How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife?

Knives are a common tool found in many households, used for a variety of tasks from chopping and slicing food to opening packages. But when it comes to carrying a knife in public, it is important to be aware of the laws and regulations.

This blog post will provide a clear overview of the legal age requirements for carrying a knife, as well as other important information regarding the ownership and use of these weapons.

We will discuss what kind of knives are legal to carry, as well as when and where they can be carried so that you can make sure you are abiding by the law. Understanding the laws and regulations regarding knives can help you stay safe and avoid any potential legal issues.

The answer depends on several factors:

  • The type of knife you wish to carry
  • Where you live and whether your state or city has any restrictions on knives being carried by minors
  • Whether or not a school allows students to carry knives on campus

This article will focus on the answer to this question in different states of the USA. 

How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife in the U.S.A.?

In the U.S., carrying a knife is not against the law. Additionally, there are no specific age requirements for carrying a knife in the U.S.A. However, the types of knives people are allowed to own are governed differently by each state. They also describe proper knife usage and storage.

The Switchblade Knife Act of 1958 and its 2009 update are the sole federal laws governing knives (see 15 U.S.C. 1244). Only people traveling outside or between states are subject to the federal knife law.

There are two types of knife laws: carry laws and ownership laws.

Law of Knives 

How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife? 
Image Credit: The New York Times

You need to understand the meanings of a few words and phrases to comprehend all of this jargon.

  • Carry Law: What you are permitted to carry outside your home is governed by a carry law. For instance, while open carrying of the same knife is allowed in some states, concealed carrying of knives longer than a specific length is prohibited. Certain knives cannot be carried or covered in some states.
  • Ownership Law: These expressly restrict the ownership of anything; you aren’t even allowed to have it in your home for display purposes. This is the rationale behind the Bowie knife ban in so many states.

Is It Legal for a Minor to Carry a Pocketknife?

Is It Legal for a Minor to Carry a Pocketknife?

Pocket knives are convenient, familiar, and, occasionally, even unlawful. They can be used for routine chores and are small enough to fit in a pocket or on a key chain, but they have some limitations. Does that imply that it is acceptable for minors to carry a pocketknife?

However, it depends on your location and how you define a “pocketknife.” In reality, no state forbids anyone from carrying a pocketknife, even children, and instead regulates the types of knives that may be carried.

There are knife laws in every state, but some of them are more up-to-date than others. Many municipalities and localities also frequently enact their own knife laws.

Therefore, a minor is permitted to carry pocket knife if they abide by all applicable state and local rules regarding knives. However, because every state and locality is unique, it can be challenging to understand and abide by these knife laws.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife in California?

 No specific age at which anything becomes legal exists. The length of the blade and lawful means of carrying the knife are what matters, though.

 In California, it is now acceptable for a minor to carry a knife as long as it complies with all other state regulations. Minors (those under 18) are not expressly prohibited from carrying knives by any provisions of the California Penal Code.

 There isn’t a set length limit for knives in the state of California. The legal limit for a switchblade knife is 2 inches, though. Additionally, it is prohibited to carry weapons made for concealment, such as dirks or daggers, as well as many other sorts of blades.

 How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife in Texas?

Knives, spears, machetes, sabers, and swords are now legal to carry in most public spaces across the state for Texans over 18 as of September 1, 2017. Knives with blades over 5.5 inches, such as double-edged knives, daggers, swords, poniards, dirks, Bowie knives, and stilettos, are no longer subject to ownership restrictions under ownership restrictions H.B. 1935 (Texas Knife Law Reform Bill).

The law further limits kids under 18 by forbidding them from publicly holding a knife longer than 5.5 inches unless they are at home, in a vehicle, boat, or under the supervision of a parent or guardian.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife in Michigan?

The legal carrying age of a knife is not regulated in Michigan. You can own any knife you want. Any knife, barring automatic models with blades that extend from the front of the handle, may be open carry. 

The only restrictions on concealed carry are that you cannot carry a stabby knife, such as a dirk or stiletto, whose blade extends from the front of the handle, and that you may not use the knife to hurt others.

