state knife laws feature

Massachusetts Knife Law

massachusetts knife lawsThe Massachusetts knife laws are very cryptic. They are written in extremely confusing run-on sentences and a lot of the law requires an in-depth look at case law to fully understand what is legal and illegal. This article will give you a clear idea of Massachusetts knife laws in everyday English. It will also give you the law with explanations of each clause.

What is Legal to Own

  • Balisong knives, also called butterfly knives, are legal to own.
  • Switchblades and automatic knives are legal to own.
  • Ballistic knives are legal to own.
  • Dirks, daggers, stilettos, and push knives are legal to own.
  • Knives with brass knuckles are legal to own.
  • Disguised knives like cane knives and lipstick knives are legal to own.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives are legal to own.
  • Throwing knives and throwing stars are legal to own.

There is no knife ban in Massachusetts.

Limits on Carry

  • It is illegal to carry, open or concealed, switchblades, dirks, daggers, stilettos, ballistic knife, double edge knives, and knuckle knives.
  • It is illegal to carry anything that is perceived as dangerous while disturbing the peace or being arrested.
  • Folding knives, Swiss army knives, and kitchen knives are legal to carry as long as you do not behave in a way that makes them dangerous.

There are a few more details to the law that can’t be explained in bullet points. Read below for the full explanation.

What the Law Says

Unlawful Carrying of Weapons

ALM GL ch. 269, § 10 (2012)

§ 10. Weapons — Dangerous Weapons — Unlawfully Carrying.

(b) Whoever, except as provided by law, carries on his person, or carries on his person or under his control in a vehicle, any stiletto, dagger or a device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position, any ballistic knife, or any knife with a detachable blade capable of being propelled by any mechanism, dirk knife, any knife having a double-edged blade, or a switch knife, or any knife having an automatic spring release device by which the blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches, or a slung shot, blowgun, blackjack, metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles, nunchaku, zoobow, also known as klackers or kung fu sticks, or any similar weapon consisting of two sticks of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather, a shuriken or any similar pointed starlike object intended to injure a person when thrown, or any armband, made with leather which has metallic spikes, points or studs or any similar device made from any other substance or a cestus or similar material weighted with metal or other substance and worn on the hand, or a manrikigusari or similar length of chain having weighted ends; or whoever, when arrested upon a warrant for an alleged crime, or when arrested while committing a breach or disturbance of the public peace, is armed with or has on his person, or has on his person or under his control in a vehicle, a billy or other dangerous weapon other than those herein mentioned and those mentioned in paragraph (a), shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two and one-half years nor more than five years in the state prison, or for not less than six months nor more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction, except that, if the court finds that the defendant has not been previously convicted of a felony, he may be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars or by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction.

(j) Whoever, not being a law enforcement officer, and notwithstanding any license obtained by him under the provisions of chapter one hundred and forty, carries on his person a firearm as hereinafter defined, loaded or unloaded or other dangerous weapon in any building or on the grounds of any elementary or secondary school, college or university without the written authorization of the board or officer in charge of such elementary or secondary school, college or university shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. For the purpose of this paragraph, “firearm” shall mean any pistol, revolver, rifle or smoothbore arm from which a shot, bullet or pellet can be discharged by whatever means.

Any officer in charge of an elementary or secondary school, college or university or any faculty member or administrative officer of an elementary or secondary school, college or university failing to report violations of this paragraph shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.

Did you notice something? All of that was one super long sentence. Let us break it down party by part to understand what the law says.

Stated as Illegal

Stilettos, daggers, ballistic knives, and dirks are all expressly forbidden from being carried, open or concealed. The law also forbids a person from carrying a stiletto, dagger, ballistic knife, switchblade (with a blade of over 1.5 inches), open and locked knife, double-edged blade, and dirk in a car that is under the control of that person.  We can only presume that means ANYWHERE in the car. The law does not stop here however so let us dive further.

In the same clause that lists daggers as being banned, the law says “or a device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position.” Daggers are long, double-bladed knives with point tips. This addition to the clause would also ban any folding knife that has a lock that is able to be drawn in the locked and open position.

What Double Edged Blade Means

The law also says that “any knife having a double-edged blade” is banned. The law here states no length or size. Even if you have a double-edged survival knife (where one side is a straight blade and the other side is a serrated blade), it would still be illegal.

The logic behind this is that a double-edged knife’s purpose is more towards attack than utility. By having two edges, the second edge serves as a liability during utility use. Also, having two blades allows one to slash in any direction as well as stab.

Some Bowie knives with a sharpened clip, like this one, are illegal to carry in Massachusetts.

