state knife laws feature

Illinois Knife Law

This article will give you the basics of Illinois knife law in simple everyday language. It will also include excerpts from the law itself and case precedence so you will know exactly what the law means. The excerpts are truncated by me with […] whenever it goes off into something that is unrelated to knives.

What is Legal/Illegal to Own in Illinois

  • Balisong knives are legal.
  • Disguised knives like cane knives, belt knives, and lipstick knives are legal.
  • Throwing knives are legal.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
  • Throwing stars are illegal.
  • Ballistic knives are illegal.
  • Switchblades and other automatic knives are illegal, UNLESS you carry a valid FOID card (Firearms Owners IDentification).

The state of Illinois only banned the possession of throwing stars, switchblades, ballistic knives, and knives that open with a press of the button.

Limits on Carry

You can carry any knife as long as it is not one of the banned knives listed above and that you do not have the intent to harm someone or break the law. The law goes into more details on this…

What the Law Says

Limit on Unlawful Use

720 ILCS 5/24-1 (2013) Unlawful Use of Weapons

(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:

(1) Sells, manufactures, purchases, possesses or carries any […] metal knuckles or other knuckle weapon regardless of its composition, throwing star, or any knife, commonly referred to as a switchblade knife, which has a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife, or a ballistic knife, which is a device that propels a knifelike blade as a projectile by means of a coil spring, elastic material or compressed gas; or

(2) Carries or possesses with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, a dagger, dirk, billy, dangerous knife, razor, stiletto, broken bottle or other piece of glass, stun gun or taser or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character; or

(9) Carries or possesses in a vehicle or on or about his person any pistol, revolver, stun gun or taser or firearm or ballistic knife, when he is hooded, robed or masked in such manner as to conceal his identity;

(b) Sentence. A person convicted of a violation of subsection 24-1(a)(1) through (5) […] commits a Class A misdemeanor. A person convicted of a violation of subsection […] 24-1(a)(9) commits a Class 4 felony; […] A person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of subsection […] 24-1(a)(9) commits a Class 3 felony. The possession of each weapon in violation of this Section constitutes a single and separate violation.

This law bans brass knuckles, throwing stars, switchblades (and other automatic knives), and ballistic knives in the state of Illinois. The case of People v. Gazelle found that the knife ban in section (a)(1) only applies to switchblade knives or ballistic knives. Other knives that are not switchblades and ballistic knives are not banned. This means that balisong knives, also called butterfly knives, are legal.


In August of 2017, Illinois Public Act 100-0082 was revised to allow for ownership and carry of a switchblade knife as long as you posess a valid Firearms Owner’s Identification (FOID) card.  Applications cost $10, may take up to 30 days to acquire, and the minimum age is 21.  You’ll still be subject to municipal laws which may differ from the rest of the state (as in Greater Chicago).

The law also makes it illegal to open or concealed carry daggers, dirks, razors, stilettos, “dangerous knife,” and other similar dangerous weapons when you are attempting to harm someone else. You can also carry dirks, razors, daggers, stilettos, and “dangerous knives” all you want as long as you do not have the intent of harming another person.

On top of that, having a ballistic knife on you when wearing a mask is class 4 felony. Getting caught twice with a ballistic knife when wearing a mask is a class 3 felony.

Owning banned knives or carrying daggers, dirks, razors, stilettos, and other dangerous knives are a class A misdemeanor.

The term “dangerous knife” can mean a lot of things. Here is what case precedence and the legislature has determined.

What is a Dangerous Weapon

720 ILCS 5/33A-1 (2013) Legislative intent and definitions

(a) Legislative findings. The legislature finds and declares the following:

(1) The use of a dangerous weapon in the commission of a felony offense poses a much greater threat to the public health, safety, and general welfare, than when a weapon is not used in the commission of the offense.


(1) “Armed with a dangerous weapon”. A person is considered armed with a dangerous weapon for purposes of this Article, when he or she carries on or about his or her person or is otherwise armed with a Category I, Category II, or Category III weapon.

