Interesting Facts I Bet You Never Knew About Each US State’s Knife Laws. Are California Knife Laws the Toughest?


Have you ever been on a trip and pondered what the knife laws are to the particular state you’re visiting? If so, read on as we break down the laws of each state regarding your trusted EDC companion.

The Knife & The Man

When it comes to utensils, most men use it wherever necessary. But no man covets it or as a deep abiding passion to own it – the knife is an exception though.

To a man, the knife is considered to be equally part useful as a kitchen tool and an extension of one’s dominant arm, which are two of the reasons why we covet a masterfully crafted blade.

For some men, a knife is as indispensable as their mobile phone or wallet. The humble knife is useful to cut through packages we order from Amazon or making an extra hole in a belt. It is also undeniably usefulness when it comes to self-defense and emergencies.

Knife Laws Per State in America

But, apart from being practical and useful, knives are also pointy and dangerous when put in the wrong hands, which is why there are laws which govern the use of knives in public spaces. Since knife laws in the U.S., isn’t just unclearly written, the laws vary tremendously from state to state. Here, we are going to take a look at the state laws and what they say about packing a knife in public.


Alabama, where the legendary Bowie knives enjoyed widespread freedom is one of the states in the United States where knife owners enjoy the freedom of owning and carrying a knife. According to Alabama’s State Constitution, every citizen has the fundamental right to bear arms in defense of themselves.

Bowie Knife

That said, local and municipal ordinances can include their own laws regarding knives. A good example of this can be given of the city of Montgomery where there’s a three-inch blade limitation. Bowies and knives similar to Bowies (eg; a machete and butcher knife) are illegal if concealed.

However, if you are carrying a Bowie knife, you won’t be charged unless the police officer has a suspicion that you are going to commit a crime. The sale of Bowie knives to people under the age of 18 is also considered to be illegal in Alabama.


Alaskan knife laws can get confusing at times. While there are no clearly defined illegal knives, there are a number of conditions in which the possession of a knife could be considered illegal. It is not prohibited to manufacture gravity or switchblade knives, and minors can only possess these two types of knives with parental consent.

Concealing the knife or pointed weapon can be used as a factor when contacted by the police. This means if you have a knife other than a pocketknife concealed you should inform a police officer if contacted.

Furthermore, a person who is carrying a concealed knife should ask for the express permission of the person living in a home before entering.


Within the Grand Canyon State’s boundaries, Section 13-3102 of Arizona state law provides broad possession and concealment rights for knives. Under the “Misconduct Involving Weapons” law, anyone who is 21 years of age or older has the right to purchase and carry any knife, either openly or concealed. Since there are no laws pertaining to the length of the blade, one can carry just about any type of knife.

That said, it is illegal to not inform a police officer that you are carrying a knife on your person. This means, while you can carry a knife, you will have to inform a police officer even if you have a concealed-carry permit.


While the state of Arkansas has previously been limiting in its laws regarding knives, it went through a legislative U-turn during the period between 2007 and 2013. Today, Arkansas is considered to be among the knife-friendly states of the US.

This is a welcome change, especially for those who like to take advantage of all the rugged charm that the state has to offer its 1 million strong outdoorsmen, hunters, and fishermen, whether it’s the Ozarks or the extensive park areas that are spread throughout Arkansas.

That said, local and municipal governments still have a say in the legal knife length in their respective constituencies, which is mainly due to the failure to pass House Bill HB 1668 in 2013, which would have given the state knife laws preemption over local municipal laws.


California knife laws are considered to be the strictest when compared to all other US states. Those who wish to carry any sort of knife in California will face a whole laundry list of restrictions. This is because there are no preemption laws in place, which basically gives local municipal administrators free rein over knife laws in the state. California’s complicated knife laws are made more complicated with its complex knife length limits.

