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Saturday, June 25, 2016

USA - Law on Locking-Blade Pocket Knives


Federal Law

  • Federal law prohibits the carrying of all ballistic or automatic knives. These are knives with gas- or spring-powered blades that are released by a button. The mailing or transportation of switchblade knives across state lines is prohibited unless intended for military use. The concealed carry of a locking-blade pocket knife with a blade of two and a-half inches or less is allowed under federal law.

State Law

  • State laws uphold the same prohibitory stance of switchblade and ballistic knives as outlined in the federal law. Because pocket knife regulations are set up through case law, and because each state has a unique set of laws that new case law is built upon, laws regarding the concealed and open carry of pocket knives differ drastically. In most cases, it is safe to carry a locking-blade pocket knife with a blade two inches long or less.

Local Law

  • Local law varies even more widely than state law when it comes to pocket knives. In Arizona, for instance, the state law allows the carry of pocket knives with blades of four inches and less. In Flagstaff and Florence, Arizona, however, you may only carry knives with blades of three inches or less. Among local knife law it is common for larger metropolis areas to lower limits for legal blade length.


  • Prosecutions based solely on the possession or concealed carry of a prohibited pocket knife are extremely rare. However, the violation of a knife law is considered by law enforcement professionals to be a weapons violation, which carries a long list of consequences that can affect one's ability to own any firearms, possess a valid driver's license or be employed.

Prohibited Knives

  • While federal law prohibits only switchblade and ballistic knives, many states include additional varieties of pocket knives on the list of dangerous weapons. Gravity knives, even locking-blade gravity knives, are outlawed in most states. These knives include butterfly knives and any pocket knife that opens by gravitational or centripetal force. Push daggers, which are similar to brass knuckles and often considered a type of pocket knife in legislation, are also illegal in most states.