Mississippi Knife Laws

missMississippi knife laws are fairly relaxed, but because they are found in several different places within the code, and contain cross references and legalese, they may be difficult to read and follow. This article translates the legal ease into plain English that anyone can understand.

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own Balisong knives, also called butterfly knives.
  • It is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other slim knives.
  • It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives.
  • It is legal to own undetectable knives–knives that will not set off metal detectors.
  • It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives.
  • It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.
  • It is legal to own switchblades, gravity knives, and automatic knives.

Mississippi does not restrict ownership of any type of knife for those over the age of eighteen, who have not been convicted of a felony.

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal for a minor or a convicted felon to own a bowie knife
  • It is illegal for a minor or a convicted felon to own dirk knife
  • It is illegal for a minor or a convicted felon to own a butcher knife
  • It is illegal for a minor or a convicted felon to own a switchblade

Limits on Carry

  • It is illegal to carry concealed any bowie knife
  • It is illegal to carry concealed any dirk knife
  • It is illegal to carry concealed any butcher knife
  • It is illegal to carry concealed any switchblade or automatic knife
  • You may carry any knife concealed if it is concealed in your vehicle, and not on your person.
  • You may carry any knife concealed if you are participating in a sports activity where such a knife is legitimately used.
  • You can open carry any knife in Mississippi, unless you are a minor or a student on educational property.

What the Law States

Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-1. Deadly weapons; carrying while concealed; use or attempt to use; penalties

(1) ….Any person who carries, concealed in whole or in part, any bowie knife, dirk knife, butcher knife, switchblade knife, metallic knuckles, blackjack, slingshot, pistol, revolver, or any rifle with a barrel of less than sixteen (16) inches in length, or any shotgun with a barrel of less than eighteen (18) inches in length, machine gun or any fully automatic firearm or deadly weapon, or any muffler or silencer for any firearm, whether or not it is accompanied by a firearm, or uses or attempts to use against another person any imitation firearm, shall upon conviction be punished as follows:

(a) By a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($ 100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or both, in the discretion of the court, for the first conviction under this section.

(b) By a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($ 100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00), and imprisonment in the county jail for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than six (6) months, for the second conviction under this section.

(c) By confinement in the custody of the Department of Corrections for not less than one (1) year nor more than five (5) years, for the third or subsequent conviction under this section.

(d) By confinement in the custody of the Department of Corrections for not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years for any person previously convicted of any felony who is convicted under this section.

(2) It shall not be a violation of this section for any person over the age of eighteen (18) years to carry a firearm or deadly weapon concealed in whole or in part within the confines of his own home or his place of business, or any real property associated with his home or business or within any motor vehicle.

(3) It shall not be a violation of this section for any person to carry a firearm or deadly weapon concealed in whole or in part if the possessor of the weapon is then engaged in a legitimate weapon-related sports activity or is going to or returning from such activity. For purposes of this subsection, “legitimate weapon-related sports activity” means hunting, fishing, target shooting or any other legal sports activity which normally involves the use of a firearm or other weapon.

Definition of Concealed Carry

In Martin v. State, the Supreme Court held that a weapon which was only partially concealed, was considered concealed (Martin v. State, 93 Miss. 764 (1908)).

Definition of Various Knifes

The Mississippi code does not define dirk knife, bowie knife, or any other type of knife, except a “switchblade knife” which it defines as any knife with a blade that opens automatically, by releasing a spring or similar mechanism. In 2010, the Supreme Court in Summerall v. State, stated that absent a definition, a word had its ordinary and common meaning. It then defined “dirk knife” as a weapon with at least one sharpened edge, which tapers to a point, and is designed primarily for stabbing. In 2012, the Court of Appeals found, in Thomas v. State, that because it did not have a knife blade to examine, it could not determine whether the knife Thomas used to stab his victim was a butcher knife or a steak knife. It was therefore, it was up to the jury to decide, based on other evidence, what type of knife Thomas had used. The state of Mississippi has appealed this decision, however, and as of May 2013, the case is pending in the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Students and Educational Property

It is a misdemeanor in Mississippi for a student, on educational property, to possess or carry any bowie knife, dirk knife, dagger, switch blade, or automatic knife, whether it is concealed or not. It is also a misdemeanor to encourage or to aid a minor to possess or carry such a knife on educational property.

