Maryland Knife Laws

Maryland’s knife laws are somewhat archaic and cryptic. This article will clear the matter for you in everyday English. It gives you an outline of what is allowed and what is not allowed along with law citations and case examples. It than goes into detail about how the law works so that you can understand Maryland knife law inside and out.

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a balisong knife, also called butterfly knife.
  • it is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other slim knives.
  • It is legal to own switchblades, gravity knives, and automatic knives.
  • It is legal to own ballistic knives.
  • It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives and lipstick knives.
  • It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives.
  • It is legal to own undetectable knives.
  • It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large knives.

There are no limitation on the type of knife you can own in Maryland.

Limits on Carry

  • You can not conceal carry a throwing star, dirk, switchblade, gravity knife, or bowie knife.
  • You can not open carry a throwing star, dirk, switchblade, gravity knife, or bowie knife with the intent to harm someone.
  • You can open or conceal carry any sized pocket knife you wish.

If a knife is not listed above, it is most likely to be legal for concealed or open carry. Read on to see why.

What the Law States

Dangerous Weapons Defined

Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 4-101 (2012)

§ 4-101. Dangerous weapons

(a) Definitions. —

(4) “Star knife” means a device used as a throwing weapon, consisting of several sharp or pointed blades arrayed as radially disposed arms about a central disk.

(5) (i) “Weapon” includes a dirk knife, bowie knife, switchblade knife, star knife, sandclub, metal knuckles, razor, and nunchaku.

(ii) “Weapon” does not include: 1. a handgun; or 2. a penknife without a switchblade.

(c) Prohibited. —

(1) A person may not wear or carry a dangerous weapon of any kind concealed on or about the person.

(2) A person may not wear or carry a dangerous weapon, chemical mace, pepper mace, or a tear gas device openly with the intent or purpose of injuring an individual in an unlawful manner.

(3) (i) This paragraph applies in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Caroline County, Cecil County, Harford County, Kent County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, St. Mary’s County, Talbot County, Washington County, and Worcester County.

(ii) A minor may not carry a dangerous weapon between 1 hour after sunset and 1 hour before sunrise, whether concealed or not, except while:

1. on a bona fide hunting trip; or

2. engaged in or on the way to or returning from a bona fide trap shoot, sport shooting event, or any organized civic or military activity.

(d) Penalties. —

(1) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or both.

(2) For a person convicted under subsection (c)(1) or (2) of this section, if it appears from the evidence that the weapon was carried, concealed or openly, with the deliberate purpose of injuring or killing another, the court shall impose the highest sentence of imprisonment prescribed.

This law bans the concealed carry of dangerous weapons and the open carry of dangerous weapons with intent to harm. The law states that dirks, Bowies, throwing stars, and switchblades are types of knives considered to be dangerous weapons per se. The law also says that a penknife without a switchblade can never be a dangerous weapon.

What is a penknife? Penknives are similar to modern day pocket knives. A penknife is an archaic term that is rarely heard of outside knife collecting circles. Back in the day when people wrote letters with feathers, they needed pen knives to sharpen the quills. Originally pen knives looked kind of like old-fashioned x-acto knives but, after time, they transformed into folding knives.

The case of Bacon v. State in 1991 found that a penknife is still a penknife even if it is huge or small, open or closed, has a lock or not, and carried concealed or in the open. Bacon was found not guilty of carrying a dangerous weapon when he was carrying a Buck knife. A Buck knife is a folding knife that locks into place in the open position.

What this means is that you can carry any sized pocket knife you want as long as it does not have a switch that automatically opens it (or you have the intent to harm someone). Stanley v. State in 1997 also stated that the it is the state’s job to prove that the knife is not a penknife. If the opposite was true, it would be the convicted’s job to prove that his/her knife is a penknife. By placing the burden of proof on the state, the category of “penknife without a switchblade” would include more knives than if the burden of proof was on the defendant. This also reduces the defendant’s lawyer fees as well.

From here, we know that dirks, switchblades, Bowies, and throwing stars are always illegal to carry concealed. We also know that pocket knives of any size (“penkives”) are always legal to carry. What does that mean for knives that are not in either of these categories? Case precedence clarifies the issue.