What You Can Carry Legally

  • All knives, barring those that are prohibited, may be carried openly.
  • Carrying concealed dirks, stilettos, daggers, and other cutting tools is prohibited.
  • Carrying any automatic NON-FOLDING knife is prohibited.
  • As of October 2017, carrying an automatic or spring-assisted knife is permitted, but only provided the blade does not extend from the handle’s front.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife in Florida?

A basic pocket knife is the only object minors (those under 18) should ever carry without parental consent.

The following elements greatly influence whether carrying knives is permitted:

  • Fixed blades, folding blades, and multi-purpose tools are the three types of knives.
  • Carrying options: open carry and concealed carry.
  • Blade Style: Semi-serrated, serrated, and straight.

Several quick legal facts to keep you safe:

  • Every ballistic blade is forbidden.
  • “Weapon-free zones” exist in schools.
  • For concealed carry, any blades longer than 4 inches are prohibited.
  • Only those with a current permit may carry hidden butterfly knives.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife in Ohio?

how old do you have to be to carry a knife?
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Most jurisdictions require a knife owner to be at least 21 years old. There are several circumstances, nevertheless, in which this isn’t the case.

As long as the knife “is not utilized as a weapon,” it may be carried either openly or covertly.

However, a blade that is 4 inches or shorter is often regarded as a weapon, making it acceptable for anyone to own it, including children. For instance, it is acceptable for a minor to possess and use a basic pocket knife.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife in Pa?

how old do you have to be to carry a knife? usa, uk & canada

No age limit is set in Pa for carrying a knife. Except for those that qualify as “prohibited offensive weapons,” carrying any knife openly or covertly is permitted in Pennsylvania. 

As long as you can persuade a police officer or a judge that you are using the knife for “lawful purposes,” you are permitted to own almost any knife.

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to possess any knife “whose blade is disclosed automatically by a switch, push-button, spring mechanism, or otherwise.”

Any “deadly weapon” that is sold or transferred to a person under the age of 18 is prohibited. According to 18 PA C.S.A. 2301, a knife “intended as a weapon and capable of delivering death or serious bodily injury” qualifies as a deadly weapon.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife in Virginia?

In Virginia, any kind of knife can be owned. The legal age to carry a knife in this state is unrestricted.

A dirk, bowie knife, switchblade, machete, ballistic knife, throwing star, oriental dart, or any knife of a kindred type is prohibited. People can’t conceal or carry those.

The state of Virginia’s knife law places few limits on non-automatic pocketknives with metal folding blades shorter than three inches.

It is acceptable to carry any knife openly.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife in Tennessee?

Although there is no minimum age requirement for carrying a knife, selling it to a child is prohibited.

A knife can be given as a gift, even though it is illegal to sell any form of knife to a child without their parent’s permission. Any switchblade, such as a butterfly knife, was once illegal for anybody under the age of 18, and possessing one was considered a crime.

Tennessee’s knife laws provide minors the same ownership rights as adults.

Carrying a knife on school property or school grounds is not permitted. Uncertain laws mention “extremely small knives” that might be allowed to be carried on school grounds. It is best to steer clear of this nebulous legal topic altogether because it is challenging to define.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife in Indiana?

how old do you have to be to carry a knife? usa, uk & canada laws of knife carry

In Indiana, knife carry is typically permitted. There is no upper age limit. However, a minor under the age of 18 can only carry a deadly knife with the consent of their parent or legal guardian.

Knife regulations in Indiana are rather simple and lax. By law, you are permitted to carry a knife for self-defense. However, it is forbidden to use knives and weapons for harm.

It is against the law in Indiana to use, purchase, make, carry, or sell throwing stars and ballistic knives. Other than these knives, there are no restrictions on carrying knives and blades openly or covertly throughout the state.

Bottom Line 

  • Each state in the U.S.A. has its own laws for carrying a knife. But carrying a knife is nearly always permitted in all states once you reach the age of 18.
  • Some knives are primarily used for self-defense, hunting, and handyman tasks. In the U.S., carrying a knife is not against the law. However, the types of knives people are allowed to own are governed differently by each state.

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