In this article, we will give you a brief of what the Idaho knife laws say- in everyday English. We will also give you the exact quotes from the law as well as explanations of what it all means to you, as a knife owner and carrier. This article also cites cases that have helped to shape Idaho knife law.
No Knife Ban
- Balisong knives are legal.
- Switchblades, automatic knives, and other quick release knives are legal.
- Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
- Throwing stars and throwing knives are legal.
- Stilettos, dirks, and other stabbing knives are legal.
- Disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, cane knives, and key knives are legal.
- Spring powered ballistic knives are legal.
- Pocket knives of any size are legal.
Age Restrictions on Possession
- Need parental consent to possess a bowie or dirk if under 18.
- Can not possess a bowie or dirk if under 12 unless your parents are with you.
There is no ban on the possession of any type of knife in Idaho. You can buy and own any knife you want. However, taking it outside of the house is a different situation…
Limits on Carry
- It is legal to open carry any knife.
- It is illegal to bring any knife (open or concealed) besides a 2.5″ pocket knife to school.
- It is illegal to conceal carry any dirk, bowie, or dangerous weapon.
- It is illegal to conceal carry a knife, even if you have a permit, when intoxicated.
What the Law Says
Illegal to Assault with a Knife
Idaho Code § 18-3301 (2013)
§ 18-3301. Deadly weapon – Possession with intent to assault
Every person having upon him any deadly weapon with intent to assault another is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Knives can be a deadly weapon but Idaho law does not state what types of knives are deadly weapons. Also, there is no exact blade length that would make a knife a deadly weapon and it would be up to the judge or jury to determine if a knife is a deadly weapon.
“Intent to assault” is a tricky phrase and even trickier to enforce and prove. A case in a different state found that a man standing crouched behind a car with leather gloves (during summer) and a large knife had the intent to assault even though no one was stabbed.
Limits on Concealed Carry
Idaho Code § 18-3302 (2013)
§ 18-3302. Issuance of licenses to carry concealed weapons
(7) Except in the person’s place of abode or fixed place of business, or on property in which the person has any ownership or leasehold interest, a person shall not carry a concealed weapon without a license to carry a concealed weapon. For the purposes of this section, a concealed weapon means any dirk, dirk knife, bowie knife, dagger, pistol, revolver or any other deadly or dangerous weapon. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any lawfully possessed shotgun or rifle, any knife, cleaver or other instrument primarily used in the processing, preparation or eating of food, any knife with a blade four (4) inches or less or any lawfully possessed taser, stun gun or pepper spray.
You can open carry any knife you would like in Idaho.
You can not conceal carry a dirk, dagger, bowie, or any other deadly or dangerous weapon without a concealed weapons permit. You can obtain one from your local sheriff’s office.
Definition of Deadly and Dangerous Weapon
Idaho statutes do not define deadly or dangerous weapon for the purpose of the concealed carry laws. It is up to a judge or jury to determine if a knife and how it is used qualifies it as a deadly and dangerous weapon. There has been no case precedence on this yet in Idaho.
Definitions of Carry and Concealed
The case of State v. McNary found that “carry” means to have a knife that is close enough to you to be able to use it readily. State v. McNary also found that “concealed” means “not discernible by ordinary observation.” What this means is that having a knife in your car can count as having a concealed weapon if you can not easily see the knife from the outside. The case of State v. Veneroso found that a knife wedged between a seat and the center counsel counts as a concealed weapon.
Limits of Knife Sale
Idaho Code § 18-3302A (2013)
§ 18-3302A. Sale of weapons to minors
It shall be unlawful to directly or indirectly sell to any minor under the age of eighteen (18) years any weapon without the written consent of the parent or guardian of the minor. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not in excess of one thousand dollars ($ 1,000), by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not in excess of six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
As used in this section, “weapon” shall mean any dirk, dirk knife, bowie knife, dagger, pistol, revolver or gun.
You can not sell dirks and bowies to people under 18 in Idaho.
Limits when Intoxicated
Idaho Code § 18-3302B (2013)
§ 18-3302B. Carrying concealed weapons under the influence of alcohol or drugs
It shall be unlawful for any person to carry a concealed weapon on or about his person when intoxicated or under the influence of an intoxicating drink or drug. Any violation of the provisions of this section shall be a misdemeanor.
Limits on Concealed Carry with Permit
Idaho Code § 18-3302C (2013)
§ 18-3302C. Prohibited conduct
Any person obtaining a license under the provisions of section 18-3302, Idaho Code, shall not:
(1) Carry a concealed weapon in a courthouse, juvenile detention facility or jail, public or private school, except as provided in subsection (4)(f) of section 18-3302D, Idaho Code; or
(2) Provide information on the application for a permit to carry a concealed weapon knowing the same to be untrue. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Limits on Knives at Schools
Idaho Code § 18-3302D (2013)
§ 18-3302D. Possessing weapons or firearms on school property
(1) (a) It shall be unlawful and is a misdemeanor for any person to possess a firearm or other deadly or dangerous weapon while on the property of a school or in those portions of any building, stadium or other structure on school grounds which, at the time of the violation, were being used for an activity sponsored by or through a school in this state or while riding school provided transportation.
(b) The provisions of this section regarding the possession of a firearm or other deadly or dangerous weapon on school property shall also apply to students of schools while attending or participating in any school sponsored activity, program or event regardless of location.
(2) Definitions. As used in this section: (a) “Deadly or dangerous weapon” means any weapon as defined in 18 U.S.C. section 930;
18 USCS § 930
(2) The term “dangerous weapon” means a weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 1/2 inches in length.
What this means is that you can not carry any other knife except a 2.5″ pocket knife to school.
Limits on Knives for Minors
Idaho Code § 18-3302E (2013)
§ 18-3302E. Possession of a weapon by a minor
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of eighteen (18) years to possess or have in possession any weapon, as defined in section 18-3302A, Idaho Code, unless he:
(a) Has the written permission of his parent or guardian to possess the weapon; or
(b) Is accompanied by his parent or guardian while he has the weapon in his possession.
(2) Any minor under the age of twelve (12) years in possession of a weapon shall be accompanied by an adult.
(3) Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
It is illegal for anyone under the age of 12 to possession of a dirk or bowie without his/her parents being there with him/her. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess a dirk or bowie without written consent from his/her parent unless they have their parent with them. Any other type of knife, like butterlfy knives, are totally fine.
Conclusion to Idaho Knife Law
For the most part, you can own any knife you want in Idaho unless you are under 18. If you are under 18, you can own any knife you want except for bowies and dirks. If you are under 12, you can not possess any knife unless your parents are with you.
In Idaho, you can open carry any knife. You cannot conceal carry a bowie, dirk, or dangerous weapon, with a blade longer than 4 inches, unless you have a weapons permit. There has been no cases that defined any type of knife or length of blade to be a “dangerous weapon.” Because of this, you most likely would be OK carrying a concealed knife if you don’t use it in a deadly way.
Have any questions? Ask in the comment box below. Note that I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. Talk to a lawyer in your county if you need legal advice. This is the state knife law and there are county knife laws as well.
Idaho Code § 18-3301 (2013)
State v. McNary, 596 P.2d 417 (Ida. 1979)
State v. Veneroso, 71 P.3d 1072 (Ida. App. 2003)
18 USCS § 930