How a Knife is Determined to be a Dangerous Weapon

The case of Savoy v. State in 1964 found that a gravity knife is similar enough to a switchblade that it is a dangerous weapon per se. A switchblade is a knife that opens when the user presses a button. The button releases a spring and the blade extends. A gravity knife is a knife that opens when a user presses the button as well. Instead of a spring, the gravity knife uses the force of gravity to extend the blade. Because of this case, gravity knives are banned in Maryland as well.

Now we know that gravity knives, switchblades, dirks, and Bowies are always illegal to carry concealed. However, there are still more knife types (read about all the types of knives that exist) in the market than that. The law doesn’t state exactly what other types are dangerous per se but case law gives us an outline of the legal process of determining if a knife is a dangerous weapon or not.

First off, the state must prove that the item is a weapon. The case of Anderson v. State (1992) found that, if an item is not listed as a weapon per se in the law, the state has the burden of proof to show that the item falls in the category of weapons. The burden of proof required is beyond a reasonable doubt (Mackall v. State 2978). We’ve also stated earlier that the state must also prove, even if the item is a weapon, that it is not a weapon that would be considered a “penknife without a switchblade.”

What this means is that a frying pan is never a weapon and, if you hit someone on the head with a frying pan, you will not be guilty of carrying a dangerous weapon in an unlawful manner (but you’ll probably be guilty of something else). This would also mean that most knives designed for a utility purpose would never be considered weapons.

Once the state proves that the item is in fact a weapon, it must prove that the item is a dangerous weapon. The state must show that the item is capable of being deadly or dangerous and that the item was used in a way that would make it deadly and dangerous (Handy v. State 2000).

The state must go on to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that there was intent to use the knife to harm others (Anderson v. State 1992). Just merely having a knife on you is not a crime no matter how large or menacing the knife looks. However, if you are carrying a knife when you are duct behind a bush with gloves and a mask on, it might be a different story.

No Knives at School

Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 4-102 (2012)

§ 4-102. Deadly weapons on school property

(a) Exceptions. — This section does not apply to:

(1) a law enforcement officer in the regular course of the officer’s duty;

(2) a person hired by a county board of education specifically for the purpose of guarding public school property;

(3) a person engaged in organized shooting activity for educational purposes; or

(4) a person who, with a written invitation from the school principal, displays or engages in a historical demonstration using a weapon or a replica of a weapon for educational purposes.

(b) Prohibited. — A person may not carry or possess a firearm, knife, or deadly weapon of any kind on public school property.

(c) Penalty. —

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or both.

(2) A person who is convicted of carrying or possessing a handgun in violation of this section shall be sentenced under Subtitle 2 of this title.

This law makes it illegal to bring a knife to school. If you are in school and are reading this, don’t do it!

Can Not Sell Switchblades or Ballistic Knives

Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 4-105 (2012)

§ 4-105. Transfer of switchblade or shooting knife

(a) Prohibited. — A person may not sell, barter, display, or offer to sell or barter:

(1) a knife or a penknife having a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife, commonly called a switchblade knife or a switchblade penknife; or

(2) a device that is designed to propel a knife from a metal sheath by means of a high-compression ejector spring, commonly called a shooting knife.

(b) Penalty. — A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or a fine of not less than $ 50 and not exceeding $ 500 or both.

This law bans the sale of switchblades and ballistic knives in the state of Maryland. From case law discussed earlier, we know that gravity knives are considered switchblades as well and, therefore, banned from being sold.

Notice that the law does not say you can not own these types of knives. Ownership is legal, selling is not. Therefore, you can buy a switchblade online in Maryland and be OK as long as you leave it at home.

Conclusion

All knives are banned from Maryland schools. Dirks, Bowies, switchblades and gravity knives are banned from being carried concealed. Dirks, Bowies, switchblades and gravity knives are banned from being carried in the open when you have the intent to harm someone. Penknives without switchblades and most other knives are legal to carry concealed. There are no limits to how large your pocket knife can be in Maryland and, as long as you don’t use it to hurt people, you should be fine.

Note that there are also county laws that come into play as well. Look up the law of your county to get an even clearer idea of what is allowed and what is not. This is not legal advice and there is no client-attorney relationship therefore talk to an attorney in your area if you need assistance.

