State legislators are hoping to make it harder for New Yorkers to acquire machetes, after a tourist was slashed in an unprovoked attack in Bryant Park on Tuesday.
“It is disturbing,” state Senator Tony Avella told the Post following the attack. “They are deadly weapons."
Machetes are defined as a sort of ax-knife hybrid, with a weighted upper blade used for chopping. They're often employed as agricultural tools, but can, of course, be readily weaponized in the wrong hands. Frederick Young, the 43-year-old homeless man accused of committing the slashing, had 23 previous arrests. He has undergone a psychiatric evaluation, but refused to be finger printed, which has delayed his arraignment hearing.
Avella introduced legislation in February to add the blades to the state's list of deadly weapons. "This oversight is surprising given the common knowledge that machetes have often been used as weapons and are actually defined as such in Webster's dictionary - "Machete - a large heavy knife used for cutting sugarcane and underbrush and as a weapon," the bill's text says.
“The fact that anyone can easily purchase this potentially lethal tool is just crazy,” Avella told the Daily News at the time. Smaller knives like switchblades and gravity knives are already illegal, but machetes are considered equivalent to butcher knives and can be easily acquired online.
The legislation passed the Senate in June, and is currently awaiting review by the Assembly.
Last week, police arrested 29-year-old Joel Estevez after he used a machete to hack at another man's car during a road rage incident in the Holland Tunnel.