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Idaho Knife Law

In this article, we will give you a brief of what the Idaho knife laws say- in everyday English. We will also give you the exact quotes from the law as well as explanations of what it all means to you, as a knife owner and carrier. This article also cites cases that have helped to shape Idaho knife law.

No Knife Ban

  • Balisong knives are legal.
  • Switchblades, automatic knives, and other quick release knives are legal.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
  • Throwing stars and throwing knives are legal.
  • Stilettos, dirks, and other stabbing knives are legal.
  • Disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, cane knives, and key knives are legal.
  • Spring-powered ballistic knives are legal.
  • Pocket knives of any size are legal.

Age Restrictions on Possession

  • Need parental consent to possess a bowie or dirk if under 18.
  • Can not possess a bowie or dirk if under 12 unless your parents are with you.

There is no ban on the possession of any type of knife in Idaho. You can buy and own any knife you want. However, taking it outside of the house is a different situation…

Limits on Carry

  • It is legal to open carry any knife.
  • It is illegal to bring any knife (open or concealed) besides a 2.5″ pocket knife to school.
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any dirk, bowie, dagger or firearm.
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a knife, even if you have a permit, when intoxicated.

What the Law Says

Concealed Carry

Idaho Code, 18-3302 (2)

To carry a knife, dirk, bowie knife or dagger with a larger blade, Idaho law provides that a person must possess a license to carry concealed weapons:

No person shall carry concealed weapons on or about his person without a license to carry concealed weapons, except:

(a)  In the person’s place of abode or fixed place of business;

(b)  On property in which the person has any ownership or leasehold interest;

(c) On private property where the person has permission to carry concealed weapons from any person with an ownership or leasehold interest;

(d) Outside the limits of or confines of any city, if the person is over eighteen (18) years of age and is not otherwise disqualified from being issued a license under subsection (11) of this section.

You can open carry any knife you would like in Idaho.

You can not conceal carry a dirk, dagger, bowie, or any other deadly or dangerous weapon without a concealed weapons permit. You can obtain one from your local sheriff’s office.

Definition of Deadly and Dangerous Weapon

Idaho Code § 1833-02 (2)
 
(b)  “Deadly weapon” means:
(i)   Any dirk, dirk knife, bowie knife, dagger or firearm;
(ii)  Any other weapon, device, instrument, material or substance that is designed and manufactured to be readily capable of causing death or serious bodily injury; or
(iii) Any other weapon, device, instrument, material or substance that is intended by the person to be readily capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.
(c)  The term “deadly weapon” does not include:
(i)   Any knife, cleaver or other instrument that is intended by the person to be used in the processing, preparation or eating of food;
(ii)  Any knife with a blade six (6) inches or less; or
(iii) Any taser, stun-gun, pepper spray or mace

Definitions of Carry and Concealed

The case of State v. McNary found that “carry” means to have a knife that is close enough to you to be able to use it readily. State v. McNary also found that “concealed” means “not discernible by ordinary observation.” What this means is that having a knife in your car can count as having a concealed weapon if you can not easily see the knife from the outside. The case of State v. Veneroso found that a knife wedged between a seat and the center counsel counts as a concealed weapon.

Limits of Knife Sale

Idaho Code § 18-3302A (2019)

§ 18-3302A. Sale of weapons to minors

It shall be unlawful to directly or indirectly sell to any minor under the age of eighteen (18) years any weapon without the written consent of the parent or guardian of the minor. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not in excess of one thousand dollars ($ 1,000), by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not in excess of six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

As used in this section, “weapon” shall mean any dirk, dirk knife, bowie knife, dagger, pistol, revolver or gun.

You can not sell dirks and bowies to people under 18 in Idaho.

Limits when Intoxicated

Idaho Code § 18-3302B (2019)

§ 18-3302B. Carrying concealed weapons under the influence of alcohol or drugs

It shall be unlawful for any person to carry a concealed weapon on or about his person when intoxicated or under the influence of an intoxicating drink or drug. Any violation of the provisions of this section shall be a misdemeanor.

Limits on Concealed Carry with Permit

Idaho Code § 18-3302C (2019)

§ 18-3302C. Prohibited conduct

Any person obtaining a license under the provisions of section 18-3302, Idaho Code, shall not:

Carry a concealed weapon in a courthouse; juvenile detention facility or jail; public or private school, except as provided in subsection (4)(g) of section 18-3302D, Idaho Code; provided that this subsection shall not apply to:
 
(a)  Peace officers while acting within the scope of their employment;
(b)  Security personnel while actually engaged in their employment; or
(c)  Any person who is authorized to carry a weapon by a person, board or other entity having authority over the building or facility; or
(2)  Provide information on the application for a permit to carry a concealed weapon knowing the same to be untrue.

Limits on Knives at Schools

Idaho Code § 18-3302D (2019)

§ 18-3302D. Possessing weapons or firearms on school property:

(1) (a) It shall be unlawful and is a misdemeanor for any person to possess a firearm or other deadly or dangerous weapon while on the property of a school or in those portions of any building, stadium or other structure on school grounds which, at the time of the violation, were being used for an activity sponsored by or through a school in this state or while riding school provided transportation.

(b) The provisions of this section regarding the possession of a firearm or other deadly or dangerous weapon on school property shall also apply to students of schools while attending or participating in any school sponsored activity, program or event regardless of location.

(2) Definitions. As used in this section: (a) “Deadly or dangerous weapon” means any weapon as defined in 18 U.S.C. section 930;

18 USCS § 930

(2) The term “dangerous weapon” means a weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 1/2 inches in length.

What this means is that you can not carry any other knife except a 2.5″ pocket knife to school.

