shall dispose of it in accordance with
the provisions of section 400.05 of this chapter.
2. Possession of a machine-gun, large capacity ammunition feeding
device, firearm, switchblade knife, gravity knife, pilum ballistic
knife, billy or blackjack by a warden, superintendent, headkeeper or
deputy of a state prison, penitentiary, workhouse, county jail or other
institution for the detention of persons convicted or accused of crime
or detained as witnesses in criminal cases, in pursuit of official duty
or when duly authorized by regulation or order to possess the same...
6. Possession of a switchblade or gravity knife for use while hunting,
trapping or fishing by a person carrying a valid license issued to him
pursuant to section 11-0713 of the environmental conservation law...
8. The manufacturer of machine-guns, assault weapons, large capacity
ammunition feeding devices, disguised guns, pilum ballistic knives,
switchblade or gravity knives, billies or blackjacks as merchandise and
the disposal and shipment thereof direct to a regularly constituted or
appointed state or municipal police department, sheriff, policeman or
other peace officer, or to a state prison, penitentiary, workhouse,
county jail or other institution for the detention of persons convicted
or accused of crime or held as witnesses in criminal cases, or to the
military service of this state or of the United States...
¤ 399-qq. Sale or promotional distribution of utility knives, box
cutters, or box cart cutters. 1. No person, firm, or corporation shall
sell or offer to sell or give away as either a retail or wholesale
promotion a utility knife, box cutter, or box cart cutter to any person
under eighteen years of age.
2. For purposes of this section, the term "utility knife", "box
cutter", or "box cart cutter" means a knife consisting of a razor blade,
retractable or non-retractable, attached to or contained within a
plastic or metal housing.
3. The provisions of this section shall not preclude the temporary
transfer of a utility knife, box cutter, or box cart cutter to a person
under eighteen years of age by such person's employer where such device
is possessed only on the employer's premises and only during the course
and scope of such person's employment.
4. No provision of this section shall be deemed to restrict the
authority of any county, city, town or village to enact and enforce
additional local laws, ordinances or codes, or portions thereof,
provided the provisions thereof are not inconsistent with the provisions
of this section.
5. Any person, firm, or corporation who violates the provisions of
this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than five
¤ 216-c. Special provisions for cutlery and knife museums that exhibit
automatic knives. 1. For the purposes of this section:
a. "automatic knife" has the meaning defined therefor in subdivision
five-c of section 265.00 of the penal law.
b. "cutlery and knife museum" means either: (i) a cutlery and knife
museum or institution that is located in Orange, Sullivan, or Ulster
county which is devoted to the public exhibition, display, or
demonstration of cutlery and knives, including an automatic knife
collection, and is incorporated for the promotion of art, education,
history, and science, or for preserving the cultural significance of the
manufacture of knives and cutlery in the Hudson valley and throughout
the United States, or (ii) any other museum or institution, which is not
located in a city having a population of one million or more, that is
incorporated for the promotion of art, education, history, and science
and which offers for public display or exhibition an automatic knife
2. A cutlery and knife museum that wishes to exhibit, show, or
display, in whole or in part, an automatic knife collection may be
chartered, established, or otherwise permitted to operate and conduct
its business pursuant to the provisions of this section and section two
hundred sixteen of this part. Any such museum shall also be subject to
the other sections of this part applicable to museums or institutions;
provided that this section shall supersede any inconsistent provision of
any other section of this part applicable to museums or institutions,
except section two hundred sixteen of this part.
3. All applicants for a cutlery and knife museum subject to the
provisions of this section, who plan to exhibit, show, or display
automatic knives, shall be fingerprinted. Any other person thereafter
seeking to become a director, officer, employee, or agent of such museum
shall be fingerprinted. Such fingerprints shall be submitted to the
division of criminal justice services for a state criminal history
record check, as defined in subdivision one of section three thousand
thirty-five of this chapter, and may be submitted to the federal bureau
of investigation for a national criminal history record check.
