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Thread: Ohio Knife Laws?

  1. #1
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    Ohio Knife Laws?


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    I'm a resident of Ohio, and am a little confused about our knife laws. Is their a blade length? If so, what is it? Can you conceal carry a knife(Folding or Fixed). Any info would be helpful! Thanks.

    ~Zach

  2. #2
    Depends on where you live. Knife laws in Ohio, unlike gun laws, can vary from town to town. What's legal in Akron may not be in Cleveland or Columbus. Just about everything is OK to own/possess but carrying them can be a gray area. You cannot carry any "deadly weapon" CONCEALED in Ohio other than a handgun with CCW permit. So short blades that you can reasonably say are used as a "tool" are ok. Basically, Ohio laws are such that folding and fixed blades are OK to carry concealed if under a certain length (length varies based on municipality) provided you're not carrying them as a weapon. Switchblades, balisongs, and gravity knives are not allowed for concealed carry as they are principally classified to be "deadly weapons". Knives which are not suitable for CONCEALED carry can be OPENLY carried (not concealed) for "agricultural, hunting or utiliy" purposes. Spring assisted opening knives (not to be confused with automatic knives) are not considered switchblades and legal to carry concealed provided all the other conditions are satisfied.

    Summary:
    Short knives that are not weapons can be carried concealed as "tools". Legal length varies by local laws - typically 2.5 inches.
    Long knives, balisongs, gravity knives, and switchblades are deadly weapons and can only be open carried for utility purposes.
    Spring assist knives without a switch are not considered switchblades.

    Basically, what it really comes down to is the law is so vauge that you could find yourself in court for carrying just about any knife in any fashion based on a cop's perception of why/how you're carrying it - Ohio laws are all about INTENT. Don't sweat it. If you choose to carry a knife just keep your nose clean and don't give cops a reason to search you. Don't make trouble and The Man won't make trouble for you. I've carried knives that are technically not allowed (balis, switchblades, big folders, etc...) for years and never had an issue - then again I'm a responsible/respectable looking adult and keep out of trouble/suspicion. Plus, I'm permitted to carry a handgun so I doubt a cop with even an ounce of common sense would care that a knife I have is not allowed when I also have a handgun.
    Last edited by JoeyMac; 03-15-2012 at 07:05 AM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, I thought so but wanted to be sure! I appreciate it!

    ~Zach

  4. #4
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    Hey Zippo, are you in or around southern Ohio? I have some info if you are.

  5. #5
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    Hey Pocket, Sorry for the long time without reply. I've been busy. Im in eastern Ohio (Jefferson County)

  6. #6
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    i live in wood county and being friends with one of the sherifs i asked him about fixed blades and he said they cannot be concealed and should be no more than 4 or 5 in but thats just my county idk about jefferson county

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrPocketsOfSteel View Post
    Hey Zippo, are you in or around southern Ohio? I have some info if you are.
    Oh you're bound to run across others from southern.O.. Please do share with the class.
    Addiction to steel isn't the worst thing that could happen, I suppose. I wish knife collecting was cheaper than some of those "worse" habits, though!

  8. #8
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    I'm in Lucas Co. I've talked to many officers and read the laws over and over with no clear and concrete answers. So my best advice is to have the clip showing so its not "concealed" and be smart. I carry a Para2 which is 3.5 inch and a Kershaw JYD 2 which is pushing 4". But I'm not out doing anything illegal so I've never been bothered. When I've been pulled over in the past and asked about weapons (ccw holder as well) I say yes a pocket knife and they just say ok. Good luck finding concrete laws on this subject, they're so vague.

  9. #9
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    Cleveland Municipal Code 627.10 states:

     “(a) No person shall knowingly carry, have in his possession or ready at hand any * * * knife having a blade two and one-half inches in length * * * while at or about a public place.

    “(b) [definition of public place]

    “(c) [exemption for police, agents of government]

    “(d) This section shall not apply if any weapon in division (a) of this section was part of a public weapon display, show or exhibition, or was in the possession of a person participating in an organized match, competition or practice session.

