New Jersey Knife Laws

The Great Seal of The State of New JerseyNew Jersey knife laws are wordy and oftentimes difficult to understand if one does not have formal legal education or training. This article takes New Jersey code and case law concerning knife ownership and carry and puts it into a language that makes it easy for anyone to understand what is legal and what is not.

What is Legal to Own

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal to own any weapon, with the purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another
  • It is illegal for a person convicted of certain crimes (see below) to own a gravity knife, switchblade, dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other dangerous knife
  • It is illegal for certain mentally ill people to own a gravity knife, switchblade, dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other dangerous knife
  • It is illegal to own a gravity knife, switchblade, dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other dangerous knife with any explainable lawful purpose

A conviction for aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation, possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of weapon for an unlawful purpose, manufacture or transport of a prohibited weapon, unlawful possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance, or endangering the welfare of a child prevents a person from owning certain types of knives in New Jersey.

Definition of Weapon

The New Jersey legislature has defined weapon as anything “readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury”. It further states that the term includes gravity knives, switchblade knives, daggers, dirks, stilettos, or other “dangerous” knives. In 1982, in State v. Brown, the New Jersey Appellate Court found that a person does not need to intend to use a knife as a weapon in order for it to be considered a dangerous knife, and therefore a weapon. This decision can make it difficult for a person to determine if a particular knife is legal to own, as it could be considered a dangerous knife, even if the owner has no intention of using it to harm another. However, because New Jersey law allows for the possession of a dangerous knife, by those who have a legal purpose for owning them, any knife may be considered legal if owned for a “lawful purpose”.

Definition of Lawful Purpose

The phrase “lawful purpose” was challenged in State v. Blaine, when Mr. Blaine was discovered carrying a folding knife with a 4 inch blade. The Court reasoned that because the knife carried by Mr. Blaine was not a gravity knife, switchblade knife, dagger, dirk or stiletto, those knives specifically mentioned by new Jersey statute as weapons, the defendant may escape a guilty finding, if the state cannot prove that he carried the knife for an unlawful purpose. As such, because there was no proof that Mr. Blaine did not carry the knife for a lawful purpose, he could not be found guilty of carrying an illegal weapon. The Blaine Court cited State v. Lee, in which the legislature’s intent, when enacting the law prohibiting the carrying of certain knives, was examined. In Lee, the Court described this intent as addressing:

…the situation in which someone who has not yet formed an intent to use an object as a weapon possesses it under circumstances in which it is likely to be so used. The obvious intent of the Legislature was to address a serious societal problem, the threat of harm to others from the possession of objects that can be used as weapons under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as those objects may have. Some objects that may be used as weapons also have more innocent purposes. For example, a machete can be a lethal weapon or a useful device for deep sea fishing.

In 2000, the New Jersey Supreme Court further clarified “lawful purpose” in State v. Burford, by describing two categories of deadly weapons as well as a third category of weapons, that it said may take on the characteristics of a deadly weapon, but that may also have a wide variety of lawful uses. The Court said that when determining whether a defendant possessing a weapon that falls within this third class of weapons is guilty of the unlawful possession of a deadly weapon, one must look at the circumstances under which it is possessed.

Exceptions to Unlawful Possession of a Knife

A person may not be convicted of the unlawful possession of a knife if he or she is carrying the knife for hunting or fishing purposes, the knife is legal and appropriate for hunting or fishing, and the person has a valid hunting or fishing license. A person is also exempt from the unlawful possession statue if he or she is transporting a legal knife to or from a place for the purpose of hunting or fishing, so long as he or she has a valid hunting or fishing license. When carrying a knife for such purposes, the statute requires that it be locked in a box or the trunk of the vehicle in which it is being transported.

Restrictions on Carry

New Jersey statute does not impose any restrictions on the carrying of any legal knife. However, if a defendant is found carrying a gravity knife, switchblade knife, dagger, dirk, or stiletto (those knives specifically mentioned by New Jersey statute as a weapon), he or she may be charged with possession of a dangerous weapon, if there are circumstances which may lead one to believe that the knife is being possessed for an illegal purpose.

Definitions of Various Types of Knives

New Jersey code, 2C:39-1 defines a gravity knife as any knife that has a blade, which is released from the handle by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force (spinning the knife around). It also provides a definition for the term switchblade knife, which means any knife or instrument that has a blade, which opens automatically by pressing a button, spring, or other device on the handle. A ballistic knife, according the New Jersey statute is a weapon or other instrument capable of lethal use and which can propel a knife blade.

