Amerian flag with knife

New York State Knife Laws

Seal-of-New-YorkNew York knife laws are confusing and at times appear to be contradicting. This article shows you what the nyc knife laws actually say, and ties them all together with the relevant Court decisions, in order to give you an easy to understand run down of ny knife laws, and what is legal in New York.  

If you are looking for specific laws in New York City, please read THIS.


What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a hunting knife
  • It is legal to own a dirk or dagger
  • It is legal to own a stiletto
  • It is legal to own a gravity knife (as of May 30, 2019)

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal to own a metal knuckle knife
  • It is illegal to own a ballistic knife
  • It is illegal to own a cane sword
  • It is illegal to own throwing stars
  • It is illegal to own any knife if you are not a U.S. citizen
  • It is illegal to own any knife adapted for use primarily as a weapon

NOTE* – Until May 30, 2019 it was illegal to own a gravity knife, but this restriction was repealed in May of 2019 so gravity knives are no longer on the restricted knives list.

Important Note About New York CITY

IMPORTANT NOTE: New York CITY has knife laws that are not applicable in the rest of New York State.  Until May 30, 2019, over 4,000 people were arrested each year in New York City for possessing a “gravity knife.”  The problem is that the New York new knife laws says that any law which can be opened by a flick of a wrist is illegal in New York City.  For more on this issue, check out this video and check out the Administrative Code.

What the Law States

§ 265.01.  Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree when:

(1) He or she possesses any firearm, electronic dart gun, electronic stun gun, gravity knife, switchblade knife, pilum ballistic knife, metal knuckle knife, cane sword, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, plastic knuckles, metal knuckles, chuka stick, sand bag, sandclub, wrist-brace type slingshot or slungshot, shirken or “Kung Fu star”; or

(2) He possesses any dagger, dangerous knife, dirk, razor, stiletto, imitation pistol, or any other dangerous or deadly instrument or weapon with intent to use the same unlawfully against another; or…..

Restrictions on Carry

It is illegal to carry a dirk, dagger, or stiletto with the intent to use it as a weapon against another.
New York does not have concealed carry laws, therefore it is legal to open or conceal carry any knife that is legal to own and that the carrier does not intend to use unlawfully against another.

The law provides that when a person is found in possession of a dirk, dagger, or stiletto, there is a presumption that the possessor intended to use it as a weapon against another. This presumption can be rebutted in Court; however, a person can still be arrested and charged with a crime, even if he or she did not intend to use the weapon unlawfully against another.

The determination of whether a person intended to use a knife against another may be left up to a jury, and a person still arrested and charged with crime, even though he or she did not intend to use the weapon unlawfully. In People v. Richards, the Court found that because Mr. Richards had not brandished the knife he was carrying, nor had he threatened to use it for any unlawful purpose, but told the arresting officer he had the knife for self-defense, he could not be said to have the intention of unlawfully using the knife. Because self-defense is a justifiable reason to use a weapon, it is therefore not an unlawful one, and Mr. Richards conviction for criminal possession of a weapon was reversed.

Definitions of Various Types of Knives

Switchblade Knife

The New York legislature defines a switchblade knife as any knife with a blade that opens automatically by pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife. A gravity knife is defined as any knife with a blade that is released from the handle by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force and when released, is locked in place by a button, spring, lever or other device.

Pilum Ballistic Knife

A pilum ballistic knife is defined as any knife with a blade that can be projected from the handle by pushing a button, spring, or other apparatus on the handle of the knife.

Cane Sword

A cane sword is defined as a cane or swagger stick having concealed within it a blade that may be used as a sword or stiletto.

Automatic Knife

The code also provides that an “automatic knife” includes a stiletto, switchblade, gravity knife, cane sword, pilum ballistic knife, or metal knuckle knife.

Gravity Knives

Legal to own and carry as of May 30, 2019.

Dirk Knife

In the case of In re Jesse QQ, the Court found that the defendant’s weapon was a dirk knife under the dangerous weapons statute. The knife had an over-all length of 23/4 inches, a blade the size and shape of an arrowhead, with one edge sharpened and serrated, and the handle was designed so that it fit into the palm of the hand with the blade protruding between the middle fingers.

Exceptions to Illegal Ownership or Carry

It is legal to possess a switchblade or gravity knife, while hunting, trapping, or fishing with a valid hunting and/or fishing license.

Knives Found in a Vehicle

When a gravity knife, switchblade knife, pilum ballistic knife, metal knuckle knife, dagger, dirk, or stiletto is found in a vehicle is presumed to be possessed by all of the occupants of that vehicle, unless it is found on one of the occupants. If the vehicle is one for hire, such as a cab, then the weapon is not presumed to be possessed by the hired driver. While the presumption is rebuttable, meaning a defendant can prove in court that he or she did not intend to use the instrument as a weapon against another. However, you may still be arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, even if the weapon is one that is legal to own.

Conclusion on New York Knife Laws

It is illegal to own a switchblade, pilum ballistic knife, cane sword, or metal knuckle knife in New York.

It is legal to possess a switchblade or gravity knife if using it for hunting, fishing, or trapping, as long as the person possessing it has a valid hunting and/or fishing license.

It is illegal to carry a dirk, dagger, or stiletto with the intent of using it unlawfully against another.

It is legal to own and carry a gravity knife.

New York does not have concealed carry laws, and therefore it is legal to open or conceal carry any legal knife.


  • New York State Senate Article 265
  • People v. Dolson, 530 NYS2d 427 (1987, City Ct)
  • People v Zuniga, 759 NYS2d 86 (2003, App Div, 2d Dept)
  • In re Jesse QQ., 662 NYS2d 851 (1997, 3d Dept)
  • People v. Richards, 869 N.Y.S.2d 731 (2008 N.Y. Misc.)

