Kansas Knife Laws

Kansas knife law is practically non-existent. This article will discuss the current Kansas knife law, what it means in simple everyday terms, case precedence, and explanation of legal terms.

The knife laws for Kansas has been updated as of 7 JANUARY 2014. Read the new law here.

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own Bowies and other large knives.
  • It is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other stabbing knives.
  • It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, and cane swords.
  • It is legal to own switchblades and other automatic knives.
  • It is legal to own gravity knives.
  • It is legal to own undetectable knives (knives that will not set off metal detectors).

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal to own ballistic knives.
  • It is illegal to own throwing stars.

Definition of Throwing Star

A throwing star is defined by Kansas statute as “any instrument, without handles, consisting of a metal plate having three or more radiating points with one or more sharp edges and designed in the shape of a polygon, trefoil, cross, star, diamond or other geometric shape, manufactured for use as a weapon for throwing.”

Limits on Carry

  • It is legal to open carry all knives that are legal to own.
  • It is legal to conceal carry all knives that are legal to own.

What the Law States

Penalty for Criminal Use

K.S.A. § 21-6301 (2012)

21-6301. Criminal use of weapons.

(a) Criminal use of weapons is knowingly:

(1) Selling, manufacturing, purchasing or possessing any bludgeon, sand club, metal knuckles or throwing star;

(2) possessing with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, a billy, blackjack, slungshot, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character, or a dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument;

[…]

(m) As used in this section, “throwing star” means any instrument, without handles, consisting of a metal plate having three or more radiating points with one or more sharp edges and designed in the shape of a polygon, trefoil, cross, star, diamond or other geometric shape, manufactured for use as a weapon for throwing.

Kansas § 21-6301(a)(2), shown above, says that it is illegal to possess certain types of weapons, with the intent to use them unlawfully against another. Therefore, we can assume that until one has used one of the enumerated types of weapons against someone illegally or shows some type of intent to do so, the possession of those weapons is legal in the state of Kansas.  

It is a crime however, under § 21-6301(a)(1), above, to own metal knuckles or throwing stars. Note that under the definition of throwing star, a throwing knife is legal, as long as it has a handle.

Some knives that not listed in section (a)(1) might still be banned. For example, a WWI trench knife with a handle that also works as a metal knuckle could easily fall under that category.

Using a dangerous weapon to hurt someone else is unlawful. While a knife may not be listed as illegal to own or carry, it may or may not be a dangerous weapon and you will not find out until a judge decides. The only type of knife that would never be considered a dangerous weapon is a folding pocket knife with a blade under 4 inches.

Limits on Carry

K.S.A. § 21-6302 (2012)

21-6302. Criminal carrying of a weapon

(a) Criminal carrying of a weapon is knowingly carrying:

(1) Any bludgeon, sandclub, metal knuckles or throwing star;

(2) concealed on one’s person, a billy, blackjack, slungshot, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character;

Knives not listed as legal or illegal to carry fall in the gray area of “dangerous weapon” and it is up to a judge or jury to determine if it meets the requirements of a dangerous weapon.

Conclusion to Kansas Knife Laws

In Kansas, you can own any knife you want except for a throwing star or ballistic knife. It is legal to open or conceal carry any type of knife that it is legal to own.

Note that this is not legal advice and there is no attorney-client relationship. There are also county and city laws that come into play as well so check with your municipal.

If you have any comments, leave them in the comment box below.

References

K.S.A. § 21-6301 (2012)

K.S.A. § 21-6302 (2012)

Peter Stec
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Comments

  1. Is a karambit 7.5-inch illegal to carry? I think it’s too big tbh

  2. I was bought a metal knuckle with knife attached as a gift for self defense. Can i not use it for self defense? Can i not carry it at all? How can they sell a knife that if illegal if we are not supossed to have it?

    1. I’m speaking generally on legal principles. To get more Kansas-specific you should research the annotated criminal code statutes and case law decisions governing weapon possession and carry. Generally, if Kansas law bans the carrying of metal knuckles of any kind I believe it would probably make no difference whether those knucks were attached to a knife blade or not. If you try to narrow it down to whether a knuckle-duster knife like the famous 1918 trench model is a knife or metal knuckles, well the answer is that it is both. And one of those things is prohibited for carry upon the person. Just because a conventional knife is legal to carry, it doesn’t make it legal to carry the knucks the knife blade is attached to. I’d have to review the law in detail to say for sure, but I believe it would also prohibit the same sort of item made of polycarbonate or glass-nylon or any other rigid non-metal material. There’s almost always some amount of ambiguity in the written language of any law covering any subject, and such ambiguity has landed many people in prison because they made foolish assumptions about which way that ambiguity would fall. As far as selling a knife that’s illegal to carry, well there’s a wide gulf between what’s legal to possess and what’s legal to carry. And never, but never assume that just because an item is available to sell that it’s also legal to possess or carry. Especially if you’re talking about mail order. In 90% of cases it’s the responsibility of the person purchasing the item to make sure it’s legal for them to have in their home jurisdiction. It’s your freedom on the line. Consider it an intelligence test; if you fail or refuse to do your homework and end up in jail, well it’s a small clue that you failed the test.