That said, Bowie knives are considered to be legal in California while carrying knives that are concealed or undetectable by a metal detector is considered illegal. Finding out which knives are considered illegal is made even more difficult with the fact that many localities have their own definition of concealed carry and knife length limitations. For example, carrying a concealed knife with a 3-inches or longer blade is illegal. Switchblades are banned from public buildings and public areas.

Switchblade knife


The state of Colorado falls in the middle ground of US states that are neither knife friendly, nor are restrictive with their knife laws. Knives that are legal in Colorado are daggers, dirks, push knives, bowie knives, stilettos, fishing, and hunting knives. Even knives that are hard to identify such as pen knives, cane knives, belt knives, butterfly knives, and lipstick knives are also legal.

The knives that are considered to be illegal in Colorado include ballistic knives and concealed knives (over 3.5 inches). While the maximum length of a knife’s blade should be 3.5 inches, since there is no preemption clause in the legal codes, local counties and municipalities are free to create their own laws regarding the maximum length of the knife’s blade.


The types of knives that are legal are automatic knives, Balisongs, dirks, gravity knives, daggers, switchblades, push knives, cane knives, boot knives, and lipstick knives. Bowie knives are also legal to own in Connecticut. That said, stilettos, switchblades and automatic knives that have blades longer than 1.5 inches long are considered to be illegal. The legal knives are legal as long as the owner keeps them at home. Those who have hunting, trapping or fishing licenses are eligible to carry sports-related knives. Buying and selling of all types of knives are also considered to be perfectly legal in Connecticut.


Delaware knife law is straightforward and doesn’t beat about the bush. The knives that are legal in Delaware include Bowie knives, Balisong knives, throwing knives, and even knives that are disguised such as, lipstick knives, cane knives, belt knives and the like. Other kinds of knives such as dirks, daggers, stilettos are also legal.

In Delaware, it is legal to carry a pocket knife with a 3-inch blade or a folding knife even if its concealed. However, those knives that are not detectable by a metal detector are considered to be illegal, along with knives that have brass knuckles. Switchblade knives and gravity knives and throwing stars are all illegal. The state has broad open knife laws but does not allow most concealed carry.


Much of the knife laws in Florida is considered to be knife-friendly, but much of the concealed carry is largely left to court interpretation. The knives that are legal to own in Florida include Balisong knives, cane, knives, belt knives, and other disguised knives. The Bowie knife and even knives that are undetectable are considered to be legal.

However, ballistic knives are illegal to own, sell or buy in Florida. The lax knife law means Floridians can openly carry just about any knife. And box cutters or work knives are considered legal even if concealed. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Florida has one of the most knife-friendly laws in the US.


The bladed weapon legislation in Georgia is also straightforward and easy to understand. The new knife laws is a stark difference from the previous restrictive laws governing knife use.

Knives such as the Bowie knife, Balisong knife, throwing knife, and all disguised knives, dirks, daggers, push knives, and also switchblades are considered legal, along with spring assisted ballistic knives and knives which cannot be detected by a metal detector.

However, it is illegal to carry any knife that’s larger than 5 inches without a permit.


Pacific paradise has moderate knife laws. The knives that are considered legal in Hawaii include Bowie knives, dirks, daggers, stilettos, disguised knives such as, lipstick knives, push and belt knives, and throwing knives are all legal. Switchblades and Balisong knives, on the other hand, are illegal.

It is legal to openly carry any type of knife in Hawaii, and the state has pretty lax concealed carry laws as well. However, you are not allowed to conceal carry knives that have knuckles such as the WWI trench knife. For those who are wondering, the double-edged diver’s knives exist in a legal gray area.


Idaho has an unlimited knife law which means you can buy, sell or possess any type of knife, along with ballistic knives and throwing stars. The state makes it legal to carry just about any type of knife you want. Even minors under the age of 18 can carry knives with their parent’s consent.

