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Thread: Chicago Knife Laws

  1. #1

    Chicago Knife Laws


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    Greetings all,

    I just ran into a wall in my research and was hoping someone could help me out. Thanks in advance!

    I just moved to Chicago a month ago from Seattle. As such, I've been looking for a good knife, and possibly one to carry. From what I've searched, Chicago laws are that a carry/concealed knife must be <2.5''. Is an assisted open knife considered a "switchblade" in Chicago?

    This might sound like a dumb question, but if it's not used for concealed carry, I would still be able to legally own a assisted open knife that's >2.5'', correct?

    I've always had a knife in my pocket and not having one just makes me feel, naked.

  2. #2
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    Hello fellow Chicagoan! Welcome to the Windy City where our weather sucks nuts. Anywho you may not carry an auto EVER and will get in big trouble if caught its it illegal along with the balisongs. To my understanding I really don't know what the difference between like a Benchmade Auto VS. a SOG Aegis that is assisted open because they come out almost about the same speed but Chicago doesn't specify is that is legal or not. Honestly if you are under 2.5 inch, I think it should be fine but if you have anything over a 2.5in you will get in trouble and that depends on what the cop decides what to do. But I mean if you are over 2.5 it wouldn't matter if its open assisted or auto or even just a manual deployment because you just broke a law. But I edc my Sage's, PM2, Aegis and I pretty much have all big knives, as long as you don't do something dumb that draws attention to yourself you should be fine just note that if you were ever pulled over or patted down for whatever reason that may be different. And it varies to cops there are some that I have met and they noticed my clip and asked what I was carrying and I just simply pulled it out and showed them and recommend it to them because I, myself am studying to become a CPD but its just I would love to recommend a product that I have to help them with their jobs or simply cause its an awesome knife! But yea I won't guarantee you will meet cops that are as chill but if you do, cheers to you! and also if you owned it and its just at home locked up or just laying around its fine, just with carrying its different. Hopefully this helps! Let me know if you need anything else!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by raverm View Post
    Is an assisted open knife considered a "switchblade" in Chicago?
    I think a better question is, "What's legal and what's not?" The Ordinance does not specifically mention assisted open knives. but it does prohibit any "... knife, any blade of which is
    released by a spring mechanism..." Whether it's a switchblade or not, if it has a spring-released blade, it's not legal.

    In my mind, an "assisted open" knife is very different from a "spring released" knife. However, a judge might disagree with me, fine me $200, and send me to jail for six months, for carrying an assisted open knife. That possibility keeps me from carrying one; That, and the fact that I just never got around to buying one.

    Beyond carrying a knife with a spring-released blade, the Ordinance also prohibits possessing one. I guess that means having one sitting on your desk, at home.

    Then again, I'm not familiar with the case law.

    I got the info at www.knifelawsonline.com.

    I live in Hyde Park.

    --squiddy
    Last edited by redsquid2; 02-20-2012 at 03:03 PM.

  4. #4
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    This is something I've been wondering about myself. I will be visiting Chicago in the summer with my family. I know the law specifies that anything over 2.5" is illegal; but I've been uncertain about bringing an AO knife.

    Here's what I have to pick from when I come:

    Benchmade Aphid
    SOG Flash I
    Kershaw Half Ton
    Kershaw Baby Boa
    Buck 709

    Only the Buck and the Half Ton are not AO.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the response everyone! I've just begun to become more interested in the blade world. I always carried a S&W black ops just in case I needed to use it as a tool, but it was all about firearms when I was in Washington State as they are a "will-issue" state for concealed pistol license.

    I was trying to research Washington State knife laws as well, and that's a another whole complication by itself. But it does seem that just recently they clarified what an "assisted-opening" knife is, thus making it legal. Hopefully Illinois follows this too. Bad news is >3.5'' is considered a "dangerous" weapon. Unfortunately, having a concealed pistol license (CPL) will not grant you more ability either since it's not a weapons permit.

    I was debating whether or not I should keep my CRKT My Tighe I purchased from amazon. Although I won't be able to carry it, I'll be able to remove the "spring" assist ensuring it's legal to possess in Chicago; sadly I haven't come to a conclusion yet. I did however find a decently priced CRKT Pazoda 2 I'll EDC.

