Indiana Knife Laws

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Indiana knife laws are very fair and somewhat strait forward. This article will give you a briefing of what is allowed and not allowed under the law, what the law says, and an explanation of what that means. This article will also cite case precedence that has shaped the meaning of Indiana knife law.

What is Legal

  • Balisong knives are legal.
  • Bowie knive are legal.
  • Dirks, daggers, and stilettos are legal.
  • Assisted knives are legal.
  • Disguised knives like cane knives, lipstick knives, and belt knives are legal.
  • Switchblades and other automatic knives are legal.

What is Illegal

  • Ballistic knives are illegal.  (to possess and/or manufacture and/or sell)
  • (Chinese) Throwing stars are illegal.  (to possess and/or manufacture and/or sell)

Restriction on Carry

There are no limits to concealed or open carry as long as you do not bring a knife to school. The Indiana state code is available for anyone to read online but the excerpts below contains the code as well as an explanation.

What the Law Says

Ban on Ballistic Knives

Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-5-2 (Effective July 1, 2017)

35-47-5-2. Knife with a detachable blade.

It is a Class B misdemeanor for a person to manufacture, possess, display, offer, sell, lend, give away, or purchase any knife with a detachable blade that may be ejected from the handle as a projectile by means of gas, a spring, or any other device contained in the handle of the knife.

Indiana’s prior code made the manufacture, possession, display, sale, loan, gifting, or purchase of a knife that opens automatically a Class B misdemeanor, but effect July 1, 2013, that section of the code has been stricken.

Limits on Knives at Schools

Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-5-2.5 (Effective 2017)

35-47-5-2.5. Possession of knife on school property or on a school bus.

(a) As used in this section, “knife” means an instrument that:
(1) consists of a sharp edged or sharp pointed blade capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds; and
(2) is intended to be used as a weapon.
(b) The term includes a dagger, dirk, poniard, stiletto, switchblade knife, or gravity knife.
(c) A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally possesses a knife on:
(1) school property (as defined in IC 35-31.5-2-285);
(2) a school bus (as defined in IC 20-27-2-8); or
(3) a special purpose bus (as defined in IC 20-27-2-10);
commits a Class B misdemeanor. However, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the person has a previous unrelated conviction under this section and a Level 6 felony if the offense results in bodily injury to another person.
(d) This section does not apply to a person who possesses a knife:
(1) if:
(A) the knife is provided to the person by the school corporation or possession of the knife is authorized by the school corporation; and
(B) the person uses the knife for a purpose authorized by the school corporation; or
(2) if the knife is secured in a motor vehicle.

Unlike other states where you can bring pocket knives under a certain blade length to schools, you can not bring any knife to a school in Indiana unless it is approved by the school or left in your car.

Limits on Throwing Stars

Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-5-12 (2017)

35-47-5-12. Manufacture, sale or possession of Chinese throwing star.

(a) A person who:
(1) Manufactures;
(2) Causes to be manufactured;
(3) Imports into Indiana;
(4) Keeps for sale;
(5) Offers or exposes for sale; or
(6) Gives, lends, or possesses; a Chinese throwing star commits a Class C misdemeanor.
(b) As used in this section, “Chinese throwing star” means a throwing-knife, throwing-iron, or other knife-like weapon with blades set at different angles.

You cannot have throwing stars in Indiana. You can have throwing knives if there is only one blade or blades in the same angle. Fortunately, most throwing knives are not sharp and, as long as it has only one blade, you should be fine. The types of throwing knives that have multiple blades at different angles are ones that have a front and back tip.

Throwing axes, hatchets, and tomahawks are legal as long as the blades are in the same angle (most are).

Conclusion to Indiana Knife Laws

It is legal for you to own everything except ballistic knives and throwing stars. You can not bring knives to school no matter the length or type.

Why did Indiana ban throwing stars? I don’t really know since you can’t typically kill or even seriously injure someone with a throwing star (of course, as with any item – even a dinner fork can do damage under certain circumstances and in the hands of certain people). No matter how hard you throw a star, it’ll only leave a cut or small puncture wound. Illinois also banned throwing star.  I’m pretty sure there’s an interesting story behind that legislation!

Note that I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. If you need real legal advice, talk to a lawyer. There are also county laws that come into play as well so look up your local municipal code. If you have any questions, post it in the comment box below.

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108 thoughts on “Indiana Knife Laws”

  1. As of 7-1-13 all automatic and otf/switchblade knives are legal to cary and own although some cities and towns have written ordinances banning these types of knives.

    Reply
  2. While Indiana’s law RE automatic knives has been repealed, Federal law, however, still forbids the transportation of autos across state lines (and that includes having them shipped to you) unless you are a law enforcement officer or soldier, and unless such knives are intended to be used during active duty.