Conceal carrying a bowie knife or dirk is illegal and it is also illegal to carry a knife if intoxicated. The maximum blade length for conceal carry is 4 inches and 2.5 inches for school grounds. Since the state of Idaho does not have a state-wide preemption statute, counties, towns, and cities are free to pass their own ordinances as they deem fit.


The state of Illinois permits the ownership of a wide range of knives. The knives that are considered to be legal in Illinois include the Balisong knife, Bowie knife, disguised knives, throwing knives, and automatic knives and switchblades.

Throwing Star in wood

The only two knives that are not allowed are ballistic knives and throwing stars. You can carry any of the knives as long as they are not one of the banned knives. Knives that have blades as long as 3 inches are legal and knives with blades longer than 3 inches are also legal as long as they are carried without the intent of causing harm to anyone.

The knife laws in Illinois does not make a distinction between open carry or concealed carry, but carrying a knife is not allowed in public places such as courthouses, parks, schools, and public transport.


The knife laws in Indiana are flexible enough to allow knife owners to enjoy a lot of liberties when it comes to the possession and carrying of knives. In Indiana, all types of knives, except for ballistic knives are considered to be legal. There are also no limitations when it comes to open or concealed carry of knives.

That said, you’re not allowed to take a knife to school whether it’s open or concealed.


The knife laws in Iowa is considered to be complex but fairly reasonable according to knife owners. Much of the law regarding knives have to do with conceal carry scenarios. The knives that are legal in Iowa include the Balisong knife, switchblade, Bowie knife, daggers, dirks, and stilettos, along with lipstick, belt, and cane knives, with the only illegal knife being the ballistic knives. In fact, you wouldn’t want to be caught with a ballistic knife anywhere in Iowa.

While it is legal to carry any knife in Iowa, it is not permitted to conceal carry a switchblade knife, Balisong, dagger or stiletto. While length restrictions of 5 inches are imposed on all conceal carry, knives there are no blanket blade length restrictions, which means even machetes, swords, and extremely long knives, and bayonets are all legal to possess.


The state of Kansas, also known as “The Sunflower State” has also made major changes to its knife laws. Not only do the new laws make it lawful to carry a knife, but even convicted felons are also allowed to carry knives of any size. That being said, there are some limitations which have been imposed on carrying knives. For instance, Bowie knives, daggers, dirks, and stilettos are legal, along with switchblades, gravity knives, and disguised knives such as lipstick and belt knives, undetectable knives and cane swords are legal.

However, following in Iowa’s footsteps, Kansas law makes it illegal to own a ballistic knife. There are also currently no restrictions on the length of knives in Kansas, which means even a sword such as a claymore could be identified as a knife. Any knife that’s considered to be legal is Kansas can also be carried concealed, except in schools or government buildings.


The state of Kentucky is not only famous because of its bourbon and its picture-perfect landscapes, but also has famous knife laws that don’t ban any type of knife. This means you can carry just about any type of knife while in Kentucky.

It is also legal to conceal carry a pocket knife, however, a hunting knife or any other knife is banned from concealed carry in Kentucky.

While the state is considered to be knife-friendly, there are also various county and municipal knife rules that one needs to consider when in Kentucky.


According to Louisiana knife laws, owners can own a wide range of knife types. The knives that are considered to be legal in the state of Louisiana includes the Balisong knife, daggers and dirks, disguised knives, throwing knives, Bowie knives, stilettos, and any other large knife.

However, it is illegal to own a switchblade or an automatic knife. Owners can carry any knife either openly or concealed as long as its not a switchblade knife.


Similar to many other states, Maine also permits knife owners to carry a broad array of knives openly. But, concealed carry is still tightly controlled by the state.

Some of the knives that are legal in Maine include the Bowie knife, daggers and dirks, stilettos, slim knives, throwing knives, and knives that are disguised.

However, it is illegal to own Balisong and switchblade knives along with any other automatic knife. The knives that have been mainly banned in Maine are those that feature quick deployment, which could also include gravity knives.