References

  • Anderson v. State. 328 Md. 426, 614 A.2d 963 (1992). Retrieved January 20, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
  • Bacon v. State, 322 Md. 140, 586 A.2d 18 (1991). Retrieved January 20, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
  • Dangerous weapons. Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 4-101  (2012). Retrieved January 20, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
  • Deadly weapons on school property. Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 4-102  (2012). Retrieved January 20, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
  • Handy v. State, 357 Md. 685, 745 A.2d 1107 (2000). Retrieved January 20, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
  • Savoy v. State, 236 Md. 36, 202 A.2d 324 (1964). Retrieved January 20, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
  • Transfer of switchblade or shooting knife. Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 4-105  (2012). Retrieved January 20, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
Peter Stec
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Comments

  1. Would it clinch pick be considered a dagger??? Being carried as a defense of knight.

    1. Was actually on here looking for the same answer. Have you found out anything?

  2. I have been convicted of deadly concealed weapon in Maryland. I carried a bowie knife on my hip for years and had interactions with police and never had any trouble. Stopped at the wrong place wrong time and instead of being on my hip, it was in between the seats and center console in my car. If you’re gonna carry a dangerous weapon, always have it visible from 3 sides of your body profile and the cops can’t do anything. But for God’s sake don’t take it off til ur home

  3. basically if your attacked in MD just accept the fact the bad guys can do anything and use anything to harm you ! and you can’t unless your Bruce lee and only use your hands and feet but not even sure that’s legal you may need to show your intent to have them !!!

    1. I know how you feel. The laws are all screwed up and they often favor the perpetrator. It’s even worse in Canada. You can’t own an assisted opening knife and for sure no switchblades anywhere in the country. You also cannot own a handgun unless it’s registered as a collector’s item (it has to qualify) and you cannot use it in self-defense. How did we get to this? It’s called “good people doing nothing” while Liberal elite lawmakers are allowed to graduate from Yale and Harvard right into our superior courts and top law firms nationwide. It may become so bad that one day the pendulum swings back to something like Mad Max!!

  4. Why, when quoting Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 4-101, did you leave out the section “(b) This section does not prohibit the following individuals from carrying a weapon:”? I have a Maryland permit to carry a handgun issued under Title 5, Subtitle 3 of the Public Safety Article. Doesn’t this mean I can carry a switch blade, or any other weapon as described in the law? This information would be helpful and informative to those of us who have this said permit, had it been included in your article.

    If I am wrong, please explain. Thank you.

  5. The Baltimore County office building has a sign stating “No Weapons Permitted”. I was stopped at the metal detector for having a folding pen knife multi tool on my key ring. 2 1/2 inches blade. They would not let me enter with it. I explained it was not a weapon it was a pen knife. They called police who held it at the station until I claimed it. They pointed to the sign as the authority to refuse the entry of the pen knife. Is this a legal exclusion? Ps. Employees didn’t have to walk through the metal detectors.

  6. I think the wording that glares the most is “with the intent to harm” As long as you’re carrying the knife for utility purposes and you explain as such if you’re stopped I don’t see time being wasted in taking you into custody or seizing your property. I’ve been a PO for 17 years and if you answer the question of, “what is the purpose of carrying the knife” with, “it’s for utility purposes only” in my eyes you’re good to go. If you say, “for protection/ ima stab someone” you’re going to jail. IMO.

  7. Hey, I’m a minor that lives in Maryland, and I was wondering, is it legal to buy a knife as a minor?

    1. Not a lawyer, but I never had a problem when I was a minor, but I’d check with either the police or a lawyer. Alternatively you could walk into a knife store and ask them, don’t know where you live but there’s a good one in Frederick MD called Edgeworks.

    2. Well, minors, I am one myself; And no, we aren’t allowed. It’s illegal. If you can get a parent/gaurdian to get one, you could HAVE it and carry it. There’s no age limit on carrying.

  8. I’m confused regarding Maryland law and the FSA law. Can I or can I not – buy an auto knife online (within the US or outside the US), and have it shipped to me here in Maryland legally?

    1. At the end of the Article he says you can buy a switch blade online and own it but it can’t leave your home. The open carry rule has me confused a little though. It implies that I can carry a switchblade in a sheath on my hip as long as I’m not on the way to harm someone.

    2. •You CAN NOT CONCEAL CARRY a throwing star, dirk, switchblade, gravity knife, or bowie knife.
      •You CAN NOT OPEN CARRY a throwing star, dirk, switchblade, gravity knife, or bowie knife WITH THE INTENT TO HARM SOMEONE

      Read it again ^^^^

      Which tells me YOU CAN OPEN CARRY FOR UTILITY PURPOSES.

