Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: connecticut knife laws

  1. #1

    connecticut knife laws


    ADVERTISEMENT
    Just moved to Connecticut from Illinois. Anyone know what the knife laws in the state are?

  2. #2
    See section 53-206 Connecticut General Statutes (carrying of dangerous weapons prohibited) and Section 29-38 Connecticut General Statutes (posession of weapons in motor vehicles prohibited).

    As far as knives go, a dangerous weapon includes daggers, dirks, stilletos, swtichblades having a blade 1.5" or more, or any knife with a blade, the edged portion of which is 4" or greater.

    Carrying or transporting a knife with a blade with an edge 4" or greater is permitted for legal hunting, fishing or trapping purposes.

    http://www.cga.ct.gov/2007/pub/Chap9...#Sec53-206.htm
    http://www.cga.ct.gov/2007/pub/Chap529.htm#Sec29-38.htm

    If I overlooked something, Chris Meyer should be by shortly to close up any loose ends.

    Welcome to Connecticut

  3. #3
    Thanks, seems like anything under 4" is legal.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by svolk View Post
    Thanks, seems like anything under 4" is legal.
    As long as it's SINGLE EDGED.

  5. #5
    Does each town have there own laws? Illinios you can be legal in one town and ilegal in the next?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by svolk View Post
    Does each town have there own laws? Illinios you can be legal in one town and ilegal in the next?
    Some towns may have their own laws (one of the towns for example has a municipal ordinance against carrying lock knives on school grounds for example).

    On the plus side, we don't have county government in CT, so that's one less level to be regulated at.

    Where abouts in CT did you move to?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,086
    Quote Originally Posted by svolk View Post
    Does each town have there own laws? Illinios you can be legal in one town and ilegal in the next?
    Town and cities in CT may pass ordinances that have the weight of law, but the ordinances can only govern activites or areas set out in Connecticut General Statute 7-148; Scope of Municiple Powers. Town ordinances dealing with the carrying or knives or firearms are not among the areas listed by 7-148, although a town might be able to get away with prohibiting someone from manufacturing these items in their town. The actual statute is pretty lengthy, so I won't post it here. Just click on the link if you want to see all of the areas that towns may regulate.

    As far as the CT's State Laws dealing with knives, mp510 is right on the ball, as usual. He has provided you with links to the two statutes involved. 53-206, Carrying of dangerous weapons prohibited deals with carrying weapons (including knives) on your person. CGS 29-38, Weapons in vehicles deals with carrying weapons in vehicles.

    In short, you can carry a single edged knife which has an edged portion of the blade that is under 4 inches. I would like to add that the laws were changed in 1999 to allow people to carry knives with blades exceeding 4 inches if they have a valid hunting or fishing license. 53-206, Sub-section (b), sub-paragraph (F) reads that the under four inch rule does not apply to "any person holding a valid hunting, fishing or trapping license issued pursuant to chapter 490 or any salt water fisherman carrying such knife for lawful hunting, fishing or trapping activities". I maintain that because of the way this sentence was written, it is not required that you be actually engaged in hunting, fishing or trapping activities if you have the proper permit. However, I should point out that mine seems to be the minority view among Police Officers. There are a few other exceptions listed under that section, but they are less common situations.

    Another CT question that usual comes up is whether CT allows people to carry butterfly knives. The answer is "Yes", provided the knife is not double edged and the "edged portion of the blade" is under 4 inches long.

  8. #8
    Thanks guys. Big help. I ended up in Hamden. Just getting used to the east coast. Im not in the mid west anymore Totto.

  9. #9
    You can walk into the Lowe's Home Improvement in manchester and other cities and find cheap 18" machetes in the garden section. If i carried a Khukuri on jobsites or my own property for the purpose of clearing brush and trees could i get in trouble with the police?
    My edc folder is 3.4" so i know i wont have a problem there.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,086
    Quote Originally Posted by mpteach View Post
    You can walk into the Lowe's Home Improvement in manchester and other cities and find cheap 18" machetes in the garden section. If i carried a Khukuri on jobsites or my own property for the purpose of clearing brush and trees could i get in trouble with the police?
    You can carry whatever you like on private property owned by you, or by your employer (with their permission). Your only real problem might lie in transporting the machete or Khukri to the job. While the statutes don't expressly authorize you to carry such items, I would say that a machete is a tool, not a knife. As long as you can demonstrate that you aren't intending to use them as a weapon, I don't see you having a problem. If possible, keep them in your trunk and don't mention them. If you get stopped and the Police ask for permission to search your car, just say "No".

    Where you might run into a problem is if you get stopped for some suspicious activity in the middle of the night and the police see a large blade in your car. Then you might have a hard time convincing the Police that you don't have the blade for nefarious purposes. Just avoid situations like that and you should be fine.

  11. #11
    I will probably keep it in a box with other gardening stuff when i drive.