Knives Found in Vehicles

New Jersey code 2C:39-2, provides that when a weapon is found in a vehicle, it will be presumed to be in the possession of all of the occupants of the vehicle unless:

1. It is found on the person of one of the occupants, then it will be considered to be in his or her possession, OR

2. The weapon is out of view of the occupants (such as in the glove box), then it will be presumed to be in the possession of the person having access to such space, (the driver, owner, or person who rented or leased the vehicle), OR

3. The vehicle is a cab and the weapon is found in the passenger compartment, in which case it will be presumed to be in possession of all of the passengers and if there are no passengers, it will be presumed to be in possession of the driver of the cab.

Conclusion on New Jersey Knife Law

While persons who have been convicted of certain crimes or who are mentally ill may not possess dirks, daggers, switchblades, stilettos, or gravity knives, anyone else may own any type of knife they wish, as long as they have a lawful purpose for owning it, and do not intend to use it to harm another or his or her property.

New Jersey knife carry laws are quite unrestrictive, allowing for the open or concealed carry of any legal knife.

The laws in New Jersey are very vague about when it is legal to possess or carry a dirk, dagger, switchblade, stiletto, or gravity knife, and anyone carrying any of these knives in New Jersey should be very careful to avoid any circumstances, which may indicate that he or she is not carrying the knife for a legal purpose.

Sources

  • N.J. Stat. § 2C:39-1 (2013)
  • N.J. Stat. § 2C:39-2 (2013)
  • N.J. Stat. § 2C:39-4 (2013)
  • N.J. Stat. § 2C:39-5 (2013)
  • N.J. Stat. § 2C:39-6 (2013)
  • N.J. Stat. § 2C:39-7 (2013)
  • State v. Brown, 185 N.J. Super. 449 A.2d 1314 (App.Div. 1982)
  • State v. Blaine, 533 A.2d 980 (1987 N.J. Super.)
  • State v. Burford, 746 A.2d 998 (2000 N.J. Super.)
Peter Stec
Latest posts by Peter Stec (see all)

Comments

  1. Hallo there!
    I think I see an error in your spelling. On the New Jersey section, it says it is “legal to won throwing stars and throwing knives”
    I believe you meant to say “legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives”.

  2. Hello!

    I’m a huge medieval history buff, and I love to collect reproduction historical weapons and armor. I’ve had my eye on a reproduction rondel dagger for awhile. Does a rondel fall under the dagger or stiletto rule? I don’t want to end up purchasing something that could get me in trouble, especially since I plan on just keeping it in the house.

    1. Matt, a rondel would fall under “dagger” but if you find a legal use for it, you’re good. I’m it sure if antique arms and armor collecting would be a good legal excuse unless you have some paperwork on its authenticity and the beginning of a small modest collection or a documented intent on beginning a antique arms and armor collection (i.e. a Facebook page dedicated to the collection or a business or museum, etc.) Even then I would have to say it would be best to properly store it in the home, under a locked glass case. But the mantra in NJ for knives ownership and carry is always “If you can find a legal use for it , you can have it. “

    2. Unless you can fold it, it would be classified as a dagger

  3. Is it legal to carry a Buck 110 folding knife with a just under 4” blade in an open carry knife holster in NJ?

  4. Hello,
    I am a boater. Most of my boating is on a sail boat, but do use motorboat as well. It is recommended that we carry a knife while on board the vessel, especially on sailboats. It should be easy access. I tend to carry a folding one on a lanyard to a clip on a belt loop. This is an important safety item. Recently it has been suggested that a folding knife had limitations.
    I am considering an OTF knife specifically for this purpose. There are many scenarios where a knife may be needed quickly and a person may be limited to the use of only one hand. An OTF on a lanyard could be a life saver. Would this fall under a legal use / legal possession? What would the gotcha be transporting this to an from the marina?

    Thanks in Advance
    Orlando

  5. Good evening, I would like to buy an OTF Knife (AKC F-16) for Internet but the only use I have for it is to open boxes and cut some things at home. I want one of these because recently I saw one on YouTube and I liked it. Is it legal for me to buy one and have it ONLY at home or the single fact of possessing it is illegal? I have asked some websites and they say it is ok but I want to be really sure. I do not want any kind of trouble. (I am not convicted or mentally ill). Thanks for your help!

    1. I’m not a lawyer, or have any legal background, but I have done quite a bit of research on the matter for myself. OTFs seem to fall under the category of a “switchblade” and depending on your local municipality, may also be considered a “ballistic knife” despite the fact that the knife blade doesn’t detach from the handle/body.