Some Bowie knives with a sharpened clip, like this one, are illegal to carry in Massachusetts.

The case of Commonwealth v. Smith in 1996 found that “any knife having a double-edged blade” includes knives who’s second blade does not full extend from the tip to the heel. The implications of this is that clip point knives whose clip is sharpened would be illegal to carry as well. This would include some types of Bowie knives.

Automatic Knives Clause

The law also says that “any knife having an automatic spring release device by which the blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches” is banned from carry. The law said that switchblades were illegal but this additional clause would ban any automatic knife whose blade is greater than 1.5 inches. The key here is the word automatic. If you are looking at a pocket knife who has a spring but requires a little push before it opens, it won’t be considered automatic. Balisong knives are not automatic either because, if you release the latch, nothing happens until you manually flip the knife.

No Knives with Knuckles

The law says “metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles” are illegal to carry. This would exclude some WWI trench knives and push knives if they have metal knuckles as a part of the handle.

This WWI trench knife would be illegal to carry because of the metal knuckles in the handle.

This WWI trench knife would be illegal to carry because of the metal knuckles in the handle.

Exclusions to Dangerous Weapons

In the latter part of the law, it says: or whoever, when arrested upon a warrant for an alleged crime, or when arrested while committing a breach or disturbance of the public peace, is armed with or has on his person, or has on his person or under his control in a vehicle, a billy or other dangerous weapon other than those herein mentioned.

This section of the law makes it illegal to carry any “dangerous weapon” when you are disturbing the peace or are arrested for any crime. If you were to be arrested for something and happen to carry a knife, you would be charged with unlawful carry just like if you were to carry a switchblade around since a knife can be a “dangerous weapon?”

No. The case of Commonwealth v. Henry in 1994 stated that kitchen knives, folding knives, and Swiss army knives are not dangerous weapons per se. However, depending on your conduct, any knife can be a dangerous weapon. The case of Commonwealth v. Molligi found that a steak knife is a dangerous weapon depending on an individual’s conduct. The case of Commonwealth v. Tarrant also defined the word dangerous as “whether the [item] presented an objective threat of danger to a person of reasonable and average sensibility.” So, if you carry something that others can perceive as dangerous, it is a dangerous weapon; or, if you carry something in a manner that makes others perceive it is dangerous, it is a dangerous weapon.


Limits on Manufacturing and Sale

ALM GL ch. 269, § 12 (2012)

§ 12. Non-Mechanical Weapons — Manufacturing and Sale.

Whoever manufactures or causes to be manufactured, or sells or exposes for sale, an instrument or weapon of the kind usually known as a dirk knife, a switch knife or any knife having an automatic spring release device by which the blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches or a device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position, any ballistic knife, or any knife with a detachable blade capable of being propelled by any mechanism, slung shot, sling shot, bean blower, sword cane, pistol cane, bludgeon, blackjack, nunchaku, zoobow, also known as klackers or kung fu sticks, or any similar weapon consisting of two sticks of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather, a shuriken or any similar pointed starlike object intended to injure a person when thrown, or a manrikigusari or similar length of chain having weighted ends; or metallic knuckles or knuckles of any other substance which could be put to the same use and with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles, shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty nor more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months; provided, however, that sling shots may be manufactured and sold to clubs or associations conducting sporting events where such sling shots are used.

This law bans the sale of certain weapons. Notice that there is no law against buying and collecting such weapons. Notice also that, if you buy it from a different state (or online), it is totally legal.

No Knives in Schools

ALM GL ch. 71, § 37H (2012)

§ 37H. Committee to Publish Rules and Regulations.

Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, all student handbooks shall contain the following provisions:

(a) Any student who is found on school premises or at school-sponsored or school-related events, including athletic games, in possession of a dangerous weapon, including, but not limited to, a gun or a knife; or a controlled substance as defined in chapter ninety-four C, including, but not limited to, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, may be subject to expulsion from the school or school district by the principal.

If you are in school and are reading this, don’t bring knives to school. This should be common sense.


Conclusion to Massachusetts Knife Laws

The Massachusetts knife laws are somewhat confusing. They are written in very, very long archaic fashion that, for the average person, seems like a foreign language. From our analysis of the law, we have found that:

  • There are no limits to what types of knives you can own. The law only limits the carry of some knives.
  • Stilettos, daggers, dirks, double-edged knives, ballistic knives, knives with knuckles and automatic knives are forbidden from carry.
  • It is illegal to sell some knives in Massachusetts.
  • It is illegal to carry anything that can be perceived as dangerous when you are arrested or disturbing the peace. Kitchen knives, swiss army knives, and folding knives are not dangerous per se but can be if you use them in a certain manner.
  • Do not bring knives to school.