(2) A Category I weapon is a handgun, sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, any other firearm small enough to be concealed upon the person, semiautomatic firearm, or machine gun. A Category II weapon is any other rifle, shotgun, spring gun, other firearm, stun gun or taser as defined in paragraph (a) of Section 24-1 of this Code [720 ILCS 5/24-1], knife with a blade of at least 3 inches in length, dagger, dirk, switchblade knife, stiletto, axe, hatchet, or other deadly or dangerous weapon or instrument of like character.

(3) A Category III weapon is a bludgeon, black-jack, slungshot, sand-bag, sand-club, metal knuckles, billy, or other dangerous weapon of like character.

This section of the law was designed to stiffen penalties for felonies committed with a dangerous weapon. This section of the law also gives us a good idea of what the legislature means when they say “dangerous weapon.”

Category II dangerous weapons are daggers, dirks, switchblades, stilettos, axes, hatchets, knives with blades over 3 inches, and other similar weapons. Category III dangerous weapons are metal knuckles. However, the case of People v. Kohl in 2006 found that, just because a push knife that has two holes to put your fingers through does not make it a metal knuckle. This is unlike some other states who have determined that knives with holes through which to place your fingers and knuckles, do count as metal knuckles. Note that, in Kohl’s case, his push knife only had 2 holes. If your knife has more, it might still count as metal knuckles (think of WWI trench knives).

There also has been some unique cases that have further defined what a dangerous weapon is. The case of People v. Weger found that a straight-blade razor since it has a legitimate use is not a dangerous weapon per se.

The case of People v. Chrisos found that a piece of broken glass that was 2 to 3 inches in length counts as a dangerous weapon since the edge is a blade. The case of People v. Ptak in 1990 also found that a broken bottle counts as a dangerous weapon since it has can be used like a knife to stab people.

On top of all these specific rules, the case of People v. Fort in 1970 found that, even if an item is not specifically listed as a dangerous weapon, it can still count as a dangerous weapon by the way it is used. The case of People v. Kinchy found that having a hunting knife is not a crime in and of itself but, only when you have intent to harm others, would it be. The case of People v. Marquita in 2012 found that having a steak knife can count as an unlawful use of weapons when there is clear evidence that you are going to use it to harm someone.

Limits on Knives in Certain Locations

720 ILCS 5/24-1 (2013) Unlawful Use of Weapons

(c) Violations in specific places.

(1.5) A person who violates subsection 24-1(a)(9)  in any school, regardless of the time of day or the time of year, in residential property owned, operated, or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development, in a public park, in a courthouse, on the real property comprising any school, regardless of the time of day or the time of year, on residential property owned, operated, or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development, on the real property comprising any public park, on the real property comprising any courthouse, in any conveyance owned, leased, or contracted by a school to transport students to or from school or a school related activity, in any conveyance owned, leased, or contracted by a public transportation agency, or on any public way within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any school, public park, courthouse, public transportation facility, or residential property owned, operated, or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development commits a Class 3 felony.

(2) A person who violates subsection 24-1(a)(1), 24-1(a)(2), or 24-1(a)(3) in any school, regardless of the time of day or the time of year, in residential property owned, operated or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development, in a public park, in a courthouse, on the real property comprising any school, regardless of the time of day or the time of year, on residential property owned, operated or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development, on the real property comprising any public park, on the real property comprising any courthouse, in any conveyance owned, leased or contracted by a school to transport students to or from school or a school related activity, in any conveyance owned, leased, or contracted by a public transportation agency, or on any public way within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any school, public park, courthouse, public transportation facility, or residential property owned, operated, or managed by a public housing agency or leased by a public housing agency as part of a scattered site or mixed-income development commits a Class 4 felony. “Courthouse” means any building that is used by the Circuit, Appellate, or Supreme Court of this State for the conduct of official business.

(4) For the purposes of this subsection (c), “school” means any public or private elementary or secondary school, community college, college, or university.

(5) For the purposes of this subsection (c), “public transportation agency” means a public or private agency that provides for the transportation or conveyance of persons by means available to the general public, except for transportation by automobiles not used for conveyance of the general public as passengers; and “public transportation facility” means a terminal or other place where one may obtain public transportation.

(e) Exemptions. Crossbows, Common or Compound bows and Underwater Spearguns are exempted from the definition of ballistic knife as defined in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Section.