      The “automatically” part of “any knife or instrument that has a blade, which opens automatically by pressing a button, spring, or other device on the handle” is the important thing to keep in mind.

      Also something to be aware of depending on your municipality are “assisted-opening” knives (Like a Kershaw Blur or Benchmade Barrage). Depending on the resistance of retention on them, they could be considered a “gravity knife” as you could easily open them with the flick of your wrist instead of needing to apply any force to the blade itself.

      I mention the municipality thing because there are some towns, especially near the shore, that have excessively strict laws for knives and they don’t care if you’re a local or not as ignorance is not a valid defense.

      All of that being said, if you’re only using it on your property, you can really have almost anything you’d like, but the second you step foot onto public domain you’re fair game. When my brother was younger, he was playing with a full-size katana in the yard and someone called the cops on him. They couldn’t do or say anything because he was on the property and wasn’t threatening anything other than some water bottles in the back yard.

  6. Is a fixed blade illegal in NJ ? Bc when I tried to look it up it didn’t give any information

  7. i have a question, i use knives on a regular basis, i am a tool salesman and use blades to open boxes, packages, and product i sell. i am a fan of the switch blade style knives. after reading this im to understand that if i were to get one it would actually be legal for me to carry it as im using it for lawful purposes? the wording seems to be meant to confuse and id like some clarification before i went and spent money on something im not allowed to have

  8. Is a mentally ill person with no history of violence allowed to possess a small hunting knife at home? I’m trying to find out, but there’s no specifics. It would be for self protection at home.

    1. That’s a question that I believe falls outside of normal outlined statute ordinances or laws in any state. If you’re serious about the question you may have to contact a legal professional in the state of New Jersey.
      Best of luck my friend!
      J.

    2. Near say your knife is for protection in NJ. It then “becomes a weapon”.

  9. im a black belt in martial arts and just purchased a 4.5 inch blade karambit with a sheath made for a belt clip could i wear it on my belt or would it be illegal…keep in mind im a black belt in matrial arts and had to register my hands as weapons after passing the test im only mentioning this because i would think i can carry it for martial arts purposes

    1. Hey James;
      Like with most legal questions I receive, it’s important to note that I’m not a lawyer and can’t give you official legal advice. I have to officially tell you to consult a New Jersey attorney or para-legal who can direct you to the exact answer. Having said that, I can offer my thoughts on two fronts; Firstly, I don’t see anything in the statutes which limits purchases or possession of a karambit. That’s potentially good news! However (and secondly), New Jersey has one of the country’s more restrictive knife laws given its proximity to New York City and areas of higher concentrations of crime. That means that there are specific restrictions on the ownership and carrying of various weapons:

      Statute 2C:39-3(e)
      Any person who knowingly has in his possession any gravity knife, switchblade knife, dagger, dirk, stiletto, billy blackjack, metal knuckle, sand club, slingshot, cestus or similar leather band studded with metal filings or razor blades embedded in wood, ballistic knife, without any explainable lawful purpose, is guilty of a crime of the 4th degree.

      Because the law is not relaxed enough to allow you to have any knife (like many states are), it gets even tougher to answer your question. Then, to make it even tougher, the entire legal chain from Police officer to lower court judge, to State Attornies can apply some subjective values on things like your intention of use when carrying or possessing the karambit, the circumstances under which you were found by an officer to be carrying a karambit, etc.

      So, the advice I have is to get official advice from a lawyer in the state of New Jersey, or stay away from weapons of any kind if you’re worried about tangling with the law.

      Thanks for your question!

      J.

    2. register your hands as lethal weapons.. thats not a requirement nor is it an actual registration in the state of New Jersey. You’re probably just a young kid who got a karambit and wants to carry it around on his hip like a tough guy. Stop fooling yourself into thinking you are some sort of ninja.

    3. “keep in mind im a black belt in matrial arts and had to register my hands as weapons after passing the test” There is no such requirement or law in New Jersey (or anywhere else, for that matter). Either one of two scenarios:

      1. You have not actually earned a black belt.
      2. Your instructor scammed you into paying a fee to “register your hands as weapons”.

  10. Nice article.
    But about throwing knives. It says that they are legal, but is it legal to throw in a public place? (not a living tree, or a park full of kids, but a dead stump for example) If you are in a park in an empty area could you use your throwing knives in a tree stump or targed?

