State Knife Laws By State – How to Stay Legal

By on February 26, 2014
state-knife-laws-by-state

Few items are more key to survival than a good knife. But as many of you well-educated preppers know, a knife has the potential to go above and beyond it’s traditional, expected purpose. From breaking glass to starting fires, your knife could be your best friend in a survival situation.

With so many different kinds of knives, it’s important to keep track of the laws surrounding knives in your state or in states where you’ll be traveling. Here’s a list to keep you educated and out of trouble no matter where you travel in the 50 states.


Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

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All State Knife Laws – Interactive Map with Knife Laws by State:

Find more detailed information here, including an interactive map:

texas-knife-laws-state-knife-laws-by-state

US Knife Laws- State Knife Laws by State

1. Alabama Knife Laws

What is Legal

Alabama has one of the best knife laws in the US.If you don’t like legal speak, here is the basics of what are legal under Alabama knife laws.

  • Balisongs/butterfly knives are legal.
  • Switchblades, gravity knives, automatic and assisted opening knives are legal.
  • Stilettos, dirks, and toothpick knives are legal.
  • All folding knives are legal.
  • Bowies are legal if carried open (like on your hip).
  • Bowies are legal to carry concealed if you are on your own property.
  • Double sided knives are legal, no  matter the size.
  • If the knife fits in your pocket, it is legal.
  • Out the front knives are legal.

What is Illegal

Here are notes on what kinds of knives are illegal under Alabama knife laws.

  • Bowies and things that are like Bowies are illegal if concealed.
  • Bowies are illegal to have in your vehicle.
  • A machete might be classified as a Bowie and it would be illegal if you carry it concealed.
  • A 11″ butcher knife has be found to be like a Bowie in court so don’t plan on using it in a crime.
  • Selling Bowies to people under 18 is illegal.

2. Alaska Knife Laws

What is Legal/Illegal in Alaska

  • Pocket knives are legal.
  • Balisongs are in a legal gray area.
  • Stilettos and dirks are in a legal gray area.
  • Out the front knives are in a legal gray area.
  • Bowie knives are in a legal gray area.
  • Large knives are in a legal gray area.
  • Gravity knives are illegal.
  • Switchblades are illegal.

Above is a brief review of Alaska knife law. The law specifically states that pocketknives are legal to both own and conceal carry. It also states that gravity knives and switchblades are illegal to own. Other types of knives are not outright banned, but may fall under the “deadly weapons” or “dangerous instrument” category. Alaska’s definition of a deadly weapon is a bit vague and depends a lot on court precedence as well as how crafty your lawyer is. For instance in Liddicoat v. State, the Court held that a steak knife was a deadly weapon. It’s definition of a dangerous instrument is not much clearer, and much of the law rests on Court decisions, not the statutes.

3. Arizona Knife Laws

What is Legal/Illegal in Arizona

  • Pocket knives are legal.
  • Balisong knives are legal.
  • Switchblades, gravity knives, Bowie knives, and stilettos are legal.
  • Knives of any length are legal.
  • It is legal for anyone over 21 to carry knives concealed.
  • It is illegal to not inform a police officer when they stop you that you are carrying a concealed knife when the knife is not a pocket knife.
  • It is illegal for someone under 21 years of age to carry a non-pocket knife concealed.
  • It is illegal to bring a knife into schools.

Outside of what is listed above, it is illegal to use a knife to commit a behavior that is already illegal. What this means is that it is illegal to rob a bank with a knife and you will be penalized more severely than if you robbed a bank without a weapon.

4. Arkansas Knife Laws

What are Legal Knives Under Arkansas Knife Law

  • Balisongs are legal.
  • Switchblades, automatic knives, gravity knives, and similar knives are legal.
  • Dinks, stilettos, and other stabbing knives are legal.
  • Bowies and other large knives are legal.
  • Knives of all sizes are legal.

Basically, if it has a blade, it is legal.

5. California Knife Laws

Legal Knives in California

  • Bowie knives are legal.
  • Large knives are legal (no restrictions in size).
  • Carrying knives in the open is legal in California.
  • Carrying knives concealed is legal in California for most knives.