Note that this is not legal advice and there is no client-attorney relationship. There are also county laws that come into play as well so, if you need legal help, talk to an attorney in your area.

If you have any questions or comments, post them in the comment box below.

References
  • Committee to Publish Rules and Regulations. ALM GL ch. 71, § 37H (2012). Retrieved January 24, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
  • Commonwealth v. Molligi. 70 Mass. App. Ct. 108; 872 N.E.2d 1166; 2007 Mass. App. LEXIS 975 (2007). Retrieved January 24, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
  • Commonwealth v. Smith. 40 Mass App 770, 667 NE2d 1160, 1996 Mass App LEXIS 746 (1996). Retrieved January 24, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
  • Comonwealth v. Tarrant. 367 Mass. 411; 326 N.E.2d 710; 1975 Mass. LEXIS 855 (1975). Retrieved January 24, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
  • Commonwealth v. Henry. 37 Mass App 429, 640 NE2d 503, 1994 Mass App LEXIS 916(1994). Retrieved January 24, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
  • Manufacturing and Sale. ALM GL ch. 269, § 12 (2012). Retrieved January 24, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
  • Unlawful Carry. ALM GL ch. 269, § 10 (2012). Retrieved January 24, 2013 from LexisNexis database.
Peter Stec
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Comments

  1. Hi,

    Unfortunately as a female who’s faced multiple scares in the city I do not feel safe walking without some form of self defense aid. I carry pepper spray legally but want to know if the “Kitty Kat” Self Defense Keychains are legal to carry or if they are considered knuckle knives and illegal to carry in Massachusetts

    Thank you.

  2. Josh Sargeant, stun guns are illegal to carry in Massachusetts without a license to do so. Pepper spray however is fully legal.

  3. “The law also forbids a person from carrying. . .in a car that is under the control of that person. We can only presume that means ANYWHERE in the car.”

    “under the control of that person” actually means anywhere in the passenger compartment of the vehicle that is reasonably accessible by occupants

    so you can transport your knives in the trunk, or in a locked case without issue

    same for marijuana and firearms

  4. “ALM” is confusing; the nomenclature in the Democratik People’s Republik of MA is “MGL” (Mass General Law)

    1. Please correct the misspelling of “nomenclature” in my previous comment – thanks.

  5. I was looking into some throwing knives so I could learn to use them in the backyard of my house (woodland no neighbors behind me) Could I get them shipped from some place and actually be able to use them.

  6. I’m looking for guidance on transporting throwing knives. I own a few of differing blade lengths. I’m assuming they’re classified as double edged knives though the edges themselves aren’t particularly sharp. Can I transport them from my home to my sportsman’s club, in my car? It seems strange I can get a license to carry a gun but still get in trouble if I have the wrong type of knife on me 🙂 I’d appreciate your thoughts.

  7. Hi, I have an assisted open 1 1/4 inch knife. I use it to cut plants and other kinds of work outside the house. Is it (from your perspective) ok to have this in my bag as I go about my day as long as I’m not threatening people with it? Thank you!

    1. Hi Jessica;
      Well, from my perspective, I am not a big fan of the government telling me that I can’t carry a tiny sharp thing. I know myself good enough to know I will never harm an innocent soul and I’m not interested in fighting at all. That means that regardless of the letter of the law, I have not broken the spirit of the law, so my conscience is intact. While I’m not telling you to break the law, I personally wouldn’t remove it from my bag if I’m going for a walk to the corner store. In fact, you’ll never bother anyone, and no one will ever see it, and no one will ever get hurt by it, and no one will ever call the Police, so no issue – as far as I’m concerned. That’s my opinion!
      Thanks for your question,
      J.

    2. Assisted opening isn’t automatic opening and as such fine. For example of assisted see Kershaw speedsafe for automatic see Kershaw auto launch series.

  8. I’ve been carrying a 3.5″ spring assisted opening knife on me for years..
    It’s this simple, use your damn brain-!
    Do not flaunt it, or wave it around joyfully or some liberal Masshole will report you.
    Be smart, be discrete, and you’ll never have a problem. You never k how anymore, it just might save your life someday.

  9. At some point as free men and women we have to make a choice between what a corrupt state gov’t tells us is legal while they let illegal immigrants run rampant and every white person can be beaten and raped with impunity and what we must do to protect ourselves. Carry what you will to protect yourself, not to be stupid and aggressive, and be prepared for any consequences.

  10. Am I able to order an OTF online and legally receive it, not to carry to but to have for a collection?

  11. Hi I own a T shaped push knife it is >2½” it’s a TimerX is it legal to Carry sheathed worn on my belt? I love in the Somerset MA area.

