New Hampshire Knife Laws

Peter Stec
January 3, 2021
NH

New Hampshire knife laws are practically non-existent, and therefore may be very difficult to find, let alone understand. This article will describe the law and tell you what it means.

What is Legal to Own

In New Hampshire, it is legal to own any type of knife, as long as you have not been convicted of a felony against the person or property of another or of a felony drug related offense. Yes, machetes are legal.

What is Illegal to Own

It is illegal for a person who has been convicted of a felony against the person or property of another or of a felony drug related offense to possess a:

  • Stiletto
  • Dirk or dagger
  • Switchblade knife
  • knife considered to be a deadly weapon

New Law

On May 18, 2010, the New Hampshire knife laws changed thanks to HB1665 and, because of that, any article online written about NH knife laws before this date is out of date.

67:1 Pistols and Revolvers; Carrying or Selling Weapons. Amend RSA 159:16 to read as follows:

159:16 Carrying or Selling Weapons. Whoever, except as provided by the laws of this state, sells, has in his possession with intent to sell, or carries on his person any [stiletto, switch knife,] blackjack, [dagger, dirk-knife,] slung shot, or metallic knuckles shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; and such weapon or articles so carried by him shall be confiscated to the use of the state.

67:2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved: May 18, 2010

Effective Date: May 18, 2010

Definition of Deadly Weapon

A deadly weapon is defined by New Hampshire legislature as any firearm, knife or other substance or thing, which in the manner it is used, intended to be used, or threatened to be used, is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury. In the case of State v. Beckert, the Court said that Mr. Beckert’s concealed, six-inch hunting knife was a dangerous weapon, because of the serious and immediate danger it posed to police and members of the public. Mr. Beckert was apprehended with the concealed knife in a crowded area in the vicinity of a fight and attempted to draw the knife when he was arrested.

Limitations on Carry

On May 18, 2010, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, signed into law House Bill 1665, amending the law that prohibited the possession or carrying of dirks, daggers, stilettos, and switchblades for law-abiding citizens. Representative Jenn Coffey, a well-known activist and knife enthusiast, introduced the Bill, to create the freest place on earth for knife enthusiasts like herself. The law now allows for the concealed and open carry of any type of knife by anyone who is not a convicted felon.

Sources

  • RSA 625:11  (2013)
  • RSA 159:3  (2013)
  • State v. Beckert, 741 A.2d 63 (1999)
  • http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2010/HB1665.html
About The Author
Hey Knife Up gang! I'm Pete, and I'm just another man like you in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like KnifeUp.com every day. The difference is that I like to share what I know and research what I don't totally know so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors-related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice, eh?

46 comments on “New Hampshire Knife Laws”

  1. @Dan – yes, there are no more knife laws, you can carry any knife you want, concealed or in plain sight.

    1. 18 is the age you can buy over 3″ or 5″ blade.
      I remember on my 18 birthday I bought my first 6″ Gerber survival knife.

  2. John Lynch was a good governor. Signing the current law, for example. Nice guy in person as well. I love living in the 603!

    1. If the blade is under 4 inches you CAN carry it in public (concealed) . If the blade is more than 4 inches it can only be carried in public view.

  3. Jenn Coffey was one of the first members of the Free State Project in the New Hampshire Assembly, and that bill was our first legislative success. Of the 5,000 some members of the FSP that have made the move, we’ve got more than a dozen members in the State House.

    Lynch was a fine governor. Of course, compared to Maggie, just about anything with a pulse would be an improvement including livestock.

  4. I just bought an Emerson super karambit. I’m a felon in NH for growing marijuana. Wondering if I’m allowed to carry the karambit

  5. So I am 16 years old and I am looking to buy a good hunting knife for this summer; are there any laws about different ages when purchasing knives in New Hampshire?

  6. Is it legal to carry a knife if the rule book of school grounds says. “possession of a dangerous objects, including firearms, on school property or in school vehicles” does this mean i can legally carry a knife if i am not possing or useing as a dangerous weapon? Could i also ague that im useing it as a tool. Not a weapon?

  7. Correct me if I’m misinterpreting this, but since there is no defined limit on blade length, that means swords are legal too.

  8. I read the laws as soon as they passed them for all knives to be legal. I’ve lived in New Hampshire my whole life and collected knives for years. All are legal now even switchblades. But if you use a knife for a crime and that knife used to be illegal before the change like a switchblade they will add a mandatory 5 years on top of the crimes time.

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