Peter Stec
Latest posts by Peter Stec (see all)


  1. What about a butterfly knife
    If it’s sharp and if it’s a trainer

  2. Ok this is a bit confusing. It’s illegal to own a switch blade, but you can posses one if your hunting or fishing with a valid fishing or hunting license.

    1. Hey, we don’t make the laws! 🙂 I guess INTENT is everything. Actually, “intent” is the governing principle for lots of states. If you’re an old man in a leisure suit, hunched over drinking a tea in the corner of a diner, you probably won’t get questioned by a cop if you have a sheathed dagger on your belt, but if you’re a cool-looking hoodlum with shades, slicked-back hair and muscles bulging from your tank top, your chances are pretty good that a cop will confront you if you have a small folding knife on your belt.
      I’m just sayin’…

    2. That is the loop hole. The idea is the state wants more money. Go to dicks sporting goods pay 25$ . For a state license. Just make sure you always carry fishing gear with you an know every freshwater lake where you live. Yes sir im going fishing gear is in the back. Lol. New york is a joke. They really dont want you own any knife. If it was up to Cuomo he would ban every knife an cut off the tips to kitchen ones

    3. Got harassed a few times over these ridiculous laws…I’m an electrician….one time the cop had his hand on his pistol because I had put my lighter in my pocket. He yelled out and I put my hands up instantly….now I’m far from clean cut but it was obvious I was a contractor not a ” hoodlum”….all these laws did in NYC was lock up blue collar types an regular Joe’s…the criminals still carried knives guns etc….this was a folding sheetrock knife…not even a blade….idiot was inspecting it trying to flick it open….a Sargent too, I think…had a white shirt on instead of the standard blue….smh

  3. I have a CRKT Provoke, the folding Karambit knife.
    When I go home on leave, I go to the Western New York area (Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Grand Island, etc).

    Should there be any problem with me wearing this knife clipped to my belt in public?

    1. New York laws (as are other states) are not all cut and dried. A karambit is not mentioned specifically in the New York State Statutes, but what’s more important is whether or not you are (or look like you are) ready to do something sketchy or illegal, like attack someone. If not, there’s still a chance you may get questioned about why you have a karambit whose only purpose is to slash another body. If I were you, I’d either carry the Karambit concealed, or I’d open carry a 3.5-inch bladed folding knife to be on the safe side. To make matters more confusing, the city of Buffalo has its own laws that prohibit you from carrying any knives OPENLY on city property.
      I’d just never show my knife to anyone, and then you’ll never get asked about it, and no one will ever complain!

  4. Many years ago, under different circumstances, I was crossing the border into Canada. The US/CBP asked if I had any weapons, and I did have an army bayonet in my truck. I told the agent, who asked to see it. It was contained with several other non-traditional tools including a trenching tool, wrapped together. He passed me, and recommended I NOT remove it while in Canada.

    Returning, at the Canadian side of the crossing, I was asked only the normal questions, but I later discovered they (also) knew of the bayonet since it was recorded by our CBP. It is always best policy to be honest with every border agent.

    After that trip, I removed it from my car.

    I should add, I am former military with a variety of official security, nuclear and crypto-access clearances. These all are present when I travel at any of our border crossings/international airports. Several agents have verified the extent of their records’ accessibility. They only need to ‘read’ a license plate,or id to access information.

  5. Hello are sword canes legal if kept in two pieces without the blade concealed, Kept in two parts in ? Please can some one answer this?

  6. I bought a assasins creed hidden blade stainless steel cosplay toy and it’s not sharp nor does it have a point and it comes out like a ballistic knife is it illegal or legal.

    1. Is the 4 inch restriction on the blade or the whole knife?

    2. Assuming it does not eject completely and become detached from the object it is deployed from, it is not a ballistic knife. Also if it is not sharp or pointed it would i assume not be illegal to use for cosplay

    3. Toys are by definition not a weapon. BUT if it looks real someone may call it in. So that type of thing is best kept at home. If you’re at a private party I doubt anyone will care but I wouldn’t walk down the street with it.

    1. rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6. Firearm is in the belt, Kissing Crane Knife in a pocket, In the few rare places, can;t risk carrying, I have steel pipe made into my Cane.

  7. About karambit or karambit style blade in NYC: it seems they want to make it a serious add-on charge for anyone to use or have a knife of any kind to commit a crime or even to give a cop verbal argument or an evil eye. Great to use against true criminals but easy to abuse (just like resisting arrest) but virtually impossible to defend yourself with more than fingernails. The problem is than anything you can defend yourself with is something you can use to attack someone .

    What’s actually legal to carry in NYC for self-defense??? Unless you can prove self-defense, it seems just as easy to get convicted of a felony if you cut your assailant.

    A pretty minimal but serious defensive weapon is a fixed blade, single-edged Karambit with finger hole, overall length 3.85″ in; blade length:1.20″ in; handle length:3.00″ in; neck knife with sheath. (Max Venom Karambite Last Ditch Neck Knife).

    What’s your advice. Thanks.

    (There have got to be people on the streets with fingernails almost 1.2″ long, put a few coats of nail polishon, sharpen them up and they could those could blind or puncture the jugular.)