    1. Heya Jake,

      Unfortunately T-shaped/Push knives are illegal to carry. They are still legal to own though, just that you’re not allowed to carry them on the streets or any public environments. They usually have double edges (two sharp sides to cut from) and double-edged knives are illegal to carry no matter if concealed or not. Even if you find a t-shape/push knife with only one sharp edge, it can still be classified as a dangerous or concealed knuckle or open knuckle knife, which is also illegal.

      If you want to feel safe and carry a knife. I recommend a folding pocket knife that’s NOT automated (spring-assisted/automatic knives are illegal to carry.) but requires manual/centrifugal force/motioned swinging gesture to open.

  12. Hi,

    I am learning martial arts, and was wondering if it is legal to carry a sheathed katana (single edged, not automatic, not concealed) on public transport between home and class.

    Or would it be disturbing the peace if someone sees that I have a katana with me and gets worried?

    I have no arrest history and am a rather weak looking, petite woman.

    Thank you!

    Allison

    1. Hey Allison;
      Thanks for the comment. My OPINION on self-defense is to use methods that won’t arouse suspicion from the authorities or from regular citizens. For me, I advise people to get a small canister of dog/pepper spray which is far superior to a knife for most defendants. Next to that, I’d suggest a stun gun which is readily available on Amazon. I just hate walking too close to the edge of being questioned and potentially charged by police officers that are nervous about your intentions with a dangerous-looking weapon.
      cheers,
      J.

    2. You can carry any blade you want as long as it isn’t concealed

  13. Travelling to Boston and Martha’s vineyard. I always carry my knife. It is a tool, not a weapon. I have two EDC’s. Spyderco Para 3. 3 inch blade is all I’m allowed at home. My other is Spderco Ti Mil Military with a 4 inch blade. My favorite which I carry most the time in violation of our dumb laws here. Sounds like I’m okay with the 4 inch blade. I’m going to BU campus as well. If that is a problem I can leave it in my luggage. Oh, I also carry Spyderco (I love their knives) ARK around my neck. If anyone can give me advice quickly I would appreciate it. I fly tonight.

  14. Am I allowed to buy a switchblade online and have it shipped to the house? I am a little confused

    1. Oh okay, I found one I liked on Ebay so I wasn’t sure

    2. Yes it is completely legal to own a switch blade you just can’t carry it outside of your home

    3. Is it legal for me to Carry a Hunting style camp knife? I’m in construction and I’m always using it. I have a LTC and I’m a responsible person.

  15. I was wondering if the knife I found was legal to carry it’s a schf50f and I was going to get it because it looked useful for defense and cutting fishing line but I think it might be illegal

    1. that looks very illegal and only good for one thing: stabbing someone. That said isn’t that what we are all really looking for. Just don’t fool yourself that you are filleting bluefish with this thing.

  16. Mass General Law 269-10 is a FELONY – I believe a lot of the info on this website is INCORRECT!

    Whoever, except as provided by law, carries on his person, or carries on his person or under his control in a vehicle, any stiletto, dagger or a device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position, any ballistic knife, or any knife with a detachable blade capable of being propelled by any mechanism, dirk knife, any knife having a double-edged blade, or a switch knife, or any knife having an automatic spring release device by which the blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches, or a slung shot, blowgun, blackjack, metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles, nunchaku, zoobow, also known as klackers or kung fu sticks, or any similar weapon consisting of two sticks of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather, a shuriken or any similar pointed starlike object intended to injure a person when thrown, or any armband, made with leather which has metallic spikes, points or studs or any similar device made from any other substance or a cestus or similar material weighted with metal or other substance and worn on the hand, or a manrikigusari or similar length of chain having weighted ends; or whoever, when arrested upon a warrant for an alleged crime, or when arrested while committing a breach or disturbance of the public peace, is armed with or has on his person, or has on his person or under his control in a vehicle, a billy or other dangerous weapon other than those herein mentioned and those mentioned in paragraph (a), shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two and one-half years nor more than five years in the state prison, or for not less than six months nor more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction, except that, if the court finds that the defendant has not been previously convicted of a felony, he may be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars or by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction.

  17. Hi I just got a CRKT M16 14ZLEK and I was wondering if that violates any of the laws given because as you said, Massachusetts laws are confusing. Thanks

    1. Hey Michael;
      I’m not allowed to give you “official” advice, but unofficially, as far as I can tell, your CRKT knife is totally legal as long as you’re not brandishing it on a main street in Boston while yelling at passers-by! Common sense rules the day and you should have no problem!
      J.

