Quick Legal Facts
Nebraska prohibits the concealed carry of certain knives.
Chapter 79 of the Nebraska Statutes, which pertains to schools, allows school officials and school boards to exclude or punish students who possess weapons on school grounds. 79-267.
Major Cities with Knife Ordinances:
Three and one-half inches or less maximum blade length for a knife which can be carried concealed.
At a Glance:
Any knife – folding, fixed blade, dagger, stiletto, automatic, gravity, etc. – having a blade longer than 3 and ½ inches in length is subject to the restriction that it cannot be carried concealed.
28-109. Terms, defined (For purposes of the Nebraska criminal code).
(8) Deadly weapon shall mean any firearm, knife, bludgeon, or other device, instrument, material, or substance, whether animate or inanimate, which in the manner it is used or intended to be used is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury;
(5) Knife means:
(a) Any dagger, dirk, knife, or stiletto with a blade over three and one-half inches in length and which, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury; or
(b) Any other dangerous instrument which is capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds and which, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury;
28-1202. Carrying concealed weapon; penalty; affirmative defense
28-1206. Possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person; penalty
79–267. Student conduct constituting grounds for long-term suspension, expulsion, or mandatory reassignment; enumerated; alternatives for truant or tardy students
14-102. Additional powers
16-239. Hospitals; jails; other institutions; erection; regulation
17-556. Public safety; firearms; explosives; riots; regulation
Concealed carry of any knife having a blade longer than 3 and ½ inches is unlawful.
Restrictions on Sale or Transfer:
Restrictions on Carry in Specific Locations/Circumstances:
Restrictions of this nature are largely promulgated by local governments and government agencies / departments.
Selected Nebraska Municipalities with Knife Restrictive Ordinances:
Grand Island – None noted.
Lincoln – Chapter 9.36 Weapons.
Omaha – Chapter 20 Article VII Weapons
The statutory definition of ‘knife’ found in § 28-1201 (5), quoted above, has been streamlined by the Nebraska Supreme Court in its 2016 opinion in the case of State v. Nguyen 881 N.W.2d 566. The defendant was found to be in possession of a ‘stiletto’ with a blade 3 and ¾ inches in length along with some quantity of illegal drug. He asserted that the State had not introduced evidence to establish that the knife he possessed was ‘in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury’. The Nebraska Supreme Court was not persuaded by his argument.
We therefore conclude that given the amendment to § 28–1202 and the amendment to the term “knife” as defined in § 28–1201(5), any knife with a blade over 3 ½ inches in length is a deadly weapon per se, and the manner or intended use of such deadly weapon is not an element of the crime charged.
An objective standard of 3 and ½ + inches applies for purposes of the Nebraska concealed carry prohibition. The type of knife is not an issue. Given the legal principle of expressio unius est exclusio alterius (express mention of one thing excludes all others), any knife with a blade exactly 3 and ½ inches in length or less may be carried in a concealed manner. Similarly, the § 28–1201(5) (b) – ‘Any other dangerous instrument which is capable of inflicting. . .’- sub-part of the definition would apply to a neck from a broken glass bottle, for instance, but not an ‘instrument’ clearly recognized as a knife.
Blade Length Measurement
There is neither statutory nor decisional law guidance as to how blade length is to be measured. We suggest that the AKTI Protocol for blade length measurement be used in evaluating concealed carry options since it is likely to yield the longest value.
The Nebraska criminal code does not define concealment. The standard which has been stated by the Nebraska Supreme Court is ‘ordinary observation’:
Absolute invisibility to other persons is not indispensable to concealment of a weapon on or about the person of a defendant, and a weapon is so concealed when it is hidden from ordinary observation. State v Hill 577 N.W.2d 259 (1998).
Concealment will be an issue of fact to be determined at trial. We cannot state or suggest that ‘pocket clip carry’ is not concealment under Nebraska law.
A first violation of the Nebraska concealed carry prohibition is treated as a Class 1 misdemeanor. As such, there is no minimum punishment and the maximum punishment is confinement for not more than 1 year and / or a fine of not more than $1,000.
Law Enforcement / Military
There is no exception within 28-1202. Carrying concealed weapon; penalty; affirmative defense for person in the U.S. military or law enforcement officers.
Updated December 17, 2019 by Daniel C. Lawson