The knife laws in the state of Maryland is a mixture of knife type and user intent. Knives that are considered to be legal in Maryland include, Bowie and Balisong knives, daggers, dirks, switchblades, ballistic knives, throwing knives, and even undetectable knives.

While there are no limitations to the type of knives you can carry, conceal carry of a switchblade knife, bowie knife or dirk is not permitted. Knife owners are also not allowed to carry these knives openly as well, while both open or conceal carry of any type of pocket knife is permitted.


Practically any type of knife can be owned in the ‘Old Colony State’ but there are strict and lengthy restrictions when it comes to carrying the knives. There are many types of knives that are considered legal to own in Massachusetts such as, the ballistic knife, Balisong knife, switchblade, Bowie knife, throwing knife, dirks, daggers and even automatic knives and disguised knives.

While there are no restrictions to own these knives, it is illegal to carry, either open or concealed, dirks, switchblades, ballistic knives, knuckle knives, daggers, and stilettos. It is also considered illegal to carry any weapon that’s perceived to be dangerous.

That said, kitchen knives and folding knives are legal to carry as long as one does not behave inappropriately.


Michigan or the “Wolverine State” has a complex knife law that’s not quite restrictive, neither is it knife-friendly. The knives that are legal here include, the butterfly knife, dirks and daggers, the Bowie knife, hidden knives, and undetectable knives are also considered to be legal to own and carry.

Automatic, gravity and switchblade knives, along with dirks, daggers, stilettos, and non-folding knives are all illegal to carry in Michigan. Open carry is allowed as long as the knife is legal. Fixed-blade knives are illegal to carry concealed, except for hunting knives that are used for hunting purposes. Knives that are more than 3 inches are not allowed to be carried in Michigan.


The state of Minnesota is the go-to destination for hunters and fishermen, who also mostly use knives. This is why recreational knives such as hunting knives, buck knives, and fishing knives are treated with leniency when it comes to knife laws in Minnesota. In fact, all types of knives except for switchblades are legal to own in the state.

Knives that have utility purposes are also permitted to carry either open or concealed. The only reason why carrying a knife can be considered illegal in Minnesota is if the person carrying the knife has the intent to harming others.

However, since there’s no preemption rule, local governments pass their own knife ordinances and can also impose stricter laws regarding knives in towns. The state of Minnesota does not regard blade length when it comes to determining the legality of a knife.


While there are some conceal carry laws in Mississippi, the general rules and regulations regarding knives are relatively lax. The knives which are considered to be legal are Balisong, dirks, Bowie knives, throwing knives, disguised knives, stilettos, and even switchblades.

However, it is illegal to carry a concealed dirk, butchers or Bowie knife. It is also illegal to carry a switchblade knife.

You can carry any knife if it is in your vehicle and not on your person. You can also carry any type of knife if you happen to be participating in a sporting event where you will need to use a knife. It is illegal for convicted felons or minors to own a switchblade, dirk, Bowie or butcher knife in Mississippi.


The State of Missouri, also known as the “Show-Me State” has clear and easy to understand knife laws that are considered to be fully knife friendly by knife owners. Knives such as, a Bowie knife, Balisong knife, boot knife, dirks, daggers, stilettos, throwing knives and knives that are undetectable on a metal detector are all legal to own in Missouri.

That said, you will face a Class C Felony if you’re caught with a switchblade knife. Knife laws can get confusing in Missouri since blade length limitations vary across towns and cities within the state. That said, concealed carry imposes a 4-inch legal blade length limit. Also, Missouri law places gravity knives under the umbrella of switchblades, but not Balisong knives.


In Montana, most types of knives, including bladed implements are legal to use. This means, apart from pocket knives, machetes, Bowie knives, Balisong knives, hunting knives, swords, throwing knives, stilettos, lipstick and belt buckle knives, and even disguised knives can be legally owned, bought and sold. Open carry is also legal for all knives.