This is a continuation of the unlawful use of weapons law. It says that having a ballistic knife on you when you are wearing a mask on any property listed above will upgrade the offense from a class 4 felony to a class 3 felony. Having a dirk, razor, stiletto, switchblade, ballistic knife, or any other dangerous weapon at a place listed above will cause the class A misdemeanor to increase to a Class 4 felony.

Limits on Storage and Possession

720 ILCS 5/21-6 (2013) Unauthorized Possession or Storage of Weapons

(a) Whoever possesses or stores any weapon enumerated in Section 33A-1 [720 ILCS 5/33A-1] in any building or on land supported in whole or in part with public funds or in any building on such land without prior written permission from the chief security officer for such land or building commits a Class A misdemeanor.

(b) The chief security officer must grant any reasonable request for permission under paragraph (a).

This law says that, if you commit a felony with a dangerous weapon and hide it at a place funded by the public, you will be slapped with a Class A misdemeanor in addition to your other charges. So, robbing a bank is one charge. Robbing a bank with a dangerous weapon is another charge. And unauthorized storage of your weapon at a park is a third charge. Three charges for one crime! The State of Illinois does not play around.

Conclusion on Illinois Knife Laws

The state of Illinois has fair knife laws. I’m assuming most of these laws were written to counteract gang violence in South Chicago. Other states have more relaxed laws than Illinois but Illinois’s laws are not that restrictive.

You can own any knife you would like as long as it is not a ballistic knife, throwing star or switchblade (switchblade carry is now legal with a FOID card – see section “important note” earlier in this article).  Automatic knives are in the gray area since they are activated by pressing a button but balisong knives are legal.

You can carry any knife you want as long as you do not have the intent to harm someone. This should be pretty self-explanatory. The law also has all these long paragraphs about how committing a crime with a deadly weapon would increase the offense but I’m sure that applies to none of you ;-). The law does state specifically what is a dangerous weapon but case precedence has determined that certain things, and how it is used, can make almost anything a dangerous weapon.

Note that I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. There are also county laws that come into play as well so look up your municipal laws. If you have any questions, ask it in the comment box below.  However, many questions will probably have to be directed to a state attorney or para-legal for official clarification.

*updated July 2018

Peter Stec
Latest posts by Peter Stec (see all)


  1. Can you modify a knife by covering part of the sharpened blade to effectively make it “under 3 inches”? Or is the official length of a blade any part that extends past the guard/hilt/handle out to the tip? I want to get a knife that is longer than 3 inches and assume I could cover part of the blade with griptape to effectively shorten the overall “actively sharp” part of the blade. Anyone know how exactly this would work, legally speaking?

    1. A knife of any kind (in IL) is measured from the “hilt”. You can NOT use any artifice or creative argument to change the length of a knife. The hilt is where the factory handle ends and the measurement from the tip to the hilt must be less than 3 inches.

      Changing or fabricating non-factory grips will likely still end up with a conviction for a longer than 3″ blade. It’s not like changing the grips on a gun. Read the case below from the Appellate Court website:

      I’m not a paid spokesman or advertiser for Smith & Wesson but I live in Illinois and carry their model CK117B which is 2.93″ long from the hilt. It will always measure less than 3″ and they are not very expensive. You can buy on eBay from $15 to $19. Note however that this is a thumb assisted, not a spring assisted knife.

    2. A) Can someone clarify the legal length? Am I reading this correctly that the knife blade is illegal to carry if it is “three inches or more”? Meaning that a wide variety of knives that are listed as “three inches” are illegal? So a legal carry knife must absolutely be fully and completely under the three inch mark? And so the longest possible blade length you can carry would be something along the lines of “2.9 inches” or “2.9999999 inches” long? Am I getting that right?

      B) Also, I just looked at a review video of the Coldsteel Tigerclaw on Youtube and the reviewer pointed out that the stated length on the packaging was 3.0 inches but that “wouldn’t stand up in a court of law” because the length when measured from hilt to point was longer than three inches. It looked like the way Coldsteel got to that measurement was by measuring a straight line from the hilt and along the spine so the distal 3.0 inch mark was actually off the blade with the curve leading down away from the ruler. Is there anything that can be said about this? Does “factory stated length” bear any weight in the determination of length regarding the legal definitions available to us?

