Updated: August 20, 2020

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 Unlike other states, Arkansas repealed archaic knife laws in 2011.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 Some websites on the Internet have not been updated so they are out of date.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In 2011 Arkansas legislature repealed civil code 5-73-121.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

  • Pete S. says:

    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

  • Jason Douglas Gains says:

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

    • Bill Perry says:

      Glad to hear that the laws about knifes have changed. I live in Tennessee but like to on occasion fish in Arkansas. My hands are in poor shape so I prefer to carry a straight knife. My favorite is a Robert Terzuola Cuba with a 4 inch blade. I carry it in a horizontal style belt scabbard I made. I often fear either the knife or mode of carry might get me in trouble in other states. So I’m glad to know Arkansas is a much friendlier state toward knifes.

  • noah says:

    is it leage to sell stone knives when you are 11

  • Logan says:

    I’m 13, and im smithing a sword for personal use, is that legal?

  • Jeff says:

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

  • Phil says:

    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.

  • Jack says:

    Hi, is it Legal for a 12 year old to carry a hunting knife?

  • Jake Atkinson says:

    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.

  • Zane says:

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

    (Dont question it)

  • Michael says:

    what restrictions are for a minor

  • Hayden says:

    If you are under 18, can you carry a knife that is over 3 inches?

    • 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.

  • Teresa says:

    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.

    • 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.

    • Jason says:

      She can legally Carry a black powder pistol (seems pointless) but it actually isnt bone tactical has a YouTube video on it

  • john munyiri says:

    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!]

  • James Clark says:

    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.

  • Clayton says:

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

  • Adrian Watkins says:

    Depends where you are and how big the knife is. If you live in a big city I wouldn’t carry a knife with a blade over 9 1/2 inches, but that’s pushing it a lot due to idiots of our society who think every kid with a knife is a murder in the making. Basically all I’m saying (according to the law as well) as long as it isn’t a machete or bigger you should be ok as long as you have a parent or guardian backing you up. If I were you I would just stick to a switchblade or something that will fit in your pocket. (I’ve carried since I was twelve and never had any issues). Hope this helped!

  • Justin Leonard says:

    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

  • Mikey says:

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

  • Stacy Mercer says:

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

  • Dude says:

    Yes. It appears to be legal since it doesn’t appear that concealed weapon laws apply

    We love our knives in Arkansas. The Bowie knife is also called the Arkansas toothpick.

    Bowie did live in Arkansas for a while. For your next trivia game lol

  • Landon Odle says:

    I own a 5 inch fixed blade knife that a use primarily for work, but with the rise in crime in Little Rock I have begun to carry it in it’s sheath on my belt for self defense. Is that legal in Arkansas?

  • Randy says:

    I’m guessing it’s legal but I need confirmation. Is it legal to openly strap an 18″ machete to my adventure motorcycle? If I can, that would be much easier to pack for my hiking/camping trips being able to strap it right to my crash bars. I will also be crafting some sort of lock to keep it from being stolen. It will be locked and require opening by key or combination to take it out of the sheath, so it wouldn’t be readily available.

  • Trev says:

    I live in Arkansas, but the police still confiscated a 12″ Bowie knife of mine after being pulled over. I had the knife in my trunk under the panel (they searched my car) for when I would go hunting or fishing. I told them it wasn’t illegal, but they weren’t having it. They said it was “more like a sword than a knife” and that I didn’t need it. I was needless to say, pissed because really, they just stole my knife because they didn’t find the weed they were looking for. I would like to get my knife back, but it has been years and I don’t know if they even turned it in to evidence. What can I do?

  • Aaron Wilson says:

    So it is legal to carry any knife of ur choosing in Arkansas no matter what size the blade is over

  • John Rickard says:

    But remember, Arkansas did not prohibit local city or county authouritarians from creating their own laws on knives like it did with firearms. Eureka Springs I believe has a length law.