      Now, UTILITY to me means everyday use. Cutting seatbelts if you come across someone trapped in their car or if you yourself are trapped. Cutting fishing line. Cutting cord, etc

      You’ll be hard pressed to prove UTILITY with THROWING STARS in my opinion.

      I think if you’re acting in a manner that is law abiding you’ll never (well, I shouldn’t say never) have an issue. I’ve locked people up for conceal carrying screw drivers, kitchen knives because they said they would harm someone if need be. You get the point (no pun intended).

      Remember this is my opinion. I’m currently an active Police Officer in a Maryland County.

  9. I may have answered *part* of my own question, courtesy of Freddie Gray.

    Baltimore City Code, Article 19, Section 59-22 — Switch-blade knives

    (a) Possession or sale, etc., prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, carry, or possess any knife with an automatic spring or other device for opening and/or closing the blade, commonly known as a switch-blade knife.

    So it sounds like at least some of my knives will need to stay at home! Yes? Dammit. Now I need to find a recommended sharpener in the county. You’d think that would be easier, but nope!

  10. Okay, so I have a knife collection. Some of the knives are razor sharp (some literally use replaceable scalpel-sharp razor plates), but a whole lot of them are about as dull as a kid’s metal ruler. I want to get them sharpened. A recommended sharpener works in Baltimore City. Plan is to put them all neatly in a box, drive from Baltimore County to Baltimore City, get them sharpened and return home. Crazy, right?

    My knives include several types of knives that I’m confident are no issue: This includes kitchen cutlery (large and small), hunting, skinning, deboning, and fillet knives, as well as machetes, axes, and kukri.., While some are “scary looking”, I’m sure all would be regarded as “just a knife” or “just a tool”. Among my other knives, I have some “flippers”, the type where you manually open the knife by rotating a bump on the blade with your thumb. Done quickly, it looks like an automatic, but it is not. Some of these are small, some large, and I presume none are a problem. But someone please shout if you think I’m mistaken.

    Then come the knives where I think I’m in good shape, but I lack the same degree of confidence. I’ve got some butterfly knives and karambits. Some of these (both types) include variants that are kriss blades and/or double-edged blades. To be honest, I’ve only recently learned that some places view a double-edged blade as having a different legal status than a single-edged version of the same blade. I’m not sure why a pointy single edge would be any less troubling than a double-edge, but realize I’m in Maryland so it doesn’t have to make sense. We jail kids for nibbling pop-tarts into the shape of pistols, right?

    And lastly, I come to the knives where I actually/no-joke google the laws from time to time just to make sure MD hasn’t ordered a statewide confiscation and mandatory prison time for even thinking about them. I don’t have (or plan to have) any projectile knives, however, I do have a variety of automatic knives (both switchblade and OTF) that need some love and attention at the sharpener’s place. If I can get there without breaking a law.

    Again, my plan is to have all this stuff in a box (boxes) in a van. Probably in the back seat or trunk for good measure so nobody imagines I’m ‘brandishing’ them. I presume I can’t get in trouble for “concealing” them as long as they aren’t physically on my person. Not understanding the law, it feels like if anyone sees them, I could be charged with brandishing and if they can’t be seen I could be charged with concealing them. Please tell me this is only an issue if they’re “concealed” in my clothing or on my person… not just in the car or nearby.

    I don’t want to get stopped for speeding and discover I’m public enemy #1 and I don’t want to open this box at the knife sharpeners and have him tell me that I’m breaking the law in his shop, get out, never come back… Moments like this annoy me. Nearly any other state and I wouldn’t feel like a criminal for getting a knife sharpened. But here we are and I feel like Frankenstein’s Monster is making these laws. “Grrrr. Pointy things bad!!”

    But anyway… What says the community? Does my plan to get them sharpened sound safe, or should I pull the curtains closed and hide my dull knives in the basement? Should I be okay with all of the knives or should some of them stay home?

    Many -many- thanks!
    -Pat.

  11. If I was carrying a broken auto knife ( button missing does not work) in Maryland, can they still get me for dangerous weapon?