    Reply
  3. I carry a Buck 301 (maybe 2.5″ blade) pocket knife almost daily. Useful tool and a habit I got from my Father. Use it frequently in my role of Assistant Scout Master.
    Since it is never, ever intended or designed as a weapon – though better than nothing if it’s my only option for defense, the law reads like I would be okay on school property.

    Reply
  4. Recently bought a dirk/dagger at a yard sale. Has a belt clip and a sheath where a button has to be pressed to remove the blade from the sheath. Blade is 5″, is this legal to open carry?

    Just wanted to be sure.

    Reply
    • Years ago I used to carry a field knife on my side after a mugging. A police officer stopped me and warned me not to carry it. After quizzing him on the law of the matter, he said it was illegal. I contacted a couple of prosecutors at the court house and they assured me that there was no length limit on blades for knives.

      Reply
      • wasn’t too long ago that the maximum blade length was 6 inches. That was repealed though so depending on when you were informed by the officer vs when you asked a prosecutor, both answers could have been right. Also, sadly, when laws that are rarely enforced get repealed that information is not always passed on to the mass of officers so veteran officers are not aware of the change. Just my 2 cents

        Reply
    • Sure, go ahead. I own a longsword and have had no problems carrying it in public, usually to/from Scottish festivals and the like. I wouldn’t carry it on your back though. Harder to draw and leaves you open for longer when needing to ready it quickly than if on your hip. Plus, someone can come up behind you, draw it with ease, and run you through before you can do much about it. But that’s just my two cents. 😉

      Reply
  5. Any knife not already illegal is not illegal on school property as long as it is in your transportation automobile. For your case carrying a knife for other activities

    Reply
    • Correct. But it’s important to note the phrase “Secured” in your vehicle, meaning you cannot leave it unattended in an accessible state (ie, the doors unlocked, windows down, etc.). I’m not 100% sure, but that may include not having it in plain view.

      Reply
    • Yes but be prepared to get checkout repeatedly by LEOs or potentially charged with something else like disturbing the peace. Unless you really feel the need to carry a sword I’d forgo it. And this is a coming from a nonLEO that carries an OTF auto everywhere.

      Reply
  6. OK, here a Good One. Go to the Indiana State Fair and try to walk in the public entry gates and you’ll get swept with a wand and warned to take knives (and guns) back to your vehicle. Once inside, many of the vendors (junk dealers) inside sell large steak and butcher knives ! Do the math on that one; I suppose it gives the ANTI’s a feel good/safe feeling.

    Reply
  7. So I recently bought two balisongs (butterfly knives) for the purpose of one being a practice knife, not sharp at all and even says (I believe) “cannot be sharpened”, and the other knife a “real” balisong for the purpose of having a nicer one that won’t fall apart and looks nicer; not as a weapon, but just for a flipping hobby. Now, I’m hoping I can take my dull practice one anywhere really, even school (after school, but still in my backpack). Now the law considers a knife to have a SHARP edge. Does that mean I’m safe with the law? I mean I know I can carry both knives on me, but wasn’t sure about the practice one at school. Not a big deal just kinda stupid if I’m dropping $100 on something I can only have in my house

    Reply
  8. I own a spring assisted knife. I also think daggers should be illegal because they are extremely silent where as if you have a regular knife and you want to throw it at someone far away you would miss. Where as if you have a dagger they are easy to throw and should be illegal cause they are more dangerous then a regular knife I think.

    Reply
    • Actually daggers are extremely hard to throw accurately. I can hurl some knives better than my daggers. Also most knives are just as silent as a dagger so your argument is invalid. I’m not sure where you heard that daggers are easy to throw…

      Reply
    • Your statements are ridiculous. A dagger is no more “silent” than any other knife. Daggers are not easier to throw. Most people who throw any knife miss.

      So you didn’t “think” at all.

      Reply
  9. Throwing knives are illegal in most states and countries because they are a projectile with more than three blades. I’m not sure if it’s three or more than three, but, that is the reason behind it.

    Reply
  10. What about razor blades, I need to buy some for my step dads work (he left his out in the rain) how old do I have to be to get single razor blades

    Reply
  11. What about minors? Do the same laws apply? Age limit? Obviously I saw the knives at school laws that you provided are those the only ones stated in regards to a child under 18 years old possess a handgun in public?

    Reply
  12. Reading the letter of the law ” Knife like with more than one point at different angles”, effectively makes 80% of pocket knives illegal. After all a three bladed pocket knife with barely 2 inch blades, one at each end an d the third pulled out to a 90 degree angle, makes it way more injury potential than any so called throwing star. I’d guess the law exists because of the kid nuisances with throwing stars, but someone didn’t think all the ramifications through before they passed the absurd law.