    3. Any thoughts on the Cold Steel Double Agent? It is stated as being 3.0″, comes in several blade types with a neck knife sheath but has two retention rings (one for the index finger and one for the pinky finger). There’s some conjecture about “more than one” retention rings being construed as “knuckles” if under the context of direct legal scrutiny. Would these be problematic in that sense to carry or does “three inches (and under???)” cover all the bases. Does the “certain grip from two retention rings” imply it might be construed as a stabbing weapon (ie: a “weapon for inflicting harm”) thereby baking in intention of use or can we expect a less subjective reading of how the knife is defined and be able to rely upon the objective standards stated in the definition?
      In short, is that particular knife line Illinois legal?

      In light of all that, would a one-retention-ring design be legally “safer” to carry? (ex: SOG Survival karambit, also only 2.58″ fixed blade, but some “intent to harm” backpedaling that could be argued in court with a design element of a “happy skull” printed on the sheathclip…is that a risk too? If the knife has some goofy “badass” graphic on it or even if the brand names it something ridiculous that gives an air of being used for causing physical harm, either explicit or poetic?)

      Can the mere fact that you were carrying a knife be considered “implied intent to harm” if any number of under-3-inch tools are used to defend oneself and causing a severe physical consequence against the attacker you defended yourself against thus making the legal punishment harsher? Or does the context of self defense cover you? I imagine you could do a lot of damage to an attacker with something within legal definition (or no weapon at all, or a makeshift implement off the street) and be in deeper waters depending on the amount of harm done to the attacker than if you were to cause severe harm with a 3.1″ blade?

    4. As of January 28, 2020 SB2535 (Repeal of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act. Amends various Acts to make
      conforming changes. Effective immediately) was introduced into the Illinois General Assembly. If anybody would like to
      read up on SB2535 here is the web address Not sure what will happen
      with switchblade & auto knives in Illinois when or if it passes. Hoping switchblade & auto knives will be made legal
      after FOID card act is repealed

  2. Chicago Suburban w/ LMF II, travel to and fro on Metra – I’d rather be alive and wrong, than dead and right. Screw the law!

    1. Yes – I totally agree. I ride the Metra too, and if I had to defend my life, I would rather be defending myself in court instead of hoping the court system would “make my death right” trying to convict a criminal assailant while I’m 6 feet under.

      (just make sure you are well concealed when riding the Metra & CTA)

  3. Okay I live in IL and I just found out that they made it effective admittedly to over turn the ban on switchblades like stilettos, as long as you carry your foid card you’ll be fine. Now given that, I’m a good citizen of this state and don’t cause trouble but in Freeport IL there are some, we’ll say questionable people walking the streets at night, now in my right if I’m getting attacked for just minding my name on business, your damn straight that knife if going to come out to defend me but I WONT KILL the attacker, but get them off of me. Then when I stand before the judge I plead defense, then the record will show I injured my attacker but DIDN’T kill them. Case dismissed. I go home cause Im not the guilty party.

  4. Does this law with knives apply the same to firearms as it pertains to non-residents? I have a carry permit from another state and I am allowed to have my firearm in my vehicle concealed when I am in Illinois. Does this carry over to knives as well????

    1. You best have an Illinois FOID. A ID from another state is not valid in cash-strapped Illinois.

  5. One may carry a knife as long as there is “no intent” to harm another person. I carry a knife in my belt for Self-Protection (rather than carrying a gun). I would have no intention of harming anyone – unless I were defending myself. Thus, would it be construed that I’m carrying a knife for the purpose of harming another?

    1. Knives are tools. Self-defense means you absolutely will harm someone. Self-defense will probably end you up in jail – especially if you kill the only witness.

    2. Hmmm… not sure I buy that. Self-defense does not mean you’ll harm someone any more than an armed police officer WILL use his gun for sure to shoot someone. It’s always a good idea to NOT look like a victim and help offer an incentive for bad people to stay away from you! Man up and help defend yourself, other helpless victims around you and ultimately, your community.

