Kentucky Knife Laws

The knife law in Kentucky is pretty confusing. This article will give you a clearer idea of what is legal and illegal in everyday English. The article will discuss the law, important cases, and implications.

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own ballistic knives.
  • It is legal to own balisong knives.
  • It is legal to own switchblades and other automatic knives.
  • It is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other stabbing knives.
  • It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, and cane knives.
  • It is legal to own undetectable knives (knives that will not set off metal detectors).
  • It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.

There are no banned knife types in Kentucky.

What is Legal to Carry

  • It is legal to open carry any knife.
  • It is legal to conceal carry any ordinary pocket knife or hunting knife.
  • Anything besides a pocket or hunting knife can be considered a deadly weapon and would be banned from concealed carry.

What the Law Says

Limits on Concealed Carry

KRS § 527.020 (2012)

527.020. Carrying concealed deadly weapon.

(1) A person is guilty of carrying a concealed weapon when he or she carries concealed a firearm or other deadly weapon on or about his or her person.

KRS § 500.080 (2012)

500.080. Definitions for Kentucky Penal Code.

(4) “Deadly weapon” means any of the following:
(a) A weapon of mass destruction;
(b) Any weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injury, may be discharged;
(c) Any knife other than an ordinary pocket knife or hunting knife;
(d) Billy, nightstick, or club;
(e) Blackjack or slapjack;
(f) Nunchaku karate sticks;
(g) Shuriken or death star; or
(h) Artificial knuckles made from metal, plastic, or other similar hard material;

This law limits the concealed carry of dangerous weapons. The law considers throwing stars and metal knuckles dangerous weapons. The law states that a pocket or hunting knife is not a dangerous weapon. The law does not give any maximum blade length for pocket or hunting knives.

The gray area here are knives that are not ordinary hunting and pocket knives. Here is what case precedence says.

The case of Kennedy v. Commonwealth in 1976 found that any thing can be considered a deadly weapon if the person using it convinces the victim that the weapon is life threatening. Therefore, threatening someone’s life with a trainer knife (a trainer is a knife that has no blade) is illegal if the person who you threatened actually believed that the trainer was deadly.

Deadly weapons are only things that are weapons. The case of McCombs v. Commonwealth in 2006 found that a crowbar is not a weapon because the legislature intended for deadly weapons to be only things that are designed to be weapons and not things that also have a utility use.

However, the case of Stout v. Commonwealth found that a utility knife was a deadly weapon since it falls under the definition of a knife.

Conclusion to Kentucky Knife Law

So, what does this mean? It means that pocket knives and hunting knives will always be legal to carry concealed. If you want to stick on the right side of the law, only conceal carry a pocket or hunting knife. Other knives outside of those are probably deadly weapons since they are knives. If you conceal carry something like a plastic knife, it might not be illegal because of McCombs v. Commonwealth.

You can own any knife you would like in Kansas and you can open carry any knife.

Note that there is no client-attorney relationship here and this is not legal advice. Talk to a real attorney if you need legal help. There are also municipal laws that apply as well so it is in your best interest to research that.

References

  • Carry concealed deadly weapon. KSA 527.020 (2012). Retrieved January 19, 2013, from LexisNexis Academic database.
  • Definitions for Kentucky Penal Code. KSA 500.080 (2012). Retrieved January 19, 2013, from LexisNexis Academic database.
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10 comments on “Kentucky Knife Laws
  1. Kenneth says:

    Thanks. I have always heard that I could not carry a knife that had an assist or own one. I don’t carry any knives other than the one that is attached to my Leatherman, but it’s good to know what I can and can not carry. Thanks for clarifying these issues in a way that makes sense.

  2. Ben Hood says:

    What about swords, like a katana? Can you carry them in public or is their a law on blade length in Kentucky?

  3. Patrion says:

    You have a big typo on this page-
    The bottom “conclusion” statement says:
    “Conclusion to Kansas Knife Law”

    This is the KENTUCKY page. :-)

  4. Roadkill says:

    Kennith: Assisted blades are covered as they are NOT switchblades. Though to be safe make sure it is a very untactical design. The leatherman should be fine as it is a multitool. They are so common that they wouldn’t want to go after you for them. They’d have a hell of a legal fight on their hands.

    Ben: Open carry is protected by the state constitution. You might get hassled in big cities, but it covers all weapons. Concealed carry permits are needed for any concealed weapons, but they cover ALL weapons. Knives, swords, guns, machineguns, saps, blackjacks, and anything else remotely dangerous. I want to talk to the guys in knife rights about getting our law clarified better.

  5. Democrat says:

    Bann all knifes, if knifes all ilegal then noone get stabbed. You are murder if you cary knifes.

  6. halkin maines says:

    WOW….. Thank you for your information about all of this. Needed to know this

  7. Captain america says:

    Democrat, your an idiot! You are what is wrong with this country. Learn proper English then take a long walk off a short pier…..and please wear a heavy necklace

  8. Aaron says:

    I own a Benchmade Auto Stryker 9100 SBT knife which was issued to me in the Army. Since I am still active-duty, I wonder if I am “legal” in carrying it on duty/at work. Can’t find any law here in KY which prohibits me carrying a auto-blade….any help?

    On the other hand, is this knife considered a “regular pocket knife”, or, because it is a spring-opened mechanism…is it a deadly weapon?

    Thanks!

  9. Shuvien says:

    Captain America, well said!

  10. Nāg Brown says:

    Democrat. Wth? I’m a liberal don’t care if Captain American knows it. But if you think for one second I would use my Tai Chi straight sword or a broadsword to slaughter people. You’re just a dim wit. Captain American, I guess I’m what wrong with this country. Ya know being a gay Taoist veteran maybe I should just leave this country right? I blazed my m-4 in Afghanistan and now I prefer peace.

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