state knife laws feature

New Mexico Knife Laws

Great Seal of The State of New MexicoNew Mexico knife laws leave a lot to be desired, as they can be quite vague and difficult to locate and tie together. This article will tell you what the statutes, as well as the case law, say about owning and carrying knives, and explain what is legal and what is not in easy to understand language.

What is Legal to Own

What is Illegal to Own

What the Law States

 

New Mexico Statutes 30-7-8. Unlawful possession of switchblades

Whoever commits unlawful possession of switchblades is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.
Note:  The court of appeals in NM has interpreted this statute to include butterfly knives as well.
   

§ 30-7-2.  Unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon

A. Unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon consists of carrying a concealed loaded firearm or any other type of deadly weapon anywhere, except in the following cases:

(1) in the person’s residence or on real property belonging to him as owner, lessee, tenant or licensee;
(2) in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance, for lawful protection of the person’s or another’s person or property;
(3) by a peace officer in accordance with the policies of his law enforcement agency who is certified pursuant to the Law Enforcement Training Act;
(4) by a peace officer in accordance with the policies of his law enforcement agency who is employed on a temporary basis by that agency and who has successfully completed a course of firearms instruction prescribed by the New Mexico law enforcement academy or provided by a certified firearms instructor who is employed on a permanent basis by a law enforcement agency; or
(5) by a person in possession of a valid concealed handgun license issued to him by the department of public safety pursuant to the provisions of the Concealed Handgun Carry Act…

The code allows for the carrying of a concealed deadly weapon if it is being carried by a peace officer, on property owned by the person carrying it, or in a private vehicle.

Deadly Weapon Defined

The definition of “deadly weapon” can be found in § 30-1-12, which provides that a deadly weapon is any firearm or weapon that is capable of producing death or great bodily harm. The statute then lists several specific types of weapons, including daggers, switchblade knives, bowie knives, poniards, butcher knives, and dirk knives. It also includes “all such weapons with which dangerous cuts can be given or with which dangerous thrusts can be inflicted” as well as any other weapons that can inflict dangerous wounds.

Definitions of Various Knives

New Mexico statute defines a switchblade knife as any knife with a blade that opens automatically by pressing a button, spring, or other device on the handle of the knife, or any knife with a blade that opens or falls into position by the force of gravity or by any outward or centrifugal thrust or movement (spinning the knife). In State v. Riddall, the New Mexico Court of Appeals found that a butterfly knife carried by Mr. Riddall, was within the definition of a switchblade, because both gravity and a centrifugal thrust opened the blade of the knife. In its decision, the Court said that it was of no legal significance that it required a combination of forces in order to operate the knife. It cited the California case of People v. Quattrone, wherein the Court there found that a knife with a spring-activated sheath, which retracted into the handle was an automatic knife because it was of no legal significance that the handle was pulled away from the blade, rather than the other way around. Neither the New Mexico code nor the case law offers a definition of a dirk, dagger, stiletto, or any other type of knife.

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk knife, poniard, or any type of dagger
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a bowie knife
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a switchblade
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a Balisong or butterfly knife
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a butcher knife
  • It is illegal to conceal carry any weapon which can cause dangerous wounds
  • It is legal to open carry any type of knife that is legal to own in New Mexico

Definition of Carrying a Concealed Weapon

The New Mexico legislature defined “carrying a deadly weapon” as being armed with a deadly weapon by having it on the person, or in close proximity thereto so that the weapon is readily accessible for use. The Court found, in Butler v. Rio Rancho Public School Board of Education, that a knife in a vehicle parked in a school parking lot, driven to school by defendant student, constituted carrying a concealed weapon because the weapon was in close proximity to the driver’s seat and defendant had ready access to the car during the day. The statutes however, do not provide a definition of ‘concealed’ and neither does the case law.

Conclusion on New Mexico Knife Law

It is illegal to own any type of automatic knife, such as a switchblade or butterfly knife, in New Mexico.

