The laws concerning knives differ between states. Whether you can carry a knife will depend on the laws of your state and your local municipality. Federal laws apply for people who are travelling across state lines or entering federal property, such as a military base.

Even though all states have some variation of knife laws, there are laws regarding knifes that apply to all citizens.

What Is the General Rule?

It is generally legal to carry a knife. However, there are often limits concerning:

  • The type of knife
  • The length of the blade
  • Whether the knife can be concealed

In most states, all pocket knives, leathermans, and multi-tools are allowed. The blade of these knifes must be under 2.5 or 3 inches.

Note that carrying one of these knives is usually not allowed in courts, planes, schools, and certain buildings restricting the possession of weapons.

How Do States Differ?

State laws tend to be much more specific than general carrying laws:

  • California: There is no length limit for a knife as long as it is carried openly. Carrying a concealed dirk or dagger is illegal. California residents are allowed to own and carry Bowie and large knifes with no length limit. They may be possessed openly or concealed. A person may not possess a switch blade in a passenger or driver’s seat of any motor vehicle in a public space, carry it in public, or try to sell, loan, transfer, or give the knife to any other individual.
  • New York: Any person may own a hunting knife, dirk, dagger, or a stiletto. But, it is illegal to carry a dirk, dagger, or stiletto with the intent to use as a weapon. It is legal to open or conceal carry any knife that is legally owned by you. If a person is found with a dirk, dagger, or stiletto, it is assumed they intended to use the knife as a weapon. A person can be charged with fourth degree possession if he or she is carrying a gravity, switchblade, pilum, metal knuckle, or any dangerous knife.
  • Texas: It is legal to own any type of throwing knife, dirks, daggers, stilettos, stabbing, Bowie, sword, spear, switchblade, pocket or butterfly knife. An illegal knife to carry would be classified as having over a five and one-half inch blade, hand weapon designed to cut or stab another by being thrown, dagger, bowie knife, sword, or spear. A person can be charged with a criminal offense if they carry an illegal knife. Exceptions to this is if they are on their own property, or inside a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person and under the person’s control.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Criminal Knife Possession?

If you are facing criminal charges for knife possession or assault with a knife, you should speak with a criminal lawyer immediately. Your attorney can advise you on how to proceed according to state and federal knife laws.

If you or a loved one has been injured with a knife, you should speak to a personal injury attorney immediately to learn more about preserving your rights and remedies.