State Knife Laws
The American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) is pleased to provide summaries of the knife law in the 50 states across the country, and the District of Columbia. This valuable resource:
- Was researched and written by a leading knife expert attorney and AKTI consultant
- Gives appropriate law references
- Indicates last date updated
- Is regularly updated from legislative tracking information or to clarify when we receive questions.
This information is not intended to be legal advice, but to be a ready reference about which knives are forbidden or prohibited under state law; which knives cannot be sold or other restrictions on sale or manufacture; and which knives may be carried and whether concealment is an issue.
Laws regarding knives are frequently found in weapons statutes and certain knives based on type of mechanism or blade length may be classified as weapons. These summaries are not intended to be an exhaustive study and survey of the criminal law of weapons possession in any given state. Rather, the goal is to provide an easy reference and point of departure for additional analysis, as needed.
[am4guest notactive=1]The complete State Knife law information is available to current AKTI members only. If you have a current membership, you can [am4info var=loginurl title=”log in here”] or get an AKTI membership here [/am4guest] Click on a state below to see specifics for each jurisdiction. See below the map for additional information about knife laws.
Click here for information on automatic knives (Federal Switchblade Act) and a list of which states do not prohibit automatics.
United States Knife Laws by State
There are many exceptions to prohibitions regarding carrying of weapons which may include knives. Certain categories of individuals involved in law enforcement, military or government activity are excluded from the prohibitions. Also, there are exceptions for certain activities, such as hunting and fishing. The standard of what is or is not considered concealed also varies from state to state. It is beyond the scope of these summaries to address these myriad exceptions and variations.
If you believe that one or more exceptions apply to you, use the information provided to initiate your search for additional information.
In many states, there are prohibitions which apply to persons who have previously been convicted of a crime. There are also statutory limitations ·in many states as to where “weapons,” including knives, can or cannot be carried. Schools are a very common example. ln some states, this means any educational institution, from kindergarten or elementary level through the university level. Other examples of prohibited places include polling locations, courthouses, government buildings, locations where beverage alcohol is served for consumption, airports, nuclear power generating stations, etc. Identifying all of these locations and circumstances is beyond the scope of these summaries.
In most instances, the summaries do not differentiate between levels of criminality. Carrying an illegal knife in some states may be a simple misdemeanor. Carrying the same illegal knife in another state may be a felony. AKTI strongly encourages all concerned to abide by the law regardless of the fact that the consequences may appear to be of little consequence. In many states, even a misdemeanor “weapons” violation can have serious implications. AKTI welcomes feedback on these summaries and suggestions as to how they might be improved or made more user-friendly.
Knives and Encounters With Law Enforcement