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Ohio Knife Laws?

Discussion in 'Knife Laws' started by ZippoZach, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. ZippoZach


    Aug 19, 2011
    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.

  2. JoeyMac


    Mar 12, 2012
    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.

    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: Mar 15, 2012
  3. ZippoZach


    Aug 19, 2011
    Thanks, I thought so but wanted to be sure! I appreciate it!

  4. MrPocketsOfSteel


    Mar 13, 2012
    Hey Zippo, are you in or around southern Ohio? I have some info if you are.
  5. ZippoZach


    Aug 19, 2011
    Hey Pocket, Sorry for the long time without reply. I've been busy. Im in eastern Ohio (Jefferson County)
  6. kappi011


    Sep 18, 2011
    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. Joelski


    May 18, 2012
    Oh you're bound to run across others from southern.O.. Please do share with the class. :D
  8. XDSteve


    Jul 4, 2012
    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. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    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. tyecop15


    Mar 23, 2012
    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. heresthedeal


    Oct 3, 2010

    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. rwasham


    Mar 27, 2009
    Hey MrPocketsOfSteel,
    i'm not from Southern OH , but I do go to Cinci quite a bit. Any words of wisdom for us?
  13. Indiana Joe

    Indiana Joe

    Sep 28, 2007
    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. rma100


    Nov 12, 2011
    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. cncpro11


    May 28, 2012
    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.
  16. jkoonz1


    May 11, 2013
    Thx for the info tyecop15. Do the laws change if you have a federal felony (non violent, 10 yrs ago)?
  17. Zach623


    Jul 31, 2013
    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?

  18. elvenleafblade


    Sep 1, 2013
    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. tyecop15


    Mar 23, 2012
    The balisong is illegal by statute as it is defined as a gravity knife, just like a switch blade.
  20. tyecop15


    Mar 23, 2012
    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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