That being said, you are not permitted to carry a knife that has a blade longer than 4 inches in a school ground. While obtaining a CWP (Concealed Weapons Permit) is mostly related to handguns and firearms, in Montana, it also provides the right to carry knives of any length concealed. Though, switchblades are still illegal. Also, it’s illegal to conceal carry a dagger dirk, or switchblade. Conceal carry of any weapon is not permitted on school grounds.


Nebraska or the “Cornhusker State” does not permit convicted felons or fugitives to own a knife. Open carry is allowed everywhere except for schools, courthouses, and government buildings. The knives that are legal to own in Nebraska include the Bowie knife, ballistic knives, daggers and dirks, Balisong knives, disguised knives such as, lipstick, cane and belt knives, and switchblades.

This means those who own a knife can also open carry it without any imposed blade limitations to follow. The good news for hunters and outdoorsmen is, as of September 2017, the legislation Nebraska L 558 redefined the term “knife” for provisions of the criminal code allowing hunters and anglers to carry that have blades longer than 3½ inches.


The state of Nevada expanded its knife laws back in 2015 to be more inclusive, by allowing users to own, purchase and sell knives that were previously banned. However, there are still some limitations regarding the ownership and carrying of knives. The knives which are legal to own include, dagger and dirk knives, Bowie knives, throwing knives, and Balisong knives. The knives that are illegal to own are switchblades and any knife that’s part of a belt buckle.

There are also quite a few restrictions when it comes to carrying knives. For instance, it is illegal to carry a switchblade, dirk or dagger on school grounds. It is also illegal to conceal carry a dirk, dagger, machete and any knife that’s part of a belt buckle or can be used as a deadly weapon. That said, it is legal to carry a pocketknife and any knife that is legal to own.

It is also important to mention that the two-inch blade size limitation for switchblades was lifted so there is no law specifying the length of a concealed carry.

New Hampshire

Following in the footsteps of Nebraska, New Hampshire also does not permit convicted felons of owning or carrying a dagger, switchblade, dirk or stiletto. That said, the “Live Free or Die” state is considered to be one of the most tolerant states in the country when it comes to knife laws. Knife enthusiasts can own just about any knife and conceal carry is not considered an issue.

New Hampshire also does not have any laws regarding the sale of knives to minors. This has been possible because of the abolishment of previous differing local ordinances that complicated knife ownership in the Granite State.

New Jersey

The Garden State is one of the states where knife carrying should be treated conservatively. Mainly because the knife law here makes carrying any type of knife illegal and also places the burden of proving the legality of intent on the carrier. Unlike the US states that we’ve discussed so far, carrying any kind of knife in New Jersey is considered illegal if the police officer and court decide it to be.

While you cannot carry a knife, some knives are legal to own such as a Bowie knife, Balisong knife, throwing knife, or disguised knife. It is also illegal for a convicted felon or mentally ill people to own certain knives such as a stiletto, dagger, dirk, gravity knife, switchblade or any knife that’s considered to be dangerous.

New Mexico

New Mexico also has some of the strictest laws governing knife ownership. Chapter 30 of the New Mexico Code that regulates weaponry and knives as deadly weapons are very broad and cover multiple knife types. That said, you can legally own knives such as a Bowie knife, dagger, stiletto, dirk, or throwing knives. However, is it illegal to own a switchblade or Balisong knife.

Furthermore, its also restricted to manufacture, display, sell or give away a switchblade knife along with butterfly-type knives. While open carry of large knives is permitted, conceal carry is prohibited in New Mexico. Since there are no preemption laws, local counties and municipalities are free to add to the knife ordinances. Since all types are considered as “deadly weapons” in New Mexico there are no blade limitations.

New York

While there are numerous limitations on the ownership of knives in New York City, it is possible to own a knife. The knives that are legal to own in New York include a dagger, dirk, stiletto and hunting knife. Knives that are considered to be illegal include, switchblade knives, ballistic knives, metal knuckle knives, cane swords, and throwing stars. It is also illegal to own a knife in New York if you are not a US citizen.