    It seem like the police will probably follow common sense to some degree but i dont like that the laws are poorly written. They define the word "weapon", as...., any knife the edged portion of the blade of which is four inches or over in length... and then they follow with a very incomplete list of exceptions. I dont think the police will do undercover steak outs to bust fleets of catering trucks for their weapons qoutas but they could in theory, i dont see a food service or kitchen knife exceptions.
    Last edited by mpteach; 09-25-2007 at 07:48 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,086
    Actually, Connecticut's knife laws are quite reasonable in comparison to some other states. While the state does list some specific items that it prohibits, the focus is actually on the intent of the user. For example, anyone can carry a pencil around, but if you intend to stab someone in the eye with it, it becomes a "dangerous weapon" and is treated accordingly. (See definitions of "Deadly" and "Dangerous" weapons below.)

    Do you really want those lame brains in our state legislature to try to go through a list of every potential "weapon" they can think of, then tell us whether or not we can carry them? It's bad enough that they do specify switchblades and dirk knives. However, if you look near the bottom of 53-206 you will find "Cited. 5 Conn. Cir. Ct. 313. Knife not coming within description of statute cannot be included as 'any other dangerous or deadly weapon' and is not with prohibition of this section. Id., 551." So, any knives under 4" and not double edged (other than switchblades over 1.5" long) are automatically okay (as long as you aren't using them as offensive weapons). For any knives specifically allowed, the Police still need to have probable cause to make an arrest, and the prosecutors need to prove criminal liability to convict you.

    No reasonable Police Officer (and yes, some aren't) is going to bother you if you are transporting a set of kitchen knives and he finds out that you are a chef on your way to work. However, if you are a gang member and have a box cutting razor in your pocket and tell the Police you use it to cut up opposing gang members, then you can expect to get arrested.

    Probable cause means; "Facts or circumstances which would lead a reasonable, prudent, person to believe that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed."

    Criminal liability requires a combination of "Mens rea" (mental intent) and "Actus rea" (a physical act).

    Criminal intent; Black's Law Dictionary defines "mens rea" as "an element of criminal responsibility: a guilty mind; a guilty or wrongful purpose; a criminal intent."

    Mental intent; Black's Law Dictionary defines "actus reus" as '[t]he `guilty act.' A wrongful deed which renders the actor criminally liable if combined with mens rea."

    **************

    From CGS 53a-3 (Definitions):

    (6) "Deadly weapon" means any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles. The definition of "deadly weapon" in this subdivision shall be deemed not to apply to section 29-38 or 53-206;

    (7) "Dangerous instrument" means any instrument, article or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used or attempted or threatened to be used, is capable of causing death or serious physical injury, and includes a "vehicle" as that term is defined in this section and includes a dog that has been commanded to attack, except a dog owned by a law enforcement agency of the state or any political subdivision thereof or of the federal government when such dog is in the performance of its duties under the direct supervision, care and control of an assigned law enforcement officer;

  13. #13
    Thanks for the more detailed information. I didnt see any of the information on intent at all. Most sites that link to the statutes dont say anything about that. I guess they included the exceptions that they thought had the largest chances of leading to false arrests or whatever by unreasonable cops and not as a complete list of things you can carry.

    I hope this state never has gravity knife issues like some others.

  14. #14
    Hey Im from CT, but currently out in Cali...a little over a year ago when I still lived there, we had to bail my 16 year old cousin out of jail for carrying his pocket knife, closed in his pocket(a very small one at that). When him and a friend were stopped for a traffic incident, he forgot he had it in his pocket,and was frisked. The slapped cuffs on him and took him in for not revealing he had his pocket knife, however the Judge let him go with a warning since he had no priors and he genuinely forgot he had it in his pocket. Just be careful.

  15. #15
    Sorry to bump this post, but just had a quick question for Chris

    You had quoted:
    From CGS 53a-3 (Definitions):

    (6) "Deadly weapon" means any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles. The definition of "deadly weapon" in this subdivision shall be deemed not to apply to section 29-38 or 53-206;
    I read a post sometime last year from you stating that butterfly knives were technically legal in CT. But that quote says "Gravity Knives".....aren't Balisongs considered gravity knives?

    Also, back in the spring I was pulled over in my car. It had been stored during the winter, and I completely forgot to put my new insurance card in the glovebox. The cop cuffed me and tossed me in the backseat but let me go (explaining that driving without insurance is actually an arrestable offense). I had my Emerson Karambit on me, like always. He tried to tell me that it was illegal because of the wave, then showed me that he carried a waved CQC7 but said "I can carry it though because I'm an officer". He was actually a VERY cool officer, but that ticked me off. He obviously doesn't know the law, if he's telling me that my non spring actuated knife was illegal because of the wave.

    Anywho, back to the matter. So 53-206 doesn't mention gravity knives, however the part I quoted from you: 52a-3 does. So which is it? And is a butterfly knife a gravity knife or not?

    Thanks in advance!