  18. Just bought a benchmade 51 knife and was wondering if it is legal to carry

    1. That is a Bali song it is completely legal to own but you can not carry it outside of your home

  19. I am learning to forge knives, and would like to make a short 3″ spear head. It would be nice to carry it for protection during hikes and fishing . I could simply attach a branch to it in the woods, and remove the branch when I’m done.

    Is it legal to carry such a blade I’m Mass?

    1. Hey I want a boker kolashnikov 74 I don’t want to bring it in public to only use it on my property I live in mass and the boker kalashnikov has a three inch blade and is an auto would it be legal to use on my property

  20. I want to get a 4.8 inch fixed blade Gerber strongarm. Is there any restrictions on having it in a sheath on belt. I wasn’t sure if that counts as “open carry” or anything along those lines. Is there anything I need to be careful with? Also are there legal restrictions to having them at say a mall or a very public place?

    1. Get a Cold Steel cpm 3v master hunter instead! The steel is 20 times better than anything Gerber uses. And you will be fine to carry as long as you don’t commit a crime or act crazy or threaten someone.

    2. I have a Damascus steel hunting knife with a blade length of 4.5” has a full tang design (don’t know if that matters) is it legal to carry on my belt in a sheath in full view? I live in A hole Massachusetts for another 12 days. Then I’m moving up to NH where I know it’s not a problem. Any advice (I know it’s not actual legal advice) would be greatly appreciated.

  21. I always wondered is a sword considered a knife? And say for example it is a tradition for my family to collect swords and an intruder comes into your home and that is your go-to self-defence weapon. Is there any violation going on?

    1. Hey Nicky;
      Thanks for checking out knifeup.com. The short answer to your question is that it’s a gray area, and depending on circumstances, you would probably get lots of sympathies. I know for example, in Toronto, Canada, thieves bashed in a window at a jewelry store just a few months ago and the owner, along with 3 employees, were working at the time. All 4 men grabbed swords (ceremonial swords since all employees were East Indian) and hacked away at the thieves at the window until the thieves left. The police said they “discourage such activity” but they did acknowledge that in this case, there would be no charges against the sword-wielding employees given the circumstances.
      Keep in mind that the weapons possession laws in Canada are WAY tougher than in any U.S. State, so that’s good news for you in Mass.
      I hope that helps!
      J.

  22. I have a 5″ folding knife with a 4″ blade. Said to be a tactical outdoor hunting knife. Is this legal to carry in my purse for protection?

    1. Hey Mandy;
      Thanks for checking out our site! I’m not a lawyer so I can’t counsel you “officially”, but I’ll give you my 2 cents. The law allows you to carry the knife you mentioned IF:
      1 – you don’t disturb the peace while carrying it
      2 – you don’t go to a school with it
      3 – you are sure the knife you carry concealed in your purse is NOT an automatic knife

      Otherwise, I think you’re good to go! Be aware that using a regular knife for self-defense is very tricky and requires skill and confidence. Personally, I think a much smaller but deadlier weapon is more effective and is not banned as such in most states. What is it? A karambit. Just Google “karambit” and click “images” and you’ll see exactly what I mean. It is not meant to require skill to wield. You just whip your arm around with the point facing in the direction of your motion and it will shred whatever it hooks into. Sounds gruesome, but if it truly is self-defense, then I’d use it on anyone.
      Take care and be safe,
      J.

  23. If i’m a student, and I work at my school, could I bring my knife during my work time?

  24. I have a bowie knife with a 7 and 1/4th inch blade am I all set to conceal carry it? I live in Stoughton MA. Norfolk county

  25. I am interested in getting a S30V folding pocket knife with SpeedSafe Assisted Opening. The blade is only 3.4″ long. I wanted to order it through Amazon, but they state that they are prohibited from shipping it to my MA address. Why is this?
    Frank

    1. Hey Frank;
      My “unofficial” opinion is that Mass has some of the toughest knife laws in the country and anything with an assisted opening is close to being kinda “automatic”. Automatic is a dangerous word in MA, and further to that, some of the largest cities in the country have additional laws that are stricter than the state law. I know that’s true of NYC. It wouldn’t surprise me if Boston has some restrictive laws that Amazon knows about and the whole state is flagged by Amazon as a place not to ship anything but the most benign pocket knives. That’s just my opinion since I’m not legally allowed to give you advice (you can only get that from a Mass. lawyer).
      Thanks for checking us out,
      J.