  • Christopher Primosh says:

    Assuming that the officer that stops you is up-to-date on current laws and has no assumptions to your person for instance profiling be safe think ahead do not carry alcohol or any other paraphernalia that may be deemed illegal be safe be kind

  • kevin mccloud says:

    so If I want to carry a double bladed knife in Arkansas for use as a self defense weapon say with a blade length of say 6inches would that be legal ?

  • Andrew Hale says:

    Can I carry a survival knife as long as its in a sheath and visually without intent to use it?

  • david thomas says:

    can i legally carry my 14″ knife with a 5″ attached to it on my hip even if it is visible?

  • Kelly says:

    Can a 16 year old carry a pocket knife?

  • Wicked llama says:

    I do not believe a 13 year old can carry a knife on them. Legitimately what 13 year old needs to walk around with a knife in their pocket, they should still be in adult supervision.

    • John Doe says:

      It is perfectly legal to do so. If a 13-year-old is going fishing with friends they’re gonna need a knife. In larger cities it also makes sense. If the 13-year-old is attacked, that knife could mean the difference between life and death. And no 13-year-olds should not be constantly under adult supervision. That kind of attitude is the reason why many teens are going to be underprepared for life. I am a 14-year-old and my parents don’t constantly monitor me. It’s actually a bad idea to be constantly monitoring your teens as it can lead to trust issues later in life. Sorry for posting on this so long after the original post, but this just ticked me off.

  • Wicked lama says:

    It is not legal to carry a handgun in the state of arkansas with out being the age of 21 and having a concealed carry permit. You can own one at the age of 21 and or buy one at the age of 21, but you have to have a concealed carry permit to carry it on your persons or keep in in a vehicle.

  • Jim Fuendeling says:

    Is this knife visible from a distance

  • Phillip says:

    Is it illegal to have a guthook that folds? I am 14 so I am also wanting to know if I can carry this knife. (Not to school or public restaurants/retail stores)

  • jones says:

    pretty illegal for a 13 yr old to do anything, ask your parents…till then I will help you. NO!

  • Soy YouTube r y subo vdeos del conter estrik y mi amigo el rubios me dijo que en esta pgina vendan cuchillos del conter y me intereso tener uno

  • Steveo French says:

    Is it legal to carry my U.S.A Saber in Arkansas? Thanks I would like to know and go to jail for having it on me Thxs

  • Galen Monroe says:

    I forging knives after having taken classes in casting and forging from the U of A. I want to pursue the ancient arts of making custom daggers, swords, maces, etc. for profit. How do I transport and display without breaking the law. I am also disabled/so it is a labor of love and a personal choice of protection over perhaps a firearm.

  • m ik e says:

    You can carry a handgun in some states according to the open carry law

  • steve says:

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

  • Owen TheAlmightySajuuk Durha says:

    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

  • Carter says:

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

  • Jacob Johnson says:

    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?

  • steven says:

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

  • Kevin Craig says:

    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.

  • lateToTheParty says:

    It is legal, but it also leaves you up to interpretation. If an officer stops you and sees the outline, he may interpret the weapon under the t-shirt as intent to hide the weapon to use to harm another person. This one SEEMS to be a law written to tack on another charge to a person who attempts to attack another. BUT in reality, if you do attack another, then it’s clear evidence that you were intentionally carrying the knife to harm another and therefore were illegally carrying a weapon. I guess you could call it an ‘after-the-fact’ law – you can only actually prove intent by the fact that you already actually did what you are charged with.

    Other state knife laws fall under the “well, a ‘regular’ person wouldn’t carry too large a knife unless they meant to harm someone, so if you are carrying a ‘too big knife’ you must be intending to hurt someone” theory. Sadly that seems to me to be like the “Well, you have a female part, you must be intending to prostitute yourself” idea. Or, “you work out with weights, you must be intending to mug people.”

    According to what is written here, clear legality only appears in Arkansas after an attack with a knife has occurred. A pretty good idea – the law doesn’t read minds.

  • Richard says:

    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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