§ 265.00 Definitions.
As used in this article and in article four hundred, the following
terms shall mean and include:
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 which has a blade which is released
from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the appli-
cation of centrifugal force which, when released, is locked in place by
means of a button, spring, lever or other device.
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.
6. "Dispose of" means to dispose of, give, give away, lease-loan, keep
for sale, offer, offer for sale, sell, transfer and otherwise dispose
13. "Cane Sword" means a cane or swagger stick having concealed within
it a blade that may be used as a sword or stilletto.
15-b. "Kung Fu star" means a disc-like object with sharpened points on
the circumference thereof and is designed for use primarily as a weapon
to be thrown.
§ 265.01 Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth
A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth
(1) He possesses any ... gravity knife, switchblade knife, pilum
ballistic knife, metal knuckle knife, cane sword, ... 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
Note: using circular reasoning, subsequent law PL 265.15(4) dictates that simple possession constitutes presumptive evidence that the possessor intends to use the instrument unlawfully against another.
(5) He possesses any dangerous or deadly weapon and is not a citizen
of the United States; or
Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree is a class A
§ 265.05 Unlawful possession of weapons by persons under
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.
* § 265.10 Manufacture, transport, disposition and defacement
and dangerous instruments and appliances.
1. ... Any person who manufactures
or causes to be manufactured any switchblade knife, gravity knife, pilum
ballistic knife, metal knuckle knife, ... Kung Fu star, ... is
guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
2. ... Any person who transports or
ships as merchandise any ... switch-blade knife, gravity knife, pilum
ballistic knife, ... Kung Fu star, ... 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 previously been convicted of any crime.
5. Any person who disposes of any of the weapons, instruments, appli-
ances or substances specified in section 265.05 to any other person
under the age of sixteen years is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
§ 265.15 Presumptions of possession, unlawful intent
2. The presence in any stolen vehicle of any weapon, instrument,
appliance or substance specified in sections 265.01, 265.02, 265.03,
265.04 and 265.05 is presumptive evidence of its possession by all
persons occupying such vehicle at the time such weapon, instrument,
appliance or substance is found.
3. The presence in an automobile, other than a stolen one or a
public omnibus, of any ... gravity knife, switchblade knife, pilum
ballistic knife, metal knuckle knife, dagger, dirk, stiletto, ... is
presumptive evidence of its possession by all persons occupying such automobile
at the time such weapon, instrument or appliance is found, except under
the following circumstances: (a) if such weapon, instrument or appliance
is found upon the person of one of the occupants therein; (b) if such
weapon, instrument or appliance is found in an automobile which is being
operated for hire by a duly licensed driver in the due, lawful and prop-
er pursuit of his or her trade, 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, appli-
ance or substance designed, made or adapted for use primarily as a weap-
on, is presumptive evidence of intent to use the same unlawfully against
§ 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:
(f) A person voluntarily surrendering such weapon, instrument, appli-
ance 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 depart-
ment 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 there-
of or to a member of the force or department designated by such commis-
sioner or head; and provided, further, that the same shall be surren-
dered by such person in accordance with such terms and conditions as may
be established by such superintendent, sheriff, police force or depart-
ment. 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 writ-
ten 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.
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.
Note: while it is legal to possess such knives under these conditions, there is no legal way to obtain them.
§ 265.25 Certain wounds to be reported.
Every case ... of a wound which is likely to or may result in death and is
actually or apparently inflicted by a knife, icepick or other sharp or
pointed instrument, shall be reported at once to the police authorities
of the city, town or village where the person reporting is located by:
(a) the physician attending or treating the case; or (b) the manager,
superintendent or other person in charge, whenever such case is treated
in a hospital, sanitarium or other institution. Failure to make such
report is a class A misdemeanor. ...
Matter of Jamie D., 59 NY2d 589 (1983). Whether a "knife" is
a "dangerous" knife may be determined on the basis of three alternative
considerations: one, its own characteristics which show that it is primarily
intended for use as a weapon; second, a modification, which converts what
would otherwise be a utensil into a weapon; and third, the circumstances
of the possession which may reveal that the possessor considers it a weapon
and not a utilitarian tool.
- Gun Control in New York: New York's Firearms and Weapons Laws, Lee O. Thomas and Jeffrey Chamberlain
There is no limit on knife length in New York State. (Regardless of what anyone has told you, there is simply no law addressing knife length.)
New York City has additional restrictions on knives, including a prohibition on any knife with a blade 4" or longer. For all practical purposes, weapons are completely forbidden in New York City, despite assurances of rights in NY Civil Rights law and the US Constitution.
Rochester declares: § 47-5(C) No person shall possess a ... dagger, dangerous knife, dirk, razor or stiletto in a public place or public facility in the City. ...
"Butterfly knives", aka "balisongs", may have been ruled to not be "gravity knives" in a court case. I do not have the case reference at this moment; I do recall reading it, and that it reversed another case ruling that they are "gravity knives"; I cannot guarantee that the favorable case was not in turn reversed. If you do carry a butterfly knife, use both hands to open it sans centrifigal force lest someone confuse it with a gravity knife and inflict law 265.01(1) upon you.
NY law is available on-line at http://LEGINFO.STATE.NY.US:82/INDEX1.html - go read it for yourself. Most of what people tell each other about laws are wrong or misguided.