Us Switchblade Laws

The following is a comprehensive compilation of the laws on switchblades (also called automatics) in the United States. This chart covers both overall federal law and each state law. These laws are for non-law enforcement citizens, as nearly all laws contain some sort of exemption for police. In states where unlawful intent must be proven (and is not simply presumed) for the knife to be illegal, this chart counts this as "legal."

Legend:
  • Private Ownership = Refers to the legality of merely owning a switchblade kept exclusively in the home.
  • Sale = The legality of merchants and private citizens offering switchblades for sale or selling them. Usually includes any transfer of ownership, even gifts. Note that such laws almost always only affect the seller; no state law affects the buyer of such a transaction.
  • Open Carry = legality of carrying a switchblade unconcealed and in plain view of others.
  • Concealed Carry = legality of carrying a switchblade in a concealed manner on one's person (or most of the time, in a car).
  • Balisong considered same thing? = Refers to if the wording of the law considers switchblades and balisongs to be the same thing. If "Yes," balisongs are subject to all the same restrictions as switchblades listed for that state. If "no" they are covered by a separate law and may or may not be legal. Blanks indicate the state has no laws about either.
Practical Matters
  • If private ownership itself is illegal, then all others become illegal by default.
  • If private ownership is legal, but sale is not, it effectively becomes impossible to legally obtain a switchblade from within that state (since federal law prohibits inter-state sale). One must physically travel to another state to legally purchase.
State Private Ownership Sale Open Carry Concealed Carry Balisong considered same thing?
US Federal Law Legal Illegal when sold over state lines or imported from outside the US Legal Legal Yes
Alabama Legal Legal Legal Legal
Alaska Legal Legal Legal Legal
Arizona Legal Legal Legal Legal if over 21 years old
Arkansas Legal Legal Legal Legal
California Legal Legal if blade is <2" Legal if blade is <2" Legal if blade is <2" Yes
Colorado Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal No
Connecticut Legal Legal Legal if blade is ≤1.5" Legal if blade is ≤1.5" No
Delaware Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal No
District of Columbia Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal No
Florida Legal Legal Legal Illegal (Legal with gun permit) N/A
Georgia Legal Legal (if over 18) Legal if blade is ≤5" (any length with gun permit) Legal if blade is ≤5" (any length with gun permit)
Hawaii Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal No
Idaho Legal Legal Legal Legal if blade is ≤4" No
Illinois Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal No
Indiana Legal Legal Legal Legal No
Iowa Legal Legal Legal Legal if blade is ≤5" No
Kansas Legal Legal Legal Legal
Kentucky Legal Legal Legal Illegal
Louisiana Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal No
Maine Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal Yes
Maryland Legal Illegal Legal Illegal No
Massachusetts Legal Legal Illegal Illegal No
Michigan Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal No
Minnesota Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal No
Mississippi Legal Legal Legal Illegal No
Missouri Legal Legal Legal Illegal Yes
Montana Illegal (ex. Curio or blade is ≤1.5") Illegal (ex. Curio or blade is ≤1.5") Illegal Illegal No
Nebraska Legal Legal Legal Legal if blade is ≤3.5"
Nevada Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal No
New Hampshire Legal Legal Legal Legal No
New Jersey Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal No
New Mexico Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal Yes
New York Illegal* Illegal* Illegal* Illegal* No
North Carolina Legal Legal Legal Illegal No
North Dakota Legal Legal Legal Illegal
Ohio Legal Illegal Legal Illegal No
Oklahoma Legal Legal Illegal Illegal No
Oregon Legal Legal Legal Illegal Yes
Pennsylvania Illegal (ex. Curio) Illegal (ex. Curio) Illegal Illegal No
Rhode Island Legal Legal Legal Legal if blade is ≤3" No
South Carolina Legal Legal Legal Legal
South Dakota Legal Legal Legal Legal
Tennessee Legal Legal Legal Legal Yes
Texas Legal Legal Legal if blade is <5.5" Legal if blade is <5.5" Yes
Utah Legal Legal Legal Situational Yes
Vermont Legal Legal if blade is <3" Legal Legal No
Virginia Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal No
Washington Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal Yes
West Virginia Legal (if over 18) Legal Legal (if over 18) Illegal No
Wisconsin Illegal Illegal Illegal Illegal Yes
Wyoming Legal Legal Legal Situational

*New York's state law provides an exception for "Possession of a switchblade or gravity knife for use while hunting, trapping or fishing by a person carrying a valid license." Whether this affects sale or type of carry is unclear.

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