    1. Karambits are not specifically mentioned in the law so technically as long as the comply with the length requirement they should be legal (I asked my local police department upstate but the same should apply to the city unless specifically otherwise stated)

  8. Hey Alan;
    Thanks for your questions and comments. To address your questions about legal to carry knives, here are my thoughts; I’m not a big fan of any city/urban center living, least of all NYC. They have their own knife laws that in many cases supersede state laws and the city laws are more strict (presumably to cut down on gang wars??). I also know that perception is everything and if you are found with a camouflaged cutting instrument, you’re bound to have a work colleague squeal on you and have the cops show up. So, the intent is what they’ll look at regardless of its legality on the books. That means they’ll be making a subjective judgment or they’ll take it from you and charge you – depends on the officer.
    Personally, I stay away from cities and/or anything that brings me too close to the line of “legal/illegal”. Unfortunately that’s the world we live in.

  9. What about owning swords.. i oive in Long Island Ny I have like 6 they are for training and possiblly for the zombie apocalypse. They are kept locked up, and I don’t take them outside. Is it legal to own? I have no intention of carrying them so that doesn’t matter??

  10. What if you claim self defense against animals? Like if you were hiking and a wild animal attacked. Or so?eones loose aggressive dog. Is this a legit reason to carry a legal knife?

    1. I’m looking to carry a fixed 5 inch blade knife for hunting. I won’t be carrying it on me other than while I’m hiking in the woods. When I’m driving it will probably be in my backpack. Is this considered to be legal?

      I’m looking to practice bushcrafting skills as a hobby.

    2. As far as I’m concerned it’s legal, and if you don’t have it on except while in the bush, there’s almost no chance anyone will complain and even less chance a cop will have a problem with you!

  11. a green card (permanent resident non cirizen) cannot carry a knife or pepper spray at all in New York state : But they can get a pistol permit??

    1. So let me get this straight, it’s illegal for someone to have a knife in their vehicle because it’s a weapon?! THE CAR ITSELF IS A WEAPON!!! A person can kill more people with a car then they can with a knife. NYS has zero logic and no reason.

    2. Ya, that’s about it huh? In many states, it’s legally easier to carry a gun than a knife! Go figure – logic known only to politicians!

    3. (New York)
      Q1: So open carrying a Bowie knife for self defense can get you arrested?

      Q2: I have a lock blade from field & Stream and the clip broke off. Is it safe to keep in my pocket?

    4. Follow the money. The State gets paid in the gun-buying process. They don’t make any money off of knives. They’re trying to steer people to buy guns so they can secure the bag.

  12. Bottom Line-NY sucks and being it’s one of the largest leftist liberal melting pots of the country, nothing comes easy in the rights of self defense. We live in a world of perps knocking innocent victims out and then posting the vids on social media. Home invasions are all too common. Opiate use and abuse has addicts doing anything and everything to clean you out. Everyone reading this gets the point and I’m not trying to preach to the choir, but let’s do what we have in our power to try and get some of these laws overturned! It’s bad enough knife laws in general are archaic and antiquated!!

    1. I don’t think being a leftist, liberal, progressive or marxist necessarily means one is for taking away all guns and knives. Some may be taking things a bit further than necessary while right-wingers are being obstinately against the slightest reasonable controls. I don’t recall the details of Bernie Sanders’ gun regulation ideas except that he was sensitive to the environment where the weapon would be used. If I lived somewhere really isolated, I might want to have something more than a .22 rifle but in the city? No, I don’t want anyone else having something that can go off, come through my window or wall and kill me.

      Like I said above, it seems NYC’s laws are so restrictive you might as well be prepared to defend yourself with your fingernails. The upside is that anyone who commits a crime with any blade is in deep trouble. Of course you have to catch them and you can’t stop bad guys from breaking the law when their intent is to break some other law. In the mean time you’re lying on the sidewalk.

      People get divided left and right, this and that, pointing at their peers and at each other’s necks when they should be pointing up. Remember this: there’s a lot of pain out there and most of it is psychic; one thing opiates do is very effectively relieve pain and if you’ve ever had major surgery and gotten a morphine button, you can be wondering why you’re in such a good mood until you surgeon reminds you that you’re on morphine. The stuff is not as quickly addictive as nicotine but then nicotine doesn’t relieve pain so it’s attraction is a little more strange. Until a lot more people figure that out, there’ll be a big demand for all kinds of weapons.

      Anyway, don’t want to start a debate, just wanted to offer a different perspective and let you know that there are people on the other side of the spectrum who see the absurdity of some things your end of it object to.

    2. NY is very difficult with it’s self defense laws in terms of what weapons you may carry, however I find the knife laws rather permissive in terms of having a self-defense blade. As a trained Martial Artist I found butterfly knives with the locking mechanism completely disabled to be one of the best tools for my style of self defense because it allows me to more easily change grip to fit the moment, and you don’t need a long blade to fight off an assailant. I’ve open carried legal blades through NYC many times when I was younger and more prone to exploring dangerous parts of the city, and have successfully defended myself from attempted muggings (or worse, who knows?) through skillful application.

      It isn’t possible for everyone to train for that long, but I’ve never had much issue from the police so long as I am polite and informed about the law- having the relevant penal codes and court cases memorized is generally more than enough to have them leave you alone if there is no incident. If there is one, you might have to go to court, but the majority of assailants will generally flee the scene. If you are the one to report the incident you can usually just give relevant information, and they might ask for- or demand your knife if they think it could help find the suspect. If they actually are allowed to demand it would be a matter of (search and) seizure law, which I’m not as familiar with.

      You do have a duty to retreat, however, meaning you have to do your best to flee before defending yourself, unless it is in your home under the “Castle Doctrine”. This is the biggest flaw in the law for me, and the most abusable part of our self defense laws. It means that a cop with a power trip can really press things if they think you could have fled further or better before defending yourself. The positive side is that by law, you still only need to have reasonable fear of being attacked to defend yourself, which means that even if someone is just being very aggressive and in your face with you in a corner you can still fight back to get out of that situation, at least until you are able to flee.