Illegal Knives under California Knife Law

  • Misleading knives are illegal. These include: cane knives (and shobi-zues), lipstick knives, belt knives, pen knives, air gauge knives, and pen knives.
  • All undetectable knives are illegal. These include knives that won’t set off metal detectors.
  • Dirks, daggers, and stilettos are illegal.
  • Ballistic knives are illegal.

What the law is trying to get at are knives usually used by criminals to commit crimes. These are knives that don’t look like knives or don’t have a use as a tool. For example, you can’t do much with a dagger besides stab things.

6. Colorado Knife Laws

These knives are legal to own:

  • Dirks, daggers, push knives and stilettos are legal.
  • Bowie knives and other large blades are legal.
  • Disguised knives like belt knives, pen knives, cane knives, and lipstick knives are legal.
  • Balisong/buterfly knives are in a legal gray area.
  • Ballistic knives are illegal.
  • Gravity knives and switchblades are illegal.

These knives are illegal to carry concealed:

  • All knives less than 3.5 inches are legal.
  • All fishing and hunting knives of any length are legal.
  • All knives over 3.5 inches are illegal.

7. Connecticut Knife Laws

All Knives Are Legal to Own:

  • Balisongs, automatic knives, gravity knives, and switchblades are legal to own.
  • Dirks, stilettos, daggers, and push knives are legal to own.
  • Disguised knives like lipstick knives, cane knives, and boot knives are legal to own.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives are legal to own.
  • Basically, any knife is legal to own and have in your home.

Some Knives Can Not be Carried (Open or Concealed):

  • Automatic knives over 1.5 inches are illegal.
  • Switchblades over 1.5 inches are illegal.
  • Stilettos are illegal.
  • Blades longer than 4 inches are illegal.

8. Delaware Knife Laws

Knives that are Banned in Delaware

  • Balisong knives are legal.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
  • Disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, and cane knives are legal.
  • Throwing knives are legal.
  • Stilettos, dinks and daggers are legal.
  • Knives that will not set off metal detectors and have a point tip are illegal.
  • Knives with brass knuckles are illegal.
  • Switchblades and gravity knives are illegal.
  • Throwing stars are illegal.

If a knife does not fall into any of the illegal categories above, it is legal to own.

Limits to Carrying Knives

  • It is legal to carry a 3 inch pocket knife concealed.
  • Other than a 3 inch pocket knife, carrying any other type of knife concealed is illegal.

If the knife is not banned, you can carry it in the open. Only concealed carry is limited. Concealed means close enough by you that you can readily use it while being covered by something. Having a knife in your car counts as being concealed.

9.Florida Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • Balisong knives are legal.
  • Belt knives, cane knives, and other disguised knives are legal.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
  • Throwing stars and throwing knives are legal.
  • Undetectable knives (knives that will not set off metal detectors) are legal.
  • Ballistic knives are illegal.

The law does not limit individuals from owning, selling, or buying any knife except for ballistic knives.

Limits on Carry

  • You can open carry any knife.
  • Box cutters, multi-tools, and other work knives are legal to carry concealed.
  • In most cases, conceal carry of a common pocket knife with a blade of less than 4 inches is legal.
  • Anything outside of this has not been expressly banned or allowed.

10.Georgia Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own in Georgia

  • Balisong knives, often called butterfly knives, are legal.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
  • Throwing stars and throwing knives are legal.
  • Disguised knives such as cane knives, belt knives, and lipstick knives are legal.
  • Push knives, stilettos, switchblades, dirks, and daggers are legal.
  • Spring powered ballistic knives are legal.
  • Knives that are undetectable with a metal detector are legal.

In Georgia, there are no limits on the possession of knives. You can own any knife you want. There are only limits on carry knives.

Limits on Carry

  • It is illegal to carry, open or concealed, a knife that is larger than 5 inches without a permit.
  • For knives greater than 5 inches, you need a weapons permit.

11.Hawaii Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.
  • It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives.
  • It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, and push knives.
  • It is legal to own undetectable knives (knives that won’t set off metal detectors).
  • It is legal to own dirks, daggers, and stilettos.
  • It is illegal to own balisong knives.
  • It is illegal to own switchblades

Only balisongs and switchblades are banned in Hawaii. Any other type of knife is legal.