    1. Don’t know about that, but because there is a lot of ambiguity to most state statutes, I would suggest 2 things:
      #1 – stay away from activities that can be perceived as dangerous, aggressive and threatening (like throwing knives in public)
      #2 – contact your local law enforcement authorities in New Jersey (or any state) and ask that question. Their answer will matter more than mine!
      Good luck!
      J.

  11. Knife laws are absolutely absurd. All knives can be dangerous. just because one may be bigger or smaller, auto or not makes no difference. Gun laws are no different. The danger comes with the intent of the person holding it. ONLY PEOPLE CAN MAKE INANIMATE OBJECTS A DANGER TO OTHERS .

    1. Hey Brian;
      I actually agree with you 100%. A law that allows a 3-inch blade but not a 5-inch blade … except sometimes, is totally ridiculous! If someone wants to harm another, it is nearly 100% irrelevant what weapon they use. A Home Depot crowbar can end anyone’s life as fast or faster than any “illegal” knife. Hmmm…. food for thought!!

    2. I agree 100%. If a person wants to harm anyone, they can do it with a sharpened chopstick or a pen. It’s very stupid to have these laws.

  12. A majority if these comments are from little kids. No knives in school. Period. You may also be restricted in government buildings. As far as “open carry” in NJ with regards to knives: no laws! You’re over 18 and carrying a KA-BAR on your hip? No law. Pocket knife, switchblade, butterfly knife, etc. Nothing (assuming you were not COMMITTING A CRIME at the time you were found in possession), A samurai sword on your back while walking down the street: legal. And there is nothing more dangerous or insecure about this than carrying a gun (ask a Marine).

  13. Are razor blades illegal for someone with a mental health history to possess?

  14. Yes, butterfly knives ARE balisong which it says are legal. I carry one in NJ every day.

  15. So, in general, is self defense an unlawful purpose? Is it illegal to defend yourself with a weapon, in this case a typical 4″ folding knife, like a buck, shade, etc? Or is one expected to believe the police can be everywhere just when you need them?

  16. “legal purpose” is the reason I carry a multi-tool. No one ever got mugged with a leatherman, and only an idiot would think it’s a weapon.

  17. Is collecting Italian (or any) switchblades that are in a display case in a person’s home considered a “lawful purpose” in New Jersey? IMO, collecting is a “lawful purpose”, but what do the courts say?

  18. I’ve always wanted a KABAR 5.25 inch fixed blade… I wasn’t sure about being able to carry it around. I do a lot of stuff outdoors and I don’t want to spend money on a knife that I can’t carry.

  19. I’m a physically disabled hard time using my hands can I have a Spring assist folding knife ?

  20. My son just bought me a boot knife, which I can only describe as a dagger, to replace a knife I had that i used for work. (I work the flea market circuit so I am my own boss). I’m just wondering if it’s legal to carry concealed (in my boot) if my intended use is to cut hemp rope for crafts. Blade is 5 inches long, 3/4 inch wide at the hilt, handle is 4 inches long, brass and with a medieval flare.

  21. Should this read, “without any explainable lawful purpose”

    “It is illegal to own a gravity knife, switchblade, dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other dangerous knife with any explainable lawful purpose”

    Therefore, it would then, be considered legal to own any of the above, as long as you have an “explainable lawful purpose” such as being a collector?

  22. So does this mean that it is legal to own and possess daggers as long as you have not covicted those listed crimes and do not have mental illnesses? I would like to buy some daggers that I will keep in a display case at home and not bring them with me places.

  23. wait so while I was looking at the section called “Various Types of Knives” i noticed that pocket knives that are non-assisted is not on there so would it be legal for a person to own and also carry a regular pocket knife that has to be manually opened

  24. Are butterfly knives legal to carry if they are concealed in public?

  25. Do not carry a Balisong, or butterfly knife in NJ. In many cities it is considered a gravity knife and it will be confiscated and you will get arrested and charged. The law on this type of knife is considered a gray area as to the exact definition but many municipalities and counties will charge you with owning an illegal weapon (gravity knife). Most cases (with a good lawyer) will get thrown out but it is not worth the time, cost of a lawyers and court fees to carry one of these knives.

    It happened to me. I was selling them in my second hand store in Linden, NJ. About 5 detectives came in and confiscated my knives and filed a report but I was not arrested. I had to see the local prosecutor and chief detective but I had done my homework and talked them out of the charges but I had enough legal evidence to weaken their case. I was also probably lucky here because I am a “retired law enforcement officer” in NJ and that obviously helped (plus knowing people in city hall). If I were just a regular law abiding citizen I might have gone to jail, they at first threatened me with up to 20 years, seriously.