    “(e) It is an affirmative defense to a charge under this section that the actor was not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the weapon, and that the weapon was kept ready at hand by the actor for defense purposes, while he was engaged in his lawful business or occupation, which business or occupation was of such character or at such a place as to render the actor particularly susceptible to criminal attack, such as would justify a prudent man in having the weapon ready at hand.”

    This ordinance has been found unconstitutional by a trial court. A similar Akron ordinance was found unconstitutional by a Court of Appeals.

  10. #10
    I am a detective in Northwest Ohio with a police department. Your replies seem to be right on the money. There is no clear law per the state on length. Your best bet is to be upfront about having it on your person and state that you use it for some type of tool usage. Never pull it out and never try to hide it as you’re being approached. Just be up front and honest and it will get you a long ways when it comes to this particular statute and remember all of these deal with concealed carry not open carry. I am more too happy to field any questions on Ohio laws and if I don’t know the answer I will research and find one.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippoZach View Post
    I'm a resident of Ohio, and am a little confused about our knife laws. Is their a blade length? If so, what is it? Can you conceal carry a knife(Folding or Fixed). Any info would be helpful! Thanks.

    ~Zach
    http://codes.ohio.gov/

    hers a link to the Ohio Revised Code, ORC, Ohio has no length law, it is intent based. it used to make exceptions for switchblades, double edged and ballistics, but i can't find it now.
    some municipalities do have there own laws against length, locks and such but thats not ORC.

    the way i understand and had a prosecutor explain it to me was. the length makes no difference if you have it with the Intent to use it as a weapon and its concealed its a concealed weapon. That was from a prosecutor, not just a uniform cop.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrPocketsOfSteel View Post
    Hey Zippo, are you in or around southern Ohio? I have some info if you are.
    Hey MrPocketsOfSteel,
    i'm not from Southern OH , but I do go to Cinci quite a bit. Any words of wisdom for us?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrPocketsOfSteel View Post
    Hey Zippo, are you in or around southern Ohio? I have some info if you are.
    Quote Originally Posted by rwasham View Post
    Hey MrPocketsOfSteel,
    i'm not from Southern OH , but I do go to Cinci quite a bit. Any words of wisdom for us?
    I travel to the Cinci area a couple times a year and would also like to know any additional info. Either way, the bottom line appears to be -- carry your knife as a "tool," keep your nose clean and be honest with LEOs.

  14. #14
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    Just remember,your pocket clip is visible to anybody. A dead giveaway that "your packin". With the ambiquity of The Law,if you happen to run into a LEO havin a bad day,well.....

  15. #15
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    Greetings from Toledo fellas!
    I never really new the law, but have carried and used knives responsibly in public most of my 42 years.
    I agree what the detective said, and have several LEO friends who will say the same.
    Stand by stomach, here come banana!

  16. #16
    Thx for the info tyecop15. Do the laws change if you have a federal felony (non violent, 10 yrs ago)?

  17. #17

    Bailisong questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by tyecop15 View Post
    I am a detective in Northwest Ohio with a police department. Your replies seem to be right on the money. There is no clear law per the state on length. Your best bet is to be upfront about having it on your person and state that you use it for some type of tool usage. Never pull it out and never try to hide it as you’re being approached. Just be up front and honest and it will get you a long ways when it comes to this particular statute and remember all of these deal with concealed carry not open carry. I am more too happy to field any questions on Ohio laws and if I don’t know the answer I will research and find one.
    So what if you have a balisong and you use the pocket clip,knife inside pocket not out, would that make it legal? Or would the knife have to be attached outside of the pocket? Or just illegal all around?

    Thanks
    zach

  18. #18
    i live in hamilton ohio and i was wondering if i could carry a 6 1/2 inch knife on my hip in a sheath its made by a company called cold steel and its called the shanghai shadow

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Zach623 View Post
    So what if you have a balisong and you use the pocket clip,knife inside pocket not out, would that make it legal? Or would the knife have to be attached outside of the pocket? Or just illegal all around?

    Thanks
    zach
    The balisong is illegal by statute as it is defined as a gravity knife, just like a switch blade.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by jkoonz1 View Post
    Thx for the info tyecop15. Do the laws change if you have a federal felony (non violent, 10 yrs ago)?
    Not to my knowledge. The felony restriction in on firearms, I've never seen it apply to knives, bows, or muzzleloaders.

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