    3. It’s simple… When you carry a knife regularly, use it as a TOOL as you can; opening boxes, cutting rope, tape, etc. If you can show that you use it primarily as a tool it will be hard to prove carrying it for harmful intent should you have to use it in self defense. A gun though legal to carry with a concealed carry permit would be much harder to defend should you ever need to fire it at another. But obviously a gun would be more effective in warding off an attack if you have enough time and space to do so safely. Sadly, there are no stats on how many times a gun has stopped an attack or other crimes without firing a shot.

  6. I have a Microtech – Ultratech. Its an automatic OTF knife with a 3 and half inch blade.

    I have my foid card and live in IL, far from Chicago, (down by St Louis), but not sure if the blade length will get it confiscated or not.

    1. Why can’t we get clarification from anyone? It has been awhile since switchblades were made legal to carry in IL, yet no one can tell us if it is now legal to conceal carry a blade longer than 3″, with a FOID Card/CCW license. I’ve even asked the Illinois State Rifle Assoc. and they seem to have no answer.

    2. I have a otf Microtech Ultratech also, mine is the small utx70. I have asked three police officers whether carrying it is legal or not. Two of them had no idea it is now legal to carry switchblades. The other police officer said legal or not, he’ll arrest any “questionable or suspicious” individual carrying anything other than what he considers a standard folding pocket knife. He said he’ll make the arrest and let the court decide if the individual had intent to harm. Does that answer your question? LOL just be careful, this is IL we live in.

  7. I live in Illinois as well. I was wondering about a Machete. A souvenir from Haiti that’s in a sheath?

  8. So like most ,people in Illinois , i remain a bit confused on the law. I wish to carry a hunting knife with a blade of 6 inches or more not only while hunting but outside on private property and sometimes while walking park trails where we walk our dog. Not near any schools not in Chicago or any suburb near there, but in small town Illinois. Legal ? 6 inch blade, 10 inch bowie?… I do not carry inside any store , or wear on my belt/hip while driving ,but it would be in my truck. Like most folks i have talked to we really just do not know if this is illegal or legal….who knows for sure?

  9. What would I have to do to carry a sword in public? Is there any way at all to accomplish that legally?

    1. In most states it comes down to “intention” or “appearance of intention”. I know in many states you can’t do that and the Police won’t even allow swords in your car unless you’re a collector or re-enactor just transporting a sword, and even then it has to be wrapped and packed in a certain way. It just looks to the public like you could be up to no good if you have a deadly weapon (which was designed to eradicate human life) in public, so I’d stay away from flirting with the law.
      Just my thoughts…

    2. No way. No how. If you’re not arrested on the spot, you’ll be causing all sorts of commotion and calls to the police. A open carry hunting knife may slide in some areas of Illinois, but a sword? NO WAY!

  10. What about a Kershaw Launch 4 in IL and Chicago . Seems like it’s a bit of a gray area…

    1. Yes I have the same question as Jeff. I would like to carry that same knife in Chicago. Is this ok?

    2. Did you or did you not read article? The Launch 4 is California legsl. So, so long you have a FOID, your cool

  11. Hello, I’m wondering what I can do in my situation. I am 18 with a FOID under my dad who also has a FOID card. I’m wondering if I can carry an auto/switchblade in cook county? Also if I can in Chicago whenever I go there.

    1. You would be under the requirements to conceal carry (At 18 years old you can’t Carry openly or concealed any weapon that would require a concealed carry permit)

      -Must be at least 21 years

      -Must have a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification card.

      -Must have not been convicted or found guilty of a misdemeanor involving the threat of physical force or violence to any person within the past five years.

      -Must not have two or more violations related to driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drugs or intoxicating compounds within the past five years.

      -Must not be subject to a pending arrest warrant, prosecution or proceeding for an offense or action that could lead to disqualification to own or possess a firearm.

      -Must have not been in a residential or court-ordered treatment for

      , alcohol detoxification, or drug treatment within the past five years.

      -No objections are filed by law enforcement.

      Checklist prior to applying for an Illinois Concealed Carry License for Illinois Residents

      -16 hours of Concealed Carry firearms training provided by an Illinois State Police-approved instructor.

      -Electronic copy of training certificate(s).

      -An Illinois Digital I.D. (can be obtained through link on

      -A valid driver’s license or state identification card.