    Do “NOT” carry one of these knives or be caught with one, it’s just not worth it. NJ has the most archaic weapon laws on the books and the way they are interpreted is up to the law and the courts, not you. They are purposely written so loosely that they can be used for the way the deem fit to prosecute someone. Do not go by what is written above in the article as to what is legal or not, NJ has it’s own way of twisting laws to fit their needs.

    Retired NJ LEO

  26. I’m sorry, but this is still not clear to me.. Can I carry a folding pocket knife, where the blade is under 4 inches, and a button opens the knife out, but not back in? I live in Union County? If the answer is maybe, what ‘exactly’ can I say to keep from getting arrested? I am not a criminal in any way. I just want to carry a pocket knife around as a tool. (Open and cuts boxes, letters, pry things open, but my seatbelt if I’m in a car accident..) Things like that. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  27. Im not understanding is it illegal to own a sword aka katana or not and if so do you need a permit for the katana and can it be worn out in public if it has a sheeth

  28. Is it legal to own a Schrade SCHF9 or a Bowie knife in Nj? And what if your under 18 and you use a Bowie knife for bush craft?

  29. Plain and simple. If you have a knife to hurt yourself or someone else. It’s not ok. It is not ok to carry on you unless for a lawful reason like hunting. Even for self defense you can still have charges against you and the judge goes from there. If ya have a cool knife passed down. The police aren’t going to come kick your door down. Just use common sense.

  30. I own a 119 special Buck knife and I was wondering if this is legal open carry holstered in the sheath with the “lawful purpose” of its a “multi tool” ??? I told this to police inmy town today and they said it was fine.

  31. A spring assisted knife is legal, if you’ve never been arrested in the past you can carry.

  32. “What’s illegal to own” Bullet # 4: “It is illegal to own a gravity knife, switchblade, dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other dangerous knife with any explainable lawful purpose” Is this a typo? Shouldn’t this read, “without any explainable lawful purpose”? If so, please correct it.

  33. “What is Illegal to Own” bullet 4 states, “It is illegal to own a gravity knife, switchblade, dirk, dagger, stiletto, or other dangerous knife with any explainable lawful purpose. Is this a typo, should it read, “without any explainable lawful purpose” or does it mean what it actually says, that no matter what legal reason one has for owning said knives, they’re always illegal?

  34. @Cole: HOLY GOD NO!
    But you can get you butt spanked from here to timbucktoo; grounded for the rest if your life, & if your school doesn’t stick you in ISS for the rest of the year.. You might be able to see the light of day, by your Junior Prom!!
    Now, this is JUST ONE EXAMPLE – I’m NOT using it for the whole problem; however, “we” as a collective wonder what is wrong with “the kids today”?!?
    The fact that any kid in elementary, middle/junior high, or high school can say “Hey YAY, Look guys what my Mommy/Daddy got me at “fill in the blank”! (Walmart or the local Dirt Mart like Englishtown, Berlin Market, or Cow Town) No matter what it is, if its a pocket knife, a “multi-tool” for goin’ fishing, heck, this really cool lipstick case.. In & of themselves, these things are ok, if taught to be used right, especially at a young age. Thats when they learn the MOST!! WHO better to TEACH them how to filet a fish for the 1st time, if not their Papa or Grandpop/mom?!? Or learn how to widdle a stick?!? Does ANYONE other than your GRANDMOM/POP or maybe better your Great-Grandpop/mom know those things?!? Why should those skills die with that generation?!? Knives are an IMPORTANT part of our lives, use them right, and that INCLUDES SELF DEFENSE – BUT NOT IN SCHOOL!!!
    The CRAZIEST PART OF ALL OF THIS IS: The Parent that would do what I suggested above COULD lose their child for spanking them & cluld even get jail time time.. YET, it’s ok to take the stupid knife into the school!!
    ANYONE ELSE FIND THAT A TAD TWISTED?!?

  35. I lived n grew up in camden yrs ago n carried a 16″ world war 1 bayonet down my pants when walking the streets at nite…every man for himself in Camden, especially if yer white…good luck, God bless 🙂

  36. you spelled own wrong in the What is Legal to Own, the 4th bullet

  37. Is it legal to own a knife that is that the blade is 3.75 inches? Is it legal to own a folding knife

  38. Here’s the details of the knife I was looking to buy :

    9 inch overall length
    4 inch blade length – 1065 carbon steel blade
    Embossed handle with sleek tactical pattern – Hilt has belt clip and window breaker
    Mirror shine finish
    Trigger action blade – Ambidextrous thumb stud

    Would this be legal ?