      Also you would be surprised at the number of pain patients maligned as opiate abusers. I just recently was tortured and held against my will in Huntington Hospital because one of the doctors apparently believed me to be an opioid addict because of a genetically caused high resistance to the analgesic effects of opioids. So despite begging for any other method of pain treatment- to the point of bringing in my medical marijuana (taken to avoid opioids)- they refused to take me off, and then after they found out that I was recording them, when I started overdosing, they tried giving me a fentanyl patch while telling me that I was only making things worse for myself and to stop faking it. You know, instead of administering the otherwise harmless Narcon that would reverse the symptoms I was displaying, all while implying they would help if I just did so. Because if I said I was faking things that would let them excuse their behaviour, ignoring my World Leading Specialist Certified diagnosis of a rare genetic disease in favor of their bs psych diagnosis of “factitious disorder and somatic disorder”, which was made without considering the diagnostic criteria and has been disavowed by my other doctors. I’m currently trying to get a civil rights lawyer for the case because I can’t get any government organization to actually investigate the crime, even though I called the police to report unlawful imprisonment and related crimes multiple times. The hospital also failed to inform Mental Hygiene services, which they are legally required to do for any stay longer than 7 days during which there has been a psychiatric consult, showing that they had intent to disrupt the course of justice.

      So, yeah, opiate abuse is a serious problem, but it’s really not as much on the addicts as the doctors that make them. I was sent home with no titration support despite my insanely high opiate dosing, which lead me to having severe withdrawal without any assistance. At least not without going to a clinic and saying that I have a substance abuse disorder, which going by the fact that I got through the withdrawal without taking any opioids despite access to them at home (Tramadol for breakthrough pain, rarely taken because I hate opioids), I would say is highly unlikely. I ended up finding a doctor I have to pay for out-of-pocket who would prescribe me low dose naltrexone (a dose unsuitable for preventing opioid cravings, but still keeps opioids from having a practical effect on the system, so the worst possible option for an addict) as a pain management treatment because it’s not only shown to be far more effective and safer than opioids in my disease, but because this dosing will prevent a hospital from being able to administer me opioids if I ever am forcibly taken to one. I refuse to be a patient in one since then, since after countless other lesser hospital maltreatment/malpractice experiences, it’s obvious that hospitals are a bigger danger to my health than avoiding them at all possible costs, even death. I would have to be unconscious to be admitted to one willingly at this point.

      Seriously, take a look at the protections doctors have against criminal charges- they can’t be charged for them in a civil case except through torte, which means victimized patients have to pay thousands of dollars for retainer fees and more if they want to see their assailant brought to justice. That, or make written reports to various faceless entities and vaguely hope that your attacker is actually investigated, because it seems no one wants all the hours of recordings we have proving that they lied in the medical records, so it’s pretty likely that nothing will happen, and you will never find out either way. So you have to live in fear not only of the doctor that victimized you still practicing, maybe in the only nearby hospital you currently have access to, and all the other doctors that might do the same with no repercussions because the disabled are also the poorest and least likely to afford these kinds of lawsuits.

      Even the constitution says “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” And yet here we have evidence NY has gotten away with just that.

      So yeah, NY sucks.

    3. Addendum: Our gun laws are the real mess in terms of weapon restriction laws.

    1. Hey Brandon;
      New York is a bit confusing with various districts (especially NYC) having a whole variety of different carry laws. It seems that 4″ is the length to stay under in order to not attract unwanted attention. In my opinion, I’d say that carrying any knife over 4″ will get you questioned by police if not arrested. I’m not overly familiar with all regional knife laws in all states, so I cannot give you “official” advice. That can only come from a legal professional in the state of New York.
      Thanks for the question,

    2. Are tanto knives that have a blade length of 3 in or less legal to carry in NYC?

    3. Can I carry a a knife under 4 inches in NYC if I have a valid fishing license?

    4. Upstate New York is guided by the NYS Penal Law as opposed to whatever special laws New York City imposed on itself. There is no mention of blade length anywhere within the penal law – nowhere. So to directly answer your question: Yes. You can carry a 12″ fixed blade in upstate.

    5. In New York State it is legal to carry but with a valid reason, anything other than hunting fishing and trapping will be seen as something not reasonable and the knife will most likely be confiscated and you will be fined, any knife with reasonable length (4 inches) can also be claimed to be used as an edc, utility, hunting and trapping, and fishing knife and you’ll be off the hook if the officers a good guy.

  13. Is it legal to own a 5 1/4 inch blade dagger? I saw it on Amazon and I just wondering if it’s ok to carry it around in New York?

  14. It’s illegalto carry a sword, or katana, around as oart of your Holloween costume, pursuant to New York STATE law:

    D. The provisions of subdivisions b and c of this sections shall not apply to (1) persons in the military service on the state of New York when duly authorized to carry or display knives pursuant to regulations issued by the chief of stall to the governor; (2) police officers and peace officers as defined in the criminal procedure law; (3) participants in special events when authorized by the police commissioner (4) persons on the military or other service of the United States, in pursuit of official duty authorized by federal law; or (5) any person displaying or in possession of a knife otherwise in violation of this section when such a knife (a) is being used for or transported immediately to or from a place where it is used for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, picnicking or any employment, trade or occupation customarily requiring the use of such knife; or (b) is displayed or carried by a member of a theatrical group, drill team, military or para military unit or veterans organization, to from or during a meeting, parade or other performance or practice for such event, which customarily requires the carrying of suck knife or (c) is being transported directly to or from a place of purchase in such a manner as not to allow easy access to such knife while it is transported; or (d) is displayed or carried by a duly enrolled member of the Boy or Girl scouts of America or similar organization or society and such display or possession is necessary to participate in the activities of such organization or society.

