massachusetts knife laws

Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Messages
27
I'm a former MA resident who now lives in RI. I still go to school in MA so I need to be real careful with a number of laws in a number of jurisdictions and while I have no record, I'm pretty young (I look younger than my age, darned babyface) and tend to have my fair share of run ins with the law. I once had a SOG Twitch II and Smith Pocket Pal sharpener illegally confiscated from my vehicle during a traffic stop in which my car was impounded (failed inspection sticker).

I want a new knife primarily for EDC with a 3.5" or so blade but want to avoid any concealed weapon charges. So I pose the following questions;

Does having a folding knife above 3" clipped to your pocket in the traditional manner constitute concealed carry in either MA or RI?

If I were to get a fixed blade over 3" (got my eyes on a DPx HEST or a Becker BK11) and open carry that in a sheath on my belt would I be in any trouble as long as I stayed out of the 2.5" inch blade jurisdictions?

Basically, how can I legally get away with having a knife over 3" in most jurisdictions of RI and MA?

If I can get away with a 4" folder clipped in my pocket and not be in trouble for concealed carry I'd like to do that. However, if that's not possible I'd like to go with a ~3.25" knife on my belt. These knife laws are useless, I need to move somewhere that'll let me tote any amount of steel I please :grumpy:
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Messages
121
I'm a former MA resident who now lives in RI. I still go to school in MA so I need to be real careful with a number of laws in a number of jurisdictions and while I have no record, I'm pretty young (I look younger than my age, darned babyface) and tend to have my fair share of run ins with the law. I once had a SOG Twitch II and Smith Pocket Pal sharpener illegally confiscated from my vehicle during a traffic stop in which my car was impounded (failed inspection sticker).

I want a new knife primarily for EDC with a 3.5" or so blade but want to avoid any concealed weapon charges. So I pose the following questions;

Does having a folding knife above 3" clipped to your pocket in the traditional manner constitute concealed carry in either MA or RI?

If I wer
e to get a fixed blade over 3" (got my eyes on a DPx HEST or a Bectker BK11) and open carry that in a sheath on my belt would I be in any trouble as long as I stayed out of the 2.5" inch blade jurisdictions?

Basically, how can I legally get away with having a knife over 3" in most jurisdictions of RI and MA?

If I can get away with a 4" folder clipped in my pocket and not be in trouble for concealed carry I'd like to do that. However, if that's not possible I'd like to go with a ~3.25" knife on my belt. These knife laws are useless, I need to move somewhere that'll let me tote any amount of steel I please :grumpy:

To the best of my knowledge I don't believe that it being “concealed" or open carry makes a difference in MA, essentially if it's on your person and over 2.5” in. you could technically get in trouble. I wouldn't dream of carrying a knife open-carry such as on a beltloop in MA. Out of sight, out of mind. And try avoid having those run-ins :p
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Messages
179
I believe the law clearly states that the knife cannot be modified (waved) in a manner that deploys the blade as it is withdrawn from a pocket or sheath. This is one reason why I have avoided Emerson knives since most of them are waved.
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2001
Messages
313
For those talking length issues.. there is NO Illegal length in Massachusetts! THERE ARE several city/towns that have local ordinances... those places are the most communistic and liberal of them all.. As far as a Wave issue I have not seen a problem there either! Now one issue (not an issue if you can afford a lawyer) is "Spring Asst" knives... some towns have decided that the MGL that covers switchblade also covers asst opening knives... I know of one lawyer who has successfully fought that.. but you will still have to fight for your freedom if the place you get caught with one decides it is illegal and a felony.
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2001
Messages
313
(b) Whoever, except as provided by law, carries on his person, or carries on his person or under his control in a vehicle, any stiletto, dagger or a device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position, any ballistic knife, or any knife with a detachable blade capable of being propelled by any mechanism, dirk knife, any knife having a double-edged blade, or a switch knife, or any knife having an automatic spring release device by which the blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches, or a slung shot, blowgun, blackjack, metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles, nunchaku, zoobow, also known as klackers or kung fu sticks, or any similar weapon consisting of two sticks of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather, a shuriken or any similar pointed starlike object intended to injure a person when thrown, or any armband, made with leather which has metallic spikes, points or studs or any similar device made from any other substance or a cestus or similar material weighted with metal or other substance and worn on the hand, or a manrikigusari or similar length of chain having weighted ends; or whoever, when arrested upon a warrant for an alleged crime, or when arrested while committing a breach or disturbance of the public peace, is armed with or has on his person, or has on his person or under his control in a vehicle, a billy or other dangerous weapon other than those herein mentioned and those mentioned in paragraph (a), shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two and one-half years nor more than five years in the state prison, or for not less than six months nor more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction, except that, if the court finds that the defendant has not been previously convicted of a felony, he may be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars or by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction.
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2001
Messages
313
Now the over 1.5 inch part refers to spring operated knives. Also notice while everything on this list is Prohibited from being able to CARRY it.. it says NOTHING about OWNING them... fun state to live in.. *vomit*
 

