New York City’s Knife Law and Historical Reenactment

In a couple of recent discussions as part of our local NYC chapter of the SCA, folks have expressed concern about running afoul of the city’s notoriously-strict knife law.

Obviously that law was written to deal with people being menaced or attacked on the street, rather than to crack down on our local fencing practice, but it’s reasonable to wonder whether a well-intentioned historical re-creationist might get caught in the same net.

Should anyone find themselves challenged by police while at or in transit to an event or local practice, they might find it useful to know that New York City’s Administrative Code 10-133, which is the law limiting knives in public places, has several exceptions, including paragraph D.6.B. which allows possession and display of knives in public places “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 such knife.”

(Should you find yourself needing to cite this regulation to a city cop, I would strongly suggest discussing the SCA in the context of a “theatrical group” rather than as a “para-military unit.”)

For the record: I am not a lawyer, and other people might interpret this law differently — and it’s also worth noting that even if you are in technical compliance with the letter of the law, you might find yourself hassled by the police if they think you look suspicious, so please do exercise a reasonable level of caution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *