Quick Legal Facts
Kentucky law provides that a "deadly weapon" may not be carried concealed on or about the person. Any knife other than an ordinary pocket knife or hunting knife is considered a deadly weapon.
There is no statutory limitation regarding the possession of knives by minors.
Deadly weapons, which include knives, may not be possessed or carried on school property. Some limited exceptions are provided.
The Kentucky Constitution reflects a clear intention upon the citizenry to preserve from government interference the right to bear arms and the right to defend oneself. In pertinent part, Section 1 of the Kentucky Constitution provides:
All men are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned:
First: The right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties.
Third: The right of seeking and pursuing their safety and happiness.
Fifth: The right of acquiring and protecting property.
Seventh: The right to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the State, subject to the power of the General Assembly to enact laws to prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons.
There is no express limitation on open carry of knives. However, in light of the definition of deadly weapon, Kentucky knife owners would be wise to limit open carry to only those knives that could reasonably fall within the definition of hunting knife.
Kentucky has a restrictive definition of deadly weapon, which includes any knife other than an ordinary pocket knife or hunting knife.
(4) Deadly weapon means any of the following:
(c) any knife other than an ordinary pocket knife or hunting knife.
KRS § 500.080(4)(c). (Emphasis added.) Because the terms “ordinary pocket knife” and “hunting knife” are not defined by Kentucky law, knife owners must exercise caution and prudence when selecting a knife for concealed carry.
Even if it is not a deadly weapon, a knife may be classified as a “dangerous instrument” under Kentucky law. Dangerous instruments are defined as “any of a variety of implements that, while not being weapons themselves and instead having some other safe purpose or intended use, might nevertheless be used by someone as a weapon to inflict injury if so desired.” McGruder v. Commonwealth, Kentucky Supreme Court, No. 2014-SC-000598-MR, filed May 5, 2016); KRS § 500.080(3). Dangerous instruments could include items such as hatchets, hammers, and even the two knives excluded from the definition of deadly weapon in Section 500.080(4)(c). McGruder; Raiford v. Commonwealth, (Court of Appeals of Kentucky, No. 2009-CA-000077-MR, filed June 18, 2010). This weapons classification is used in Kentucky to increase the gravity of particular crimes, such as assault, burglary, and robbery, which were committed using a dangerous instrument.
With regard to concealment, Kentucky law provides that a “deadly weapon,” which includes any knife other than a pocket knife or hunting knife, may not be carried concealed on or about the person. KRS §527.020. However, Kentucky provides two important exceptions that are relevant to knife owners. First, firearms and other deadly weapons may be carried concealed by persons with a license issued pursuant to KRS 237. 110. The license specifically applies to a firearm or “other deadly weapon.” Second, Kentucky permits a person to keep a knife in a vehicle:
A loaded or unloaded firearm or other deadly weapon shall not be deemed concealed on or about the person if it is located in any enclosed container, compartment, or storage space installed as original equipment in a motor vehicle by its manufacturer, including but not limited to a glove compartment, enter console, or seat pocket, regardless of whether said enclosed container, storage space, or compartment is locked, unlocked, or does not have a locking mechanism. No person or organization, public or private, shall prohibit a person from keeping a loaded or unloaded firearm or ammunition, or both, or other deadly weapon in a vehicle in accordance with the provisions of this subsection.
KRS § 527.020(8) (Emphasis added.)
Deadly weapons, which include knives, may not be possessed or carried on school property. Some limited exceptions are provided. KRS 527.070.
A minor may not possess a handgun. There is no statutory limitation regarding the possession of knives by minors. KRS 527.100.