state knife laws feature

Arkansas Knife Laws

Great Seal of The State of ArkansasAre you interested in Arkansas knife laws? Unlike other states, Arkansas repealed archaic knife laws in 2011. It is now one of the most friendly state for knives. Some websites on the Internet have not been updated so they are out of date. This article was updated in 2019.

What are Legal Knives Under Arkansas Knife Law

  • Balisongs are legal.
  • Switchblades, automatic knives, gravity knives, and similar knives are legal.
  • Dinks, stilettos, and other stabbing knives are legal.
  • Bowies and other large knives are legal.
  • Knives of all sizes are legal.

Basically, if it has a blade, it is legal.

Details on the Law

5-73-120.  Carrying a weapon.

(a) A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if he or she possesses a handgun, knife, or club on or about his or her person, in a vehicle occupied by him or her, or otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.

(3)  (A) “Knife” means any bladed hand instrument that is capable of inflicting serious physical injury or death by cutting or stabbing. (B) “Knife” includes a dirk, sword or spear in a cane, razor, ice pick, throwing star, switchblade, and butterfly knife.

What this means is that, as long as you do not have the intent to stab someone, it is legal to carry any knife. There are no outlawed knives in Arkansas, so you can own any knife you want.  You can conceal or not – not an issue.  However, don’t carry a blade into a school or public place!

Repeal of Archaic Knife Laws

5-73-121. (a) A person who carries a knife as a weapon, except when upon a journey or upon his own premises, shall be punished as provided by section 5-73- 123(b). (b) If a person carries a knife with a blade 3-1/2 inches long or longer, this fact shall be prima facie proof that the knife is carried as a weapon.

In 2011 Arkansas legislature repealed civil code 5-73-121. The code is stated above. What the old law meant was that, if the police found a knife that was over 3.5 inches long on you, that is evidence in itself that you are carrying it as a weapon.

The law is very, very old. It dated back to when Bowie knives were popular and people often dueled with them. The State of Arkansas wanted to stop this behavior and made Bowie knives any knife over 3.5 inches illegal.

Now, because of the repeal, Arkansas has one of the best knife laws in the US. You can own any type of knife you want and carry it in any manner you want. You can read about the repeal here.

Conclusion on Arkansas Knife Laws

In Arkansas, any knife is legal as long as you are not committing a crime. This beats other states who still have Bowie knife laws in place.

Please be aware that this is not legal advice. If you want real legal advice, talk to an attorney in Arkansas. If you have a comment, place it in the comment box below. We are also looking for an attorney in Arkansas who would be willing to do a short interview about knife laws.

Peter Stec
Latest posts by Peter Stec (see all)

Comments

  1. These laws are stupid. You can own any knife you want, but if you use it to defend yourself, then you can be prosecuted for using a deadly weapon. Oh and by the way, enjoy the weapon free zones when the wolves come to dinner, because they will be coming to kill you or your kids and you have to allow it.

    With government like that, you would be better off with none.

    1. Hey Mr. Lonewolf dude!
      I’m with you on this. However, I would say this: Count your lucky stars if you live in the USA! Here in Canada, there’s never any situation where you can have a handgun legally (other than a special collector permit and then only at a shooting range), and if you ever shoot anyone (even a rapist and thief) you’ll go straight to jail – no passing GO! In fact, if a thief and rapist hurts his ankle while stabbing your wife, he can sue you! That’s actually NOT A JOKE! Sure, he would also be charged with break and enter and even possibly murder, but you’d still be charged too. Even carrying a knife is not legal in Canada unless you are actually at a hunting camp or away from public and in the deep forest. Talk about stupid laws. For this issue I’d rather live in any state in the US (we just saw how a bunch of decent guys with guns took out a shooter in a Texas church recently – exactly how the system is supposed to work!!!)
      cheers,
      Pete

  2. I have a pair of knives with knuckle guards, but are they considered legal “knives” or illegal “knuckles”?

    1. Im 14 and i have a balisong and is it ok yo carry it with me and is this different with trainer ones?

  3. Hi I’m 14 and I have a dagger that is 7 1/2” is that illegal to carry around and it’s sheath?

    1. until you turn 18 you cant carry any knife other than a normal folding pocket knife

  4. Slight correction. Trench knives are illegal in Arkansas, as any type of brass knuckles or reinforced knuckles of any type are illegal. Trench knives are basically brass knuckles with a knife blade. Illegal in Arkansas, so that’s important to note in an article talking about how you can own any type of knife due to the repeal, since that isn’t accurate.

