In Copeland v. Vance (2d Cir. 6/22/2018) (Katzmann, C.J.) (3-0), a unanimous panel of the Second Circuit upheld New York’s ban on gravity knives—and the “wrist flick” test to determine whether a knife falls under the statute—against a facial challenge.
Plaintiffs claimed that New York’s gravity knife statute, Penal Law §§ 265.01(1) and 265.00(5), was void for vagueness because “ordinary people cannot reliably identify legal knives.” The statute defines a gravity knife as “any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever or other device.”
Initially, the court had to decide whether the plaintiffs had brought an “as-applied” or “facial” challenge, since that would determine the test to be applied. Continue reading