Limits on Carry

  • You can open carry any knife.
  • You can not conceal carry dirks, daggers and knives similar to that.
  • You can not conceal carry knives with knuckles like some WWI trench knives.
  • You can conceal any other type of knife.

12.Idaho Knife Laws

No Knife Ban

  • Balisong knives are legal.
  • Switchblades, automatic knives, and other quick release knives are legal.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
  • Throwing stars and throwing knives are legal.
  • Stilettos, dirks, and other stabbing knives are legal.
  • Disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, cane knives, and key knives are legal.
  • Spring powered ballistic knives are legal.
  • Pocket knives of any size are legal.

Age Restrictions on Possession

  • Need parental consent to possess a bowie or dirk if under 18.
  • Can not possess a bowie or dirk if under 12 unless your parents are with you.

There is no ban on the possession of any type of knife in Idaho. You can buy and own any knife you want. However, taking it outside of the house is a different situation…

Limits on Carry

  • It is legal to open carry any knife.
  • It is illegal to bring any knife (open or concealed) besides a 2.5″ pocket knife to school.
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any dirk, bowie, or dangerous weapon.
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a knife, even if you have a permit, when intoxicated

13. Illinois Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own in Illinois

  • Balisong knives are legal.
  • Disguised knives like cane knives, belt knives, and lipstick knives are legal.
  • Throwing knives are legal.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
  • Throwing stars are illegal.
  • Ballistic knives are illegal.
  • Switchblades and other automatic knives are illegal.

The state of Illinois only banned the possession of throwing stars, switchblades, ballistic knives, and knives that open with a press of the button.

Limits on Carry

You can carry any knife as long as it is not one of the banned knives listed above and that you do not have the intent to harm someone or break the law. The law goes into more details on this…

14. Indiana Knife Laws

What is Legal

  • Balisong knives are legal.
  • Bowie knive are legal.
  • Dirks, daggers, and stilettos are legal.
  • Assisted knives are legal.
  • Disguised knives like cane knives, lipstick knives, and belt knives are legal.
  • Switchblades and other automatic knives are legal.

What is Illegal

  • Ballistic knives are illegal.
  • Throwing stars are illegal.

Restriction on Carry

There are no limits to concealed or open carry as long as you do not bring a knife to school. The Indiana state code is available for anyone to read online but the excerpts below contains the code as well as an explanation.

15. Iowa Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • Balisong knives are legal.
  • Switchblades and automatic knives are legal.
  • Dirks, daggers, stilettos and other stabbing knives are legal.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
  • Disguised knives like cane knives, belt knives, and lipstick knives are legal.
  • Ballistic knives are illegal.

Only ballistic knives are outlawed in Iowa law.

Limits on Carry

  • It is legal to open carry any knife.
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a switchblade.
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dagger or stiletto.
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a knife whos blade is greater than 5 inches.
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a balisong knife.
  • It is illegal to conceal carry disguised knives like cane swords and lipstick knives.

16. Kansas Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own Bowies and other large knives.
  • It is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other stabbing knives.
  • It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, and cane swords.
  • It is legal to own switchblades and other automatic knives.
  • It is legal to own gravity knives.
  • It is legal to own undetectable knives (knives that will not set off metal detectors).

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal to own ballistic knives.
  • It is illegal to own throwing stars

17. Kentucky Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own ballistic knives.
  • It is legal to own balisong knives.
  • It is legal to own switchblades and other automatic knives.
  • It is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other stabbing knives.
  • It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, and cane knives.
  • It is legal to own undetectable knives (knives that will not set off metal detectors).
  • It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.

There are no banned knife types in Kentucky.

What is Legal to Carry

  • It is legal to open carry any knife.
  • It is legal to conceal carry any ordinary pocket knife or hunting knife.
  • Anything besides a pocket or hunting knife can be considered a deadly weapon and would be banned from concealed carry.

18. Louisiana Knife Laws

What is Legal/Illegal to Own

  • It is legal to own Balisong knives, also called butterfly knives.
  • It is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other slim knives.
  • It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives.
  • It is legal to own undetectable knives–knives that will not set off metal detectors.
  • It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives.
  • It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.
  • It is illegal to own switchblades and other automatic knives.

