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State Knife Laws?

Is there a websight or other resource that lists the laws concerning carrying/possession of knives on a state by state basis?

I don't know about the rest of the folks here, but other than automatics (outlawed entirely) I have no idea what I'm allowed to carry or just possess.

I've asked some friends in law enforcement, and they seem to be in the dark as much as I am. I've used the knives I carry in the presence of various police officers (not as weapons), and nobody's questioned me, but I suspect that it's because I'm using them in a utilitarian/emergency manner.

Has anyone else wondered the same thing?

Thanks in advance!
I would do a search for my state's attorney general's office. Most are online nowdays. This is where you could get a direct answer for you question and it would be coming from your state's highest attorney's office.

I'm not sure if there's a site going specifically into knife laws for each state, but <a href="http://www.ncsl.org/public/sitesleg.htm">this page</a> has links to each state. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to search through the laws themselves from there. Unfortunately, this means interpretting government speak, but I haven't found anything better that has a link to everywhere.

JP Bullivant
I found the link to my State's statutes page and found out some info. I know what you mean about "government-speak"!!
According to the statute, people are able to carry auto's "with an explainable lawful purpose". I guess I'll be packin' a Microtech from now on!!!

Thanks for your help.
If you want to be completely knowledgable about carrying, in addition to "government speak" you will need to check city laws too.
FYI, I have information on the carry laws for Illinois, Indiana, Louisanna, Minnesota and Iowa. Those who may be interested, just e-mail me.

I've suggested this before and still believe that setting up a knife laws directory or FAQ here on BLADEFORUM would be a great service to our members. I began collecting my information because I wanted to know the laws for the states I travel most frequently.

Life is a journey, not a guided tour -- GO ARMED!

I am a police officer in Tennessee. I can enlighten about our law concerning knives. What state are you in Fireprez?

Here is our law as copied from the Tennessee Codes Annotated
39-17-1307 Unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon- (a)(1) A person commits an offense who carries with the intent to go armed a firearm,a knife with a blade length exceeding four inches (4"), or a club.
(2) An offense under section (a)(1) is a class C misdemeanor, except it is a class A misdemeanor if the person's carrying of a handgun occurred at a place open to the public where one (1) or more persons were present.

OK two important things. It does not differentiate between folders and fixed blades. Any knife with a blade excedding 4". These things are only illegal if you carry them with the intent to go armed. If there is probable cause to believe you are carrying it with the intent to go armed you can be arrested. Probable Cause are facts or circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe a crime has been committed. It takes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to get convicted. If you are carrying a blade over 4" in Tennessee you need to be able to show that you are not carrying it with intent to go armed. That is as a weapon. You need to articulate that it is a tool or you could be charged.

Also autos are illegal unless you are in the military or are a LEO. that is under 39-17-1302.


[This message has been edited by shootist16 (edited 24 August 1999).]
Thanks for the post Shootist, I'm adding the Tennessee statutes to my list for future reference.

Don't get down your way much but then there's always Nashville!

Life is a journey, not a guided tour -- GO ARMED!

First off, thanks to everyone for their help. I believe that I found out what I needed to know from the State's website.

Shootist, I'm in NJ. The laws in TN seem to allow someone to carry either a fixed blade or folder, as long as someone says they are carrying it as a tool. That seems to be the same as here. I guess that holds true for just about ANY tool. If a person has a hammer in their hands, nobody's going to give them a hard time, unless they threaten or use it against someone. In that case, the hammer is considered a weapon.... right?
I think it ultimately comes down to the discretion of the Police Officer, at least initially. If you were to see someone walking down the street carrying a machete and there were no bushes to be trimmed, I don't think that the person would be allowed to go on their merry way, irregardless of the fact that they haven't stated their intent to use the machete as a weapon, or even a step further, as a defensive item.
What confuses me in my state is how a layperson, or anyone other than a lawyer for that matter, is supposed to interpret the law. For example,
Section 2C:39-3 states:
"......Any person who knowingly has in his possession any gravity knife, switchblade knife, dagger, dirk, stiletto, billy, blackjack, metal knuckle, sandclub, slingshot, cestus or similar leather band studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood, ballistic knife, without any explainable lawful purpose, is guilty of a crime of the fourth
degree." (Emphasis mine)
This would mean to me, and I'd like to think I have a reasonable amount of intelligence, that as long as I have a reason that is lawful, all of the items mentioned would be legal to possess. I run EMS in my town, and a knife that opens with one hand would abviously be an asset. But I'd STILL be real uncomfortable in opening any type of auto in front of an officer, especially if it were someone I didn't know. That leaves me with either a fixed blade or a folder with some kind of one stud. The way that the law reads, to me, is that there's no limit as to the size of the blade, whether fixed or not. Does this mean someone can carry a sword?

Well, obviously I'm not a writer, and I hope that I'm conveying my thoughts, if not in a completely clear way. Just that I'm a little frustrated when it comes to adhering to the laws when they're so vague.

For example, in NJ, it's legal to BUY hollowpoint ammunition, but it's NOT legal to possess them. Yes, you read that correct.

That's why we're moving to Nevada.

Thanks for your time,