It is illegal to conceal carry dirk knives, poniards, any type of dagger, bowie knives, switchblades, butterfly knives, butcher knives, or any other knife, which can cause dangerous wounds.

In New Mexico, you may carry any legal knife openly or in your vehicle.

Sources

  • N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-1 (2012)
  • N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-2 (2012)
  • N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-8 (2012)
  • N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-1-12 (2012)
  • State v. Riddall, 811 P.2d 576 (Ct. App. 1991)
  • People v. Quattrone, 260 Cal. Rptr. 44 (1989)
  • Butler v. Rio Rancho Pub. Sch. Bd. of Educ., 245 F. Supp. 2d 1203 (D.N.M. 2002)
Peter Stec
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Comments

  1. Until recently switch blades were illegal in Texas as well except for military and law enforcement but they are no longer illegal here. My son is stationed in New Mexico with the military and I’d like to know if New Mexico has an exception for military and law enforcement?

  2. Are hunters (during hunting seasons) at risk if they openly carry knives that may be slightly longer than legal ?

    1. Typically there’s no danger if it’s obvious that you’re carrying the knife specifically for hunting (like in the forest or hunting camp, etc.) If you stroll around Wal-Mart during hunting season with a machete, there may be some issues!
      cheers,
      Pete

  3. Is it legal to carry a 14inch blade Gurkha knife with a 5 inch handle used as a machete for clearing brush and cutting wood?
    The knife/Machete hangs from my belt in a sheath. I have a handgun concealed carry permit for a pistol. Can I open and/or conceal carry. I camp and hike so that is the only time I carry it. Not interested in hanging around in bars with my “knife”. Is it classed as a knife/Machete or axe?

  4. Is it legal to carry a 14inch blade Gurkha knife with a 5 inch handle used as a machete for clearing brush and cutting wood?
    The knife/Machete hands from my belt in a sheath. I have a handgun concealed carry permit for a pistol. Can I open and/or conceal carry. I camp and hike so that is the only time I carry it. Not interested in hanging around in bars with my “knife”. Is it classed as a knife/Machete or axe?

  5. Update and correction. In Austin, legislature passed and governor signed House Bill 1935. It established the supremacy of State Law over counties and cities locally created laws, adding to or detracting from the state statute. Other than that, it also eliminated the category of “illegal weapons” (other than above), concentrating on the places that someone 18 and older will be forbidden to carry their legal knives (hospital, campus, courthouse, etc).

  6. so can i carry/ own a stiletto?
    and what are the age restrictions on knives in new mexico? asking for a friend

    1. No and yes, a Stiletto can be several types of Italian style knives depending on where you are from. But in most cases a Stiletto is a push button knife to deploy the blade. So it’s illegal. Nowdays with Blackie Collin’s invention of the spring assisted knife many to most knife producers are making a cheap “Stiletto assisted knife which would be legal if carried openly in a sheath or on a pocket clip as long as clip is visible.

  7. The 2009 case State v. Nick R. determined that pocket knives not explicitly named in the law (switchblades) are only deadly weapons if used as weapons. Meaning you can carry one of any size concealed, but if you threaten or injure someone with it, it counts as assault with a deadly weapon. This page is very misleading on pocket knives, and there’s a lot of misinformation in the comments, as well.

    1. Hey Bill;
      I appreciate the input. You got me thinking since I’m not the original writer of this article, so I did some research in the New Mexico State Statutes website. I poured over 30-7-2 and 30-7-8 and I still see it’s actually illegal to own a switchblade. What’s not illegal is to carry a pocket knife as long as you’re NOT involved in illegal activity [State vs. Nick R., 218 P.3d 868 (N.M. 2009)]. Otherwise, you’ll be in deep sh&*$t if you’re caught with a switchblade. Just to be sure I wasn’t way out to lunch on this, I checked out a couple of competitors’ sites like the American Knife and Tool Institute, and they also see the law for what it says (as I do), so for now, I’ll keep the article as is. That’s not to say that things won’t change and make my law overviews incorrect over time. I’ll try to keep on top of things as best I can.
      cheers,
      J.

