Oklahoma Knife Laws

okOklahoma knife laws are short and to the point, but it can be difficult to determine exactly what is legal and what is not, as the legislature appears to have left much of the interpretation of the law up to the Courts, failing to provide needed definitions and details. The Court, too seems to avoid defining anything, so that people can figure out what is a crime and what is not. This article explains both the statutes and the case law so that anyone can understand what is legal and what is not when it comes to owning and carrying knives in Oklahoma.

What is Legal to Own

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is not illegal to own any kind of knife in Oklahoma.

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry a dagger
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry bowie knife
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry a dirk knife
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry a switchblade knife
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry a spring-type knife
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry a sword cane
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry a knife with a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife
  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry any “offensive weapon”

As the no carry law states that it is illegal to carry a weapon, “upon or about” the person, Oklahoma’s no carry law extends to items carried in a vehicle, not just on a person.

What the Law States

§ 1272.  Unlawful carry

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry upon or about his or her person, or in a purse or other container belonging to the person, any pistol, revolver, shotgun or rifle whether loaded or unloaded or any dagger, bowie knife, dirk knife, switchblade knife, spring-type knife, sword cane, knife having a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife, blackjack, loaded cane, billy, hand chain, metal knuckles, or any other offensive weapon, whether such weapon be concealed or unconcealed, except this section shall not prohibit:

1. The proper use of guns and knives for hunting, fishing, educational or recreational purposes;

2. The carrying or use of weapons in a manner otherwise permitted by statute or authorized by the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act;

3. The carrying, possession and use of any weapon by a peace officer or other person authorized by law to carry a weapon in the performance of official duties and in compliance with the rules of the employing agency;

4. The carrying or use of weapons in a courthouse by a district judge, associate district judge or special district judge within this state, who is in possession of a valid handgun license issued pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act and whose name appears on a list maintained by the Administrative Director of the Courts; or

5. The carrying and use of firearms and other weapons provided in this subsection when used for the purpose of living history reenactment. For purposes of this paragraph, “living history reenactment” means depiction of historical characters, scenes, historical life or events for entertainment, education, or historical documentation through the wearing or use of period, historical, antique or vintage clothing, accessories, firearms, weapons, and other implements of the historical period.

Definition of Offensive Weapon

In Beeler v. State, the Court said that some weapons are so dangerous and deadly, that the Court may declare them to be offensive weapons as a matter of law. It also stated, that when making this determination, trial Judges should consider whether the weapon was designed for combat and capable of producing death.

Intent to Carry a Weapon

Although the legislature did not make “knowingly” a part of the law which makes it illegal to carry a weapon, the Court, in Williams v. State, found that criminal intent is an element of all crimes, and therefore, one cannot be convicted of a carrying a weapon when he or she is unaware that they are carrying one. For example, as in the case of a weapon concealed in a vehicle, which is driven by someone other than the owner who placed the weapon there. In the case of Dear v. State, Mr. Dear was pulled over driving a vehicle that did not belong to him. The arresting officer found two pairs of spiked metal knuckles in the car, which Mr. Dear said did not belong to him. He was convicted of unlawfully carrying a weapon and appealed his conviction. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma found that the legislature did not intend to punish those who had no guilty intent or knowledge, and reversed Mr. Dear’s conviction.

Exceptions to No Carry Law

The no carry law does not apply to those who are properly carrying and using a knife while hunting, fishing, or participating in a recreational or educational activity. It also does not apply to those carrying a knife for a live history reenactment event.

Penalties for Unlawful Carry of a Weapon

A first conviction for the unlawful carry of a weapon is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of between one hundred dollars ($100) and two hundred fifty dollars ($250) and up to 30 days in jail. A second or subsequent conviction under the unlawful carry law carries a penalty of a fine between two hundred fifty dollars ($250) and five hundred dollars ($500) and between 30 days and 3 months in jail.

Definitions of Various Types of Knives

Oklahoma does not offer any definitions of any types of knives, in either its statutory code nor its case law.

Conclusion on Oklahoma Law

It is legal to own any type of knife in Oklahoma.