4. Every museum that contains, displays, exhibits or demonstrates
cutlery, knives and/or automatic knives that are unlawful to possess in
this state shall implement and submit for approval a security plan for
securing such cutlery, knives and automatic knives to the division of
state police or police department or sheriff's office having
jurisdiction over the museum. The security plan will detail specific
measures that would be used to prevent the unlawful use of such items.
The division of state police or police department or sheriff's office
having jurisdiction over the museum shall review the plan and certify
whether it meets statutory requirements. Such plan must satisfy at least
the following requirements:
a. The building in which all cutlery, knife and automatic knife
collections are housed shall be secured against unauthorized entry,
using heavy duty locks and doors that are resistant to damage, and
windows shall be resistant to breakage.
b. The display and exhibition cases shall be securely locked at all
times except when removing a single cutlery, knife or automatic knife
item to be placed in storage or on display; and
c. When not displayed, all cutlery, knives and automatic knives shall
be secured in a locked fireproof safe or vault on the premises or in a
similar secured and locked area.
5. All cutlery and knife museums subject to the provisions of this
section that wish to ship or loan cutlery, knives or automatic knives to
other licensed museums shall notify in writing and obtain approval from
the division of state police. Additionally, any museum that does not
contain, display, exhibit or demonstrate cutlery, knives or automatic
knives that are unlawful to possess prior to the effective date of this
section shall implement and submit for approval a security plan pursuant
to subdivision four of this section prior to obtaining such items.
6. No cutlery and knife museum, subject to the provisions of this
section, may introduce automatic knives into its premises until the
division of state police or police department or sheriff's office having
jurisdiction over the museum has inspected the equipment and building
features specified in subdivisions four and five of this section and
certified in writing that all of them are in compliance with their
7. All cutlery and knife museums, subject to the provisions of this
section, shall be allowed to possess, own, collect, accept, and purchase
automatic knives to further their activities to promote art, education,
history, and science, and for the preservation of the cultural
significance of the manufacture of cutlery and knives in New York state.
New York Case Law:
- Knife... was not a "gravity knife"... even though blade of
knife could be released from its sheath by flick of the
wrist; in order to lock blade of knife in open position,
two additional steps were required... (1989).
- Butterfly or "Balisong" knife, a folding knife with a split
handle, did not have blade released by force of gravity or
application of centrifugal force, and did not constitute a
"gravity knife"... (1987).
- "A bayonet was within class of weapons designated as 'any
other dangerous or deadly instrument or weapon'.... (1937)
- "Under rule of ejusdem generis [of the same kind]... an ice
pick was a 'dangerous weapon'... (1948)
- "Evidence that defendant wielded butcher knife in presence
of others was sufficient to support charge..." (1987)
- "...possession of knife 15 to 18 inches long was legally
sufficient to establish prima facie case of carrying
dangerous weapon as felony..." (1963)
- "Accused's possession of knife in case attached to his
belt, with long handle protruding and case sheathing blade
concealed inside accused's trousers, did not constitute
violation... absent evidence of design on accused's part
to use the knife unlawfully." (1974)
- "That parolee was found in possession of straight razor
could not, without more, establish his possession of
dangerous instrument or deadly weapon..." (1981)
- "The possession of a razor by a barber for use in his
trade, even if it was on his person, was not within...
this section." (1914)
- "Paint brush found in possession of a housepainter while on
his way home from work was not the kind of instrument
covered by... this section, prohibiting the carrying of a
dangerous weapon." (1962)
NEW YORK CITY LAWS:
Courtesy: Alex Boriqua 11/23/1999
Office of the Queens District Attorney of Queens County
Queens criminal Courts Building
125-01 Queens Blvd.
Kew Gardens NY 11415
As per your request the law strictly prohibits a person from
carrying any type of knife with a blade of 4" or over (Four) in
length. Enclosed is a copy (highlighted) of the statute.
Signed: Mary A. Moris A.D.A
Chap. 1 Public Safety 10-133
Historical Note: Formerly 436-5.1
10-133 Possession of knives or instruments.