      -A valid FOID card.
      -Proof of the last 10 years of residency.

      -$150.00 payable with a credit card or electronic check.

      Source: Illinois State Police website

  12. I live in Illinois and was wondering if I can keep a fixed blade knife in my truck?

    1. Hey Steve;
      Thanks for the question! You can research state laws (as I do) on each state’s homepage where all the statutes are listed. It gets a bit confusing, but even more so when you consider local and regional laws within a state. Because I’m not a lawyer, I could get into some trouble if I actually gave you information without stating that I’m not a lawyer and you need to get your official info from a lawyer or paralegal in the state of Illinois. Having said all this, the answer to your question depends on what you’re carrying. A 3-inch pocket knife would never be in question as to its legality unless you try to hurt someone. Illinois knife laws are more bent towards determining someone’s motives in carrying a knife. If it doesn’t look like you’re trying to hurt anyone in a suspicious situation, then you should be okay (as I read the law). To be safe, I’d make the knife small and non-aggressive looking (ie. don’t carry a Ka-Bar military knife into a night club). That’s just my 2 cents.

  13. I have an Illinois CCL and was wondering if I could also carry my Kabar. Six to one, half dozen to the other.

    1. Did you not read the article? Anyone can carry any sized fixed blade, no matter if they have a CCL or not.

  14. I “open carry” a 6″ buck knife on my hip every where I go. I’ve been in bars where the police have come in, looked directly at my knife and have never said a word. I’ve open carried at high school football games as well as baseball games and basketball too. The only place I’ve been asked to remove it is at concerts, and once at a hospital… I was even able to carry it in our local minor league baseball game. I guess my question is, how long of a blade can I open carry?

  15. What about swords? I own a katana. And in all seriousness considered strapping it on when I go for my nightly walk. Purely for self defense. Hopefully more as a deterrent than actually needing to use (though I can). Is that considered ill intent (self defense)?. And is that length legal?

    1. Hey Gina;
      As always, we need to say we’re not lawyers and can’t give you official advice. You’d have to get that from a lawyer in Illinois. However, for what it’s worth, I’d say your situation is a bit touchy and a police officer who may find you with an actual sword, would surely question you. After you explain it’s for self-defense, he’d probably look at you strangely and wonder why you wouldn’t choose pepper spray or something much easier to use and more effective against one or more attackers. As far as the actual legality, in your shoes I would ask a local para-legal for advice on this matter since it may be close to the border of legal/illegal.

    2. Save carrying that for the zombie apocalypse. Carrying that is more trouble than it’s worth. Kakushibuki are way more useful. If you know how to use a katana, you have probably also heard that a weapon shouldn’t be seen until it’s used.

  16. I’m sorry I’m so confused. Ok I live in chicago can I open carry a knife and if so how long

    1. Hey Ted;
      Thanks for the question. Illinois is a tough state to summarize regarding knife laws since Chicago has its own set of rules to minimize urban violence. Keep in mind that I’m not allowed by law to give you official legal advice, so my disclaimer is that you need to get “official” advice from legal counsel in the state of Illinois. However, for what it’s worth, the ordinance is fairly clear when it comes to knives in Chicago. Essentially, you can’t have/own/carry/conceal any knife with a blade longer than 2 inches if you’re under 18. It also says;

      No person shall carry concealed on or about his person a dagger, any knife with a blade more than two and one-half inches in length, or other dangerous weapon.

      You can look up ordinance § 8-24-020 on Google and you can read through the whole thing (not too long or boring) which outlines lots of small points I can’t write here.

      To make matters more confusing, there are even more local laws distinct from other “local” laws, like in Cook County. Sheesh! Let’s just simplify can we?!!


    2. I used to live in Chicago. I wised up and left. Not because of the crime. Because of the Democrats.

  17. with no ill intent just being a peaceful citizen could I carry a curved blade over 3″ like the spyderco Civillian?

    1. or a less than 3″ curved like the spyderco Harpy? please and thankyou very much!

