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Illinois Knife Laws

Discussion in 'Knife Laws' started by Shawn7656, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Shawn7656


    Feb 15, 2012
    I've read through the laws on a couple sites, and I've read the two threads I found on here concerning CHICAGO knife laws. I was, however, wondering if anyone knew if the "intent-based" carry laws are applicable in all cities. It seems only Chicago has a size law, and even that's loosely intent-based as well. Aurora specifically makes Balis illegal to carry.

    I live in McHenry, 50 miles North of Chicago. I want to make sure that I cannot get my knives taken away if they've got 3.5"+ blades on them. My plans are to get a BM Griptilian for an EDC, and I would die if a cop took it from me :grumpy:

    Would I be better off call the Non-Emergency police line or talking to a cop? I don't want to make any assumptions.
  2. TOM1960


    Nov 5, 2007
    Talk to a dozen different cops and I can guarantee that you will get a dozen (or close to it) different answere, many of them probably wrong. The only one who can give you legal advice is your own attorney. DAs and ADAs will not talk to you; they are only interested in prosecuting you. Either look up the law for yourself (many libraries have the current state statutes on file) or pony up a C-note for a consultation with a good defense attorney, preferably one who has had experience defending weapons possession cases. As a practical matter, keep your Griptilian completely concealed, deep within your pocket, and you will not have to worry about arrest or confiscation. Remember, pocket clips attract LEO attention and lead to harassment/arrest.
  3. monarh99


    Nov 13, 2007
    As said above many different opinions. I do believe it is 2.5 inches for a knife blade. I have never seen a LEO Harass anyone for a pocket clip ! You are going to be stopped if you are doing something wrong that's when a knife blade would come into question. http://handgunlaw.us/documents/USKnife.pdf
  4. Shawn7656


    Feb 15, 2012
    Thanks guys. I may talk to an attorney if they'd actually let me do it for free hahaha
  5. glistam


    Dec 27, 2004
    There are two matters of interest you should be aware of even if you pay good money for a reputable attorney's opinion:
    1. 99% of concealed weapon cases are because the possessor was breaking some other law or otherwise acting in a blatantly suspicious/boneheaded manner. That's how the cops even take notice of you in the first place. In all my years reading knife caselaw, ONE case was a genuinely innocent man who was mistaken for someone else. And that weapon charge never even went to trial because it was BS (cop trying to justify his mistake). I've carried all manner of blades and other weapons (except guns) my whole life and have never been searched.
    2. No matter the law, there will always be "McGuigans". It is a term I made up for cops who don't know their own state law, based on a federal case where a cop arrested a guy for a 100% legal knife. Just as Tom mentioned that 12 cops will give you 12 different legality answers, remember that wrong or not, one of those 12 cops/opinions could be the one who is fishing through your pockets.
  6. Shawn7656


    Feb 15, 2012
    Very good points Glistam. I've never had a problem with a cop searching me or anything. I have a clean record as well. I am, however, 19 years old, so cops tend to see me and my long hair as a good reason to question me, even if I'm just sitting at a park.

    Story time! I was with an ex-girlfriend a couple years back at a neighborhood park, laying on a picnic table under a gazebo. We were laying in opposite directions with our heads near each other, just talking. I lady-cop came up and said someone called the cops reporting "two dead bodies" at the park, and she came to investigate (obviously BS, as they'd send way more than one person). She took our names and addresses then went back to her car (presumably to check our records), then came back and told us to never lay on tables again. I had my Benchmade 42 on me because I just got it that week and was showing my girl, and I was really scared she was going to confiscate it. Thankfully that didn't happen :)
    Moral of the story, though, is cops around here base how they treat you by your record, it seems. I have a friend who was arrested for possession of drugs, and every time cops talked to him, they'd demand a search of his pockets/car/etc (yes, basically illegal) just to see if they'd find anything. I did inform him he had the right to decline searches, but he never did.
  7. glistam


    Dec 27, 2004
    That's rough. But if it's any consolation, any decent lawyer would have mopped the floor with that lady cop in court had she arrested you or taken your knife. My wife's law firm nails cops who stop for BS reasons all the time. "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" means the knife is inadmissible as evidence, thus there is no case.
  8. Shawn7656


    Feb 15, 2012
    Well that's somewhat comforting haha. I'll have to use that phrase if I'm ever in a similar situation again
  9. Watchful


    Dec 8, 2004
    Answers here.

    Illinois knife laws and weapons laws are in my experience far less confusing than other states. The trick is never to ask "is X legal," but rather, "what would make X illegal?" You can carry a lot in Illinois--provided you aren't carrying it as a weapon.
  10. Shawn7656


    Feb 15, 2012
    Well that's the hard part. I would never actually USE a knife as a weapon unless it was life or death. I'm more a flight guy (I do parkour) than a fight guy. However, if a cop sees I have a knife and says "hey this is illegal!" and takes it, I just don't want to be out a $100+ knife, ya know?

    I want to be as educated as I can so I can avoid breaking the law. I'm not trying to get away with anything haha.

    Thanks for the link though
  11. Watchful


    Dec 8, 2004
    Illinois works like many states.

    If you're carrying a knife because you open packages, do woodworking, fish, cut your own food, or do any of the thousands of things a knife is used for, the officer doesn't have grounds to take it and say it's illegal unless it is concealed to where you're attempting to hide it, or it's a gravity knife, etc., or you're a minor, or on school property, an airport, etc.

    On the other hand, if he asks about your knife and you say it's a weapon, you've defined as a weapon and he can confiscate it.

    In short, you can carry nearly any knife in Illinois, but you can't carry a weapon. It's based on YOUR intent.

    If he take
  12. Shawn7656


    Feb 15, 2012
    That's a pretty good answer...

    Did you cut yourself off? ;)

    "If he take" what? hahaha
  13. arty


    Oct 18, 2003
    If I am correct, Illinois law (outside of Chicago and a few other cities) classifies a knife with a blade of 3" and over as a weapon. This would only be a problem if you were stopped.
    I keep my knives at just under or way under 3" or so. I recommend something like a Benchmade minigrip, or Sequel if you want a Benchmade. A good alternative is a Spyderco Delica or Chaparral. All have blades that run under 3".
  14. Watchful


    Dec 8, 2004
    I have no idea. I don't even recall typing that. Odd. I'll leave it in there, though, in case something comes back to me.


    That's not quite the case. That's a common misconception.

    720 ILCS 5/33A-1 prevents you from carrying a knife as a weapon if it's 3" or more. But 720 ILCS 5/24-1 defines what constitutes weapons, and if you're NOT carrying a knife as a weapon, you're okay on length.

    Case law quotes:
    If you rake
  15. MrFishead


    Nov 15, 2011
    I live in a suburb of Chicago and was talking to a friends dad who was a police officer in the town for ages. We got to talking about knives and I asked what he thought of my ZT 0400 and if I would get bothered about it. He said I might have a problem with it being a switchblade but most officers won't mind as long as I'm not using it as a weapon. It all depends on who you ask and yes I know the 0400 isn't a switchblade ;)

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