    1. i believe so, but i wouldnt take my word for it

  39. Can you bring a knife to a middle school in order to stop an armed gunman

    1. I don’t think the “intention to stop an armed gunman” would be a very good case for “lawful purpose”. Why would ask this kind of question anyway…

    2. lolllll.

      no but u can bring one to an elementary school

    3. no, u cannot take a knife onto any school grounds, court grounds, and not completely sure about police stations, oh and definitely not jails.

    4. I always have a knife, always but anywhere near a school I’d never carry anything like that even those wallet knives can get you expelled, I’m not a lawyer but I wouldn’t take that chance.

  40. I carry a folding knife all the time and find it useful for opening boxes, scraping things off walls, prying things open etc. now if I’m attacked I’ll most likely use my fists. But if I pull out the knife I’m serious and will defend my life. My father worked in a slaughter house and I grew up around knives and people who really knew how to use them so yes I know where the arteries are for slicing and what vital organs are for stabbing.

    1. arteries & organ are basic knowledge 101, was working in a slaughter house really needed?

  41. I’m looking to buy either a “Gerber Covert Spring Assisted Knife” or the “Gerber Mini Covert Spring Assisted Knife.” I just really like these two knives and I was wondering if it is legal to carry them in my pocket while I’m just walking around on walks to the park and the like.

  42. Good info guys, thanks! I am from NJ but moved to GA 15 years ago… But my new job is headquartered in NJ. I am licensed to carry a concealed handgun in public in 32 states, but of course I can’t bring one and carry in NJ when I am up there. So when I travel up for work from time to time, I guess I can toss a good folding knife into my checked luggage(not carry on, obviously) and carry that when I am up there… better than nothing I guess, although I feel naked going anywhere without a firearm on me, it is second nature now…

    So it looks like assisted openers and flipper or thumb stud folding knives, that lock open, are good to go? I normally carry an EDC knife with a 3.25 to 3.75″ blade, but maybe if that will be my sole item for protection, I might want to step up to something a little larger…

    Thoughts?

    1. I’ll explain it for him: You’re paranoid because I’ve lived in NJ all 30 of my years and I’ve never once had a single moment where I said to myself, “boy, do I wish I had a sidearm right now!” Not everyone is an evildoer that out to getcha, and if they are, generally your gun will not help you against an armed attacker, unless he misses the first few shots. Attacker has element of surprise and being at the ready, whereas by the time you’ve diagnosed that you need to defend yourself, reach for your weapon, pull out, aim, shoot… you’re full of holes already.

      Obviously to carry is your right, and it’s not my place to judge what gives you your piece of mind even if I disagree with it, just know that by carrying, you’re statistically more likely to be involved in a gun crime on one end or the other than if you didn’t, because that piece of mind and feeling of security will make you more likely to stand your ground and engage in a conflict, rather than do everything you could to avoid it.

      Pocket knives are an awesome carry though, entirely different story. More versatility because unlike a gun, it has lots of other functions/purposes besides ending lives, less likely to escalate a situation, less risk of collateral damage, etc. PS – other than declaring you a nervous nelly, I’m not making any judgments at all, just explaining an opinion that’s derived from strong fact support. As far as I can tell, you sound like an intelligent person and are probably a model citizen.

    2. @ADHD – ROFL..
      @dave – Are you really being serious about your question?!? Actually, either of them? Cause if you are gonna be in south jersey & you remember jersey at all – in order to get finger printed, at the LEAST – you GOTTA go to Ancora!! 🙂 Have fun!!

  43. This article is pretty well-written, but it gets a few things confused.

    Any knife that is listed in 2C:39-3 requires an explainable lawful purpose, as the article mentions. 2C:39-3 says:
    “Any person who knowingly has in his possession any gravity knife, switchblade knife, dagger, dirk, stiletto, billy, blackjack, metal knuckle, sandclub, slingshot, cestus or similar leather band studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood, ballistic knife, without any explainable lawful purpose, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.” If you were arrested for possession of one of these knives, you would need to provide in court the lawful purpose. At that time, according to State v. Blaine, the state would now have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the purpose you stated was not lawful.

    Any knife that isn’t in that list, such as a folding or assisted-open knife, does NOT fall under the “explainable lawful purpose” test. Instead, it falls under a better, more permissive test defined in 2C:39-5(d): “Any person who knowingly has in his possession any other weapon under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as it may have is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.”