    2. So live in New Mexico and just ordered the shrade viper otf double edge blade but after reading law in New Mexico. If I understand this right this is legal because it opens with the push of a button but you have to close manually and yes its double edge but as long as I use pocket clip so its visible then it’s legal to carry in New Mexico. Plus when I ordered on home depot website there were states they couldn’t ship too. However New Mexico was NOT on this list so it’s legal.

    3. I live in Albuquerque and have discussed this very thing with several police officers. Actually, the issue is that 30-7-8 and 30-7-2 are in opposition to one another. Plus, getting caught with an “illegal knife” is only a misdemeanor which is not “deep s**t” territory. This is what 30-7-2 says:
      § 30-7-2. UNLAWFUL CARRYING OF A DEADLY WEAPON
      A. Unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon consists of carrying a concealed loaded firearm or any other type of deadly weapon anywhere, except in the following cases:

      (1) in the person’s residence or on real property belonging to him as owner, lessee, tenant or licensee;
      (2) in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance, for lawful protection of the person’s or another’s person or property;
      (3) by a peace officer in accordance with the policies of his law enforcement agency who is certified pursuant to the Law Enforcement Training Act;
      (4) by a peace officer in accordance with the policies of his law enforcement agency who is employed on a temporary basis by that agency and who has successfully completed a course of firearms instruction prescribed by the New Mexico law enforcement academy or provided by a certified firearms instructor who is employed on a permanent basis by a law enforcement agency; or
      (5) by a person in possession of a valid concealed handgun license issued to him by the department of public safety pursuant to the provisions of the Concealed Handgun Carry Act.

      Since this statute conflicts with 30-7-8, unless you are involved in illegal activity while carrying a D/A OTF, your valid CCW will keep you out of trouble with the law.

    1. If, when you look at it you see a cane and not a sword it is concealed. Funny you should mention that because I am perusing this thread due to the fact I recently inherited all of my father’s swords. About 25 years ago he was arrested for 3 felony accounts of possession of a concealed weapon for his 3 cane swords. Days later the charges were dropped and due to his handicap the arresting officers drove him back to our house. Before they could leave the driveway he had removed the rubber tip from one of his actual canes and placed it on the Scabbard, of his custom made samurai sword and with no small effort walked back out to thank them for a ride and Say Goodbye. His “sword cane” is my most pride possession – rubber tip and all, and it is less than 2′ from me as i write this

  8. In my state the gun laws are more strict than the knife laws even though more people get stabbed here than shot. I don’t think these laws serve any purpose other than to make some cry babies feel better.

  9. Is it legal for me to carry a small concealed lipstick blade , in New Mexico ?

    1. I am told by my police officer friend that in practice in New Mexico, 4″ is the maximum legal limit for a concealed blade. Also, in cases where a woman has defended herself with a concealed weapon that was not legal, such as a small handgun in her purse, law enforcement tends to turn a blind eye to the infraction. If your little blade was stuck in an assailant’s leg, they probably wouldn’t ask a lot of questions about whether you had taken it out of your purse or were carrying it openly.

    2. I would classify that as a custom sheath for a fixed blade weapon. It’s just a carry option you have.

  10. So it is legal to open carry (on the hip in a holster) a fixed blade knife no matter the size?

  11. Texas law changed as of 1 Sept. 2017. Most places any knife without Knuckle guard OK. This includes automatics, balisongs, bowies, swords, machetes, etc. Where carry iis restricted anything with 5.5 inch blade or less is legal. Tomahawks and hatchets legally clubs so still illegal.

  12. When did it become illegal to own a butterfly knife in NM? I used to carry one for several yrs. until one day it was stolen from my car , along with another knife, by a burger. A co worker and I did so and were proud of our profiencency with them.

