This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
One of the most discussed pieces of gear in prepper sites is the knife. On any given day, you will find knife reviews, benefits of carrying knives and knives for everyday carry (EDC). After moving to Texas several years ago, we noticed a lot of people carry knives on a daily basis and we thought, “What a great idea!” and started carrying one ourselves. However, this is not the case in many states. Some people are afraid of knives and feel they are deadly weapons. In some states, you can get arrested if found with certain types of knives. Short blade pocket knives are generally legal. I started wondering just exactly what type of knives will get you in trouble.
The answer, it turns out, is not so cut and dried. It varies in each state. Some states allow up to a certain blade length, while others prohibit specific types of knives.
Also, there is a difference between “owning” a knife versus “carrying” it. You can own a knife and leave it at home or in a display case, and you won’t run afoul of the law, but the minute you carry it somewhere, you may be in trouble. For example, in Texas, it is illegal to own a “gravity knife” (a knife that has a blade in its handle that can be opened by inertia or gravity, designed to be opened or closed one-handed). However, under the Texas penal code, there are knives you can own but fall under “Unlawful Carrying”
“Illegal knife” means a:
(A) knife with a blade over five and one-half inches;
(B) hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by
(C) dagger, including but not limited to a dirk, stiletto,
(D) sword; or
(7) “Knife” means any bladed hand instrument that is capable
of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by cutting or
stabbing a person with the instrument.
From this definition, it is unlawful to carry any knife with a blade over 5.5 inches long, throwing knives or stars, dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other stabbing knives, bowie knives, swords, or spears.
However, in Los Angeles County, California, the 5.5 rule is way over their limit: you would run afoul of the law in many that prohibit fixed blades of 3 inches or more. California also prohibits “misleading knives,” which are knives disguised as something else such as lipstick knives, pen knives, cane knives, etc.
A good resource for finding out each state’s laws regarding knives is the American Knife and Tool Institute (AKTI) website: http://www.akti.org/state-knife-laws/
Federal law prohibits transportation and sale of ballistic knives across state lines. A ballistic knife is a knife with a blade that can be fired as a projectile. Also the TSA bans knives, utility blades, razor blades, swords in airplanes. When flying domestically, you can keep a knife in your checked luggage as long as it is sheathed, or securely wrapped.
Areas where you must not carry a knife:
- school bus
- polling places
What if you get stopped by the police and you have a knife?
I am not an attorney, or an expert on knife laws, but from what I read in my research:
- Be courteous and calm.
- You can state your name and address, but politely ask for a lawyer immediately.
- Do not consent to a search, or agree to waive any other rights.
- Do not give any other information about what your knife is for, why you are carrying it, but keep asking for a lawyer.
In answer to the original question, “Can you be arrested for carrying a knife?” The answer is “Yes, but it varies by state.” To be on the safe side, you should be aware of federal, state, and local knife laws before choosing a knife.
© Apartment Prepper 2015