Indiana Knife Laws

Indiana knife laws are very fair and somewhat strait forward. This article will give you a briefing of what is allowed and not allowed under the law, what the law says, and an explanation of what that means. This article will also cite case precedence that has shaped the meaning of Indiana knife law.

What is Legal

  • Balisong knives are legal.
  • Bowie knive are legal.
  • Dirks, daggers, and stilettos are legal.
  • Assisted knives are legal.
  • Disguised knives like cane knives, lipstick knives, and belt knives are legal.
  • Switchblades and other automatic knives are legal.

What is Illegal

  • Ballistic knives are illegal.
  • Throwing stars are illegal.

Restriction on Carry

There are no limits to concealed or open carry as long as you do not bring a knife to school. The Indiana state code is available for anyone to read online but the excerpts below contains the code as well as an explanation.

What the Law Says

Ban on Ballistic Knives

Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-5-2 (Effective July 1, 2013)

35-47-5-2. Knife with a detachable blade.

It is a Class B misdemeanor for a person to manufacture, possess, display, offer, sell, lend, give away, or purchase any knife with a detachable blade that may be ejected from the handle as a projectile by means of gas, a spring, or any other device contained in the handle of the knife.

Indiana’s prior code made the manufacture, possession, display, sale, loan, gifting, or purchase of a knife that opens automatically a Class B misdemeanor, but effect July 1, 2013, that section of the code has been stricken.

Limits on Knives at Schools

Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-5-2.5 (Effective July 1, 2013)

35-47-5-2.5. Possession of knife on school property or on a school bus.

(a) As used in this section, “knife” means an instrument that:
(1) consists of a sharp edged or sharp pointed blade capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds; and
(2) is intended to be used as a weapon.
(b) The term includes a dagger, dirk, poniard, stiletto, switchblade knife, or gravity knife.
(c) A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally possesses a knife on:
(1) school property (as defined in IC 35-31.5-2-285);
(2) a school bus (as defined in IC 20-27-2-8); or
(3) a special purpose bus (as defined in IC 20-27-2-10);
commits a Class B misdemeanor. However, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the person has a previous unrelated conviction under this section and a Level 6 felony if the offense results in bodily injury to another person.
(d) This section does not apply to a person who possesses a knife:
(1) if:
(A) the knife is provided to the person by the school corporation or possession of the knife is authorized by the school corporation; and
(B) the person uses the knife for a purpose authorized by the school corporation; or
(2) if the knife is secured in a motor vehicle.

Unlike other states where you can bring pocket knives under a certain blade length to schools, you can not bring any knife to a school in Indiana unless it is approved by the school or left in your car.

Limits on Throwing Stars

Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-5-12 (2013)

35-47-5-12. Manufacture, sale or possession of Chinese throwing star.

(a) A person who:
(1) Manufactures;
(2) Causes to be manufactured;
(3) Imports into Indiana;
(4) Keeps for sale;
(5) Offers or exposes for sale; or
(6) Gives, lends, or possesses;
a Chinese throwing star commits a Class C misdemeanor.
(b) As used in this section, “Chinese throwing star” means a throwing-knife, throwing-iron, or other knife-like weapon with blades set at different angles.

You can not have throwing stars in Indiana. You can have throwing knives if there is only one blade or blades in the same angle. Fortunately, most throwing knives are not sharp and, as long as it has only one blade, you should be fine. The types of throwing knives that have multiple blades at different angles are ones who have a front and back tip.

Throwing axes, hatchets, and tomahawks are legal as long as the blades are in the same angle (most are).

Conclusion to Indiana Knife Laws

It is legal for you to own everything except ballistic knives and throwing stars. You can not bring knives to school no matter the length or type.

Why did Indiana ban throwing stars? I don’t really know since you can’t really seriously injure someone with a throwing star. No matter how hard you throw it, it’ll only leave a cut. Illinois also banned throwing star as well however.

Note that I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. If you need real legal advice, talk to a lawyer. There are also county laws that come into play as well so look up your local municipal code. If you have any questions, post it in the comment box below.


  1. the winchester bowie knife has a 8 inch blade. is this knife legal to open carry in the sheath it comes with?

  2. Indiana is changing this law to allow auto knives effective July 2013

  3. As D said, the laws regarding automatic knives has since been changed, and this needs to be updated.

  4. As of 7-1-13 all automatic and otf/switchblade knives are legal to cary and own although some cities and towns have written ordinances banning these types of knives.

  5. So am I to understand that there are no length limits or conceal requirements/infringements in indiana law?

  6. While Indiana’s law RE automatic knives has been repealed, Federal law, however, still forbids the transportation of autos across state lines (and that includes having them shipped to you) unless you are a law enforcement officer or soldier, and unless such knives are intended to be used during active duty.

  7. I carry a Buck 301 (maybe 2.5″ blade) pocket knife almost daily. Useful tool and a habit I got from my Father. Use it frequently in my role of Assistant Scout Master.
    Since it is never, ever intended or designed as a weapon – though better than nothing if it’s my only option for defense, the law reads like I would be okay on school property.

  8. Recently bought a dirk/dagger at a yard sale. Has a belt clip and a sheath where a button has to be pressed to remove the blade from the sheath. Blade is 5″, is this legal to open carry?

    Just wanted to be sure.

  9. what is the maximum length blade you can carry in indiana fort wayne allen county

    1. Years ago I used to carry a field knife on my side after a mugging. A police officer stopped me and warned me not to carry it. After quizzing him on the law of the matter, he said it was illegal. I contacted a couple of prosecutors at the court house and they assured me that there was no length limit on blades for knives.

    2. wasn’t too long ago that the maximum blade length was 6 inches. That was repealed though so depending on when you were informed by the officer vs when you asked a prosecutor, both answers could have been right. Also, sadly, when laws that are rarely enforced get repealed that information is not always passed on to the mass of officers so veteran officers are not aware of the change. Just my 2 cents

    3. It’s their fucking job to know the law

  10. Im going to assume that I may Opencarry a shortSword on my back so that strangers dont try to mess with me

    1. Sure, go ahead. I own a longsword and have had no problems carrying it in public, usually to/from Scottish festivals and the like. I wouldn’t carry it on your back though. Harder to draw and leaves you open for longer when needing to ready it quickly than if on your hip. Plus, someone can come up behind you, draw it with ease, and run you through before you can do much about it. But that’s just my two cents. 😉

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