    1. That’s an interesting issue! Ultimately, there should be no reason to get stopped by a cop unless you’re acting in a dangerous or threatening manner. If you DO get checked, the cops will undoubtedly try the knife, and if it does not work, it would be tough for them to make a case against you, especially if you were not brandishing it (holding it and threatening to use it). If it kind of works, then it would be up to the discretion of the police officer. That’s my thought on the subject but in this case, anything could happen!
      Thanks for stopping by knifeup.com
      J.

  12. From what I see, a spring-assisted knife that requires the user to start to open the blade via a thumb stud or lever attached to the BLADE is fine, but if it’s opened by means of a button on the HANDLE, that’s not permitted to sell. What say you all?

  13. Hi was wondering what do they mean by concield like if it is clipped to my belt but the knife is facing out of my pocket would that be ok?

    1. Concealed is when it’s hidden or somewhere where you can grab it easily. But facing out of your pocket would be open carry.

  14. Is a butterfly knife trainer illegal? if you are unaware a trainer is essentially part-for-part a butterfly knife, but out of the factory the blade does not taper and is not sharp, and to compensate for this there are holes drilled into it to make sure it is still balanced properly. Since out of the box it couldn’t cut cardboard any more than your bare hands could, i figure its not illegal until it gets sharpened.

    1. Hi Greg;
      We’ve had this question a lot, so I may do an article about it soon, but for now, here’s a short answer:
      Technically, if push came to shove in front of a county judge, you could probably win the argument that a trainer balisong is not an actual weapon. This is the same argument someone with a toy gun could win, but the real question is what were you doing and how were you using the knife when you were “caught” by authorities? If you were threatening someone or determined to have an intent to intimidate, etc. then you’d probably be in some trouble with the law. If, on the other hand, you were alone in an unpopulated area minding your own business but flicking it around for entertainment, you probably would not even get caught, or no one would care. So, it’s a matter of being wise in determining where you bring the knife, how you’ll use the knife and who will see the knife – even if it is a super dull, small chunk of steel! It still looks dangerous from a short distance and there are plenty of people who are very touchy about young dudes brandishing fighting weapons in public!
      J.

  15. I just bought a trench knife off the internet, could I conceal carry or open carry that?

    1. As you know, we can’t give you “official” advice (you can only get that from a legal professional in Maryland), but I can give you some unofficial direction. In most states, steel knuckles are illegal (even when not attached to a blade), so I’d be careful. My first thought is to say they are illegal (which they are in most places) but there are all kinds of local/municipal laws which come into play. To be on the safe side, I would not carry a trench knife open or concealed if there’s even the smallest chance of being confronted by a cop. For me, I would never carry one anyway since that type of knife was specifically designed as a weapon against other humans especially during WW1. I’m not interested in hurting anyone, so I’d have no issue.
      Thanks for the question Peter,
      J.

  16. I have two “Bowie” knives. One of them has a 5″ blade and the other has a 10″ blade. Are these considered equivalent?

    It doesn’t make sense.

  17. I have purchased a number of mixed lots of items online and a couple of “switchblades” came with them. They are small, with blades under 2.75″ I know I cannot sell them in Maryland, but can I sell them online so long as I do not ship to Maryland and warn buyers to check their laws before purchasing? I just want to get rid of them ethically.

    Thanks

  18. so, if i open carry a switchblade (idek how to do that) and someone attacks me how do they know it wasnt my intent to hurt them?

  19. Are minors allowed to carry karambit knifes, for the purpose of self defense, in Baltimore?

  20. In my extended comment above I stated that I carry a folding knife clipped on to the rim of my front pocket. I meant my front pants pocket, and I meant that the knife itself is carried in the pocket of my pants but you can see the that it is clipped on to the rim of my front pocket because you can see the clip on the outside of the pants though the knife itself is inside the front pocket of the pants. I just wanted to make this clear. Thanks!

  21. It’s a little unclear as to whether some of these newer type folding knives with thumb studs mounted on the blade to assist in opening are fully legal. On some of them, pushing on the studs with your thumb aids in opening the blade by putting the blade into a half-open position which then engages some sort of a spring which flicks the knife open. Similarly, some of these knives have blades which have a little prominence on the back of the blade which sticks out of the handle so that you can push that part of the back of the blade and it again pushes the blade out of the handle into a position in which some sort of spring takes over and flicks the knife open. These modifications greatly increase the speed at which you can deploy the blade, but you are not pushing a button to do it. You are actually pushing part of the blade, or at least something attached to it. So are these legal? I carry a folding knife every day clipped on to the rim of my front pocket, so you can see I’m carrying it. Is this considered open or concealed carry? Thanks to anyone who can shed some light on this!