  15. How about a tomahawk? I’ve been carrying it since there are no true definitions against or for it

  16. I got ticketed for a gravity knife in Manhattan, your going to have to go to court over it for months and it will eventually get thrown out. The cops are looking to arrest people, and your lucky number got picked. I had to do community service in Harlem for two weekends, but nothing on my record for a weapons charge. NYC is weird, I always feel like I’m in a meat grinder when I do anything having to do with civil service employees.

    1. Sounds like you had a very good lawyer. Love to have his name and/or Tel # in my address book.

      Thx in advance.

      Boxnoiv (at) gmail dot com

  17. Can i carry an OTF on me while hunting? This is in upstate on private land with a valid hunting licence. It says switchblades are illegal to own but also says they can be carried with a valid hunting licence. Which is it?

    1. You can carry a switchblade when hunting upstate with a valid NYS DEC issued hunting license. The question is who in hell carries a switchblade for hunting when it’s completely legal to carry a fixed blade of any size on your belt.

  18. Ok so I have a katana, or like 3 it doesn’t go into specifics about swords which is what I am looking for. Me and my friends are looking to dress up for Halloween and some parties they are all sharp and ready to use, we will be carrying them open and in plain sight but I’m afraid of having them seized. Can anyone give me either a reference page or confirm if it’s legal to open carry?

    1. I have used a switchblade while hunting as I could carry it in a pocket and open it with gloves on don’t need a big knife for hunting a little 2.5-inch blade is fine

  19. Recently ticketed for “possession of knife” by NYPD in Manhattan and wondering if anyone can help me out. The knife in question is less than three inches; a folding pocket knife.

    I was walking home, with the knife clipped on my pocket (only the clip was visible) when an officer yelled at me to stop and proceeded to harass me about the knife until taking it from me and ticketing me. When he asked why I was carrying a knife I told him I’d recently moved and have been using it mostly to open boxes. He got in my face about first the “problematic” neighborhood I live in (Harlem) and then being unemployed, neither or which have anything to do with guilt or innocence. I have to appear in court next month and while I’m not pleased with NYPD right now, I’m looking for advice on getting through court.

    The cop told me I could just mail the ticket in and pay the fine, but that’s not true, the back of ticket says I have to appear either way. I just want to get through court without going to jail for this but I don’t know how to plead, I’ve never been to court before. Is it better to just plead guilty and pay the fine or will I be given a chance to explain? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. I’m sure since you wrote this question in 2016 your case is over with. I’d love to know the outcome of your case.
      I am a retired New York city Police officer and since the knife was less than 4″ long he had no business locking you up ULESS, it was a switchblade, or gravity knife. Size only matters if everything else is legal.

  20. so just to recap…. it is legal to own any knife locked in the garage in a metal box secured with a pad lock you don’t have a key to. Or It is legal to own any size knife stuck to the hilt in your kidneys as you bleed out.

  21. I am a bladesmith and i would like to know do knife laws also include hand forged knives and would a double edged fixed-blade karambit be legal or no???

  22. would it be legal to carry a karambit style 4 in fixed blade on your person in NY for self defense?

    1. Yes to the size (cops will still hassle you, know your rights and know when to back down), but the minute you say it’s for “self defense” you’ve admitted its purpose is unlawful intent. I still to non offensive looking blades. An Opinel is my go to EDC, because they don’t look menacing at all.

    2. The guy (richgone) that said, “once you said you have the knife for self-defense you’re in trouble ” Has NO IDEA WHAT HE IS SAYING!!
      Self-defense is a 100% REAL REASON and totally legal. I’VE been a New York City Police officer since 1981 (I am not including my current rank or position in the department.
      Needless to say, there are certain crimes you may kill another person for self-defense: MURDER, RAPE, ROBBERY, ETC. just to name a few. OR, Maybe you should tell the person about to kill you, go ahead and kill me, I can’t pick up the metal pipe on the floor and split your head open. I’m only a single mother of 6 children and you’re a career criminal, of course, I should lay down and die for you and after you steal my cell phone, you can rape my dead body.
      Does that sound even a little normal?? People that think they know the law are dangerous and will only get you in trouble. Everyone has heard of self-defense as an absolute defense against any and all charges when you’re attacked or fear attacks. IT ALSO DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN WEAR A KKK WHITE ROBE and go on an offensive rampage. Self-defense is just that – DEFENSE – from imminent danger!

    3. I just sold and mailed an antique hunting knife to someone in New York. Am I going to get in trouble? I didn’t know until reading this article that the laws there would be a problem.

  23. Actually the laws should be amended to read that criminal or malicious intent need to be proven, not just the mere fact that you have a knife (folding or otherwise) is cause for arrest. Its one thing to have it clipped to your pocket its another matter if it’s out and open and your brandishing it at someone.

    1. I carried an Opinel knife into 60 Chambers st a courthouse in NYC. I told the officer I had a knife going through security he told me to check it. The officer at the check-in desk goes an Opinel good knife, good price lasts a long time. I had the knife returned to me when I left the building. Opinel knives really don’t flick open at least mine doesn’t so it wouldn’t be considered a weapon from what I read.