The only banned knife in Louisiana are switchblades. However, if you are a law enforcement officer, you might be able to get an automatic opening knife because there is an exemption for “rescue knives” in the law.

Limits on Carry

  • Any knife is legal for open or concealed carry as long as it is not a switchblade.

19. Maine Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.
  • It is legal to own dirks, stilettos, daggers, and other slim knives.
  • It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives.
  • It is legal to own disguised knives like cane knives, belt knives, and lipstick knives.
  • It is illegal to own switchblades, automatic knives, and balisong knives.

The only banned types of knives are automatic opening knives. Balisong knives were found to fall under this category.

What is Legal to Carry

  • It is legal to carry any knife in the open.
  • It is illegal to carry daggers, stilettos, and knives designed for harming others.
  • Any knife outside of those 3 are legal to conceal carry.

The law bans the carry of “other dangerous or deadly weapon usually employed in the attack on or defense of a person.” This means that, as long as the knife was not designed to attack other people, it is fine to carry concealed.

20. Maryland Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a balisong knife, also called butterfly knife.
  • it is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other slim knives.
  • It is legal to own switchblades, gravity knives, and automatic knives.
  • It is legal to own ballistic knives.
  • It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives and lipstick knives.
  • It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives.
  • It is legal to own undetectable knives.
  • It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.

There are no limitation on the type of knife you can own in Maryland.

Limits on Carry

  • You can not conceal carry a throwing star, dirk, switchblade, gravity knife, or bowie knife.
  • You can not open carry a throwing star, dirk, switchblade, gravity knife, or bowie knife with the intent to harm someone.
  • You can open or conceal carry any sized pocket knife you wish.

If a knife is not listed above, it is most likely to be legal for concealed or open carry. Read on to see why.

21.Massachusetts Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • Balisong knives, also called butterfly knives, are legal to own.
  • Switchblades and automatic knives are legal to own.
  • Ballistic knives are legal to own.
  • Dirks, daggers, stilettos, and push knives are legal to own.
  • Knives with brass knuckles are legal to own.
  • Disguised knives like cane knives and lipstick knives are legal to own.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives are legal to own.
  • Throwing knives and throwing stars are legal to own.

There is no knife ban in Massachusetts.

Limits on Carry

  • It is illegal to carry, open or concealed, switchblades, dirks, daggers, stilettos, ballistic knife, double edge knives, and knuckle knives.
  • It is illegal to carry anything that is perceived as dangerous while disturbing the peace or being arrested.
  • Folding knives, Swiss army knives, and kitchen knives are legal to carry as long as you do not behave in a way that makes them dangerous.

There are a few more details to the law that can’t be explained in bullet points. Read below for the full explanation.

22. Michigan Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • Butterfly knives, also called balisong knives, are legal.
  • Dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other stabbing knives are legal.
  • Throwing knives and throwing stars are legal.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
  • Hidden knives like belt knives and lipstick knives are legal.
  • Undetectable knives (knives that do not set off metal detectors) are legal.
  • Switchblades, automatic knives, and gravity knives are illegal.

What is Legal to Carry

  • All knives, except for banned ones, are legal for open carry.
  • It is legal to carry a hunting knife concealed.
  • It is illegal to conceal carry dirks, stilettos, daggers, and other stabbing items.
  • On top of this, you can not carry a dangerous weapon with intent to harm.

The law only limits the carry of dirks, stilettos, daggers, and other sharp, double bladed stabbing tools. If a knife can not be used to stab (has no point), it can be carried concealed as long as you do not have intent to harm someone.

23.Minnesota Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • Balisong knives are legal to own.
  • Dirks, stilettos, daggers, and other stabbing knives are legal to own.
  • Disguised knives like lipstick knives are legal to own.
  • Bowie knives are legal to own.
  • Throwing stars and throwing knives are legal to own.
  • All other knives are legal to own.
  • Only switchblades are illegal.

What is Legal to Carry

  • Knives with utility purposes are legal to carry.
  • Knives that can be used as weapons are legal to carry as long as you do not have intent to harm others.
  • It is illegal to recklessly use a knife that was designed to be a weapon.
  • It is illegal to carry a knife that was designed to be a weapon (and not a tool) with the intent to harm others.