  22. So you can carry throwing knives in open? It say that you can’t open carry a throwing star. But it doesn’t say anything about throwing knives.

  23. im wondering if i can carry my katana to a nearby park… its not a big park and its not like there are little kids there due to the absence of any playground equipment.. im just wondering since my yard is not quite big enough… i live in Baltimore, MD. i know for travel it has to be in a bag. but yeah.. just wondering if there are any laws out there that i might unintentionally be breaking if i were to practice in the field…

  24. Good write up, I want to buy the Gerber Applegate-Fairbairn Covert Auto Folding Knife. I am trying to figure out if that is legal. Your write up states “concealed”. The knife in question has a pocket clip, if wearing with the pocket clip showing is it considered “concealed” or legal to wear on your person in Maryland?

  25. Can i carry a bowie knife thats is sheathe and unconcealed in baltimore city

  26. What about allegany county and garrett county? These laws didmt specify these two counties. As i live in allegany and fight fire in garrett county id like to know.

  27. one would think that the phrase “…with the intent to harm someone…” is a ticket out of getting charged for illegal carrying (unless, of course, it can be proven that one did intend to harm someone).

  28. 2016 September 9: was watching COPS with the particular episode being in St. Petersburg, Florida. The officers had taken a drug addict into custody, cuffed him, and were cleaning out his pockets. One of the items the officers made a big deal about was the offender’s “MacGyver” knife (a normal size 8 piece Swiss Army knife) they had found in his pockets.

    Some observations: I carry a MacGyver knife on me out of habit. I used to work construction and now work in an architect’s office. The knife is kept sharp (dull knife would be useless) and used occasionally in the office and field (Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC) as a tool, NOT a toy. One employer instructed me to place the knife in a drawer while I was in the office. Some in the office have complained about it’s presence (is that thing SHARP? I don’t think you should have that on you). Keep in mind this is the same kind of office that has X-Acto knife blades for arts and crafts.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated concerning the observations.

    Thanks, BGMarshall

  29. I was recently charged with deadly weapons charges for possing a 10 inch combat knife in open view after contacting police for help with an intruder that had verbally threatened myself and 2 others with a gun that the person said that they had what can i do aboutthis

    1. Dear James

      I am not fully aware of your situation but from what I can tell your were in a public place with your knife which I assume is fixed blade. First it is illegal for you to have a fixed blade in public when not in route to a bona fide hunting trip /etc. Or you have a Maryland permit to carry a handgun. which is probably why you got charged with possessing a weapon. If it was a folding blade and you had out “ready to defend yourself” you must establish self defense before you do this because any knife or pretty much anything that is carried with the purpose of being a weapon is illegal in Md with out a permit. Folding blades as tools are LEGAL as the purpose of being a weapon they are ILLEGAL.

      Also Maryland is not really a stand your ground state. If you are in your back yard and two guy are threatening you you are obligated to run not fight before they attack you. You must establish the actual need of self defense like you got trapped or they caught you or you actually see a gun and got the drop on them. The only way you can “stand your ground” in MD is if your inside your home and a intruder is inside your home and this still can cause you to have criminal or civil case against you.

      regarding your charge I’m sure if you explain to the judge your action’s they sound like they were reasonable in the situation you were in and you should be fine plus you didn’t know the full law’s regarding MD’s stand your ground self defense and what constitutes a deadly weapon but ignorance of the law will not let your act above the law so you might get a jerk judge and find you guilty of the charge. good luck I guess

      This suck I know but its the law here I hope I answered your question and good luck.

    2. If you were inside your home when this situation with the knife happened and they charged you with possession it is against your rights particularly the 4th amendment to be charged with possession since you called about the intruder. Plus you are at your house you can have any weapon unless your a felon. again good lick

    3. Unless the officer can prove that you intended to harm someone with that knife. Or if the knife was concealed (even just under the shirt), there is no basis for that charge.

    4. I think you’d better get a good lawyer who is pro=civil rights. Sounds like you were at home – that’s kinda important.

  30. figured id add one more, when i lived i WV, i could open carry a firearm? somethings just dont add up to me, lol! please E mail me back if u feel like it or have the time. been confusing the heck outta me for a while now. god night everythin.