Educational Property Defined

“Educational property” is defined by Mississippi law as any public or private school building, bus, campus, recreational area, or other property owned, used, or operated by any local school board, school, college or university board of trustees, or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution. It also includes property of the Oakley Youth Development Center, operated by the Department of Human Services. It does not include any sixteenth section school land where no school building, school campus, recreational area, or athletic field is located.

Other Mississippi Knife Laws

Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-19 makes it illegal for a person carrying any knife that it is illegal to conceal carry, to exhibit the knife in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, except if in self-defense.

Under  Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-13, it is illegal to give any knife that it is illegal to carry concealed to a minor or an intoxicated person, if you know the person to be a minor or intoxicated.

Conclusion on Mississippi Knife Law

It is legal to own any knife in Mississippi, unless you are a minor or have been convicted of a felony. Minors and felons may not own bowie, dirk, butcher, or switchblade knifes. You can open carry any knife in Mississippi. You may not conceal carry any bowie, dirk, butcher, of switchblade knife, unless it is concealed in your vehicle and not on your person, or you are fishing, hunting, or participating in some sporting activity in which it is common to use that type of knife.

Sources

Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-1 (2012)
Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-5 (2012)
Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-13 (2012)
Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-15 (2012)
Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-19 (2012)
Martin v. State, 93 Miss. 764 (1908)
Summerall v. State, 41 So. 3d 729 (Miss. Ct. App. 2010)

Comments

  1. Dear Sir/Madam
    i understand knifes Law.
    how about swords?
    I am wondering if i can sell swords to over 18 years old in Mississippi ?
    Thank You

  2. How on earth can you carry an auto that is *not* concealed “in part”? Do I have to hang the thing on a lanyard from my neck? Oh, I know! Transparent pockets!

    Knives don’t hurt people–bad legislation hurts people 🙂

  3. What is the maximum blade length that may be legally carried in regards to a folding pocket knife?

  4. What qualifies as a butcher vs. a bowie vs a dirk? Normally, I would expect that the guard and clipped point define a bowie. As opposed to a butcher knife which is more likely to have no guard and maybe a straight back blade. Then a dirk has a cross guard and a needle point blade something like a stilleto. So what we’re left with a very vague rule that could be made to apply to any knife… folding or fixed, with or without a guard, and with any blade type or length.

    Mississippi Case Law:
    – “In prosecution for exhibiting a deadly weapon, it was not
    necessary for the state to prove that weapon was exhibited
    at any particular individual…” (1952)
    – “Pocket knife is a deadly weapon.” (1912)
    – “A provocation to justify the exhibiting of a deadly weapon
    must arise at the time of the exhibition.” (1897)

    http://www.knife-expert.com

    There is no safe knife to carry in Mississippi. Some of this hinges on intent. It is only through the discretion of law enforcement that you are allowed to carry anything. That can be revoked at anytime and many times used to add “carrying a concealed weapon” on to any arrest. On top of that some cities have specific ordinances on the length of blade.
    The idea is not for you to comply to all laws but to always be in violation of some so they have something to hold over your head.

  5. I love my holstered Buck locking blade knife, carry it and use it numerous times daily. I love my survival 8″blade knife too as well as my skinning knife and I pray our government never revokes our right to open carry these knives as well as handguns . I open carry for protection from coyotes cougars wild hogs and other critters that may attack me and my dogs when we walk trails and such,. God bless America and Mississippi.

  6. Does MS Concealed Weapon permit allow for concealed carry of knife or is it firearm only? Mine says “Firearm Permit”

  7. Is it legal to carry my throwing knives on a strap on my leg for everyone to see in public?…

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