    2. If you’re outside of Metro Chicago, you can pretty much carry anything. The question will be (if you are confronted with an officer) what is your intent, and as long as you can make a very good argument in favor of your peaceful intentions, you should be good. That’s my opinion – as always, only a licensed legal counsel in the state of Illinois can confirm anything official. cheers,

    1. Legally Yes, according to my interpretation of the law. HOWEVER, as always, don’t take my word as final authority. Only an actual lawyer or para-legal in the state of Illinois can confirm this.

    1. Only if it can be found (by a police officer or in a court of law) that your intent was to harm someone. Otherwise, you could argue that you found it and wanted to keep it as a collectible (antique) in your basement! Better yet, don’t mess with anything borderline. I say “stay far away from the edge of the cliff rather than seeing how close to the edge you can walk without falling”.

  18. So I have a 4inch blade that I carry on me in my pocket. It is a folding knife and I have it just for self defense. Is it then illegal to carry it even if I have “no intent to harm anyone”? Thanks

    1. According to my interpretation, your knife does not fall into the banned weapons category, so you’re good. However, I always have to tell people that I’m not a lawyer and you can’t take my word as final. Only a licensed legal counsel in the state of Illinois can give you official council.

  19. So if you carry a knife for self defense does that count as intent to harm? And secondly im still unsure on the limit of blade length allowed for a self defense knife please help

    1. quick test of blade length place your open knife blade across your palm by your 1st knuckle. if the blade passes outside your palm width it’s considered deadly because the tip can reach the heart thru the

  20. Is it illegal to carry a knife if you have commited a class a misdemenor?

    1. yes, even if it was a battery charge…… the thing is WERE YOU CONVICTED & FOUND GUILTY

    1. very much so….. it’s a push button

    1. there are no age restrictions on a sharpened blade weapon. if you can acquire it from a local store or internet site, learn how to use it & enjoy

    1. this knife looks like it includes knuckes, so it could reasonably be said that they are a type of brass knuckes. I would say don’t buy them to be on the safe side.

  21. If I get caught with a switchblade, how much is the fine or punishment?

  22. Stilletto is a term for type of blade not type of knife. It means one fully sharpened side and other side or, spine of knife partially sharpened be it tip or close to hilt. Stilletto is not a term for automatic knife but for type of blade design.

    1. 16 for a folding knife under 16 and 18 for anything over.

    2. So if I carry one and the cops pull me over or stops me and finds it he can’t say anything right?

    3. I suppose not as long your of age 16+ and it’s 3″

    4. CUB SCOUTS carry folding pocket knives

    1. Assisted open by spring are legal. Autos have spring. The knives in tobacco shops here,all spring assisted are legal. Your wording has me confused sir,all autos are assisted by use of spring. Thumb stud assisted,or flipper assisted,perfectly legal. I’m confused myself at authors use of “grey area” with stillettos, it’s not auto because I need to push a button?

  23. To my comment a min ago I looked all over the net and still cant find any answers. It’s only 4 1/2 inches long. I’ve always carried it on my belt. But dont need to get that one officer ???? to say hey that’s a dangerous weapon. I’m not getting nothing as far as help looking on the net. Good thing I don’t live in Chicago, seems like they are strictly bad in that area. Plz help if you could plz

  24. I have a 4 1/2 inch knive I wear on my side on my belt. Is that legal in Illinois. Not in Chicago. All I hear is that there is no limit to what size but then I hear only 3 inches is allowed. Weird

    1. open carry on a suburban or city street with your knife is illegal in the woods its legal

  25. I’m confused… What AGE do you have to be to purchase a survival knife…?

    1. You can buy it as soon as you of age to have a credit card (13/14+) I believe but you can’t necessarily carry it till you’re 18 because you need a weapons/firearm

  26. Kinda confused so can I carry concealed throwing knives that the blades are 5 inches in a public place that isnt a school or places like that as long as I have no intention of hurting someone

    1. yes i believe that is correct

    2. I just laughed really hard. Where are you going with concealed 5″ throwing knives? Lol

    1. Because if someone doesn’t have time to see that what you have is a knife, they could be ended very easily. Despite black markets, the deepweb, and underground weapon trading, they believe banning switchblades will reduce knife-related assaults and murders. They were kinda right, and kinda wrong.