  5. Current Arkansas law concerning knives and/or minors.

    5-73-109. Furnishing a deadly weapon to a minor.
    (a) A person commits the offense of furnishing a deadly weapon to a minor if he or she sells, barters, leases, gives, rents, or otherwise furnishes a firearm or other deadly weapon to a minor without the consent of a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for general supervision of the minor’s welfare.
    (b)
    (1) Furnishing a deadly weapon to a minor is a Class A misdemeanor.
    (2) However, furnishing a deadly weapon to a minor is a Class B felony if the deadly weapon is:
    (A) A handgun;
    (B) A sawed-off or short-barrelled shotgun, as defined in § 5-1-102;
    (C) A sawed-off or short-barrelled rifle, as defined in § 5-1-102;
    (D) A firearm that has been specially made or specially adapted for silent discharge;
    (E) A machine gun;
    (F) An explosive or incendiary device, as defined in § 5-71-301;
    (G) Metal knuckles;
    (H) A defaced firearm, as defined in § 5-73-107; or
    (I) Another implement for the infliction of serious physical injury or death that serves no common lawful purpose.

    5-73-120. Carrying a weapon.
    (a) A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if he or she possesses a handgun, knife, or club on or about his or her person, in a vehicle occupied by him or her, or otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.
    (b) As used in this section:
    (1) “Club” means any instrument that is specially designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious physical injury or death by striking, including a blackjack, billie, and sap;
    (2) “Handgun” means any firearm with a barrel length of less than twelve inches (12″) that is designed, made, or adapted to be fired with one (1) hand;
    (3) “Journey” means travel beyond the county in which a person lives; and
    (4) “Knife” means any bladed hand instrument three inches (3″) or longer that is capable of inflicting serious physical injury or death by cutting or stabbing, including a dirk, a sword or spear in a cane, a razor, an ice pick, a throwing star, a switchblade, and a butterfly knife.
    (c) It is permissible to carry a weapon under this section if at the time of the act of carrying the weapon:
    (1) The person is in his or her own dwelling or place of business or on property in which he or she has a possessory or proprietary interest;
    (2) The person is a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or member of the armed forces acting in the course and scope of his or her official duties;
    (3) The person is assisting a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or member of the armed forces acting in the course and scope of his or her official duties pursuant to the direction or request of the law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or member of the armed forces;
    (4) The person is carrying a weapon when upon a journey, unless the journey is through a commercial airport when presenting at the security checkpoint in the airport or is in the person’s checked baggage and is not a lawfully declared weapon;
    (5) The person is a registered commissioned security guard acting in the course and scope of his or her duties;
    (6) The person is hunting game with a handgun that may be hunted with a handgun under rules and regulations of the Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission or is en route to or from a hunting area for the purpose of hunting game with a handgun;
    (7) The person is a certified law enforcement officer;
    (8) The person is in possession of a concealed handgun and has a valid license to carry a concealed handgun under § 5-73-301 et seq., or recognized under § 5-73-321 and is not in a prohibited place as defined by § 5-73-306;
    (9) The person is a prosecuting attorney or deputy prosecuting attorney carrying a firearm under § 16-21-147; or
    (10) The person is in possession of a handgun and is a retired law enforcement officer with a valid concealed carry authorization issued under federal or state law.
    (d) Carrying a weapon is a Class A misdemeanor.