A. Legislative findings. It is hereby declared and found that possession in public places, streets and parks of the city, of large knives is a menace to the public health, peace, safety and welfare of the people of the city; that the possession in public places, streets and parks of such knives has resulted in the commission of many homicides, robberies, maimings and assaults of and upon the people of the city; that this condition encourages and fosters the commission of crimes and contributes to juvenile delinquency, youth crime and gangsterism; that unless the possession or carrying in public places, streets and parks of the city of such knives without a lawful purpose is prohibited, there is danger of an increase in crimes of violence and other conditions detrimental to public peace, safety and welfare. It is further declared and found that the wearing or carrying of knives in open view in public places while such knives are not being used for a lawful purpose is unnecessary and threatening to the public and should be prohibited.
B. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry on his or her person or have in such person's possession, in any public place, street or park any knife which has a blade length of four inches or more.
C. It shall be unlawful for any person in a public place, street or park to wear outside of his or her clothing or carry in open view any knife with an exposed or unexposed blade unless such person is actually using suck knife for a lawful purpose as set forth in subdivision d of this section.
D. The provisions of subdivisions b and c of this sections shall not apply to (1) persons in the military service on the state of New York when duly authorized to carry or display knives pursuant to regulations issued by the chief of stall to the governor; (2) police officers and peace officers as defined in the criminal procedure law; (3) participants in special events when authorized by the police commissioner (4) persons on the military or other service of the United States, in pursuit of official duty authorized by federal law; or (5) any person displaying or in possession of a knife otherwise in violation of this section when such a knife (a) is being used for or transported immediately to or from a place where it is used for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, picnicking or any employment, trade or occupation customarily requiring the use of such knife; or (b) is displayed or carried by a member of a theatrical group, drill team, military or para military unit or veterans organization, to from or during a meeting, parade or other performance or practice for such event, which customarily requires the carrying of suck knife or (c) is being transported directly to or from a place of purchase in such a manner as not to allow easy access to such knife while it is transported; or (d) is displayed or carried by a duly enrolled member of the Boy or Girl scouts of America or similar organization or society and such display or possession is necessary to participate in the activities of such organization or society.
E. Violation of this section shall be an offense punishable by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars or by imprisonment not exceeding fifteen days or by both such fine and imprisonment.
This section promotes a legitimate governmental objective and is not unconstitutionally vague or an improper exercise of the city's police power.------ People v Ortiz 125 Misc. 2d 318 
10-134 Prohibition on sale of certain knives
A. Legislative findings. It is hereby declared and found that the possession on public places, streets and parks of the city of folding knives which lock upon opening, is a menace to the public health, peace, safety and welfare of the people of the city; that the possession in public places, streets and parks of such knives has resulted in the commission of many homicides, robberies, maimings and assaults of and upon the people of the city, that this condition encourages and fosters the commission of crimes, and contributes to juvenile delinquency, youth crime and gangsterism; that is this situation is not addressed, then there is a danger of an increase in crimes of violence and other conditions detrimental to public peace, safety and welfare. It has been found that folding knives with a blade of four (4) inches or more that locks in an open position are designed and used almost exclusively for the purpose of stabbing or threat thereof. Therefore for the safety of the city, such weapons should be prohibited from sale within the jurisdiction of the city of New York.
B. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale within the jurisdiction of the city of New York any folding knife with a blade length of four or more inches which is so constructed that when it is opened it is locked in an open position and cannot be closed without depressing or moving a release mechanism.
C. Exempt from this section are imported and exporters or merchants who ship or receive locking folding knives, with a blade length of four or more inches, in bulk, which knives are scheduled to travel or have traveled in the course of international, interstate, or intrastate commerce to a point outside the city. Such bulk shipments shall remain in their original shipping package, unopened, except for inspection and possible subdivision for further movement in interstate or intrastate commerce to a point outside the city.
D. Violation of this section shall be an offense punishable by a fine of not more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) or by imprisonment not exceeding sixteen days (16) or both such fine and imprisonment. Any person violating this section shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollar for each violation.