Limits on Knives for Minors

Idaho Code § 18-3302E (2019)

§ 18-3302E. Possession of a weapon by a minor

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of eighteen (18) years to possess or have in possession any weapon, as defined in section 18-3302A, Idaho Code, unless he:

(a) Has the written permission of his parent or guardian to possess the weapon; or

(b) Is accompanied by his parent or guardian while he has the weapon in his possession.

(2) Any minor under the age of twelve (12) years in possession of a weapon shall be accompanied by an adult.

(3) Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

It is illegal for anyone under the age of 12 to possession of a dirk or bowie without his/her parents being there with him/her. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess a dirk or bowie without written consent from his/her parent unless they have their parents with them. Any other type of knife, like butterfly knives, are totally fine.

Conclusion to Idaho Knife Law

For the most part, you can own any knife you want in Idaho unless you are under 18. If you are under 18, you can own any knife you want except for bowies and dirks. If you are under 12, you cannot possess any knife unless your parents are with you.
In Idaho, you can open carry any knife. You cannot conceal carry a bowie, dirk, dagger or firearm, with a blade longer than 4 inches, unless you have a weapons permit. There have been no cases that defined any type of knife or length of blade to be a “dangerous weapon.” Because of this, you most likely would be OK carrying a concealed knife if you don’t use it in a deadly way.

Have any questions? Ask in the comment box below. Note that I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. Talk to a lawyer in your county if you need legal advice. This is the state knife law and there are county knife laws as well.

Sources

  • Idaho Code § 18-3301 (2019)
  • State v. McNary, 596 P.2d 417 (Ida. 1979)
  • State v. Veneroso, 71 P.3d 1072 (Ida. App. 2003)
  • 18 USCS § 930

Peter Stec

Hey Knife Up gang!  I'm Pete and I'm just a small man in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like Knifeup.com every day.  The difference is that I like to share what I know, and research what I don't totally know, so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice eh?
Peter Stec

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Comments

  1. I have a plethora of knives of many different sizes, but most are at least 4″. i.e. I have a spring assisted stiletto that has a 6 1/2″ blade, and I do not carry it in public because of the size. Is it illegal to carry a knife of such a size so long as it is visible on a common glance? And would it be considered concealed carry if it is in my pocket, but is relatively easy to see? Is a permit required for someone to open carry? I feel as these questions have gone unanswered in this article.

  2. Hi. My grandson who is 9 yrs old can have all sort of knives over 4 ” since his other grand parents bought it for him? My daughter the don’t allow it.
    Is it legal for that early age to have it?

  3. So I am 18 and will be 19 in august but I was wondering if I am able to openly carry my new 16 inch kukri without any repercussions? If anyone has any knowledge about this please let me know.

  4. Since the law concerning concealed weapons changed a couple years ago, meaning anyone 21 or older can carry a concealed weapon without a permit or “constitutional carry” as it is termed, does that mean that encompasses knives also? I know if you want to carry in more restricted places like college campuses for example you need an enhanced permit. So, is carrying concealed weapons, specifically knives, fall under “constitutional carry”?

  5. Is it legal to carry a katana openly? If so I would like to know.

  6. I, the person, intend to use all my knives for the preparation of eating food. “This is my bacon knife.”

    18-3302(c)
    (c) The term “deadly weapon” does not include:
    (i) Any knife, cleaver or other instrument that is intended by the person to be used in the processing, preparation or eating of food;

  7. So does this mean you can openly carry a tomahawk or hatchet as long as there’s no intent or actions using this item in a harmful manor?

  8. Thanks for putting this here I now know I can carry my bowie knife openly

  9. Great article! As a resident of Idaho I really appreciate you putting this info together, it’ll help me stay on the right side of the law with my knife obsession!

  10. Hi, I am 15 years of age now, and I was confused by their conclusion. I thought it was saying that, as long as I have a signed paper on my personal at all times, I can carry my bowie, but the conclusion says that, its illegal for anyone under the age of 18. Am I allowed to carry it as long as I have a paper in my wallet with my mom, or dads, consent? Meaning a signature and the paper saying one or both permit the carrying of this tool?

  11. Thanks for the info.
    What is the exact penal code reference that states you can open carry any knife? I didn’t see one referenced. Is it just assumed that you can because the only thing prohibited by law is concealed knives without a permit?
    Thanks!

  12. what is the law/definition of sword? is it legal to open carry as well? by sword i am refering to 41′ full tang katana

  13. I carry a Piranha Bodyguard automatic concealed and a Buck Vantage in a Nylon sheath in my back pocket daily without issue. The police, whom I have several friends on the force told me it’s not illegal as long as I am not intoxicated, blade 4″ or less and conduct myself “politely” as far as weapons are concerned. If you read the law, it basically doesn’t prohibit carrying of weapons, except as specified (schools, courthouse, airport)etc, but requires the person to be responsible and civilized, thus the wording concerning not carrying in a “rude or threatening manner” and not being “intoxicated”. This is reasonable, though the knife length of 4″ I don’t fully agree with, but being that Idaho is a ‘shall issue’ State as far as a concealed permit is concerned, it’s not a big deal. It has been said that an ‘armed society’ is a polite society…..

  14. Jordan, i figure college also means “school”. However, the security guards at my school never hassle me, and i carry a four inch CRKT tactical knife, as well as a leatherman.

  15. Hello, I carry a Spyderco “POLICE” on a daily basis. Most if Not all people know the pocket clip of said knives. I have Never had a problem carrying said knife in the states of California, Montana, Minnesota, Iowa or other states I drove 18 wheeler while driving, picking up, delivering, eating or visiting.
    Thanks for your replies
    Mark

    1. I believe that is what it most refers too.

  16. I have 2 hunting or camping knives I use with boy scouts etc, I keep in my car, I do hide them that they might not get stolen, one cost me 325.00$ from Japan.

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