horseclover

Basic Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2000
Messages
2,512
Massachusetts is primarily geared in regard to intent. Ambiguous to allow a great deal of leeway both pro and con. I am curious to read the rest of an old thread and probably have read it in the past. It was really not so long ago that Bucks in pouches and even larger fixed blades were quite common open carry in Boston ('60s-'70s and even into the '80s). Yes, some towns/cities are quite strict about it but I still see a lot of open carry of pouch and fixed blade knives in Massachusetts, not far from larger cities.

The new questions from NEknifedude406 are salient and timely, as I am mobilizing from Massachusetts to Rhode Island myself. I have been a Massachusetts resident since 1969 and the only knife issue was forgetting a large stockman in my pocket when walking into a courthouse. Tagged and released on exit. No big deal. A trunk load of sharpies transfered to a local police station after an accident because I did not want the vehicle to fester in a lot. From daggers to large swords, not an issue and only sympathetic concern and care by the Millbury police, recovered after the hospital stay. Ironically traveling between RI and MA for a show.

When in doubt, talk with employer and local chief of police before carrying a possibly restricted item.

Cheers

GC
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2013
Messages
15
So in MA there are no restrictions on length? Because I've always been told the length can only be the width of a persons hand or some bs like that.
As with the wave feature stuff, does that mean this new CS Spartan I just got has to be retired to the safe or can I carry it everyday?
I would also like to point out that I've never really had a problem with carrying a fixed blade in the open. I mean I don't go carrying around a machete but I have a larger sized fixed blade that I carried almost everyday, sometimes even at school, and I never had a problem.
Another good way to not get caught by the law is to... not get involved with the law. As long as you don't go waving a knife around you should be fine.
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2001
Messages
313
So in MA there are no restrictions on length? Because I've always been told the length can only be the width of a persons hand or some bs like that.
As with the wave feature stuff, does that mean this new CS Spartan I just got has to be retired to the safe or can I carry it everyday?
I would also like to point out that I've never really had a problem with carrying a fixed blade in the open. I mean I don't go carrying around a machete but I have a larger sized fixed blade that I carried almost everyday, sometimes even at school, and I never had a problem.
Another good way to not get caught by the law is to... not get involved with the law. As long as you don't go waving a knife around you should be fine.

The easy answer is NO there is no STATE wide length limit. But if you read back thru you will see SOME Towns/City have local Ordinances on length.. the bastids.
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
153
Keep in mind however that the state of Rhode Island does have a 3" blade length limit regardless of how you carry it.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
3
How about a Victorinox Evo/EvoGrip S54 in the state of MA? It's a locking folder. 2.5 inches. I saw that there is no length restrictions above but the locking mech might be an issue. I find legal crap confusing. Thank your for time, patience, and consideration. specifically. town of Burlington (Middlesex county) area, National Parks. Vehicles.
 
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