  26. I have an 18 inch bowie knife, one side sharpened. I reside in Beverly MA. Is this legal for open carry?

    1. Hey Co;
      Because I’m not a lawyer, I’m not allowed to give you “official” info – you can get that from a lawyer in Mass. However, my personal thoughts are this: Technically you’re good to go with the Bowie, however, it’s important to understand that Police can question you (and more) if they suspect you look suspicious or you’re wielding a knife in places you probably shouldn’t (like a public restaurant, mall, stadium, etc.) If I were you, I’d be really careful where I carry that knife since it’s not something that would be seen as a daily “tool” for “normal tasks”. I’d stick with a small folder (I carry the Ontario Knife Co. Carter Trinity – which all but disappears in my pocket – but can handle any daily tasks including self-defense if necessary). Thanks for your question.
      J.

    2. I wanted to suggest that your article is revised or at least fact checked. There is no section (J) of the MGL on conceal and carry with a Class A LTC. Everything was clearly written and cited by law then that last section was clearly not taken from anywhere. Anything that is illegal to carry with out a Class A LTC is illegal to carry with one. There are exemptions to certain military and LE groups but not civilians. None are illegal to own they are illegal to carry on your person.

    3. Carry an 18 inch machete with a landscaping shirt on and you should be fine. If you think the gov’t is going to let you defend yourself think again! If you are carrying a work related implement and not acting menacingly then good to go. The wealthy (politicians) can have armed guards and we’re not allowed to even have a knife. What did we do with our 2nd amendment the right to bear arms? They want us weak and vulnerable so we depend on them!

  27. Can I carry a trainer balisong? It’s not sharp. Can I carry a sharp balisong? What about throwing kunai? 6.5 inches to be exact

    1. As long as you are not doing anything that looks dangerous to the public, then you’re good to go. Folding pocket knives (the Buck 110) are legal to carry, just don’t act aggressively or dangerously, in which case, any weapon or knife you are carrying would be considered “illegal” for you, and you’d be arrested and your knife would be confiscated.
      Thanks for your question,
      J.

  28. When I turn 18 which is in a few months can I carry a 2 inch manual folding knife with me?

  29. I was just wondering how old do you have to be to own a pocket folding knife because I have gotten a few answers before but none the same.

    1. Wouldn’t the Buck 110 be considered illegal because it has a locking blade? Thanks, Adam

  30. Hey I got pulled over once the cop found that I had a few box cutters in my car he told me that it was illegal to have more than 1 knife and if I go two towns over having one gets me a weapons charge I can’t find that anywhere I’m in ma

  31. What does a locking blade mean? Is that a folding knife with a lock on it? If so what kind of folding knifes are they talking about slip joints?

  32. in terms of a hunting style knife for bush crafting, would that be legal to carry?

  33. Is it illegal to own a machete in Worcester County, MAssachusetts?

  34. I regularly EDC a glock 81 fixed blade, the cops in my (rural) town say it is legal to carry, but conceal it, however, in Springfield they say it’s illegal due to the false edge and sawback. Who’s right?

  35. i have a out the front knife im 18 years old can i carry the knife it locks by a switch and you have to push the slide a little for it to open

  36. Dear author, I believe that the paragraph entitled “No Limits on Class A Licenses” is incorrect and misleading. Please point which “Section J” you are referring to, MA GL number, paragraph and the section, please.
    Class A license has NOTHING to do with knives and pertains to firearms only. If you have class A LTC and are caught with a double-edged knife you WILL find yourself big trouble.

  37. So I have a class A LTC and read the section that i can legally carry any knife. Ive been looking online including mass.gov and can’t find any section that can confirm the statement above. Could someone clarify this or even send me a link that explicitly explains class A ltc and knife laws. More specifically, im interested in automatic knives.Thanks!

  38. If it opens from force applied to the blade (SOG Flash II), then it is legal. If you push a button, lever or other such device (Switchblade), then it is illegal. * This only applies to CARRY, not ownership.

  39. As long as it’s not double edged I don’t see an issue with it. However contact your local police department and make 100% sure you can carry it before doing so.

  40. I am planning on buying a dagger for decoration, I am not planning on using it, is that legal?

  41. Im not sure what to believe i mean i believe this sight but my buddies are saying dont trust this website anybody with knowledge about this site is it trustable im not saying it isnt i just want to be sure on the correct laws so im not misinformed information would be much appreciated

  42. Are there any laws on the blade length on a folder?

  43. Is there a blade length limit on folding knives in Massachusetts? Some individual cities like Lawrence and Lowell have a 2.5 inch blade limit.

  44. I live in Springfield Massachusetts, what is the legal length of a pocket knife that I can carry on me?

  45. This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I actually live in MA and a Class A LTC does NOT let you carry knives. It only applies to guns.