    In order to make an arrest the state must have the ability to demonstrate that the knife was not appropriate for the knife’s lawful uses. If you were arrested anyway, the state would have to prove that fact beyond a reasonable doubt. “Ooh look, that knife is scary looking,” does not make it inappropriate. This does NOT mean that you have to show that the knife IS appropriate. Instead, if a knife has a circumstance that IS appropriate for its use, such as utility purposes, and there is not another incriminating factor (such as you breaking into someone’s house with it), according to State v. Blaine the state cannot meet its burden of proof. State v. Blaine further makes it explicitly clear that you can carry a folding knife clipped to a pocket, because that was its test case that caused the ruling in the first place. A folding knife does NOT require an “explainable lawful purpose.”

  44. Hard to find but a Katana or dull Short Sword, is it legal or illegal?

  45. Weird question, do metal training knives that are blunt/completely dulled count as a different type of weapon? Or do they count as a toy/training device? I’m considering acquiring a Karambit Fox 599-TK which is a blunt training karambit but wasn’t sure what it falls under if a cop notices it and tells me that it’s a knife even though it literally cannot cut.

  46. inwas looking at a benchmade butterfly knife. That is 100% legal right?

    1. Yes and No butterfly knives are classified as gravity knives and from what I rememeber as Lon as you don’t carry it, you’re good you can keep it in your house it’s safe. But when you are carrying it and get caught by the police it is considered an illegal knife.

    2. you can own any knife of any length BUT do not carry a butterfly or any gravity knife, switchblade(switchblade does not mean spring assisted, a switchblade is basically a rectangle with a button that makes a knife pop out the front of it. if the blade swings out the side, it is not a switchblade), dirks, daggers, or stillletos

    3. Technically a butterfly knife is not a gravity knife. A gravity knife requires that the blade fall into place with just the force of gravity. Given that parts of the flip of a butterfly knife are in an upward motion, it is actually opened more by centrifugal force. A butterfly knife/balisong is considered legal. However, an officer may give you a hard time with it simply because of its more menacing perception, and a court may argue that because you can un-clip it and the blade falls open it is a gravity knife, regardless of the fact that it’s still not in a usable position at that point.
      Might be smart to just not take the chance and go with some sort of standard pocket folder instead.

    4. I got arrested for a butterfly knife in nj. Dont carry it

  47. Is it legal for kids to have knives at home? But under the limit.Precisely 6 inches but the blade is 2 inches and the handle is 4.

    1. yes. a child could own a katana if they really wanted to, but as long as they dont carry it. if you are asking about total length, that does not matter, what matters is blade length. 2 inches is okay for anyone to carry unless convicted of certain crimes. if over 3 inches, measure the width of the person’s hand(from the beginning of the pinky to the beginning of the index, or pointer finger) and if the knife BLADE is smaller or the same size, it is legal. I would reccomend carrying around a 3 to 3.5 inch folding knife that has a thumb-stud.

  48. I just bought a SOG Gambit from walmart, its a very small bladed knife (google it), wanted to keep it on my person for self defense. I live in camden, and anything can happen there at any time. So would carrying this knife for that purpose be lawful?

    1. Since I belive that knife has a spring assist, any such knife would be considered to be a weapon.

      My suggestion is to make sure you have a valid fishing permit and keep your fishing gear in the car.

      I would not recommend carrying it in your pocket, since the closed length exceeds the 3 inch maximum carry length.

      You may actually want to consult with your attorney.

  49. I got M48 Ops Combat Bowie knives for my groomsmen in my wedding. Is this OK? Would I be able to take them to the Venue to take cool groomsmen pics?

    1. Yes, take them for the photos but I wouldn’t recommend walking around all day with them strapped to your sides.

  50. I have a Ka-Bar “Large Heavy Bowie” #1277 knife I keep in a get home bag in the back of my SUV. It is sheathed and in the large compartment of my bag – out of sight. Still a little confused after reading the above. The intent is hunting/basic survival tool should the SHTF and I have to get home. I understand it is a legal knife to own (if I had it at home) but is it legal to have bagged in my car every day? I also have a fillet knife in the bag if I needed for fishing and I keep a 3.5″ EDC folding pocket knife in my center console of my truck… thoughts?

    1. Legal as long as you’re not doing anything illegal while you have it with you.

  51. I possess a military combat knife, similar to Carol’s knife on The Walking Dead, with metal knuckles attached. Is it legal for me to even possess in NJ? I do not intend to take it out of my home.