Those are the general guidelines, read further to see the full details on what you can and can not own and carry.

24. Mississippi Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own Balisong knives, also called butterfly knives.
  • It is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other slim knives.
  • It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives.
  • It is legal to own undetectable knives–knives that will not set off metal detectors.
  • It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives.
  • It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.
  • It is legal to own switchblades, gravity knives, and automatic knives.

Mississippi does not restrict ownership of any type of knife for those over the age of eighteen, who have not been convicted of a felony.

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal for a minor or a convicted felon to own a bowie knife
  • It is illegal for a minor or a convicted felon to own dirk knife
  • It is illegal for a minor or a convicted felon to own a butcher knife
  • It is illegal for a minor or a convicted felon to own a switchblade

Limits on Carry

  • It is illegal to carry concealed any bowie knife
  • It is illegal to carry concealed any dirk knife
  • It is illegal to carry concealed any butcher knife
  • It is illegal to carry concealed any switchblade or automatic knife
  • You may carry any knife concealed if it is concealed in your vehicle, and not on your person.
  • You may carry any knife concealed if you are participating in a sports activity where such a knife is legitimately used.
  • You can open carry any knife in Mississippi, unless you are a minor or a student on educational property.

25. Missouri Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

What is Illegal to Own

It is a Class C Felony to own a switchblade knife in Missouri, unless the person possessing the switchblade is in compliance with applicable federal law. The federal law, which governs possession of switchblades, is 15 USC Chapter 29. The law allows a person to possess and/or carry a switchblade on or about his person if the blade is less than three inches long and the person has only one arm, or the knife contains a spring or other mechanism designed to create a bias toward closure of the blade.

26. Montana Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other push knife
  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
  • It is legal to own a Bowie knife, or other large knife
  • It is legal to own throwing knives or throwing stars
  • It is legal to own disguised knives such as cane knives and lipstick knives

What is Illegal to Own

A switchblade knife is illegal to own in Montana unless you are a collector who is registered with the Sheriff in the county where your collection is kept.

Limits on Carry

  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dagger
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any knife with a blade four inches long, or longer
  • It is illegal to possess or carry any knife with a four inch blade or longer in a school building
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any weapon while intoxicated
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a weapon into a government office, bank or financial institution, or a place that sells alcohol for onsite consumption
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any “deadly weapon”
  • It is legal to open carry any knife that is legal to own in Montana
  • It is legal to carry any knife that is legal to own in your vehicle, concealed or openly

27. Nebraska Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • Balisong knives are legal to own
  • Bowie knives are legal to own
  • Dirks, daggers, and stilettos are legal to own
  • Ballistic knives are legal to own
  • Disguised knives like cane knives, lipstick knives, and belt knives are legal to own
  • Switchblades and automatic knives are legal to own

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal for a person who has been convicted of a felony to own a knife
  • It is illegal for a person who is a fugitive to own a knife
  • It is illegal for a person subject to a domestic violence protective order to own a knife while knowingly violating such order

28. Nevada Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

What is Illegal to Own

  • any knife which is made an integral part of a belt buckle
  • switchblade knives

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to possess or carry a dirk, dagger, or switchblade on school or childcare facility property or in a vehicle owned by a school or childcare facility
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dagger
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a machete
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any knife which is made an integral part of a belt buckle
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any knife which could be considered a dangerous or deadly weapon
  • It is legal to conceal carry a pocketknife
  • It is legal to open carry any knife that is legal to own

29. New Hampshire Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

In New Hampshire, it is legal to own any type of knife, as long as you have not been convicted of a felony against the person or property of another or of a felony drug related offense. Yes, machetes are legal.

What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal for a person who has been convicted of a felony against the person or property of another or of a felony drug related offense to possess a:

  • Stiletto
  • Dirk or dagger
  • Switchblade knife
  • knife considered to be a deadly weapon

30. New Jersey Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
  • It is legal to own disguised knives like lipstick knives
  • It is legal to own a Bowie knife
  • It is legal to won throwing stars and throwing knives
  • Any weapon for which a person has an explainable lawful purpose for owning

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal to own any weapon, with the purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another
  • It is illegal for a person convicted of certain crimes (see below) to own a gravity knife, switchblade, dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other dangerous knife
  • It is illegal for certain mentally ill people to own a gravity knife, switchblade, dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other dangerous knife
  • It is illegal to own a gravity knife, switchblade, dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other dangerous knife with any explainable lawful purpose

A conviction for aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation, possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of weapon for an unlawful purpose, manufacture or transport of a prohibited weapon, unlawful possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance, or endangering the welfare of a child prevents a person from owning certain types of knives in New Jersey.