  27. It seems that the carry limits are very unclear. In this article, we’re told that any knife can be carried as long as there is no intent to harm anyone. However, there is no clear statements about what can be concealed and blade length seems to be an issue. Obviously, it would seem a little unsettling to carry my 7″ KA-BAR openly. It may deter some attackers, but it would also frighten those who assume that merely having a knife signals intent. I think I’d be more comfortable having my knife tucked away under my coat where no one can see it, and therefore, prevent them from assuming the worst. I certainly don’t consider myself to be a violent person and I have no intention of harming anyone, but dropping to one’s knees and begging for mercy in the face of an attacker simply isn’t the Marine Corps way. I simply want to know that I can carry a tool in a not-so-nice part of Illinois without ending up in prison over weapons charges.

    1. i openly carry my knife always, people will always “assume” the worst, if you are not threatening in any way, there should not be a problem.

    2. Sully, find yourself a good S.O.G. boot knife at a sporting goods store – Bass Pro or Cabelas average price $25. A lot easier to handle than a heavy K-Bar

  28. I just wanted to inquire about the laws. yes i understand all the different classes of illegal weapons, and i understand that any blade over 3″ is illegal to carry. I work for Cutco, the company that manufacters the KA-BAR knives for our military, and police forces worldwide. I was wondering If there are any licenses or permits i can apply for to carry a KA-BAR knife on my person. I do not have intent to harm anybody, It would be for security. There are a lot of nutcases out there, and i’m sure i’d be glad if i had a KA-BAR in one of those dangerous situations.

  29. I read somewhere that it is legal to possess a switchblade in the state of illinois as long as the blade is under 3 inches, a hunting knife, and only useable while hunting. Would love to hear feedback on this.

    1. a switchblade is not a hunting knife, it is an automatic knife, big difference

  30. I have an assisted opening knife that has a 3 1/4 inch blade. Is this legal in Illinois? THANK YOU.


    1. You can use assisted open knives. Assisted open and switchblades are two different categories.

  32. All the things discussed here also fall under our Second Amendment Rights. Our Second Amendment says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The Second Amendment does not specifically state firearms but all arms and this can include the weapons listed on this website however it could be costly to test this in court. I think it would be hard for a jury to convict someone that protected themselves from an attacker by using a knife or other weapon.

  33. I don’t think Illinois knife laws are fair at all. Good citizens pay the price, once again, for the criminal actions occurring in areas heavily populated by certain minorities. No need to beat around the bush about this. My Spyderco and Kershaw assisted opener can be opened MUCH FASTER than a Protech Auto. I don’t understand why in the world auto knives are banned. It makes NO sense, unless every politician is stuck in a time warp watching West Side Story as their paradigm of behavior. Auto knives come in very handy as a mechanic, HVAC guy, and certain sports, especially water sports. Not everyone with an Auto has the intent of being a little gangbanger. For shame on the politicians. For shame.

  34. Chicago also has additional knife laws. In illinois a blade up to 3″ is legal to carry while in chicago the blade limit is 2.5″

  35. So an Illinois resident could own a Bowie knife as long as it was under 3″ long? LOL! Do they make em that small?

    1. Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.

  36. I’ve heard there is an exemption for local 134 electricians.

    Any truth to this?

  37. So it’s legal to carry a bowie knife as long as you do not intend to harm someone?

  38. Is it considered a illegal automatic knife if it is spring loaded when you open it without button pressure?

  39. Nice sum up of the laws. Gives a much clearer idea of what you can get here in Illinois. Most likely the 2.5″ to 3″ laws you hear about are more county or city base laws or tips to avoid hassle if caught with one during random inspections or traffic stops etc. Thanks!

  40. Can you please elaborate on throwing knives (non-folding, single edge blade, less than 6”) in the greater Chicagoland area? Are these allowed, can they be concealed and is there a limit on how many I can carry? I travel in and around Chicago daily and needless to say there are some bad neighborhoods. I don’t want to break any laws but I do want to be able to protect myself against gang members that might have guns (yes, I know you shouldn’t bring a knife to a gun fight but it’s better than trying to try throw my boot at them). I only want to conceal them because I don’t want customers that I visit to think I’m a crazy psycho if I walk in to their businesses with a sheath of 3 or 6 knives on my belt.
    Thanks for your help,

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