Click on a state above to see specifics for each jurisdiction or select a state from the drop down menu below. Be sure to review all of the information on this page.
About the U.S. 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 only intended 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. It is not intended to be legal advice.
Laws regarding knives are frequently found in weapons statutes and certain knives based on type of mechanism, blade length or undefined term 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.
The complete State Knife law information is available to AKTI members and non-members alike. If you find the State Knife Laws useful please consider an AKTI membership or making a contribution to AKTI.
Exceptions: 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.
Prohibitions: 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 suggestions of how these summaries may be improved or made more user-friendly.
Don't Believe the Myths About Automatic Knives
Automatic Knives / Federal Switchblade Act
State Laws Regarding Auto-Open Knives
About Statewide Knife Preemption
Encounters With Law Enforcement
The Legal Edge: What Every Knife Owner Should Know