    1. Hello again Jeremy

      Maryland is one of the worst states with gun laws you can not open carry in Maryland besides a few exceptions basically if your A policeman or particular state agent, or have a permit to carry a handgun. The state still discourages actually open carrying if you have a permit the instructors for MD CCW will strongly advise you to just conceal. The most common permit to carry a handgun that actually open carry are security agents for like banks and armored trucks.

      Until recently it has been almost impossible for Marylander’s to actually get the permit you have to prove good and substantial reason to even qualify which mostly was up to the officer filling out your form. Unless you have proof of carrying cash ,receipts and making bank deposits yourwere usually out of luck . but with our new governor whom is more pro gun he’s trying to make it easier.

      FYI if you ever do qualify for a MD permit to carry a handgun you then may carry your bear grill’s knife legally all the time open or concealed since you now have a permit to carry a weapon. hope you qualify 🙂

  31. i have a bear grill knife that i carry exposed while fishing and camping, along w/ a hatchet for firewood. i contacted several presincts and they all agreed. my first day comein back to load my car, i fealt the wrath of statn. and thay said if everythin was exposed by the dimensions… im so confues, i cant get a straight answer. my bear grills know has a fires tarted, reliable blade etc. The woman that was explaining this to me, undesntandly seems like she had no idea what she was talkin about it. that got i printed a few pages, and i was off a/ a warning. i was never back talkin r anything, i just wanted a better undertsnading. it would be amazing if someone here could hep me out. ive been camping and playin in the woods since a kid… they way i look at it, i could be runnin around w/ two dangerous weapons in Baltimore city as opposed to taking my daught on ficking, camping and kihing rips. im i read wrong or misunderstood, i get it… she just seemed in awe after readin what i presented, got off on a warning but sto not sure y i got that :/ any input would be greatly appreciated, thnk you all in advance 🙂

    1. Jeremy from what I understand you are saying you are open carrying a fixed blade and a hatchet. To and from hunting a camping trip this is LEGAL in MD because this is one of the exception of when any person is allowed to carry what the state defines as a bladed weapon.

      It looks like you just met someone with no idea of the actual knife laws in Maryland and are trying to scare you or assort power. The truth is in Maryland only three counties actually have knife size laws for folding knives which the counties deem weapons whatever else you hear is just not true only (Cambridge{3}, Cheverly {2.5},Fredrick{3}). Still this is voided when you are on a bona fide hunting trip/camping trip etc. since you are allowed to carry bladed weapon to from and during a bona fide hunting trip/camping trip etc

      Bottom line is you are not breaking the law and you are allowed to carry any bladed knife “weapon” or tool on hunting and camping trips

      If you have any problems or get a ticket print out the code below to take to court with you or inform your lawyer of the Maryland law/code below
      (Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 4-101 (2012) § 4-101. Dangerous weapons )

      Good luck and I hope this answers you question

  32. I have recently witnessed auto knives sold in Maryland, did the law change, or was this an oversight on the merchant?

  33. So is having a 3″ knife shaped like a handgun illegal to have at home or to carry? The blade isn’t big, & I don’t have any intent to harm anyone with it unless it’s self defense. I just want to mainly use it as cutting boxes and a utility knife as a man. I just need to know before I actually waste my money to buy it.

  34. so am i right to assume that combat fixed blades like the kabar USMC fighting knife or esee6 having a single edge would be considered bowie knives? while daggers and push daggers with dual edges would be considered as dirks?

  35. So i can not carry my bowie knife openly in public in a holster attached to my hip or leg. sorry im a little bit confused

  36. Is it legal to buy knives or is there a age limit like buying from amazon from other states?

    1. You can buy any kind of knives from other states it is not regulated. but there are knives which are considered illegal in MD so you could only have it for your collection not to carry for example a popular knife like the Micro tech automatic knives you are allowed to own these knives in Maryland but you may not carry them in public

  37. Is it unlawful if I open carry a katana (as part of a cosplay) if I don’t use it in an unlawful or menacing manner? (i.e. Slicing things in the middle of the street, attacking someone, ect.)

    1. yes it is unlawful in MD, a sword is considered a weapon like fixed blade knifes and nun chucks. The only way that i know you can carry a sword in public is if you are transporting it to and from a training class like in upper level martial arts classes in which case you would probably have a cover to avoid suspicion

  38. I have an automatic opening knife that I carry on me every day in Indiana. I am going on a work-related trip to Maryland next week and am wondering if having it in my pocket with a pocket clip is the same thing as concealing it.