It is also important to note that owning a gravity knife could be illegal if you do not have a hunting or fishing license. Minors under the age of 16 are not allowed to own or have any type of knife. While there is no preemption law, local governments frequently impose their own limitations on the length of a knife’s blade.

North Carolina

North Carolina is another one of the larger states in the US, stretching all the way from the Atlantic to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The state permits the ownership and carrying rights of a wide range of knives.

That said, there are some limitations on the types of knives that one can carry in North Carolina. For instance, knives that are legal in the state include the bowie knife, switchblade knives, gravity knives, daggers and dirks, and disguised knives.

While the knives that are considered to be illegal are the ballistic knife, and any knife that’s spring assisted.

The Tar Heel State enforces no limitations to the length of the blade of knives for ownership or open carry. However, pocket knives need to have a small blade in order to qualify for concealed carry. That said, how small has not been classified leaving the measurement open to interpretation.

North Dakota

Knife ownership is not regulated by the northern Great Plains state laws. Most of the knife laws in North Dakota has to do with concealed carry. This means it is legal to own just about any type of knife since owning one is not considered to be a crime. That said, there are a few limitations when it comes to conceal carry. For instance, owners are not allowed to conceal carry daggers, dirks, machetes, gravity knives, switchblades, backswords, stilettos, and just about any knife that has a blade longer than 5 inches. That said, the state does allow to open carry any type of knife.


The Buckeye State has one of the most comprehensive laws regulating knife ownership and carry. In Ohio, knives are treated in the same way as any other piece of personal property. This makes residents of Ohio entitled to own any type of blade. While you can own any type of knife in Ohio, ballistic knives have been characterized as “dangerous ordnance” and are considered illegal to own or carry.

There’re no limitations to the length of the blade of the knife, but concealed carry has been outlawed. It is important to note that many localities in Ohio maintain their own rules and regulations governing knife legalities and related restrictions.


A preemption law was signed back in 2015, which allowed Oklahoma to make certain gains concerning its knife laws. Because of these regulations, knives that were previously considered to be illegal were brought into the fold of legal knives. That said, while the new changes made it easier for knife enthusiasts to own a wide variety of knives, it brought about some restrictions pertaining to conceal carry. The knives that can be acquired legally in Oklahoma include daggers, dirks, Balisong, stiletto, and the Bowie knife.

Apart from these, it is not illegal to own any type of knife in Oklahoma. However, there are some knives that are considered to open or conceal carry, such as, daggers, dirks, spring-assisted knives, Bowie knife, dagger, sword cane and any knife with a blade that is able to automatically open have been prohibited from open or conceal carry in Oklahoma. There are no limits to the length of the blade since both open and conceal carry is considered illegal in Oklahoma. Unlike, some other states, Oklahoma’s no carry law extends to the owner’s vehicle and not just their person.


In Oregon, knife laws are defined by case law instead of statutory law. While this leaves some matters concerning knife laws vague, such as blade length limits for a pocket knife, it does offer knife owners quite a few liberties.

For instance, those who are not convicted felons are free to own a variety of knives.

The relatively lax laws regulating knives, thanks to Oregon courts following the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, also makes it legal to own, purchase, sell and manufacture knives. Regarding blade size, previous cases have shown that pocketknives with blades that are as long as 4.75 inches are legal to carry under Oregon law. Blades that are longer than 6 inches are not.

According to the Oregon Revised Statutes, section 166-240, it is a misdemeanor to carry daggers, dirks, and spring-powered knives concealed.


Pennsylvania’s knife laws have been designed to discourage the ownership of knives, even if it’s for self-defense. What makes Pennsylvania one of the worst US states for knife ownership is that the local municipalities sometimes outdo the state laws when it comes to strictness in their knife laws. According to a “Cutting Weapons in Public Places” ordinance, the use of just about any type of knife has been forbidden in Pennsylvania.