It is illegal to open or conceal carry a dagger, bowie knife, dirk, switchblade, spring-type knife, sword cane, or a knife with a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife, or any “dangerous weapon”.

Because the term “dangerous weapon” is vague, it may be good practice to only carry knives in Oklahoma when participating in a sporting or reenactment event where the carrying of a knife is not illegal.

Sources

  • 21 Okl. St. § 1272 (2013)
  • 21 Okl. St. § 1276 (2013)
  • Beeler v. State, 334 P.2d 799 (Okl.Cr. 1959)
  • Williams v. State, 565 P.2d 46 (Okla.Crim.App. 1977)
  • Dear v. State, 773 P.2d 760 (Okla. Crim. App. 1989)
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9 comments on “Oklahoma Knife Laws
  1. david says:

    I have a usmc k-bar. Is it legal to carry in ok.?

  2. Klark says:

    One day I had a Coldsteel (brand) ti-lite VI (model) (6 inch blade/ 13 inch open, handle and all) in my pocket at a gas station and I was standing next to a police officer. He did notice I had a knife in my pocket and kept an eye on me while keeping a typical defensive stance. I can not blame him. He did not question me and I would be willing to bet even if I had asked him if he thought my knife was “cool” or “ok to carry” exc., He would have at most advised me not to be a show-off about it and for my own safety to not carry it. I would be surprised as allHell if he confiscated it from me. I live by the rule “carry any folding knife if you want, just be aware to not draw attention to it unless your life is being threatened, and above all NEVER BRING A KNIFE TO A GUN FIGHT!” In my experience if you have a punk talking spit at you and you produce a large knife and open your eyes wide and act crazy they will get quiet very fast and walk off nice and slowly. Then again, if they have a gun and permit to carry, you are good as dead. Do what you have to, expect anything and everything and if you step in spit and its your time to depart this world its just your time so be smart, not stupid, avoid the high-risk areas if possible and if not walk softly and carry a big stick as they say.

  3. Mike Z says:

    Is a large spring assisted stiletto knife w/ 7″ blade 12.5 when open legal under Oklahoma law ?

  4. Michael says:

    So any assisted opening Knife is illegal in Oklahoma like SOG Flash 2 or Kershaw Brawler. I even have a CRKT K.I.S.S Assist that has a patent tang, but Oklahoma Knife Laws state any knife that can be pretty much opened with one hand is illegal.  

  5. theologian301 says:

    The knife laws in Oklahoma were updated as of November 1st 2013.

  6. Caitlynn says:

    I normally carry a switch blade around when i am at home alone or outside on my property and im the only person home. Due to some safety concerns and close proximities to convicted sex offenders i carry mine when im alone. Could i still be convicted of anything if a cop was to see me with one on my own property?

  7. Jeff says:

    I have a Randall #18 is this illegal and does a ccw permit change anything

  8. Tracy says:

    Here is a copy of the Okla. bill passed in 2013 below:

    8. House Bill 2170 removes “spring-type knives” from the list of prohibited weapons to carry, either on one’s person or in purses or bags. Leave pistols and revolvers (unless you have a permit); shotguns or rifles (unless you’re hunting—with a permit, of course); daggers; bowie knives; dirk knives; switchblade knives; sword canes; knives having blades which open automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife; blackjacks; loaded canes; billies; hand chains; metal knuckles; or any other offending weapon at home. But, come Nov. 1, that spring-type knife is fair game.

    This certainly doesn’t outlaw assist open knives or Any knife that can be opened with one hand.

  9. KC says:

    House Bill 2170 removes “spring-type knives” from the list of prohibited weapons to carry, either on one’s person or in purses or bags. Leave pistols and revolvers (unless you have a permit); shotguns or rifles (unless you’re hunting—with a permit, of course); daggers; bowie knives; dirk knives; switchblade knives; sword canes; knives having blades which open automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife; blackjacks; loaded canes; billies; hand chains; metal knuckles; or any other offending weapon at home. But, come Nov. 1, that spring-type knife is fair game. – See more at: http://thislandpress.com/roundups/eight-laws-you-didnt-know-the-oklahoma-legislature-passed-this-session/#sthash.qADVEEY8.dpuf

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