Whether you own a Swiss Army pocket knife, a Bowie hunting knife, a stiletto switchblade, a dagger, or a butterfly knife, knife owners are often subject to federal, state, and local laws. Although knives are popular as collectibles, tools, and self-defense weapons, carrying a knife or owning certain types of knives may be illegal under state or federal law. In popular media, knives are often depicted as flashy weapons brandished by villains. Knives also have a long history of use in gang violence. As a result, many people glamorize knives and fail to recognize their potential for danger.
State Knife Laws
Are knives legal? States in the U.S. have differing views on this question. Most states regard short-blade pocket knives as legal. Generally, the longer a knife's blade (e.g., more than 2 or 3 inches), the more likely a state will consider the knife illegal or subject to restriction. Here a few examples:
If you use or collect knives, it is important to know and follow your state's knife laws to avoid any criminal charges and legal trouble.
Federal Knife Laws
Although laws concerning knives are mostly a state issue, federal law also restricts the sale and transportation of knives. For example, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) bans travelers from carrying knives, razor blades, swords, and utility blades onto an airplane. Domestic air travelers are allowed to pack knives in checked baggage, as long as the knife is sheathed or securely wrapped. International travelers may be subject to different foreign policies concerning the transportation of knives into and out of other countries. U.S. federal law also bars the shipment of self-opening or automatic knives like switchblades across state lines.
Injuries from knives can be serious and potentially deadly. A knife is engineered to cut, and knives can inflict deep lacerations and puncture wounds. Internal and external bleeding, punctured organs, and severed muscle tissue are some of the common injuries associated with knife wounds.
Knives and Your Legal Rights
There are state and federal laws about knives that people must understand and follow. If you're charged with possession of a knife, or the victim of a knife-related crime, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Some of the legal factors that an attorney can review with you include:
Knives and Knife Safety Tips
Have Questions About Knife Laws? An Attorney Can Help
Knives can be quite useful for a number of benign purposes, such as fishing or cutting cardboard boxes -- but they also can be used to injure or even kill others. This is why they're tightly regulated, depending on the laws of your state. If you were injured by a defective knife or by someone else using a knife carelessly, you may want to contact a local personal injury lawyer specializing in such matters.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.