Furthermore, Pennsylvania’s definition of “Offensive weapons” lumps together knives with machine guns, grenades, and bombs. And the bad news for knife enthusiasts doesn’t end there.

Pennsylvania’s blanket ban comes with a 90-day jail sentence and a $300 fine. While open or conceal carry is forbidden, you can own a Bowie knife, penknife, or a Balisong knife along with any type of hunting knife.

The knives that are illegal to own include, daggers, sword canes, automatic knives and any knife that can cause bodily injury.

Rhode Island

The main concern of Rhode Island’s knife laws is to prevent concealed carry. This means that knife owners should assume that the concealed carry of any type of knife is illegal in Rhode Island. While the conceal carry laws may be strict at Rhode Island, knife owners can own a number of different types of knives such as a stiletto, dagger, dirk, sword cane, switchblade, Balisong, and Bowie knives.

It’s also not illegal to own any type of knife as long as it is not intended for unlawful use. While it is legal to open carry any type of knife, conceal carry laws restrict Bowie knives, stiletto, daggers and dirks along with any knife that has a blade length more than 3 inches from being concealed carried. Since Rhode Island has not made any efforts to sign a preemptive bill, local towns and municipalities are free to add their own restrictions to knife use and carry as they deem fit.

South Carolina

South Carolina gave its knife laws a much-needed makeover back in 2008. The changes made to the concealed carry laws and other related laws made it a more knife-friendly state. This means, under South Carolina law, there have been no limitations imposed on the ownership of any type of knife. It is legal to own a number of knives, including the Bowie knife, daggers, dirks, Balisong, stiletto and switchblade knives, along with disguised knives such as the belt buckle and lipstick knife.

However, it is considered illegal to conceal carry certain knives such as the dirk, stiletto, Balisong, Bowie knife and switchblade knives. Knives that are carried on school grounds should have a blade of no more than 2 inches. Apart from this, there are no limitations to the blade size of knives in South Carolina.

Without a knife preemption law in South Carolina, many municipalities and counties regularly enforce their own ordinances which are sometimes even more restricting than the knife laws prior to the changes made in 2008.

South Dakota

The state of South Dakota imposes no Draconian laws against knife ownership. That said, the absence of a knife preemption law means that many of the restrictions come from the local municipalities and counties who impose their own knife laws.

That said, the windswept state does, however, allow savvy knife owners to legally own a variety of knives, such as the much-loved Bowie knife, the Balisong, stiletto, and switchblade, along with belt buckle and lipstick knives. It is even legal to own a ballistic knife in South Dakota, which is one of the knives that other states feel strongly about when it comes to ownership. South Dakota permits the open or conceal carry of knives of all types, with no limitations on blade length.


The state of Tennessee also made some amendments to its knife laws, which has put it in the list of the more knife-friendly states in the US. In Tennessee, it is legal to own any type of knife. The knives that are legal to own and carry in Tennessee include the dagger, Bowie knife, dirk, Balisong knives, gravity knives, hunting knives, pocket knives, switchblade, machete, and other single or double-edged knives that either has a fixed or a folding blade. Even the 4-inch limitation on the blade length was removed, which means there’s currently no limitation on the maximum size of the blade of a knife you can own or carry within Tennessee.


The Lone Star State has a somewhat restricting knife carrying law, while knife ownership, restricts the use of just the gravity knives and knives that have a blade longer than 5½ inches. Knives that are legal to own in Texas include:

  • the Balisong knife
  • the Bowie knife
  • stiletto
  • daggers
  • and dirks

As well as disguised knives such as:

  • the belt buckle knife and the lipstick knife

along with many other knife types.

Texas knife laws do not make any distinction between open or conceal carry since both are considered to be illegal.


The state of Utah is leading the fight for knife laws in the United States. The knife laws in Utah are pretty lax, which means knife owners have the liberty of both open and conceal carry. This law has been put in place for all types of knives.