31. New Mexico Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

What is Illegal to Own

32. New York Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a hunting knife
  • It is legal to own a dirk or dagger
  • It is legal to own a stiletto

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal to own a pilum ballistic knife
  • It is illegal to own a metal knuckle knife
  • It is illegal to own a cane sword
  • It is illegal to own throwing stars
  • It is illegal to own any knife if you are not a U.S. citizen
  • It is illegal to own any knife adapted for use primarily as a weapon
  • It may be illegal to own a gravity knife, without a valid hunting and/or fishing license
  • It may be illegal to own a switchblade knife, without a valid hunting and/or fishing license

33. North Carolina Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a switchblade
  • It is legal to own a gravity knife
  • It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as in a pen or lipstick

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal to own any spring-loaded projectile knife
  • It is illegal to own a ballistic knife
  • It is illegal to own any weapon of similar character to a projectile or ballistic knife

34. North Dakota Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

It is legal to own any type of knife in North Dakota. North Dakota has no laws making it a crime to own any kind of knife.

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to conceal carry a gravity knife or switchblade
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a machete
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a scimitar, backsword, or sabre
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a stiletto
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a sword
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk or dagger
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any knife with a blade 5 inches or longer
  • It is legal to open carry any type of knife

35. Ohio Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a switchblade or gravity knife
  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife as well as Balisong trainers
  • It is legal to own a ballistic knife
  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a Bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a stiletto

What is Illegal to Own

36. Oklahoma Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a switchblade or gravity knife
  • It is legal to own a sword cane
  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife as well as Balisong trainers
  • It is legal to own a stiletto

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is not illegal to own any kind of knife in Oklahoma.

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry a dagger
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry bowie knife
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry a dirk knife
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry a switchblade knife
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry a spring-type knife
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry a sword cane
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry a knife with a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry any “offensive weapon”

As the no carry law states that it is illegal to carry a weapon, “upon or about” the person, Oklahoma’s no carry law extends to items carried in a vehicle, not just on a person.

37. Oregon Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a Bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a switchblade or other automatic knife
  • It is legal to own a ballistic knife
  • It is legal to own a gravity knife
  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife and Balisong trainer
  • It is legal to own a stiletto

What is Illegal to Own

Oregon law does not restrict the ownership of any type of knife for those who have not been convicted of a felony. As a matter of fact, in 1984 in State v. Delgado, the Supreme Court of Oregon found that former Oregon statute § 166.510(1) was unconstitutional because it prohibited the mere possession and mere carrying of a weapon. The Court believed that restricting the possession and open carrying of weapons for non-felons was a violation of a person’s right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.

38. Pennsylvania Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own Bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
  • It is legal to own a penknife
  • It is legal to own a concealed knife, such as in a lipstick or belt buckle
  • It is legal to own any kind of hunting knife

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal to own a dagger
  • It is illegal to own any automatic knife
  • It is illegal to own a sword cane
  • It is illegal to own any implement for the infliction of bodily injury, which serves no “common lawful purpose”

39. Rhode Island Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a stiletto
  • It is legal to own a sword cane
  • It is legal to own a concealed knife, such as in a belt buckle or lipstick
  • It is legal to own a Bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
  • It is legal to own a switchblade

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is not illegal to own any type of knife in Rhode Island, so long as you do not intend to use it unlawfully against another.

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a stiletto
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a sword cane
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a bowie knife
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any knife with a blade more than 3 inches in length
  • It is legal to open carry any type of knife in Rhode Island

40. South Carolina Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a switchblade
  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly, knife
  • It is legal to own a Bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a stiletto
  • It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as in a lipstick or belt buckle

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is legal to own any type of knife in South Carolina.