    1. It looks like butterfly knives are included (as best we can tell) within the definition of restricted switchblades in NMS § 30-7-8. At least that’s what an appeals court has ruled so it’ll probably serve as precedent. To get more detailed info, please contact a law professional in the state of New Mexico since we are not an “official” authority.
      Thanks for the comment and question,
      J.

  13. My dad gifted me a 12 set of throwing knives, blade about palm length, single-edged, etc. Typical throwing knives. It had no clip, at most it has a hole on tue back for hanging on a panel nail or, ostensibly, a keychain/lanyard. Is there a way in which i could carry one with me as a walk around the more dangerous parts of town without violating the law? Is there any qualifications on length of blade which would allow a similar knife to be considered a utility/tool rather than a weapon?

  14. Are you allowed to carry and OTF Knife [Out The Front]?

  15. Please get someone competent to edit your articles. Mispellings and poor grammar detract from otherwise good information. For example from your article about Bowies: “composit,” “the rivets was changed” If you don’t know the difference, for example, between “it weights 8 oz” and “it weighs 8 oz” what does that say about your ability to adequately research and understand what you have researched? If you want to be taken seriously, get an editor with even a modicum of education.

  16. Butler V. Rio Rancho Public Schools; I think Knifeup needs to actually reas this case. The case deals with Butlers right to due process in that the school supended him for a year for having a knife in his car on school property. He was suspended without due process and this was upheld by the Appeals Court. There was no Law Enforcement involved because no actual crime was committed. Butler was legal to carry the knife in his car however school policy was violated, not any law.

  17. your right its stupid how if someone uses one type of knife in eny illegal activates suddenly that knife is evil and should be outlawed emeadeatly and what people don’t realize is that the knife doesn’t have a choice in what it does it’s the people that do that and your right about how some idiot thought that outlawing AK-47 would get rid of communists it’s like saying that if we get rid of guns the crime rate will go down I mean everyone Switzerland has a gun and they have the FOURTH lowest crime rate in the world .

  18. I’m confused. If I have a concealed carry license in NM which permits me to carry a gun, does that also allow me to carry a switchblade knive?

  19. Butterfly knives/balisongs are illegal? thats so flipping lame. there the same as any other knife.

  20. The article states that a knife which can be opened by gravity or a centrifugal thrust is considered illegal. This seems like a lot of 1 handed manual flippers would fall under the centrifugal force category. If so, I’m not sure I own a folding knife that is considered legal in this state. What are the penalties for carrying such a knife in this state?

  21. Yep can open carry a Samurai sword but a 2 inch spring knife is completely 100% illegal to have even in your home.

  22. Thank you, Mr everyday Arsenal

    One thing , I did not know about this law , ownership, I have a knife collection. These types of knifes are part of that. I moved to NM Because of Job relocation. Do I have to stop my collection, and sell what I have. ? Oh , Father, what have they done to our rights ? I will have to sell what I have and stop puying till I leave Albuquerque, NM.
    So odd , there are a lot of stabbings here and they’re all done with regular knives . Not one switch blade . In the hands of the poor

  23. I find it amusing that you cant carry a Bailsongs, dirks, daggers, switch blades or butterfly knifes or double bladed knives concealed or not on your persons. But its perfectly legal to carry Throwing hatchets, throwing knifes, knives w/ quick release blades, machetes and swords as long as they are not double bladed. As long as they are not concealed… Lol! Damn ill go w/ carrying the bigger and most the time nice and better knives any day then those few small ones i can not! I did a ver extensive study of the knife laws in New Mexico. And for those who do not understand the Switch blade laws because of how its worded. It says knives w/ buttons on the handle that thrust or shots a blade out straight up is considered a switch blade and therefore is illegal. But quick release bladed knives that you pulled down on the lever on the back of the blade housing between the handle, which throws the blade out quickly to an up right open position is not a switch blade or considered one either. And therefore is legal to carry on your person as long as its not concealed!