  46. So in mass if I collected swords and knifes and kept them on my wall in my house will that be illegal?

  47. I don’t see where the statutes allow anyone with a class A license (or for that matter, law enforcement) to carry a switchblade or any knife or device (shuriken, etc.) in that category. Any suggestions on where that statutory authority exists? Or is it in the CMRs?

  48. Would a bayonet be illegal to carry if i didnt have a class A liscense.

  49. I just bought a knife and I was wondering if it was legal because it is a spring assisted knife and the blade is over 1.5 inches

    1. No, assists aren’t illegal in MA but automatics are. Assists are ones that you flip open the blade with a stud on the blade, but an automatic has a button or lever on the handle. Basically, on the blade is assist, on the handle is automatic.

  50. Considering there is no exact blade length law from everyone I’ve been talking to and info I’ve been looking up for mass, I would say no, it’s not illegal for them to do that.
    I own a sword, a kukri, and a tanto. The shortest of them is the tanto with the blade length being 8 inches.
    Of course I don’t carry it, but hell.. I’m still trying to figure out just how legal my knife I got recently will be for carry, and it’s only 4 inches but it’s a fixed blade and could be perceived as a dangerous weapon.

  51. Is it possible too sell swords anywhere in massachusetts? I have a broadsword I’m looking to get rid of, dunno where I can sell it other than King Richard’s..if they let you.

  52. If I carry a balisong knife (or butterfly knife) and the police see me. Will I get arrested

  53. This page gives a general overview of MA knife laws, but the laws can drastically vary from town/city to town/city. A knife that is legal in one town can be illegal in the neighboring town.

  54. Yes they can send you a sword just make sure its packed extra extra safely

  55. So I have someone who is possibly going to end up buying a sword for me personally. I do not live in Massachusetts; however, they do. Is it illegal for them to ship said sword to me?

  56. I have a question I brought this knife can I just carry it for protection here’s a picture of it

    1. They are legal. And if worn as neck knives small fixed bladed versions are allowed. I asked a local knife shop that sells them along with army surplus. They know what they are talking about and take their jobs seriously.

    2. They are legal as long as they dont have two edges.

    3. On others that showed the karambit it showed that it is legal to carry but in based on this site i cannot say i have my karambit in its case as a necklace and i have not been stopped about it.

      if you aren’t 100% sure do deeper research but i doubt karambits specifically will pop up

      If you wanna do the feeling lucky way and carry it anyways i suggest to not be dumb with it and there shouldn’t be a issue

    4. The Karambit falls under the classification of a folding knife, like a buck knife or a Swiss Army knife. As long as it’s a. Not an automatic knife like a switchblade b. Double edged and c. Really long, you should be okay. As long as you don’t use or display the knife in a way that could be considered threatening or disturbing the peace.

  57. Best thing to do is call your local police departments and ask. Do not go off of what you read online and end up getting arrested.

    1. The worst part is that most police officers don’t know the laws themselves and will drag you to jail and court and spend lots of $$$$ defending yourself in court, just like a firearm. They all need to brush up

    2. The best thing to do is print off an updated copy of the existing laws regarding personal carry , knives and guns and carry a copy in your vehicle. Often times a standard patrol officer does not understand the State laws regarding your rights well enough to interoperate these laws as to individual personal protection. Also purchase and read the owners manual outlining proper safety use for holsters and or a carry sheath.

    3. I called my local police, asking for information. Got an answering machine. It was at least a month ago. NO response.

    1. I believe it is legal but don’t quote me on it, its a skeleton knife.

  58. So what i got was folding knifes are not illigal with spring assist where you have to push a little to open it ?

  59. That “No limits on Class A licenses” paragraph is complete BS. I’d love to see the actual section j, or where in any MGL that is stated. It simply doesn’t say that anywhere and this is very dangerous advice.

  60. Heading out to MASS hole state today. Jus realised I had. 2 knives in my get home (bug out bag) & one in center consol. 3 ” blades. Took out leaving at home. Replaced my carry knife with a tufflight cold steel 1″ blade

    1. You can have up to a 4 inch blade as far as I’m aware of in Mass.

    1. To carry on your person Or in vehicle..YES. Illegal.. MUST not bE over 2 1/2 inches. Tip to grip-guard

  61. Hi! I was wondering if a dagger has a none working edge can you use it in Ma??

  62. Can i open carry a folding pocket knife my blade length never excedes 4.5 inches i live in attleboro mass

  63. I am from Texas and am taking a trip to Boston MA, and I usually carry a knife with me at all times in a holster on my belt( not concealed) Its about 9″ overall 5″ of blade. Would I be able to carry something like this in the streets of Boston MA.