  24. i grew up in “hells kitchen” 47th st and 10th ave, carrying a knife? hell i had a zip gun at 13 years old, not that i used either my switch blade or the zip gun, which is a 22cal pistol,, after being arrested for some stupid kid stuff at age 15
    (tryed to steal aq six pack “o” budweiser the owner caught me and my friend, christ now that i think of it he could have killed our skinny asse”s he was a “huge german dude an his sausage delivery guy was bigger than him, anyways i believe all of us on the street knew a 3inch blade was it any longer an you could get busted now just for thy record
    i joined the Air Force at age 17 and became an Aircraft Mechanic,ended up running a major Airline.high school ged and all :). to end my story on-line here all i say izz fuk em if they cant take a joke:) adios .bob nyc

  25. is a knife over 1 foot over and a 7 inch blade concealed carry illegal? specificly the kabar becker bk7

  26. I have a mini balisong that is from blade to handle end less than 3.5 inches think I would get hassled in NYC ?

  27. Is it legal to own [not carry, just own] a Cold Steel Marauder in the area around Binghamton, NY?
    Actually, is it legal to own any Cold Steel knives at all in NY?

    1. Yes it is perfectly legal to own a marauder or any cold steel knife as long as it is single edged and not intended for use as a weapon, but for utility use… Though the marauder looks menacing and would advise carrying it, you could easily get away with calling it a displey knife and you would be fine, I live near binghamton and I have read through the laws. You would be fine, legally it is allowed because there is no length limits in NY except NYC

    1. Bali Song is completely legal to own. There have been 2 or 3 court cases of case law regarding the centrifugal or centripetal force do not constitute an automatic knife in this case because the blade does not automatically lock upon opening (you hold it then slide the lever to lock. Still, I don’t recommend unless bucking hunting or fishing as police will still consider it an automatic knife and give you the run through with the judges etc.. Also, I would look into the lifetime fishing license to avoid gaps in coverage for the ownership of the knife.

  28. This is not accurate. I have been ticketed for having a “knife in public view”. It was actually the kershaw cryo in the link for hunting knives. So no, open carry is not legal. Don’t use a clip. If the knife is too big to stick in your pocket, don’t carry it in NYC. Bags are subject to search at any time and a blade over 3″ long is illegal

  29. Questions
    1. I live in ny and I want a knife only for pure self defence since I live alone with my mom. Planning on getting a knife but is 3 in blade legal? Overall length is 9’5 including like screwdriver and etc ( kind of all in one tatical utility tool )
    2. It has something called ” blade flipper ” is that legal also??

    1. If its a multitool its probably fine. If its in your home, its probably fine. If you keep it hidden in your pocket, its probably fine. Just don’t clip it to your pants. If the blade is over 3″ its technically illegal but stop and frisk was banned by DeBlasio so just keep it in your pocket, out of sight. Just don’t put it in a bag, those are subject to search (and I see searches all the time)

      My knife had a nub on the back of the blade that made it easier to open. When I was ticketed for open carry, the cop wasn’t bothered by that at all despite spending thirty minutes trying to flick it open to see if it was a gravity knife so he could arrest me. If thats a flipper then its definitely fine.

    2. i also live in ny w my mother & alsl interested in carrying a legal knife for protection. did you get any good replys to your (knife) question?

  30. Bottom line is stay out of the “Rotten Apple’ spend your money elsewhere . NYC is an over priced socialist hole that is an aging corporate file cabinet . The computer has made the city redundant . Online shopping, decentralized computer systems and rapid delivery systems have made NYC a candidate in the “Who wants to end up like Detroit contest”. I don’t even fly over the place.

    1. As a lifelong New Yorker, I totally agree. New York City sucks.

    2. Yes, indeed NYC is gone! The land is here. But, it’s no longer New York City. I was born and bred in Manhattan since 1968, the 1980’s were my Heyday. I loved the illicit freedom we once had. I liked the holes in various buildings that you could put $3 in and out came a Tre’ Bag of weed. I loved that the cops didn’t care if you walked down the street with an open bottle of beer. Not, NYC is sterilized, commercialized and Disney like. It blows chunks! Back in the 80’s, every time I left my apartment, there was always some sort of adventure. Now, NYC is beat! It’s like copping a dummy.

  31. I spent many years riding a full dress Harley Davidson until a hit and run accident broke my back in two places and limited my riding to local only.
    I have had numerous opportunities to observe the Hells Angels, Pagans, Banditos and Outlaws motorcycle clubs in action. Being that many of them are convicted felons both guns and knives are out of the question as defensive weapons for these guys. I wonder how New York City handles these guys weapon of choice? A hefty ball hammer “open carried” is probably considered a tool and not a weapon??? One thing for sure, it can do some serious damage when you most need it. Does anyone know the local law on this one???

    1. As far as I know, a hammer can be considered a bludgeoning weapon if there is intent to use it as such. A lot of law enforcement in NYC is based on profiling so I think motorcycle clubs might not get the benefit of the doubt.

  32. i got a sword. not a cane sword. its a walking stick sword. it comes a black bag. i want to know will the cops hall me in jail i walking around with is for self defense only. if i do talk to the judge, i will say say to him its only for self defense and in new york law no cane sword. its a walking stick sword

    1. Sorry Mel if you caught in NY. Essecialy walking around the street With,that your going to jail! For sure. I’ll chipp in for the vaseline though..hey..just carry a regular walking stick-cane. Great for self defence .the hooked came great for trapping moves ..also hook perps.leg pull out from under him..cold steel makes some nice walking self D sticks !! One looks like a sheleighlie. They demo it smashing a water melon to bits…

    2. my best bet is a short sword. i hate carry little blade. am that good with a swords.

    3. so that means i can have it but i cant walk around with it. if i do walk around with it me going to the store and come back home, it have to be in my book bag.

    4. No can’t even have in your book bag..not in your car….keep it in your home that’s about it bring it out of your home ..caught YouR busted..fine & jail time…..

