Arkansas Knife Laws

Are you interested in Arkansas knife laws? Unlike other states, Arkansas repealed archaic knife laws in 2011. It is now one of the most friendly state for knives. Some websites on the Internet have not been updated so they are out of date. This article was written in 2013.

What are Legal Knives Under Arkansas Knife Law

  • Balisongs are legal.
  • Switchblades, automatic knives, gravity knives, and similar knives are legal.
  • Dinks, stilettos, and other stabbing knives are legal.
  • Bowies and other large knives are legal.
  • Knives of all sizes are legal.

Basically, if it has a blade, it is legal.

Details on the Law

5-73-120.  Carrying a weapon.

(a) A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if he or she possesses a handgun, knife, or club on or about his or her person, in a vehicle occupied by him or her, or otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.

(3)  (A) ”Knife” means any bladed hand instrument that is capable of inflicting serious physical injury or death by cutting or stabbing. (B) ”Knife” includes a dirk, sword or spear in a cane, razor, ice pick, throwing star, switchblade, and butterfly knife.

What this means is that, as long as you do not have the intent to stab someone, it is legal to carry any knife. There are no outlawed knives in Arkansas, so you can own any knife you want.

Repeal of Archaic Knife Laws

5-73-121. (a) A person who carries a knife as a weapon, except when upon a journey or upon his own premises, shall be punished as provided by section 5-73- 123(b). (b) If a person carries a knife with a blade 3-1/2 inches long or longer, this fact shall be prima facie proof that the knife is carried as a weapon.

In 2011 Arkansas legislature repealed civil code 5-73-121. The code is stated above. What the old law meant was that, if the police found a knife that was over 3.5 inches long on you, that is evidence in itself that you are carrying it as a weapon.

The law is very, very old. It dated back to when Bowie knives were popular and people often dueled with them. The State of Arkansas wanted to stop this behavior and made Bowie knives any any knife over 3.5 inches illegal.

Now, because of the repeal, Arkansas has one of the best knife laws in the US. You can own any type of knife you want and carry it in any manner you want. You can read about the repeal here.

Conclusions on Arkansas Knife Laws

In Arkansas, any knife is legal as long as you are not committing a crime. This beats other states who still have Bowie knife laws in place.

Please be aware that this is not legal advice. If you want real legal advice, talk to an attorney in Arkansas. If you have a comment, place it in the comment box below. We are also looking for an attorney in Arkansas who would be willing to do a short interview about knife laws.

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5 comments on “Arkansas Knife Laws
  1. Richard says:

    Is it illegal for me to wear my 4.4″ fixed blade in sheath on belt with my t-shirt out and covering entire knife and sheath?

  2. lateToTheParty says:

    It is legal, but it also leaves you up to interpretation. If an officer stops you and sees the outline, he may interpret the weapon under the t-shirt as intent to hide the weapon to use to harm another person. This one SEEMS to be a law written to tack on another charge to a person who attempts to attack another. BUT in reality, if you do attack another, then it’s clear evidence that you were intentionally carrying the knife to harm another and therefore were illegally carrying a weapon. I guess you could call it an ‘after-the-fact’ law – you can only actually prove intent by the fact that you already actually did what you are charged with.

    Other state knife laws fall under the “well, a ‘regular’ person wouldn’t carry too large a knife unless they meant to harm someone, so if you are carrying a ‘too big knife’ you must be intending to hurt someone” theory. Sadly that seems to me to be like the “Well, you have a female part, you must be intending to prostitute yourself” idea. Or, “you work out with weights, you must be intending to mug people.”

    According to what is written here, clear legality only appears in Arkansas after an attack with a knife has occurred. A pretty good idea – the law doesn’t read minds.

  3. Kevin Craig says:

    Arkansas just got even better, when Act 746 of 2013 became effective on August 16.

    “Carrying a weapon”, 5-73-120, now reads, “A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if he or she possesses a handgun, knife, or club on or about his or her person, in a vehicle occupied by him or her, or otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.”

    “Unlawfully employ”, not just “employ”. Carrying any of the above items for the lawful purpose of self defense, is no longer a crime in Arkansas.

  4. steven says:

    is it legal to carry a butterfly knife in arkansas?
    what is the official length of a blade that one can carry?

  5. Jacob Johnson says:

    Ive read the comments about Act 746 but im not clear Is it legal to carry a handgun without a permit if my inent is to protect myself?

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