  3. I would like to know what the state limitations on a convicted felon who is currently on probation concerning knives would be in the state of kansas. Clould you please help me figure this out? Thank you.

    1. I would love to help, but unfortunately, only official legal advice from a qualified lawyer or para-legal in the state of Kansas would be able to offer you the correct information. Even current knife laws which (to some) appear cut and dried, are often interpreted with some liberties in a court of law.

    2. I recently moved from Louisiana to Kansas, so my knowledge of Kansas law can only be called general even though I am studying up on it. I think I can definitively answer your question though (I realize I’m some months behind since you asked it, but the information should be useful to others as well.) Though another person who answered your question suggested speaking with your probation officer about it, in what appeared to be a bit of mild sarcasm, it’s still a good idea. The question should NOT be in the format of “I’ve got this big folding knife I’ve been carrying around in my pocket, and I just wanted to make sure it’s not in violation of my probation.” It should be more like “I’m not planning to possess or carry any weapons, I just want to be unambiguously sure about these things so I can give anything that could cause me trouble a wide berth.” Also, you should examine whatever papers you were given as part of your probation registration. For pretty much any state those papers–or an accompanying rule sheet or rule book–will be given to you to put you on notice of what you are and aren’t allowed to do. Generally, they usually prohibit the person on probation from carrying or possessing any weapon of any kind. And those rules can be creatively enforced, as once you’re on probation or parole supervision, your backside generally belongs to the state until such time as you are off supervision, and in those matters you simply don’t have the due process you would have if you were accused of a substantive crime. It might sound unfair, but if you’re on supervision of either kind, you’re still “in custody” of the state, it’s just a less restrictive custody. Infractions can send you to or back to prison and there’s little recourse if you were remanded unfairly or without justification. Probation and parole are considered privileges and something you have no standing to complain about, if you break the rules and get locked up. The best rule for probation or parole is if you’re even vaguely unsure whether something is permitted or not, assume it isn’t. I spent years on parole supervision after a decade in prison, and contrary to the stereotype of bullies looking for excuses to bounce you to prison, every single parole officer I had or otherwise interacted with was a professional who liked nothing more than a parolee or probationer who followed the rules, avoided drama, and avoided drama or trouble like the plague. P.O.s just about everywhere work with a huge caseload of persons they have to supervise and every single boneheaded incorrigible or troublemaker just made the workload heavier. And pretty much everyone I’ve known–including myself–who got violated and locked up accomplished it entirely on their own behalf with stupid or deliberate violations of prohibited acts. To repeat, if you’re unsure whether or not an act can get you bounced, assume it will. And if you refuse to do your homework, or if you knowingly violate one of the rules, and get locked up don’t bother whining to your fellow convicts about your cruel unfair probation officer. They don’t want to hear it. They know better, and nobody in prison is more unpopular than a crybaby who whines about everything and blames all their misfortune on others. There are no shoulders to cry on in prison. Unless you’re trying to become someone’s girlfriend.

  4. How old do you have to be to own a pocket knife I’m only twelve.

  5. the link to the actual law and the real information is there, but the page still reports the facts of the old law. every bladed weapon except throwing stars is legal for open and/or concealed carry. Oddly enough… clubs, maces, saps, and other blunt instruments are illegal still…including the “slungshot”. No word on the Slingshot, however, they must be legal because Walmart carries them on their shelves and sells them to anyone with money.

  6. Is it now legal to carry blades over 4 inches in length? It looks like that provision was removed from the bill along with the part outlawing owning automatic knives.

  7. As of July 1, 2013, it is now legal to own switchblades and other automatic knives in Kansas.

  8. I have a question oncerning the size of the throwing knife. Is there a restriction on the size of a throwing knife?

  9. Can you conceal carry a pocket knife in any location without a no conceal carry ban, and is it legal for someone under the age of 18 to conceal carry a pocket knife?

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