  24. What abut a soviet ballistic knife? What if I carry a Bowie knife on an open hip, or leg sheath?

  25. Can I conceal carry my knife with a 4 – 6 inch blade in New Mexico

  26. What about openly carrying a short sword with a Kris style blade sheathed?

  27. So, is there restriction as to where I can carry a legal knife, like the restrictions on firearms?

  28. What about an 8.25 I’m kerambit. It doesn’t fold and it has a sheath. The blade is 4.5 inches the entirety of the knife is 8.25 inches

    1. Yes I was once walking tramway trail at 3 am with a machete in holster attached to my belt…. saw a fire… cops arrived I decided to watch…. cops came to me asked a few questions after taking the machete and left placing it a few steps away… “you can pick this up and carry on after we leave”

    2. Indeed it is, but you will be questioned most likely. xD

    3. Yes, because it falls into the Bowey knife category. I couldn’t find any specifications on how long the blade could or could not be .

  29. Several months ago, at a Silver Spur gun show in Albuquerque, I saw a balisong knife, also called a butterfly knife, on sale for $20 at a registered vendor’s booth. Having owned one in the past, and having friends who own them in NM, I bought it. Considering NM’s attitude on weapons in general, being an “open carry” state for all firearms, and never having had a problem here, I proceeded to carry this with me as my knife for work for the last few months. On researching knife laws by state for an upcoming trip to Illinois, I was shocked to come across multiple articles that list these as illegal in New Mexico. How was the vendor able to get these into the gun show, with APD officers on-site patrolling and inspecting merchandise? What should I do with the knife now that I have it? Any answers would be appreciated.

  30. Take up golf.
    You will be around calm, intelligent people, but you will have a nice long well balanced ‘club’ just in case.

  31. Is a karambit legal to carry in NM? I guess its not an automatic knife so..

    1. I am not a lawyer, but a balisong trainer is not a knife. I could see an issue if it had a sharp point similar to a dirk in which it could be used to thrust into a person, but if it was rounded, no edge, then it is not a weapon.

    1. How is a Sai considered a dagger? Sais are blunted baton with hand guards to parry and catch bladed weapons. Are you seriously saying that NM is stupid enough to classify a baton weapon as a dagger? Don’t cops carry batons? Doesn’t that mean that cops all carry daggers?

    1. Mostly I ask about tactical knife, which is considered pocket knife I guess.

    1. If you have a concealed carry license you can!

    2. Wrong! There is no concealed carry permit for knives in New Mexico. The cc permit concerns handguns only (revolver, semi-auto or derringer). If you have a legal knife, you have to carry it openly. The only exceptions are on your own property or vehicle.

  32. But does that mean that I can’t conceal carry a pocket knife? And by that I mean, putting a Buck folding knife or an Opinel into my pocket?

    1. It has been ruled by both Bernalillo and Sandoval county sheriff’s dept. that if the knife has a clip and is clipped to your pocket, with the clip being visable, you are not concealing the knife.

    2. But if it’s a traditional slipjoint or locking folder with no clip, what then? It’s not visible and can inflict dangerous wounds…

  33. “(2) in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance, for lawful protection of the person’s or another’s person or property;”‘

    “The Court found, in Butler v. Rio Rancho Public School Board of Education, that a knife in a vehicle parked in a school parking lot, driven to school by defendant student, constituted carrying a concealed weapon because the weapon was in close proximity to the driver’s seat and defendant had ready access to the car during the day.”

    I’m confused? Was it “unlawful” because he/she was a minor?

    1. It was unlawful because the court found that nothing stopped the student from entering his car during the school day and retrieving said knife.
      I believe this should be appealed because using this as the rule, this could mean that if you keep a firearm in your car concealed, which is legal in new mexico with or without a permit, and go to the post office where it is illegal to conceal carry, license or not, they could arrest and now charge you with carrying concealed in a post office because nothing could stop you from entering your car to retrieve said gun during your post office visit!

    2. The law I believe states that you can have the firearm in your vehicle on the post office, just you cannot have it on you once you leave the vehicle.