    Reply
  13. The law on throwing stars was not well thought out. Needs to be abolished and go back to the drawing board. Why? Part of the descriptive language for a throwing star includes “Any knife like instrument with more than one point set at different angles. Well what could be more knife like than a knife? An ordinary small three bladed pocket knife with one at each end and another set at a 90 degree angle, throws and sticks very well and consistently, will do more damage than a throwing star; ergo, most pocket knives in Indiana are illegal. Not to mention garden shears, scissors, two prong barbecue forks, and on and on that throw quite well so must be illegal.

    Law needs to be re written to be more specific and include listing items law was not meant to cover, otherwise we will continue to be illegal.

    Reply
  14. throwing star law not well thought out. “Any knife like instrument with more than one point at different angles” unwittingly makes most small pocket knives illegal (by the way they throw quite well). As well as scissors, small garden shears, etc. And then the subject of throwing Tomahawks aren’t even covered .

    Reply
  15. If your a felon what’s the legal limits on a pocket knife that you can carry or can carry at all in the state of Indiana

    Reply
  16. There is no assisted OTF knives I have ever seen, Only OTF Auto’s and I collect high end tacticle knives. Carry a MicroTech Stitch-a OTS auto with 4″ blade.

    Reply
  17. I’m 17 and I carry a ka-bar my cousin said my knife should never be hidden and always shown in its sheath. Is he correct and is this legal for me to have/carry?

    Reply
  18. So I recently just got a katana with a 10.5 inch blade. Am I allowed to carry said katana or is it to long? I just wanted to make sure its still leagal to carry( and or use in life or death situations) and not get in trouble for doing so.

    Reply
  19. In the state of indiana, Shawn, you cannot carry a knife or sword in public that has a 4 inch blade or more unless you have a weapons permit.

    Reply
  20. Carson you are wrong please don’t spread false truths about the laws in which you seem to not comprehend or understand. Tbh half the law officers in Indiana don’t understand knife laws and will also give out false information. There are NO size restrictions in Indiana on knives . You DONT have to have a as carson put it a weapons permit to carry a knife . Carson’s post is completely FALSE and should be disregarded. The ONLY weapons in the knife category in Indiana that are ILLEGAL are Chinese throwing stars and Balistic knives that’s IT.

    Reply
  21. Thanks for the info.
    I’m fairly certain I will be asked why I open carry a knife at some point, but why do people open carry fire arms? 😉

    Reply
    • Hey Harlen, I would ask your local police department to see if your area has any special laws. I’m 16, and I open carry a 9 1/2 inch knife to work. Its fine I’m my town, but I would check with local law enforcement

      Reply
  22. Armstrong, does the blade shoot a certain distance from the handle, leaving you with only the handle or does the spring flip the blade into a locked position like a switchblade?

    Reply
  23. Levi Wright there is no law in Indiana on how long a pocket knife blade can be, but police recommends that in order for you not to get stopped by them and questioned, the blade can’t be longer than the palm of your hand. Anything longer than that, and you will be asked questions as to why you have it, where you bought it, if you have ever been convicted of a class 6 felony, and if you promise to keep it concealed when walking around the city, or locked up in your vehicle if you are on school property. The only other time you’re allowed to have a knife in school is if the school corporation gave it to you for a specific task.

    Reply
      • Hey Cody;
        The bigger question (aside from “why would you want to carry it in public???”) is the issue of public perception and the attitude of a specific police officer. Even where it is technically legal to have a sword, the odds are someone will call a cop or security guard and it will become an issue. I know in some states (where it is legal) it’s only legal for re-enactments (like a medieval festival) and you can only wrap them up and carry them in your car to and from the festival. That’s pretty restrictive. I’d be more concerned about dealing with the issue (which can be a pain in the butt) whether it’s technically legal or not. Do you want the hassle?
        thanks for your question,
        J.

        Reply
    • “but police recommends that in order for you not to get stopped by them and questioned, the blade can’t be longer than the palm of your hand.”

      This is a myth in every state, and completely false in Indiana.

      If a state has a length restriction on knives, there must be a stated length in the law. Not some random variable based on the size of your hand.

      It is irrelevant if you have been convicted of a felony whether or not you can carry a knife in Indiana. You can carry any length knife anywhere legally. “Brandishing” in a fashion that might concern people can cause trouble. Schools generally prohibit “weapons and dangerous implements including knives and batons,” because knives and batons are not legally “weapons” in Indiana.

