Alaska knife laws can be confusing. Here is what the knife laws mean in plain English. In short, Alaska has very, very knife friendly laws. You can own about anything you want. This is because, in Alaska, there are tons of huge animals like Bears that are very dangerous and the laws do not want you to be unable to defend yourself. Great huh? Note that Alaska’s knife laws were rewritten in 2013 so entries older than this on the Internet are out of date.
Definitions of Various Knives in Alaska
In State v. Weaver, the Court said that the term “gravity knife” has a readily ascertainable and consistent definition. It further stated that a gravity knife was commonly understood as a knife in which the blade opens, falls into place, or is ejected into position, by the force of gravity or by centrifugal force.
In 1990, in the case of State v. Strange, the Court held that butterfly knives and balisongs were not gravity knives. Also in 1990, it held in Jacobson v. State, that a butterfly knife was not a gravity knife or a switchblade, and therefore was not a prohibited weapon.
What is Legal/Illegal in Alaska
- As of 2013, there are no clearly defined “illegal” or “forbidden” knives. There are, however, some conditions in which a citizen can illegally own or carry a knife.
What is a Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument in Alaska?
A deadly weapon is “any firearm, or anything designed for and capable of causing death or serious physical injury, including a knife, an ax, a club, metal knuckles, or an explosive”.
Alaska statute defines dangerous instrument as “any deadly weapon or anything that, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used, is capable of causing death or serious physical injury.”
Reading the two definitions together makes it clear that a knife is a dangerous instrument, as a knife is specifically named as a deadly weapon, and a dangerous instruction is “any deadly weapon…” However, note that a dangerous instrument must meet two requirements, first it must be a deadly weapon or anything else, and second it must be used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used.
Sale/Transport/Ownership and Misconduct in 4th Degree
As of 2013, it is legal to manufacture and sell switchblades and gravity knives, but it is not legal to sell such to anyone under the age of 18 without parental consent.
§ 11.61.210. states:
A person commits the crime of misconduct involving weapons in the fourth degree if the person;
(4) manufactures, possesses, transports, sells, or transfers metal knuckles;
(5) sells or transfers a switchblade or a gravity knife to a person under 18 years of age without the prior written consent of the person’s parent or guardian;
Concealment and Misconduct in 5th Degree
(a) A person commits the crime of misconduct involving weapons in the fifth degree if the person;
(1) is 21 years of age or older and knowingly possesses a deadly weapon, other than an ordinary pocket knife or a defensive weapon,
(A) that is concealed on the person, and, when contacted by a peace officer, the person fails to
(i) immediately inform the peace officer of that possession; or
(ii) allow the peace officer to secure the deadly weapon, or fails to secure the weapon at the direction of the peace officer, during the duration of the contact;
(B) that is concealed on the person within the residence of another person unless the person has first obtained the express permission of an adult residing there to bring a concealed deadly weapon within the residence;
(3) being an unemancipated minor under 16 years of age possesses a firearm, switchblade, or gravity knife without the consent of a parent or guardian of the minor;
(6) is less than 21 years of age and knowingly possesses a deadly weapon, other than an ordinary pocket knife or a defensive weapon, that is concealed on the person.
So, if a police officer asks to see what you’re carrying, it’s against the law to conceal it from him/her if you’re any age (specifically if you’re carrying a deadly weapon). It’s also illegal to conceal a “deadly weapon” if you’re under age 21 in any circumstance.
When Will the State Enforce the Law?
Typically, it is only once you have committed a crime with a “dangerous weapon” that the prosecution would tack on illegal possession or carry charges as a way to keep you off the street for a longer period of time.
For example, talking to someone who has a restraining order on you is illegal but talking to someone who has a restraining order on you while you have a knife that is not a pocketknife on you is a class C Felony. However, this makes sense doesn’t it? You should not be talking to that person in the first place, and certainly not while carrying a knife that could be used as a weapon.
When is it Illegal to Carry a Knife in Alaska
Besides the vague rulings on what kinds of knives are legal/illegal, Alaska has laws that makes certain behaviors illegal if carrying a knife.
- It is illegal for people under 21 years of age to carry a concealed knife that is not a pocket knife.
- It is illegal for k-12 school children to carry a knife to school.
- It is illegal to carry a knife or have it in the car in the parking lot of a k-12 school without the approval of the principal.
- It is illegal to talk to someone who has a restraining order on you with a non-pocket knife.
- It is illegal to stalk or rob a place with a knife.
- It is illegal to escape from jail/prison with a knife.
- It is illegal to not tell a police officer that you have a concealed non-pocket knife on you when he/she stops you.
Conclusion on Alaska Knife Law
Alaska has very nice knife laws compared to other states. All readers from Alaska should enjoy this right!
This is not legal advice and there is no client-attorney relationship. Consult a real attorney in Alaska if you have more questions. Also, your city might have local laws about knives as well.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below. We are also working to find a lawyer in Alaska who would want to do an interview about knife laws. If you want to do your own research on Alaska knife laws, check out the state code.
Alaska Stat. § 11.81.900 (2013)
Alaska Stat. § 11.61.210 (2013)
Liddicoat v. State, 268 P.3d 355, (Alaska Ct. App. 2011)
State v. Weaver, 736 P.2d 781 (Alaska Ct. App. 1987)
State v. Strange, 785 P.2d 563 (Alaska Ct. App. 1990)
Jacobson v. State, 786 P.2d 388 (Alaska Ct. App. 1990)