    3. I believe federal law states that you can have a firearm on post office property as long as it’s in your vehicle and that was the intention of the law so people who go hunting and then stop for mail didn’t become felons.

    4. I was trying to say that the ruling on Rio Rancho VS. Butler set precedent that because he had a knife in his parked car, that he had access to said knife which then made him guilty of concealed carry of a dangerous weapon. That being the case, one can also interpet the law to mean that if you park in a post office parking lot, leave you gun inside the car as required by law, you can NOW be charged the same as Butler because they can argue that you had ready access to your gun, thus you’d be guilty as Butler was of carrying a deadly weapon.

    5. As with all things, strange things happen once precedent is set. When they can turn to a previous ruling, it is just another tool for them to use against you, especially with an over zealous DA. If lawyers weren’t so tricky, then hiring good respertation wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. Just ask Sam Bregman what his retainer is!

  34. In the “what the law states” section, the last part:
    “(5) by a person in possession of a valid concealed handgun license issued to him by the department of public safety pursuant to the provisions of the Concealed Handgun Carry Act…”
    is ignored.

    Can I carry a concealed deadly weapon of I have a concealed carry license?

    1. It is legal to open carry any type of knife that is legal to own in New Mexico

    2. I just read it is legal to carry a dirk or dagger as long as it’s visible and not concealed ie use the pocket clip and keep visible.

  35. does this mean that I can open carry my bowie knife or is it still considered illegal?

  36. I would like to know to open carry a large knife into a bar

    1. No restriction to carry into a bar in knife law, however, since a firearm and a large knife are both considered “deadly weapons”, New Mexico concealed carry laws says that it is illegal to carry a gun into a bar that sells for consumption on site and is in fact a bar and,not a restaurant, which makes less then 50% of its profits from the comsumption of beer wine, compared to the food they serve.

  37. I would like to know if it is legal to open a bowie or any large knife into a bar

  38. I asked my neighbor, the Sheriff of this county, about NM knife laws. He confirmed the contents of this article. Regarding open carry, I asked if this wording means that I could put my machete on my hip and legally walk around town. He said yes. I love this state!

    1. But you can’t carry a pocket knife? Buddy come to Texas.

    2. Or Arkansas! Though Texas is the best. 😛

    3. For Real. What you going to do with a pocket knife. Dare you to strap on a 6″ Buck or any other knife over 5.5″ and go in public in Texas. Will get you a UCW Class A misdimenor. Oh yea and that includes having a fillet knife in your tackle box in your car. I could go on and on. Better to carry a gun in Texas than a knife. Remember “Don’t mess with Texas.”

    4. As of 2017 Texas has greatly relaxed their knife laws. Anything legal to own can be carried open or concealed as long as you’re 18 or older. As I recall, any type of knife or blade is legal, the only thing that might make one illegal is when it’s a “location restricted knife.” Anything under 5.5 inches can be carried pretty much anywhere by anyone. Over 5.5 inches can be carried by anyone over 18 pretty much anywhere except “restricted locations,” i. e. govt. buildings, schools, churches, etc. There is no restriction on carrying either openly or concealed. Anything legal to own (except the two mentioned above) can be legally carried by anyone over 18. Only Arizona has better knife laws than Texas in the Southwest.

    5. Only Jake Garner would say.. I think every man should carry a sword. I train in kenjutsu. I carry my sword for protection. 20 inches of ko-katana. Anyone can pull a trigger. But can you fight as a man? I’d rather die with honor.

  39. Very accurate. I am aware of the handgun laws and have reviewed knife laws. t

    1. Texas law forbids switchblades or gravity-deploy blades, also “knuckle-buster” trench knives (with the grip doubling as a brass-knuckles wrapped around your fingers).

      but you can carry about anything else as long as it’s not double-edged (cutting blade on both sides), not longer than 5 1/2 inches (from bottom of grip to tip of blade), not designed to be employed as a throwing knife, or not knuckle-buster design.

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