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Knife Laws in Pennsylvania

Discussion in 'Knife Laws' started by Scout Guy, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. Scout Guy

    Scout Guy Banned by Moderators

    Jan 17, 2006
    Oops, after posting I realized that this should have been posted in the Knife Laws forum. mea culpa

    I grew up in Pennsylvania but after college I moved to the DC area for about 20 years before returning to Pittsburgh. Around 1980 I researched the knife laws in Pennsylvania and at that time any knife was legal providing it wasn't being used in "an offensive manner."

    It seems that the Pa. Legislature changed the laws in my absence. While in Maryland, I bought my Kershaw assisted opening knife which were sold at knife shops and gun shows. Now I am wondering if I am going astray of the law by carrying my Kershaw.

    Pa. prohibits possession of "offensive weapons" and defines them as "any... dagger, knife, razor or cutting instrument, the blade of which is exposed in an automatic way by switch, push-button, spring mechanism, . . ."

    On the face, it would seem that my Kershaw falls into that category since it opens with a spring.

    Anyone here have any knowledge or experience with Pennsylvania laws?
  2. madcap_magician

    madcap_magician Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 27, 2005
    It'll probably get moved.

    Check out Bernard Levine for full text. I believe assisted opening knives are generally considered not switchblades for legal purposes, however, you're right, that nebulous spring mechanism clause worries me.
  3. Pilot1

    Pilot1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 24, 2005
    Not an attorney, but the term "exposed in an automatic way" is the issue here. The fact that you have to MANUALLY move the blade "should" keep an assisted opener out of the automatic knife definition. My final answer....it depends.
  4. Cougar Allen

    Cougar Allen Buccaneer (ret.) Platinum Member

    Oct 9, 1998
  5. Cougar Allen

    Cougar Allen Buccaneer (ret.) Platinum Member

    Oct 9, 1998
  6. Pilot1

    Pilot1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 24, 2005

    I like your style.

    As a former PA resident, but current PA property owner and frequent visitor there, I am interested in the responses also.
  7. ThreeWorlds


    Dec 14, 2005
    Does anyone know about shipping/purchasing laws, also? As in, are there laws against owning or purchasing say, an 8" bowie and getting it shipped into a location within the city?

    I EDC a waved Endura which I thought would be legal b/c it's a shade under 4" but if they count the wave as "automatic opening" .... :(
  8. nitroice0069


    Dec 2, 2004
    In the commonwealth of Pennsylvania I am 99% sure you can own any type of knife not matter style, size, opening method etc. Though I don't know the regulations on blade length to be carried. Also because you live in Philadelphia I would check with your local municipality to see the laws regarding owning knives in the vicinity of the city limits.

    I wouldn't believe ,though again I am not sure, that the wave feature would be considered an automatic opening method because it can just as easily be opened manually without engage the blade while taking it out of your pocket.

    Hope this helps,

  9. boulderbum


    Jan 21, 2006
    I know that my knife is legal to possess, but can anyone tell me about legality of concealed carry? Also, just wondering, what's the status of knife possession for minors? I can't find any of this stuff on google, only the law dealing with automatic knives.

    Thanks so much in advance.
  10. Dune


    Jan 23, 2006
    Sorry to bring back an older topic, but I have a question that isn't really answered by the law. My girlfriend is moving to Philly over the summer and I want to get her a mini grip before she goes. My question is in two parts:

    1) I didn't see a blade length limit for legal carry. The mini grip is just under 3 inches so it should be legal, but I'd like to make sure.

    2) The part about unlocking the blade and it opening with a wrist flick sounded dangerously close to how an axis lock works. Does anybody have any idea if that would fly or not?

    I'm not dead set on getting her the mini grip, so if it turns out to be too questionable (or outright illegal, you never know) that isn't a problem, there are plenty of other knives that I can get her. I'm just a bit partial to the grips.

  11. ThreeWorlds


    Dec 14, 2005
    Yeah ... I kind of forgot about this thread for a while :eek: ... Thanks James for the tips. How does one go about checking with the municipality about knife laws? There is a police station down the street but I'm not sure how well it would go over if I were to walk in and ask them to tell me what are the knife and concealed carry laws for the city :p

    I did google search for laws but while it's fairly easy to find NYC laws online, Philadelphia laws are much harder.
  12. marcangel


    Dec 20, 2001

    That being said, I know of no reason why a mini-grip would present a problem inside the city limits, provided your GF doesn't go running around opening and closing it, or brandishing it in a threatening manner on the corner of Broad and Market Streets! The key to PA knife law is the term "offensive weapon", although in MANY municipalities and counties there are blade length limits, and I think it may be 3"-4" for a concealed folder in Philly. The bottom line is, unless you are doing something,... well STUPID ... no one is going to bother you for carrying a knife. How would they know first off? Presumably if a knife came into play in a given situation, your GF would be DEFENDING herself correct?

    Trust me, Philly cops have MANY more things to worry about instead of trying to hassle someone carrying a legal tool or knife with a 3" blade. In the 7 years I carried concealed in Philly DAILY, I never once had an issue with the Philadelphia Police, and that was during the time when Philadelphia was hardly ever issuing CCW permits, and the rumor was that a CCW permits issued in another county (Montgomery, Bucks, whatever) was "not valid in the city limits."
  13. ThreeWorlds


    Dec 14, 2005
    Thanks marcangel.

    The only reason I was concerned was because I live on university campus, and I have heard stories of people being harassed by campus police at other universities about the knives they carry.
  14. marcangel


    Dec 20, 2001
    That's a different kettle of fish. If your GF is living on campus, and I presume at the University of Penssylvania (since you referred to "university campus") that may present an issue if there are campus regulations regarding knives (and knowing Penn, there probably are)! But you need to find out what any policies are, and whether or not the GF is willing to risk breaking that policy. Unfortunately, the University regs suporcede the city ordinance on campus. They can't arrest you, but they can boot you off campus or possibly even expel you.
  15. Pilot1

    Pilot1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 24, 2005
    I went to Penn for grad school, but thankfully did not live on campus or off campus in West Philly. If I did, I'd be carrying a gun, regs or not. That's a scary place. :barf:
  16. marcangel


    Dec 20, 2001
    Not nearly as scary as North Philly (Temple) or Camden (Lourdes and Cooper)!:D
  17. ThreeWorlds


    Dec 14, 2005
    That's very true. It's funny that Columbia (Harlem) gets such a bad rep when really it's been cleaned up a lot since then 90's and there is actually a lot of interesting culture & life stuff going on there. I think 'Spanish Harlem' still has some problems, but the area around Columbia is SO much safer than West Philly .... which is safer than both North Philly and Camden :p

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