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is legal to conceal carry dirk
  • It is legal to conceal carry a switchblade knife
  • It is legal to conceal carry a Balisong, or butterfly knife
  • It is legal to conceal carry a Bowie knife
  • It is legal to conceal carry a stiletto

41. South Dakota Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a switchblade, or any type of automatic knife
  • It is legal to own a ballistic knife
  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
  • It is legal to own a Bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a stiletto
  • It is legal to own a sword cane
  • It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as in a belt buckle or lipstick

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is not illegal to own any type of knife in South Dakota

In 2006, the legislature repealed the only law prohibiting ownership of any type of knife. The former statute, 22-14-19, made it illegal for a person to own, possess or sell a ballistic knife.

Restrictions on Carry

  • Any knife may be carried openly or concealed

South Dakota’s statutes discuss dangerous weapons and carrying concealed weapons, however neither of the statutes apply to knives, as its definition of “concealed” is “any firearm that is totally hidden from view.”

 

42. Tennessee Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a Bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a disguised knife such as in a belt buckle or lipstick
  • It is legal to own a stiletto

It may be legal to own a butterfly knife, however, one should check with an attorney first, as Tennessee’s definition of a switchblade could include a butterfly knife. Courts in most states would call a butterfly knife one that opens by “gravity or inertia”, which is how Tennessee defines a switchblade knife. However, other Courts have viewed butterfly knives, not as automatic or gravity knives, but as a type of pocketknife. As of June 2013, Tennessee’s Courts have yet to weigh in.

What is Illegal to Own

Tennessee Code § 39-17-1302 makes it illegal to own a switchblade knife or any other implement for the infliction of serious bodily injury or death, which has no common lawful purpose.

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to open or conceal carry a switchblade
  • It is illegal to open or conceal carry any knife with a blade exceeding four inches in length, with the intent to go armed.

43. Texas Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal to own a gravity knife

The Texas state legislature does not limit other knives.

 

44. Utah Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a stiletto
  • It is legal to own a bowie knife
  • It is legal to own an automatic or gravity knife
  • It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as a lipstick or belt buckle

What is Illegal to Own

Utah law creates two categories of people who may not own certain weapons, defined as “dangerous weapons”.

A category I restricted person is someone who:

  • has been convicted of a violent felony under Utah Code Ann. § 76-3-203.5
  • is on probation or parole for any felony
  • is on parole from a facility is under contract with the Division of Juvenile Justice Services, that provides 24-hour supervision and confinement for youth offenders who have been committed to the division for custody and rehabilitation
  • has been adjudicated delinquent, within the last 10 years, for an offense that if committed by an adult would have been a violent felony under Utah Code Ann. § 76-3-203.5
  • is illegally or unlawfully in the United States

45. Vermont Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a stiletto
  • It is legal to own a bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as a lipstick or belt buckle
  • It is legal to own throwing starts or knives

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal to own a switchblade with a blade that is 3 inches or longer

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to carry openly or concealed a dangerous or deadly weapon with the intent of using it to harm another.
  • It is illegal to carry openly or concealed a dangerous or deadly weapon onto school or government property.

Vermont law does not place any other restrictions on the carrying of knives. In 1903, in State v. Rosenthal, Vermont’s Supreme Court said that under the general laws, a person may carry a dangerous or deadly weapon, openly or concealed, unless he did it with the intent or avowed purpose of injuring another.

46. Virginia Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is legal to own any type of knife in Virginia.

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a bowie knife
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a switchblade knife
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a machete
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a ballistic knife
  • It is illegal to conceal carry throwing stars or oriental darts
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any knife of a like kind to one of the above listed knives

47. Washington Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a stiletto
  • It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as a lipstick or belt buckle
  • It is legal to own throwing stars

What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal to own a switchblade or other spring blade knife in the state of Washington.

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dagger
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any dangerous weapon
  • It is illegal to open or conceal carry any weapon into a Courtroom

It is also illegal to carry or display a dagger, sword, knife, or other cutting or stabbing instrument in a manner or under circumstances that would cause alarm or show an intent to intimidate another. In 1994, in State v. Spencer, the Supreme Court of Washington held that there must be a sufficient basis for the alarm, such that a reasonable person would be alarmed. Also in 1994, the Court held, in State v. Byrd, that because the display of a weapon in a manner that caused reasonable fear or alarm could be done without intent, a violation of the statute did not require intent. This means that one does not have to intend to cause alarm or fear in order to be guilty of a crime under the statute.