    5. Mel…Buddy. Do we honestly have to tell you that you cant walk around the city with a Zatoichi sword?! Please don’t.
      I’ve have that same sword for many years. There is no doubt it is a weapon to anyone that see’s it. This isnt 1835 Tokyo, this in NY man. Maybe you could get away with it during Comic Con week but even then your pushing your luck.

    6. I’ll just say it Mel. You sound like a complete moron. No shit you can’t walk around with a fucking katana

  33. So I am a hunter trapper and fisher and I have all the required licenses does that make it legal to carry a gravity knife all the time or just when I’m in the woods. Also why is the law this way

    1. what is the encon number for that carry regulation I have and carry automatic blades and never leave home without one have probably 20 of this type

    1. yes it is. Sorry Mr. Pootis, i am going through this now. It is considered a metal knuckle knife because of the finger hole. It is an absurd interpretation of the law.

    1. I believe that I read a blade less than 4 inches unless a smaller blade is carried “open carry”. There is even a photo showing a smaller blade clipped to the outside of pants pocket. I also read that the blade does not have to show. Just the clip is grounds for arrest I believe? Please correct me if I read wrong.

    2. You are right Denis! Its freaking unbealievable in NYC you can be arrested for your pocket knife clip showing!! NYC. First letter stands for Nazi!! Few years back Blooming Idiot(Bloomberg) had his Nazi thuggs raid Home Depots & hardware stores in the 5 burroghs & confiscate all one handed opening. Knives …even the ones with utility blades !! I thought the 2nd amend states ARMS which are guns & knives protected!!this country becoming Nazi state

  34. I was wondering if anyone knows if it’s legal to own a karambit in nyc. I wouldn’t know what knife they would classify it as.

    1. yes it is illegal, the ones with a finger hole are considered “Metal Knuckle Knives”. the definition is if it can be used as a brass knuckle and a knife at the same time. When closed it is just considered brass knuckles which also are a felony. This law is NYS penal code and not just NYC

  35. Good to read all these warnings about NYC. I’ll be traveling there recently and didn’t realize they were quite this strict. I usually carry a decent sized knife with a pocket clip as well as one on my keychain, both of which have locking blades of 3″ or more. Gonna have to find something smaller and not locking to carry with me, I guess.

    1. Actually, it needs to be locking. Not the other way around. The fact that the blade was manually locked, was the only way that the guy with the “butterfly knife” was able to beat the charges. If you go get something that doesn’t lock, your asking for trouble.

    2. I carry when I visit NYC a small 1-1/2 inch old timer. In my pocket..&,tiny key chain Swiss army 1″ with scisors ,toothpick Etc……small mace 10% allowed..(supposed to be bought in a pharmacy,but I tell them bought 2 years ago don’t have receipt)

  36. Thanks for the warning Russell, NYPD has gone absolutely nuts, I guess I’ll leave my S&W lock-back at home when I go…Argh, I feel naked without it.

  37. yep 3 years ago i got harassed and jailed in NYC for possession of a weapon they attempted to give me a (D) felony for it, claimed it was a gravity knife, it was a regular tactical folder. alas i took them to the grand jury they lose i win. plus i got an apology from the Judge for the inconvenience. They must of thought i was just some cheep street chump who could not read. just do like they say keep ya knife in ya pocket, and hope u don’t get illegally searched. i will not go with out a knife i have 1 for every pair of shoes i own they match em n i love knives. Getting my knife back is a whole other story it took months and the jailhouse lawyers manual. but it was mine and i was innocent so it was worth every “fn” bit

    1. You definitely type like some CHEAP (not “cheep”) street chump who can not read.

    2. Ohhh, you’re obviously so much better than him because you use perfect grammar on the Internet. It’s called being a “Grammar Nazi,” just in case you old timers aren’t “in with the times.”

    3. I suppose you are the “Pope,” and boss of all those that use the English language. You should find something to do with yourself, as it is obvious you have a predisposition for power, and control.

    4. People find the stupidest things to argue about on the internet.

    5. I used to be an arrogant, AP English grammar Nazi. Then I grew up and realized that whether or not someone conforms to every rule of the English language isn’t nencessarily related to their intelligence.

      Like NYC PIZZA RAT said, he won his case and got his property back.

    6. exactly. comments are typed in a hurry and unlike somebody writing a book or a print article, we don’t have an army of proofreaders editing us. as long as the point is clear.

    7. GlaD you won ,but must have cost you legal fees ,time ,& HASSLE… NYC is Nazi town.
      Ashame in this day & AGE we must deal with this ..2nd amend& Bill of Rights was supposed to protect us against this tyranny..

    1. If walking in NYC (Nazi land) with. 4 or 5 get caught going to jail

    2. What about in places like upstate New York or on Long Island, are there any length restrictions there?

    3. I’m not sure but a officer complemented me on my hip mounted fixed blade when I took it out to cut open a box of 12 gauge shells. I assume as long as you stay within reason and the more common laws you can carry mostly anything.

      I personally run a 4 inch Spyderco folder and a fixed blade everyday here on LI. I’ve never had a problem…But I really don’t know…I just carry what I want within reason. I don’t go around with a KA-BAR on my hip but I do pack steel, mostly partially concealed or fully concealed carry. I sometimes even carry the comically large Cold Steel Voyager XL 12 inch folding knife…I think that’s pushing it a little though. Imo the Ontario RAT is a perfect NYC knife. 3.5inch blade (imo anything under 3.5 isnt really a tactical blade unless its a karambit or has a long handle.), solid lockup that will never fail the the stupid flick test (tested), and its around 25 dollars on Amazon so you wont care that much if its confiscated. One of the highest value knives around.

