Arrested, Rights

Knife laws in New York are fairly tough, banning all knives that are "gravity assisted." Essentially, this is an extension of the laws that banned switchblades when they were showing up in a lot of criminal activity. A gravity-assisted knife is a blade that can be flipped open, on a folding knife, if the owner flicks his or her wrist.

Ignorance of the Laws

However, some claim that these laws are outdated and that many people are arrested without knowing that they're breaking any laws. These individuals could include carpenters and other workers who simply view their knives as tools. Much of the time, even if a police officer could flick the knife open easily, the workers who are carrying them don't know such a thing is possible. They just like folding knives because they are safe and easy to carry in a pocket on the job site.

Thousands of Arrests

Each year, this law leads to thousands of arrests. It's been in place since 1958, so tens of thousands of people have been arrested over the decades. While it could be argued that some may have had a criminal reason to carry the knives, it's safe to say that many people just didn't know that knives that are legal in many other parts of the country had been banned in New York.

It is tough to get exact numbers, but estimates can be found by looking at overall trends and stats. The Legal Aid Society studied weapons violations for six months and found that over 66 percent -- two thirds -- of those picked up under the knife ban law were carrying gravity knives. The statistics also show that there were 70,000 total arrests between 2000 and 2012. This means that roughly 46,200 people were arrested for carrying folding gravity knives.

Tools, Weapons, and Your Rights

Knives are common tools used by construction workers, roofers, landscapers and many other professionals on a daily basis. As has been shown, many of these people could be running the risk of being arrested simply for being ignorant of a knife law that is over 50 years old. If they are, these individuals must know all of their legal rights.