Updated State Laws for OTF Knives….

It has been a busy few years in the world of knife laws / de-regulations…. Thanks to the works of fine organizations like Knife Rights (kniferights.org), there have been many states that have overturned their ancient laws regarding knives and OTF’s. This has allowed us as a company to travel and share our awesome product to more states than ever before. If you are not already a member of Knife Rights, then we highly encourage you to join their efforts.. Here is what they have done for the knife community in just the last 2 years:

2016

  • Knife Owners’ Protection Act Gains Additional Sponsors in Congress
  • Wisconsin Switchblade Ban Repealed, Knife Law Preemption Enacted repealing dozens of local knife restrictions and preventing any future local restrictions
  • Oklahoma Dagger, Bowie Knife, Dirk Knife and Sword Cane Carry Ban Repealed
  • West Virginia Permitless (Constitutional) Weapons Carry including Knives Enacted
  • Maryland – “Knives” Stripped from Weapons Ban on College Campuses Bill
  • Led Efforts that resulted in NJ Governor Chris Christie Veto of 2 Anti-Hunting/Anti-Conservation Bills that would have also Adversely Impacted Many Knife Collectors
  • Led or Assisted Efforts that Defeated Ivory Ban Anti-Knife and Anti-Hunting/Anti-Conservation Bills in MD, OR, AR, GA, FL, IA, VA, OK, RI, MI, CT, IL, HI, NV, VT, CT, NM, DE & WA
  • New York Knife Law Reform Bill to address NYC Bogus Gravity Knife Arrests and Prosecutions Passed – Vetoed by Governor
  • NYC Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Continues – June 2016 Trial Held
  • Free Knife Check at NRA Annual Meeting for 2600 Members Attending Donald Trump Speech
  • Knife Rights as Amicus Invited to Appear Before California Supreme Court on Appeal by State to Overturn Decision that an Open Slipjoint Knife (Swiss Army Knife) Carried Concealed is Not an Illegal Dagger – CA Supreme Court Upholds Lower Court Decision cites Knife Rights oral argument and amicus brief

2017

  • Knife Owners’ Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 84) including Repeal of the Federal Switchblade Act Introduced in Congress.
  • NYC Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Continues – Appeal Brief Filed + Two Amicus Briefs Filed by 17 Law Professors & Legal Aid Society
  • Free Knife Check at NRA Annual Meeting for 1300 Members Attending President Donald Trump Speech
  • Led or Assisted Efforts that Defeated Ivory Ban Anti-Knife and Anti-Hunting/Anti-Conservation Bills in AZ, CT, DE, GA, IL, MA, MD, MI, NE, NM, PA, RI, VA & VT
  • Colorado Switchblade Ban Repealed
  • Montana Ban on Concealed Carry of Knives 4-inches or greater, Dirks, Daggers, Sword Canes and Razors Repealed
  • Georgia Legal Carry Length without CCW increased from 5 inches to 12 inches
  • Texas Ban on “Illegal Knives” including Bowie Knives, Daggers, Dirks, Stilettos, Poniards, Swords, Spears and Blades over 5.5 inches Repealed
  • Michigan Switchblade Ban Repealed
  • Illinois Switchblade Ban Repealed (Requires FOID Card)
  • New York Gravity Knife Law Reform Bill to address NYC Bogus Gravity Knife Arrests and Prosecutions Passed – Vetoed by Governor

2018

  • Louisiana Switchblade Ban Repealed (Effective August 1, 2018)

OTF Knife State Laws 2018 (UPDATED 6/16/2018):

MYTH: Switchblades / OTF Knives and Balisongs (butterfly knives) are illegal everywhere without exception

Not true. Most laws about non-firearm weapons are by state, with very few existing at the Federal level. Currently, the only country-wide law about switchblades is US Code Title 15, Chapter 29, and this law only controls the importation of these knives into the US, and the sale over state lines. It has no effects on buying, owning or carrying switchblades. Such is left to the states. The majority of states allow legal ownership of switchblades, but a few do not. Many have prohibitions on the sale of them, and most have laws against carrying them concealed. But some states such as Vermont and Utah have no restrictions on them.

US Switchblade Laws

The following is a comprehensive compilation of the laws on switchblades (also called automatics or OTF Knives) in the United States. This chart covers both overall federal law and each state law. These laws are for non-law enforcement citizens, as nearly all laws contain some sort of exemption for police. In states where unlawful intent must be proven (and is not simply presumed) for the knife to be illegal, this chart counts this as “legal.”