    1. If it’s an antique piece it’s legal to own and bring with you to events for historical purposes. If it’s a repro it’s fine to have at home as a display piece , although I wouldn’t recommend having it easily accessible to children.

    2. metal knuckles and commando knives with metal knuckles like you have are illegal you can go to jail for one year same thing with handcuffs unless you are a cop

    3. bullet proof vests are legal for civilians but if you commit a crime in one you get an extra charge

    1. just bought a nice lil one from walmart, an SOG Gambit, for 20 bucks. not bad!!

  52. Is there a certain length i am not allowed to carry everyday? I always have a pocket knife on me but am i legally allowed to cary like a bowie knife every day or do i need to have a lawfully reason?

    1. 4″ max from tip of the scale to tip of the blade. Technically you can carry any fixed blade with you as long as you have a legitimate legal reason like hunting, camping, hiking (self defense is not a legal reason to carry any knife in NJ). Basically, there’s no reason to wear a Bowie knife to Best Buy just like there’s no reason to wear a suit to the gas station. Equipt what you realistically need for your days tasks.

    2. damn, cant carry a knife for self defense? that sucks.

    3. In New Jersey you cannot carry a assist opening knife But can you purchase one for collection because I collect knives.

    1. Technically yes, although cops will be a pain in the *** about it. If you do wear it under your shirt. A folding knife is easier access

    1. Can you carry a knife in a sheath on you? Let’s say I have it for work purposes. (Township worker)

  53. Does a samurai sword won as a trophy need to be secured in a home to avoid accidental injury to visitors to the home?

    1. no. in the home its upto you. but if carry to anywhere, be sure it is secured so it cant “slip” or be pulled from scabard. i have walked through NJ n NY with both swords, bowy knives, and upto full plate armor, maces, bows, spears, and much more.

      cops have never harrassed me and All wanted one of them, even sold stuff on the spot.

      the point is make it secure and have a good reason.

      Daily carry for the fun/defense, hell no. get a nice folding combat knife from Cold Steel. the Sparton is awesome.

    1. the wide of your hand or max 4″ what ever is smaller is the norm. everything needs a good reason and will get complicated.

    2. The “Palm of the hand rule” is not true. There are no length limits on knives in New Jersey. But the broad, “have a lawful reason” clause makes carrying a machete questionable and possibly illegal if you’re not hacking away at shrubs. Evan Nappen just revised his NJ Gun Law book and added chapters on knives that demystifies NJ’s ambiguity and debunks urban myths like “the size of the cop’s hand law”.

      http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/evan-nappen/new-jersey-gun-law/paperback/product-22228354.html

    3. ok will rephrase. if you conceal a knife larger then 4″ they may have an issue. the hand rule was an easy way to keep kids from carrying bowyknives and just have a pocket knife.

      now people freak over evrrything in liberal areas, or so im told.

      personally never been a problem. axes, swords, maces, to full armor and armed to the teeth. never had one issue in 30 years. been making or tweeking the stuff sense 6th grade, 43 now. from 6′ swords to african multi pointing things. i forget the name. every last cop has just asked where and how can they get one. if i ever get my forge setup again i got a couple dozen people that want to learn, mostly cops.

      yes Nj laws are crazy, but only a few cops actually enforce the BS rules. most of them are pissed off because they also are restricted.

      yes i even used to carry a bowy down center back of jacket (gill hibbens 2nd rambo knife). and my sgt in town helped me do it. he was also a leather worker and knew more about holsters. baton in sleeve and pepper spray on the lower leg. i worked in Paterson and im white, not being armed was insane.

      best thing i can say is no matter what you do, is dont hide it.. If they notice it. unless they ask or need to do a search. then be open and calm. dont let them find anything, always better if you tell them vs lie and hide it.

      gone are the days of multiple blades, or baton, or even pepper spray in your “pockets” being resonable cause or need.

    4. Concealment has no bearing on the legality of a knife either. I always thought that too but it doesn’t.

    5. a guy has a machete in his van he says he uses it to cut away weeds while fishing ?

    6. 4″ max length. If you want accurate info check out American knife and tool institute akti.org

  54. what are the laws on the size of the blade, like for a machete. is there a limit on the size of the blade and/or knife

    1. No, as long as it’s being used legally and with common sense

  55. Yes because self defense could be seen as intent to use on another person. But it is legal to carry for your job. Its all about intent

  56. Would a 3″ folding knife be illegal if used for self protection ??

    1. A 1″ knife would be illegal of carried for only the intention of self defense. In NJ you are allowed to yell names at your attackers.

Leave a Comment