      Reply
  24. Hey Corey;
    You’re right about blade length issue. There is no law or restriction on blade length or how you carry in Indiana. A permit applies only to guns. Only throwing stars and ballistic knives are illegal. I don’t know if Carson is a “big fat liar” – he may just be uninformed but thought he knew. Anyway, I’ll take the gentle approach and tell gently he’s wrong. Please note that I’m mostly a comment moderator rather than an authority on all topics. I simply don’t have the time to answer all comments though I could probably set things right in most cases if I did nothing but answer comments about state knife laws all day!
    cheers
    J.

    Reply
  25. Do these Indiana laws trump city laws? Seems awhile back South Bend and others had blade length laws and such. I don’t think they should be able to as this just confuses what the laws are. Any input on this.

    Reply
    • Except for the ballistic knives and shuriken, edged tools (knives) are not considered weapons in IN, amd therefore you may legally possess and carry them. However, the court might have put specific restrictions on you, so check with your attorney or parole officer.

      Reply
  26. You can absolutely mess someone up with throwing stars. I can accurately embed them in drywall and plywood. A hit to the face, neck, eyes, genitals or any place that a tendon, ligament or major blood vessel is near the surface of the skin can cause a lot of damage. I don’t know why they are illegal and other things aren’t though.

    Reply
  27. Can you legally brandish a knife in public? I was flipping open a pocket knife and closing it over and over again and one of my friends said that was considered brandishing and might be illegal.

    Reply
    • I think it really depends on intent and location. Once I was at a cross country meet, and I had a two and a half inch pocket knife that I was absent mindedly flipping open and closing, and I was told to quit (because I was on school propert, which is technically illegal to have a knife anyway.) But, in a public place, the only trouble you could get yourself into would be freaking people out and maybe having a fun talk with a law officer. I don’t think it’s illegal unless you’re brandishing a weapon with the intent to harm, or are brandishing a knife where knives are prohibited.

      Regardless, it’s probably not a great idea unless you’re showing it to someone. People could take your actions in a negative way, and someone else could react in a way that could get someone hurt.

      Reply
      • Hey Samuel;
        Yes, that’s the general concept for any questions of legality. It’s all about intent and/or how your actions are perceived (even if you intend no harm – it can look different to other people). That’s why most of my advice to people asking about the legality of knives is based on the idea of perception. In other words, do your VERY best to make sure no one even knows you have a knife (unless it’s 100% illegal to carry a knife concealed) in which case you shouldn’t have a knife at all.
        cheers,
        Pete

        Reply
    • That often depends on the store. Some stores don’t care, but for most stores, they either have a specific policy on carrying weapons or if you ask them if you can carry, they’ll say NO!
      cheers,
      J.

      Reply
    • A fixed or folding blade knife is not a weapon in Indiana, and you may carry it in any non-restricted area (not in airports, courthouses, etc). So yes, you can carry it in a store.

      If the store owner asks you to remove the knife from the premises or to leave, you must, or you are trespassing.

      Reply
    • Balisongs and butterfly knives are legal in Indiana. Literally the only prohibited weapon like items are throwing stars and ballistic knives.

      Reply
    • Yes. The only things that are illegal are throwing stars, throwing knives with blades at different angles and ballistic knives (knives that shoot the blade as a projectile with a spring or gas).

      Reply
  28. Okay I have knife that i carry on me at all times, and i wanted to know if it was legal to carry a knife that has a curved blade? Kinda looks like a raptors claw.

    Reply
    • Hi Trenton;
      From what I understand, the shape of the blade has no bearing on its legality. Only the type of knife and the blade length. Double-edged knives are often illegal, but not always (depends on your state) and there will be a length restriction for certain things, but I’ve never seen a restriction on the idea of a blade curve.
      cheers,
      Pete

      Reply
  29. While this is merely speculation, I find it probable that someone in Indiana used a modified throwing star (Sheriken disk) in some egregious assault. While the normally manufactured stars have low penetration capability, when made of carbon 1095 steel, it can be filed/sharpened in a manner that thins and flattens the star’s points and sharpens all the way to the bottom of the V between points—these can nearly pass all the way through a body. I recall a case in Texas where one such modified star was used in a robbery. It was nearly buried into the victims thigh. Just maybe, it happened to a Hoosier too?

    Reply
  30. Ninja Movies became popular in the 70’s and early 80’s. Kids wanted to be ninjas. My brother had a few very small throwing stars. One had Bruce lee on it with no sharpening. The other was half dollar sized and light but sharp. Both probably more for show than for use. Anyway, he used to have ninja magazines and you could order ninja tools out of them. I imagine this is part of why things became illegal. Kids wanting them and possibly using them in schools and so on. Keeping kids safe. Idk if adults were all about some ninja stars or not lol. Perhaps.

    Reply

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