  38. In NYC practically all locking pocket knives are considered (incorrectly) “gravity knives”. If a police officer can open it by repeatedly flicking it with all his strength, you will be arrested. This has been SO prevalent lately, that defense lawyers specialize in this area. I am a law abiding citizen with no prior arrests, and was recently arrested and jailed for 7 hours for carrying a pocket knife with a less than 3in blade (small sebenza 21) which was ofcourse confiscated. I now have to go back to NYC in February to appear in court.. I had no idea I was violating any laws. If you’re going to NYC, leave your knife at home or beware. -I still can’t believe what this is costing me. (Look up gravity knife and NYC)

    1. NYC the worst. I carry a tiny Swiss army keychain knife 1″ blade

    2. Not to a Nazi , grammar or otherwise. I can say from lots of personal experience that 7 hours is barley jailed by NYC standard. That was more of a delay or layover. I was in the tombs (center st. holding to see the judge) Friday-Sun, they run Judges all night on the weekends they’re so backed up. Anyway, not the point. I met a man parked in a Red Zone (high crime area) He was in his company van (rug installer) had a folding razor on his took tool belt aka A FUKIN RUG CUTTER and the police officer deemed it a gravity knife.
      It gets worse… Since this man had a felloney 9 YEARS PRIOR the arrest held up and we shared a bus to Rikers that evening. Had I not been in the court room and heard this explained to the Judge with my own 2 ears, I don’t think I really would have believed the man that their wasn’t more to the story. Also company van towed, job lost and from the tears I saw on the phone call home a very unhappy wife.
      Bottom line the first thing I do before putting my foot on the bus is unclip mine and put in down into my pocket. And for the ones that say just leave it home, I say take a look.

  39. In NYS in general, it should not be illegal to open carry a 2-3 inch Swiss army knife tool, as long as the blade does not “lock” into position. In NYC, however, even if the blade does not lock, any police officer can arrest you or issue a summons, which you would then have to fight in court. So, bottom line, don’t open carry any knife. If you get stopped and frisked, though, again, you’ll be busted. So, any time you carry any knife in NYC, you’re risking arrest and a criminal record which will follow you around for the rest of your life, even if you’re eventually found “not guilty” after trial.

  40. In New York State, are we allowed to carry in open (on key chain) a small (2 or 3 inch) swiss army knife tool? My son had his taken away and we don’t believe this had legal standing.

    1. I don’t know your sons AGE?..,but They probably had no legal grounds to confiscate.your sons knife ,but they pretty much do what they want & interpret the law How they want ! They know ….what are you going to DO about it? Hire a lawyer & spend thousands of $$$$ to get back a $15-$25 knife??? They know they can abuse the law & You will be happy that your son wasn’t arrested!!

  41. I was ticketed in NYC subway system for carrying a legal knife, under 3″ in blade length, not assisted open, just a regular fold out pocket knife requiring 2 hands to open. The pocket clip was in view, as the knife was inside my pocket.

    Police officer illegally seized the knife by sneaking up on me from behind and removing it from my pocket without my permission while asking, “what’s this?” I calmly responded to her that it’s a pocket knife, and inquired if it was illegal. She told me initially that having a blade over 3″ is illegal, and I pointed out that it was not. She then said that carrying a knife in plain view is against the law, and asked me why I had it. I told her I use it for work, and she asked me if I was in “the union”. Puzzled, I responded No, not understanding what bearing any union affiliation would have with my having a knife for work. She wrote me a ticket, and when I asked her for the knife back, she would not return it.

    I went to court, and the judge told me that while it was technically illegal, it sounded arcane and unnecessary to have charged me. But rather than throwing it out, he forced me to plead. Not Guilty would have required a trial, and Guilty was a $100 fine. I pled guilty.

    Bottom line, everything is a racket in NYC. Just conceal your knife and they’ll never know you have it. Unless you get stopped and frisked.

    1. yeah I noticed nyc laws are vastly different from the rest of the state. I walk around with a kbar on my belt all the time. I live in Rochester. I have it in plane view too. havnt been stopped yet, (knock on wood). but ny state doesn’t have a length limit on blades. and I take it every where, the mall, the grocery store, theres hardly a time I don’t have it.

  42. This is great. At times I’d walk with a sheathed (hanging from belt) bowie and BEFORE doing it I asked a cop if I were looking for trouble. His answer was, “So long as you don’t take it out. Brandishing it could be interpreted as menacing.” He further explained that if I were to be involved in an altercation or crime that having it on my possession would NOT be a good thing. Therefore, use caution, Maybe even better, leave the big stuff at home unless it’s boxed and being transported for an explainable reason. Once you’re viewed as a “perp” then I’d guess anything on you can be viewed as a weapon with intent to cause harm. Just my take on this guys.

  43. A bit more restrictive in New York City

    Blade Length

    The laws of New York City prohibit individuals from possessing any knife with a blade of four inches or more. Pocketknives with smaller blades are legal to own and carry.

    Open Carrying

    The city prohibits people from carrying a knife in plain view or wearing a knife outside of one’s clothing unless they are using the knife for a legally permissible purpose.


    Persons in the military service of New York State or the federal government, police and peace officers, participants in special events who have permission from the police commissioner, emergency medical technicians or ambulance drivers performing their duties, and members of a theatrical group, military group, veterans organization, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts or similar groups who are participating in an activity that usually requires carrying a knife are all allowed to possess and carry knives that would normally violate the law.

    In addition, if someone is traveling directly to or from an activity that requires a knife, such as hunting, camping or picnicking, carrying a knife is permitted.

    1. I better where a girl scout uniform. When carrying my knif in NYC..I’ll tell um I’m Katlin Jenner

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