  6. Is it illegal to carry a katana that is 31&1/2 inches long if your 10 years old in Arkansas

    (Don’t question it)

    1. Hi I’m 12 carry a knife with me cops are chill

    1. Hey Hayden;
      The way I read the law, in Arkansas, your intent is more important than your age or whether your knife is concealed or not. Be very careful what you are doing and where you are when you have a knife. If it looks like you could be up to no good, you could be charged by Police. That’s at least a partial answer!
      Good luck
      J.

  7. I have an employee who is a reformed felon..(seriously reformed, or else she wouldn’t be my employee). Is there any restriction on her carrying a knife? She knows she’ll never be legally capable of carrying a firearm, but wants some level of personal defense because she opens my store while it’s still dark outside and she’s alone at this time.

    1. Hey Teresa;
      This is a big enough issue to warrant official counsel from a legal professional in the state of Arkansas, so I can’t give you any official advice. However, having said that, I did some research and the only thing I found was a citation A.C.A. § 5-73-129. It refers to the legality of giving certain “weapons” to felons. It looks to me that as long as she’s not carrying a “prohibited weapon” she should be okay. Most pocket knives are not prohibited weapons and for sure if the blade is under 3″ in length, it’s safe. I’d still check with a lawyer, but here’s the citation:

      (b) A person commits the offense of furnishing a prohibited weapon to a felon if he or she sells, barters, leases, gives, rents, or otherwise furnishes:
      (1) A sawed-off shotgun or rifle;
      (2) A firearm that has been specially made or specially adapted for silent discharge;
      (3) A machine gun;
      (4) A bomb;
      (5) Metal knuckles;
      (6) A defaced firearm, as defined in § 5-73-107; or
      (7) Other implement for the infliction of serious physical injury or death that serves no common lawful purpose,
      to a person who has been found guilty of or who has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to a felony.

      (c) Furnishing a handgun or a prohibited weapon to a felon is a Class B felony.

      Good luck
      J.

    2. She can legally Carry a black powder pistol (seems pointless) but it actually isn’t bone tactical has a YouTube video on it

  8. So, your saying that I can carry a switchblade, butterfly knife,pocket knife ect. ect. But as long as the blade length is below 5″ correct? [Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven!]

  9. I recently purchased sling shot rubber bands at Dicks and they had to have my drivers license before i could purchase them. I’m 61 years old. THEY Sure named that place right. I had also purchased 2 kayaks at that time dropped $700.00 in there to have them pull that stunt on me. I’ll never spend another dime in that joint.

  10. Can i carry my sword to a friends house, it has no edge and is above 3 feet long.

  11. It depends on the county that you’re in in Washington County I know it is legal to carry as long as it’s not concealed without a permit

  12. I have a knife that is hidden inside a comb. Is carrying this illegal? The blade is under 3 1/2″.

  13. Is it illegal for a felon to carry a 5 inch pocket knife with the job title of a mechanic

  14. I’ve just had knee surgery and have a walking cane with a knife I use it for mobility is this legal in arkansas

  15. So is it legal to open carry sword of any length? Like in a scabbard on our back? I don’t plan to use it, just to carry

  16. In arkansas how old do you have to be to carry a pocket knife or is there no age limit

    1. I recently bought a 20″ blade from walmart… register asked if I was 16…

  17. Ive read the comments about Act 746 but im not clear Is it legal to carry a handgun without a permit if my inent is to protect myself?

  18. is it legal to carry a butterfly knife in arkansas?
    what is the official length of a blade that one can carry?

  19. Arkansas just got even better, when Act 746 of 2013 became effective on August 16.

    “Carrying a weapon”, 5-73-120, now reads, “A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if he or she possesses a handgun, knife, or club on or about his or her person, in a vehicle occupied by him or her, or otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.”

    “Unlawfully employ”, not just “employ”. Carrying any of the above items for the lawful purpose of self defense, is no longer a crime in Arkansas.

  20. Is it illegal for me to wear my 4.4″ fixed blade in sheath on belt with my t-shirt out and covering entire knife and sheath?

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