Utah was one of the first states to push for preemption law, which helped law the foundation for other states to follow with their own preemption laws.

Currently, it is legal to own:

  • a Bowie knife
  • Balisong
  • stiletto
  • gravity knife
  • dirks
  • daggers

And even disguised knives such as:

  • a belt buckle or lipstick knife.

However, a convicted felon is not allowed to own a knife or any “dangerous weapon” or if the person is illegally in the state of Utah. According to Utah law, a “dangerous weapon” is classified as any weapon that is carried with the intent of causing harm to others.

The state does not have any limitations on the length of the blade of knives.


Following the footsteps of Utah, Vermont has also got extremely permissive knife laws. The law in Vermont allows knife owners to own and carry just about any knife either open or concealed.

While you can own daggers, knives, stiletto, a Bowie knife or disguised knife, it is illegal to own a switchblade knife that has a blade that’s longer than 3 inches.

Also, similar to Utah, Vermont makes it illegal to carry a concealed dangerous weapon with the intent to harm another person. Conceal carry is also illegal in schools, courthouses, and prisons.

The Green Mountain State does not have any other laws governing the ownership of knives. Switchblades with a blade length less than 3 inches are the only legal automatic knives allowed in the state of Vermont.


In the state of Virginia, the knife laws allow a few liberties in some cases and a few restrictions in others. While the law is friendly it’s not unlimited, which means there are some restrictions that knife owners and enthusiasts need to be aware of.

For instance, in Virginia, it is legal to own a Bowie knife, ballistic knife, stiletto, Balisong, dirk and dagger, and a throwing knife…

But it’s illegal to conceal carry a Bowie knife even if it’s on the legal ownership list.

The blade length limit according to the law in Virginia makes it illegal to own or conceal carry any knife with a blade length more than 3 inches.

Since a knife preemption law does not exist in Virginia, counties and municipalities are free to make and enforce knife regulations as they deem fit.


Due to its restrictive knife laws, carrying a knife in Washington can be risky. According to the current law, it is legal to own a Bowie knife, stiletto, dagger, dirk and disguised knives such as a belt buckle of lipstick knife.

However, it’s illegal to own a switchblade knife or any other spring-powered knife.

It is also considered illegal to conceal carry a dagger or dirk or any other dangerous weapon. It’s also illegal to carry a knife in a courtroom either openly or concealed.

While there’s a blade length limit, since there’s no preemption law, counties and municipalities often do not allow knives with blades that are over a certain length.

The display of a knife in public can lead to trouble with the law since a person is considered guilty of a crime even when carrying a knife without the intent of causing harm.

West Virginia

In West Virginia, the knife restrictions are mostly limited to conceal carry. There are no limitations on the type of knife one can own. However, any knife with a blade longer than 3.5 inches is illegal to conceal without having a concealed weapons permit.

You can legally own a number of different types of knives such as a Bowie knife, a ballistic, Balisong, Stiletto, dirk, dagger, and even a switchblade knife.

There are literally no limitations to the type of knife one can own in West Virginia. There are a few laws governing the conceal carry of knives, such as any knife that has a blade length longer than 3 ½ inches. It is also illegal to carry a gravity knife, switchblade, dagger, Balisong, and any stabbing knife.


Wisconsin is well-known for its abundance of farmland and hunting and fishing grounds. The state also has some pretty lax knife laws, which makes it legal to own any kind of knife. The Badger state also does not impose any limitations on the length of the knife’s blade.

However, concealed carry is considered illegal. Permits for concealed weapons are available for residents who are over 21 years of age.


Wyoming law does not prohibit the ownership of any type of knife, which means enthusiasts can own a number of knives without getting into trouble with the law. Even visitors to the Equality State are allowed to own and open carry any knife.

However, it is considered illegal to conceal carry a “deadly weapon” on school grounds and public property. Non-residents who wish to carry a knife need to get a concealed weapons to permit first.

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