Legend:

Possession = Refers to the legality of merely owning or having direct control over a switchblade, even if kept at home. Sale = The legality of merchants and private citizens offering switchblades for sale or selling them. Usually includes any transfer of ownership, even gifts. Note that such laws almost always only affect the seller; no state law affects the buyer of such a transaction. Open Carry = legality of carrying a switchblade unconcealed and in plain view of others. Concealed Carry = legality of carrying a switchblade in a concealed manner on one’s person(or most of the time, in a car). Balisong considered same thing? = Refers to if the wording of the law considers switchblades and balisongs to be the same thing. If “Yes,” balisongs are subject to all the same restrictions as switchblades listed for that state. If “no” they are covered by a separate law and may or may not be legal. Blanks indicate the state has no laws about either.

Practical Matters

If possession itself is illegal, then all others become illegal by default. If possession is legal, but sale is not, it effectively becomes impossible to legally obtain a switchblade from within that state (since federal law prohibits inter-state sale). One must physically travel to another state to legally purchase.

Is your OTF legal in….?
Are OTF legal in..?

Below are your answers….

State

Possession

Sale

Open Carry

Concealed Carry

Balisong considered same thing?

US Federal Law

Legal

Illegal when sold over state lines or imported from outside the US

Legal

Legal

Yes

Alabama

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

Alaska

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

Arizona

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal if over 21 years old

Arkansas

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

California

Legal if blade is <2″
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Legal if blade is <2″

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Legal if blade is <2″

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Legal if blade is <2″

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Yes

Colorado

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

No

Connecticut

Legal

Legal

Legal if blade is ≤1.5″

Legal if blade is ≤1.5″

No

Delaware

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

No

District of Columbia

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

No

Florida

Legal

Legal

Legal

Illegal (Legal with gun permit)

N/A

Georgia

Legal

Legal (if over 18)

Legal if blade is ≤5″ (any length with gun permit)

Legal if blade is ≤5″ (any length with gun permit)

Hawaii

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

No

Idaho

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal if blade is ≤4″

No

Illinois

Legal (must be 21 and have valid FOID Card)

Legal (must be 21 and have valid FOID Card)

Legal (must be 21 and have valid FOID Card)

Legal (must be 21 and have valid FOID Card)

Yes

Indiana

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

No

Iowa

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal if blade is ≤5″

No

Kansas

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

Kentucky

Legal

Legal

Legal

Illegal

Louisiana

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

NA

Maine

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

Yes

Maryland

Legal

Illegal

Legal

Illegal

No

Massachusetts

Legal

Legal

Illegal

Illegal

No

Michigan

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

No

Minnesota

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

No

Mississippi

Legal

Legal

Legal

Illegal

No

Missouri

Legal

Legal

Legal

Illegal

Yes

Montana

Illegal (ex. Curio or blade is ≤1.5″)

Illegal (ex. Curio or blade is ≤1.5″)

Illegal

Illegal

No

Nebraska

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal if blade is ≤3.5″

Nevada

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

No

New Hampshire

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

No

New Jersey

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

No

New Mexico

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

Yes

New York

Legal w/ Valid Hunting and Fishing License

Legal w/ Valid Hunting and Fishing License

Legal w/ Valid Hunting and Fishing License

Legal w/ Valid Hunting and Fishing License

No

North Carolina

Legal

Legal

Legal

Illegal

No

North Dakota

Legal

Legal

Legal

Illegal

Ohio

Legal

Illegal

Legal

Illegal

No

Oklahoma

Legal

Legal

Legal

Illegal

No

Oregon

Legal

Legal

Legal

Illegal

Yes

Pennsylvania

Illegal (ex. Curio)

Illegal (ex. Curio)

Illegal

Illegal

No

Rhode Island

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal if blade is ≤3″

No

South Carolina

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

South Dakota

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

Tennessee

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

No

Texas

Legal

Legal

Legal if blade is <5.5″

Legal if blade is <5.5″

Yes

Utah

Legal

Legal

Legal

Situational

Yes

Vermont

Legal

Legal if blade is <3″

Legal

Legal

No

Virginia

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

No

Washington

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

Illegal

No

West Virginia

Legal (if over 18)

Legal

Legal (if over 18)

Illegal

No

Wisconsin

Legal

Legal

Legal

Legal

Yes

Wyoming

Legal

Legal

Legal

Situational

*New York’s state law provides an exception for “Possession of a switchblade or gravity knife for use while hunting, trapping or fishing by a person carrying a valid license.” Whether this affects sale or type of carry is unclear.

**Information cited from: “http://weaponlaws.wikidot.com/us-switchblade-laws” and “https://kniferights.org/about/accomplishments/”