    1. I live near and work frequently in Boston. I asked a BPD officer directly because I also usually carry a Spyderco clip in my pocket. It’s a tool I deploy probably a dozen times a day during work, opening bozes, cutting cordage etc.
      His answer was “Most of us wouldn’t hassle you for that as long as it’s used responsibly. But technically, no you can not carry that in the city of Boston.” Nor can I legally carry my Leatherman Supertool, which has two blades over the legal limit.

      Basically, it’s an add-on charge the can use in cases of assault, disruption or resisting arrest. So you’re taking your chances.

    2. City of Boston has ordinance of no blade length exceeding 2-1/2″….Other Cities and Towns may have their owns rules, so its wise to check before spending time in areas your going to spend time in with a knife. I’m from MA and carry a spring assisted ZT Knife 0350 and others with blade lengths of 2.91″ through 4.5″ except when in Boston I carry a Spyderco Dice flipper with a 2-1/2″ blade. All have deep pocket clips too.

    3. As long as is not “doubled edged” or concealed, yes.

  64. Wrong ,,,,you can only carry a non double edge non automatic not concealed non serrated,no brass knuckels period

  65. Hi!
    The text is very clarifying, thanks! However… I still have a couple questions I’d love to have help with.
    I need to purchase a dagger, for religious purposes. It can have dull edges (like a big envelope opener), because it is only cerinomial, but still… I will have to buy it and then make the edges dull, probably. That implies I should go somewhere, buy it and bring it back. I am OK applying for some sort of permit, but couldn’t find exactly what is the place I should go to apply for such a permit.
    Second question is: once it has dull edges, is it still considered a double-edge knife (a dagger)? Or at this point I could carry it with me for some open area cerimony? Of course there are limits, one should NOT open such thing that looks like a weapon in the middle of the street! Just carrying to go to some isolated area, I mean.
    I am confused…
    I’d really appreciate any advice!

  66. Hi,
    I am purchasing a nice dagger from a vendor in Canada. It is a decorative piece, however it’s relatively long (13″, being 9″ blade). Do I need some special authorization to have it delivered in MA?

    1. No. You can own any type of blade, it’s carrying them in public where you ruin into problems.

  67. Are throwing knives and shurikens legal to carry, only for transport to a safe place to practice with them, with a Class A Ltc. ? And, if they are legal, can the same form of carry and/or transportation take place with throwing knives ??

    Thanks

    1. Only with a class A can these be carried. Best bet is in the trunk or locked box. With a class A you may carry either.

    1. No. Must be 18 to purchase/own a Balisong (Butterfly knife) in Massachusetts.

  68. My question is the same as Nicole’s. I am Wiccan too and Have a couple Athame’s . I do carry one because it is part of my religion.I have altered the handle but the two sides have never been sharpened.

  69. Before someone goes and gets themselves locked up… YOU CANNOT CARRY A LOADED RIFLE OF ANY KIND OUTSIDE OF HUNTING IN MASSACHUSETTS. With or without a Class A LTC. Only while hunting. Yes the laws don’t make sense but when people start interpreting and putting stuff like that out there someone somewhere will believe it…

  70. I am Wiccan and would like to bring my athame to Boston with me. An athame is a religious knife central to Wiccan ritual. It is a long double edged knife, though the edges are dull, with a sharp point, a bit like an oversized, sharp letter opener.

    I will leave it in my suitcase, and when I go to where I’m staying I will put it in the trunk, but what about between baggage claim and the car? I will have it in the suitcase, does that count as carrying it on my person?

    Thanks,
    Nicole

  71. There’s nothing in section J that says a Class A license allows you to carry edged weapons that others are not allowed to carry.

  72. I have a 12 inch bowie knife and sheeth is That legal to Carry if. Not consealed

  73. Hey, my brother gave me a knife that is a fixed blade, also single edged. The blade is about 7 and 1/2 inches. Could you give me a little info on what’s allowed with this type? It’s like a bowie, but isn’t one exactly.

  74. I’ve looked at a lot of pages and opinions and just want to know for certain my rights. I have a12 inch, one side bladed, Bowie knife, with a plastic sheath for belt. Is this legal to carry on my belt in view in Massachusetts? And also New Hampshire? Just want to know how I can carry my knife. Also I have a friend with a past felony charge with the same question. Any help or info on this is much appreciated, thank you.

  75. Could someone provide a link to a reference regarding the carry of knives with a class A LTC. All I can find regarding the class A refers to permissions for firearms, large capacity magazine, ammunition, mace and pepper spray, nothing about knives.

  76. ch. 269 s. 10 “having a blade of over one and one-half inches” what is that refering too.

  77. Is there a limit to the length of a blade for a folding knife that locks when fully opened?

    Thanks,

    John

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