    Daddyo16, as redsquid2 said, the laws regarding any blade with a "spring" is vague. If you do purchase an assisted opening knife, I would research in removing the spring when you visit Chicago, and installing it back later on.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daddyo16 View Post
    This is something I've been wondering about myself. I will be visiting Chicago in the summer with my family. I know the law specifies that anything over 2.5" is illegal; but I've been uncertain about bringing an AO knife.

    Here's what I have to pick from when I come:

    Benchmade Aphid
    SOG Flash I
    Kershaw Half Ton
    Kershaw Baby Boa
    Buck 709

    Only the Buck and the Half Ton are not AO.
    I'm not a lawyer, daddyo, but: I think that in order for a spring-release knife to be illegal, it must also be 2.5" or longer. That is what I remember from the research I did yesterday. Once again: www.knifelawsonline.com and it does not cost anything to register at that Web site.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by redsquid2 View Post
    I'm not a lawyer, daddyo, but: I think that in order for a spring-release knife to be illegal, it must also be 2.5" or longer. That is what I remember from the research I did yesterday. Once again: www.knifelawsonline.com and it does not cost anything to register at that Web site.
    Well, it does specify that "No person shall carry or possess any knife, the blade of which is released by a spring mechanism, including knives known as "switch-blades," any blackjack, slingshot, sandclub, sandbag, metal knuckles or bludgeon."

    Is an AO knife released by a spring mechanism, or is it released manually and opened by a spring mechanism?

  8. #8
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    I believe the assisted opening knives are only illegal if you don't have to touch the blade to open it. I live in IL, but not Chicago, though, so I'm not too sure how the laws differ.

    I do know that outside of Chicago there's no blade length laws in IL

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn7656 View Post
    I do know that outside of Chicago there's no blade length laws in IL
    ...except within 1000 feet of any school, school conveyance (i.e. school bus, etc), public park, court house, or public housing facility, per Sec. 5/24-1, and definition found in Sec. 5/33A-1 of Illinois State Law.
    Last edited by redsquid2; 02-22-2012 at 09:56 AM.

  10. #10
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    Isn't that "with intent to do something unlawful" though?
    IL laws are too confusing

  11. #11
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    I Live in Illinois I will say the laws can be confusing, if I know I have to go to school property, gov buildings, courthouse, etc I just take my stuff out of my pockets, and sheath and drop it into the center console of my vehicle. Back to the laws If I had to go to Chicago which I don't I would probably just carry my Gerber Crucial because of its utility use as an MT, and the Blade that is 2.5 inches which opens from the outside of the MT. As far into the rest of the state I carry pretty much what I desire, and have had no trouble ever what so ever. I think common sense applies to every situation, Today I am EDC'ing my Leatherman Wave, CRKT. Ripple with a 3.125 inch blade, and Buck Trio Stockman Knife. I always feel confident that if ever stopped by a LEO I can responsibly explain why I have what I have, and that they are tools not weapons. I would never carry my Ka-Bar USMC on the street, that Knife applies to when I am out bushcrafting, or doing other camp, outdoor tasks, and you bet I carry it everytime I hit the field. Its all about responsibility, and the way you look in my opinion. If you look like some little gangbanger wannabee your gonna get hassled by the LEO's. I always tell people if you think you will get in trouble for carrying it the chances you probably will so don't do it. Keeping on with some rambling here I was pulled over a few weeks back speeding by an Illinois State Trooper, on the way home from a Winter Camp Trip. The State Trooper asked where I was heading, and what I had been doing told him what I was out doing, he knew I had knives on me didn't give me a hassle at all. He knew that I was not out being suspicious, and most important was polite and cooperative. Thats That lol

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn7656 View Post
    Isn't that "with intent to do something unlawful" though?
    You may be right, Shawn. I know that is part of the wording in the law. Me personally, I would do what viper1833 describes. Leave all your knives in the car if you are going into one of those facilities.

    Excellent reply from viper -- if you can explain what you are carrying and why, you won't get into trouble.

  13. #13
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    Or... to save all the troubles just don't buy knives that are over 2.5 inches! or Spring assisted or Auto's! Chicago is a city that has stupid and retarded laws for knives and guns. Enough said

  14. #14
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    Damn this is a depressing thread. Looks like there's a real possibility we'll be moving to Chicago ... maybe not now :lol:

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