Cuts Like A Knife

[QUOTE=LI_Domer;189200]As a lifelong New Yorker, I’ve never felt any fear of legal action for carrying a pocket knife. Keep it out of sight, and don’t have something particularly exotic. It’s that simple. At SUNY, which is within the border of the City of NY, we were even issued knives and required to have them with us at all times because it’s good seamanship and you never know when you might need one. As long as it stays out of sight, and you’re not doing anything illegal, there’s no reason for you to get searched and questioned about it.[/QUOTE]

It’s good to hear you’ve never had any problems, but on campus you would not be considered to be in a public place, therefore the rules of the institution would apply. Walk out of the gate onto Pennyfield Ave. and it’s another matter. Same thing with walking out of the gate of a tug yard on Richmond Terrace or over in Red Hook.

You are dead on about keeping it completely out of sight. As long as an otherwise-legal knife with a blade length of not more than 4" can’t be seen at all then you generally can walk around in public with them. That’s why using the pocket clips that are standard on most folders is a bad idea, as the police were looking specifically for them. Even with the knife clipped so that the knife is inside the pocket, the tiny visible portion of the handle that protrudes beyond the attachment point of the clip is enough for an arrest, especially after they pull the it’s-a-gravity-knife bullshit. If the governor signs the new bill passed by the legislature, which explicitly exempts folding knives with a “bias towards closure” because of the spring tension that normally keeps the blade closed, these arrests should theoretically stop.

As for there being no reason to search you as long as you’re not doing anything illegal, you may have missed all the controversy about the widespread and long-standing NYPD practice known as [B]stop-and-frisk[/B], which was often applied with what might accurately be described as a serious lack of restraint and poor use of discretion. This has apparently been scaled back a great deal lately, but that, too, can always change.

Something else to consider is the difference between the laws as-written and the laws as-enforced. About 4 years ago, knowing the law but wanting to do a test of its practical application, I randomly approached and asked a foot patrolman in Lower Manhattan what the largest legal blade length for public carry was, mentioning that I was looking at purchasing a Leatherman multi-tool. Friendly enough in demeanor, he held up his left hand with all of the fingers but the thumb extended and said “Four fingers, and Leatherman’s are fine.” Not 4 inches, but 4 fingers. As it happens, I am a fairly large human and so are my hands. Using that completely erroneous measurement standard the maximum blade length by my hand would be 3.5 inches, and my hands were larger than those of the police officer. Since it is usually patrol officers that the public directly interfaces with, it’s problematic when they are ignorant, in whole or in part, of the very laws they are tasked with enforcing.

The primary point being that wherever you are, know the law and know your rights.