    1. yes that is concealing.you can still probably get away with it since a lot of people carry knives here but, if they catch you with a button knife their will be trouble (they act like it is a handgun with the serial number scratched off its ridiculous) truthfully it will be easier for you to just keep that knife at home and bring different knife to save you from the trouble

  39. How old do I have to be to carry a folding knife. Ive looked all around but can’t find an answer. I have a spyderco ambitious…

    1. As i understand it. Any knife with a blade longer than 3″ must be exposed. I guess that would include a sword.

    2. Depends if it is a fixed blade or a folder. if its a folder go nuts! but if it is a fixed blade you can not conceal carry it. you technically can open carry it on a hunting or camping trip also if you no intent to harm someone police might still hassle you if they catch you with it. {PRO-TIP} Just make sure when they ask you why you have it DO NOT SAY for defense since this is intent to harm Say its a tool and you use it for utility or cutting boxes.

  40. I read a law that it is legal for a gentleman to wear a sword in Baltimore. This was in Towson law library. It has been years ago does anyone have the actual text of this law. It is an old law that is or was still on the books in the 1990’s.

    1. As i understand if a blade is longer than 3″ it must be exposed. I guess that would include a sword. (Not double edged)

    2. John please stop misinforming people of the 3″ ordnance that only applies to a few counties in Maryland Baltimore not being one of them, Micheal i have posted a comment on swords a few comments down. They are considered weapons you may not open carry them without reason such as training hunting or camping

  41. Is it legal for a person in Maryland to purchase a knife, bayonet or sword through the internet? I have my eyes on a couple of hunting knives being sold on the internet and I would like to know if I can order them or do I have to buy them at a knife store?

    1. Knives are not controlled like guns. You can own any kind of knife at home.

    1. There is no length limit by the state, however, you will want to check on your county, because they may limit the length of the blade. (I believe Baltimore county limits folding knives to 3″, but I’m not sure).

    2. Baltimore does not have a size limit for knives. Only three counties in Maryland have size restrictions for folders (Cambridge{3}, Cheverly {2.5},Fredrick{3}).

    3. More than 3″ of blade must be exposed no straight knives.

    4. wherid replied to your question with:

      “Baltimore does not have a size limit for knives. Only three counties in Maryland have size restrictions for folders (Cambridge{3}, Cheverly {2.5},Fredrick{3}).”

      There is NO SUCH COUNTY in Maryland as “Cambridge” or “Cheverly”.
      These are CITIES.
      Cambridge, Maryalnd is in Dorchester County MD. and Cheverly, Maryland is in Prince George’s County, MD.

  42. So you can carry a Butterfly Knife openly as long as you do not have the intent to harm someone?

  43. BBresee: Pepper spray is LEGAL to carry and use for self-defense purposes in Maryland. I carry it when walking my dog due to people walking the dog without a leash and I’ve used over two cans in the last 9 months and the police just asked for my side of the story, no confiscation, fines or jail involved for me (as long as the intended purpose is not to use it as an offensive weapon).

    It is illegal to carry in DC without notifying the local police that you are carrying, or so I have understood it.

  44. So, I am trying to research alternative self defense weapons since getting a permit in MD (or so I’ve heard) is nearly impossible. It looks like it said pepper spray is illegal to carry? Or am I misunderstanding? More info pls on this and any other thoughts on what LEGAL options I have for carrying and owning, if you dont mind. I’d really appreciate it.

    1. Another legal option only if you live in Anne Arundel County here in Maryland is you can have a taser. I was reading up on it awhile ago because I did not believe a friend. But it is true, tasers are only legal in one county of Maryland. And that is our most generous AA County.

  45. William, yes, you can do pretty much anything in self-defense, including hurting people with a knife.

  46. Is “school property” defined as both public and private schools?

  47. My Question Is, If I Am Carrying My Folding Pen Knife In My Pocket, And I Am Attacked By Someone With A Club Or Baseball Bat, Or Multiple Attackers, Is It Legal To Use My Pen Knife For Self Defense?

    1. Sorry for the delay in answering, William. I would imagine that you can use a pen for self defense, but I think a type writer or word processor would be a effective option. Judges can get picky about how they receive a written case.

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