 

48. West Virginia Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a stiletto
  • It is legal to own a switchblade
  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
  • It is legal to own a Bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a ballistic knife

What is Illegal to Own

West Virginia law does not prohibit the ownership of any type of knife.

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife with a blade over 3 ½ inches
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a switchblade, or any automatic knife
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a gravity knife
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a Balisong, or butterfly knife
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any instrument capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any “deadly weapon”

49. Wisconsin Knife Laws

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal to own a switchblade knife
  • It is illegal to own a gravity knife
  • It is illegal to own a butterfly knife
  • It is illegal to own any knife substantially similar to a switchblade, gravity knife, or butterfly knife

Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal in Wisconsin to carry a concealed and dangerous weapon.

Definition of Various Knives

A switchblade is defined as any knife having a blade which opens by pressing a button, spring or other device in the handle or by gravity or by a thrust or movement. In State v. Krause, the Appellate Court upheld Mr. Krause’s conviction for carrying a concealed dangerous weapon, finding that his knife, which had a blade that was serrated on one side, sharp on the other, and had a point at the end, was a switchblade. The blade was contained in two casings: the serrated blade fit into one of the casings and the cutting edge in the other. The casings were secured by a clasp, that when removed, allowed one casing to fall away from the other by the force of gravity, exposing the blade.

Neither the Wisconsin code nor its case law offers a definition of any other type of knife. When words or terms are not defined by the legislature, in the state code, Court’s use the ‘plain English meaning’ of the word, or that meaning provided in Webster’s dictionary.

50. Wyoming Knife Laws

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a switchblade
  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
  • It is legal to own a bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, poniard, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a stiletto
  • It is legal to own a gravity knife

What is Illegal to Own

Wyoming law does not prohibit the ownership of any type of knife.

Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal to conceal carry a deadly weapon in Wyoming.

All State Knife Laws – Interactive Map with Knife Laws by State

Find more detailed information here, including an interactive map:

texas-knife-laws-state-knife-laws-by-state

US Knife Laws

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13 Comments

  1. Charlie

    Umm… the graphic and the explanation of what’s legal/illegal below the graphic contradict each other in some cases, especially Wisconsin.

  2. Pingback: US Knife Laws By State – How to Stay Legal | Ready Chimp

  3. Greg

    Switchblade knifes are illegal in California for blades over 1.5″

  4. It is NOT legal to carry a fixed blade hunting knife in Michigan unless you are hunting. It’s the only time you can carry a fixed blade knife. It is ok to carry spring assisted knives, but not switchblades. You cannot carry a double edged knife of any kind.

  5. Kameron

    Alaska’s Knife Rights Act, which enacts sweeping reform of Alaska’s knife laws. HB33 legalizes the possession, transfer and carrying of automatic knives (switchblades). It also enacts knife law preemption repealing all local knife laws as well as preventing new ones from being enacted. The effective date of HB33 is September 18, 2013.

  6. Tom

    Please be carefull. In new york city it is illegal to posses ant knife which can be open with one hand. This covers almost any comon folding lock blade knife like a buck folder.

  7. Pingback: US Knife Laws By State – How to Stay Legal | Prepper Chimp

  8. JackHanvr

    The map of max legal length by state is wrong. NYS has NO length restriction. That is New York City and other municipalities. There is no state law on the books restricting blade length in the state of New York. I repeat, those are local laws.

  9. Pingback: Gun Laws By State | Facts About Gun Control | Survival Life - Survival Life | Preppers | Survival Gear | Blog

  10. Pingback: Gun rules by means of tips About Gun regulate | Man Shaved / Best Electric Shaver

  11. Pingback: State Knife Laws By State – How to Stay Legal – Survival Life – Survival Life | Preppers | Survival Gear | Blog | wwlee4411

  12. Neil

    These sights really need to update their information. For example, as of September 2013 switchblades and gravity knives are legal in Alaska.

  13. Pingback: Does your state allow automatics?

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