    Edit: Figured I'd toss it out there. My cousins husband is a CT state trooper. He knows I carry one or two knives on me at any time, and has no problem with it. In fact he likes my choices. He's said they're completely legal, but has said that I may catch shit even though.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,086
    Grim,

    As is typical, the statutes do not actually define a lot of the terms they contain. For example, I was taught at the Police Academy that any double edged knife was a "dirk knife". The statutes don't define the term "dirk knife", and a dictionary usually say something like "a dagger" or "a stabbing instument". So where did the academy come up with the "double edged" rule? They might have gotten it from CT case law, but I suspect it was just the instructor's own position.

    What exactly is a gravity knife? To me, a gravity knife is something like this;
    True, another Police Officer could claim that a balisong is a gravity knife, but I think he'd have a tough time making it stick. Ultimately, if would be up to the courts to decide.

    The fine print of 53a-206 contains in part the following;
    " Cited. 5 Conn. Cir. Ct. 313. Knife not coming within description of statute cannot be included as "any other dangerous or deadly weapon" and is not with prohibition of this section. Id., 551.

    Subsec. (a):

    Cited. 229 C. 691. Cited. 236 C. 189. Cited. 240 C. 317.

    Cited. 7 CA 149. Cited. 27 CA 601. Cited. 39 CA 175. Cited. 41 CA 391. Cited. 43 CA 488.


    I don't have access to those decisions here at work, but a trip to a law library should provide you with that info.

    I did find some case law from NY that says that a butterfly knife is not a gravity knife. Although it's not binding on CT, it could be influencial

    You have to remember that laws are written by lawyers, for the benefit of lawyers. They write the laws to ensure that people will have to hire them. (Just look at the DUI statutes if you doubt me.) If the laws were clearly written, we would not need all these lawyers in the first place.

  17. #17
    Chris, always admire your answers !! NYC has taken the wording of the gravity knife law to extremes. The rest of NY is not as bad, but Nassau and Suffork have seen many NYPD officers joining their ranks ( due to higher) pay, and these transfer officers are bringing their understanding of gravity knives to the rest of NY....The type of knife shown by Chris is the TRUE gravity knife that the 1957-58 law banned in NY and the US law banned with months of that law. In an effort to explain how the gravity knife works the NY law when to great detail to saw what is a gravity knife. It was correctly enforced till the late 1980s when and locking knife that could be flicked open suddenly became a gravity knife. Chris has a point that lawyers like confusion in the law as it keeps them making the big bucks while a honest citizen is not sure if he is breaking the law.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,086
    Quote Originally Posted by Grim_Smoker View Post
    Also, back in the spring I was pulled over in my car. It had been stored during the winter, and I completely forgot to put my new insurance card in the glovebox. The cop cuffed me and tossed me in the backseat but let me go (explaining that driving without insurance is actually an arrestable offense). I had my Emerson Karambit on me, like always. He tried to tell me that it was illegal because of the wave, then showed me that he carried a waved CQC7 but said "I can carry it though because I'm an officer". He was actually a VERY cool officer, but that ticked me off. He obviously doesn't know the law, if he's telling me that my non spring actuated knife was illegal because of the wave.
    Sorry, but I didn't have a chance to address this part earlier. Failure to carry Insurance is a custodial offense, meaning that you could be taken into custody, and you have to actually appear in court to answer the charge (as opposed to a mail-in fine). In practice, at my PD we almost never take someone into custody for motor vehicle offenses (other than DUI). If you have insurance, but fail to keep an up-to-date card in your vehicle, it's only an infraction. Of course if you don't have the up-to-date card, how is the Cop supposed to know you really have insurance. During weekdays you can sometimes reach their insurance company to check, but rarely so at night. If I believe them when they say they have insurance, then I don't give them the Misdemeanor Summons and tow their car. If I don't believe them, they get towed and go to court.

    As for cuffing you for not having insurance, searching your car, then letting you go; that sounds sketchy. When I started in the early 1980's we were taught that if you could arrest the person, then you were justified in searching their car, even if you didn't actually take them into custody. I can't give you the actual case citation, but current case law says that you have to actually take the person into custody before you can search the car. It sounds like this guy was splitting hairs, taking you into custody so he could search your car, knowing that he was going to let you go at the scene if he didn't find anything worthwhile in his search. I think he risks having his searches thrown out in court unless he can show that he actually brings most suspects back to his PD. Of course, pushing the envelope is how we get the test cases that determine the boundaries.

    Telling you that your Karambit is illegal because of the "wave" feature is just nonsense. I suppose he thinks that makes it a gravity knife, since it's certainly not an automatic. If that's he's theory, then thumb studs and Spyderco holes would be illegal too.

    As far as Police Officers being exempt from most weapons laws, that is true. CGS 53-26 includes the language; "(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to (1) any officer charged with the preservation of the public peace while engaged in the pursuit of such officer's official duties" (Note that he has to actually be working in an official capacity, so off-duty carry is actually not exempt.) Of course, in this case, neither of you had a prohibited knife in the first place.

    If you wish to try searching the CT Supreme and Appellate Court cases on-line, here is the link. I searched for a while this morning, but didn't have much luck. I didn't find any case dealing with gravity or butterfly knives.

  19. #19
    Awesome, thanks for the responses Chris!

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •