Amerian flag with knife

Oklahoma Knife Laws


Oklahoma knife laws are short and to the point, but it can be difficult to determine exactly what is legal and what is not, as the legislature appears to have left much of the interpretation of the law up to the Courts, failing to provide needed definitions and details. The Court, too seems to avoid defining anything, so that people can figure out what is a crime and what is not. This article explains both the statutes and the case law so that anyone can understand what is legal and what is not when it comes to owning and carrying knives in Oklahoma.

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knives
  • It is legal to own a bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a switchblade or gravity knife
  • It is legal to own a sword cane
  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife as well as Balisong trainers
  • It is legal to own a stiletto

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is not illegal to own any kind of knife in Oklahoma.

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to conceal or open carry any “offensive weapon”.  It is notable that “offensive weapons” can include items such as machetes or tomahawks though they are not specified.  Discretion is called for in such instances since the law is a bit vague on the full definition of “offensive weapons”.

As the no carry law states that it is illegal to carry a weapon, “upon or about” the person, Oklahoma’s no carry law extends to items carried in a vehicle, not just on a person.

What the Law States

§21-1272.  Unlawful carry


A.  It shall be unlawful for any person to carry upon or about his or her person, or in a purse or other container belonging to the person, any pistol, revolver, shotgun or rifle whether loaded or unloaded or any blackjack, loaded cane, billy, hand chain, metal knuckles, or any other offensive weapon, whether such weapon be concealed or unconcealed, except this section shall not prohibit:

1. The proper use of guns and knives for hunting, fishing, educational or recreational purposes;

2. The carrying or use of weapons in a manner otherwise permitted by statute or authorized by the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act;

3. The carrying, possession and use of any weapon by a peace officer or other person authorized by law to carry a weapon in the performance of official duties and in compliance with the rules of the employing agency;

4. The carrying or use of weapons in a courthouse by a district judge, associate district judge or special district judge within this state, who is in possession of a valid handgun license issued pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act and whose name appears on a list maintained by the Administrative Director of the Courts; or

5. The carrying and use of firearms and other weapons provided in this subsection when used for the purpose of living history reenactment. For purposes of this paragraph, “living history reenactment” means depiction of historical characters, scenes, historical life or events for entertainment, education, or historical documentation through the wearing or use of period, historical, antique or vintage clothing, accessories, firearms, weapons, and other implements of the historical period.

Definition of Offensive Weapon

In Beeler v. State, the Court said that some weapons are so dangerous and deadly, that the Court may declare them to be offensive weapons as a matter of law. It also stated, that when making this determination, trial Judges should consider whether the weapon was designed for combat and capable of producing death.

Intent to Carry a Weapon

Although the legislature did not make “knowingly” a part of the law which makes it illegal to carry a weapon, the Court, in Williams v. State, found that criminal intent is an element of all crimes, and therefore, one cannot be convicted of a carrying a weapon when he or she is unaware that they are carrying one. For example, as in the case of a weapon concealed in a vehicle, which is driven by someone other than the owner who placed the weapon there. In the case of Dear v. State, Mr. Dear was pulled over driving a vehicle that did not belong to him. The arresting officer found two pairs of spiked metal knuckles in the car, which Mr. Dear said did not belong to him. He was convicted of unlawfully carrying a weapon and appealed his conviction. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma found that the legislature did not intend to punish those who had no guilty intent or knowledge, and reversed Mr. Dear’s conviction.

Exceptions to No Carry Law

The no carry law does not apply to those who are properly carrying and using a knife while hunting, fishing, or participating in a recreational or educational activity. It also does not apply to those carrying a knife for a live history reenactment event.

Penalties for Unlawful Carry of a Weapon

A first conviction for the unlawful carry of a weapon is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of between one hundred dollars ($100) and two hundred fifty dollars ($250) and up to 30 days in jail. A second or subsequent conviction under the unlawful carry law carries a penalty of a fine between two hundred fifty dollars ($250) and five hundred dollars ($500) and between 30 days and 3 months in jail.

Definitions of Various Types of Knives

Oklahoma does not offer any definitions of any types of knives, in either its statutory code nor its case law.

Conclusion on Oklahoma Law

It is legal to own any type of knife in Oklahoma.

Because the term “dangerous weapon” is vague, it may be good practice to only carry large knives (axes, tomahawks, etc.) in Oklahoma when participating in a sporting or reenactment event where the carrying of a knife is not illegal.


  • 21 Okl. St. § 1272 (2013)
  • 21 Okl. St. § 1276 (2013)
  • Beeler v. State, 334 P.2d 799 (Okl.Cr. 1959)
  • Williams v. State, 565 P.2d 46 (Okla.Crim.App. 1977)
  • Dear v. State, 773 P.2d 760 (Okla. Crim. App. 1989)

*updated July 3, 2018


  1. I am moving to Oklahoma. My belongings are in my car which include a machete. Packed in the trunk, am I legal? The more I bury it into my luggage, to prove I am not planning on using it on my trip, the more it will look like I am trying to conceal it. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thank you.

  2. I ride motorcycles everywhere in the state. Other organizations like to start crap cause I ride independent. Is it lawful for me to open carry my Bowie knife for self defenses purposes.

  3. Is it illegal to carry a knife/sword bought as a christmas gift if it is still in the box and wrapped up?

    1. Typically a sword is considered safe if it is properly bound and packaged (not ready to use at a moment’s notice), and most decent police officers won’t hassle you if you somehow get pulled over and a gift box is found in your trunk. Having said that, it’s a gray area where you could technically get in trouble by an officer with an attitude and a conflictive spirit. That’s just my opinion and does not constitute legal advice officially.
      Hey, I say just drive carefully and don’t give anybody any reason to pull you over and you’re good to go!
      thanks for checking out our blog!

    1. Hey Matt;
      Good question. The reason that is not directly addressed in my article is that it is not 100% clear in Oklahoma statutes. Things that make it unclear would be the issue of “intent”. If an officer catches you with the knife, you’ll have to explain your intent. Did you intend to attack someone? Were you carrying it in a dark alley at night? That would be suspicious, so you’d probably be in some trouble. I also would not suggest carrying it just for fun to a shopping mall or public place, restaurant, etc. If a cop sees it on you, he can only assume you’re up to no good. Having said all this, I’m not a lawyer, so ultimately, you can get your final answer from a legal professional in the State of Oklahoma. Thanks for reading!

  4. I have (2) high quality fixed blade knives adorned with Silver and Gold that I use to eat my steaks at home. One has a single edge blade 5 & 9/16th and a total length of 10 and 5/8th inches. I had this knife custom built using a bulls horn as a handle. I open carry this knife while taking my dog for a walk. I have had my Emotional Support Dog for 7 years and in that time she has been attacked by 2 mean 90 pound pit bull 3 time.
    I carry it for self defense! Is this legal in rural Oklahomq?

    1. Hey Ivan;
      As I read the law, it appears that you can carry those knives (one would be better than two) if you fit within the boundaries of the “Oklahoma Self-Defense Act”. You could Google those details to see if you comply. Also, I’m not a lawyer so you can’t take my word as final – you’d need to consult a licensed legal professional in the state of Oklahoma.

    2. I carry a folding pocket knife with a 4 and a half inch blade and I am planning on moving to Oklahoma I carry it everyday as my utility /defensive knife can I carry it and if I had to use it in a self defense matter would it be legal to have on me

  5. Yes it is illegal to carry a Katana, as I have one it sucks can’t take it anywhere. XD

  6. Is it legal to carry a machete on your back or side while fishing? If so can you carry on state lakes and city lakes?

  7. oklahoma is dumb , the government needs to undererstand edc purposes , my friend was caught carrying automatics that cost him a lot mainly because his house was recently robbed , but his knifes got confiscated by a officer that pulled up
    , would you not kill someone with a kitchen knife rather than a 80 dollar 3.5 inch knife

  8. This is a silly question I’m sure but would anyone happen to know if it is illegal to carry a sword namely a Katana as i am a practitioner of Japanese swordsmanship in martial arts,so it is a large part of my everyday life I’m hoping it’s not as it would be much more convenient to be able to keep it with me if for no other reason than defence purposes. Thank you very much for the help

    1. I practice Tang Soo Do and I carry my chucks all the time. I’m sure if you are going in for training (being a recreational activity) that would not be a problem. I would be sure to remove it from your vehicle when not traveling to and from the dojo. I would think it would be illegal to carry a katana into Walmart or a restaurant.

  9. Does running constitute a “recreational activitiy”? I regularly get
    stray dogs coming up to me while on long runs, and I want to have a
    fixed blade open-carried while on runs. Thoughts?

  10. HB 1911 (effective November 1, 2015) amends Title 21 O.S. § 1272 (unlawful
    carry). The phrase ‘switchblade knife’ and the phrase ‘knife having a blade
    which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other
    device in the handle of the knife’ are removed from the statute. The practical
    effect is that, as of the effective date, it is not generally a crime to carry a
    switchblade knife.

    1. so they made switchblades legal, but didn’t make “spring-type knife” (so spring assist I assume) legal?

  11. would it be legal to carry a 8″ karambit with a 4″ inch blade in oklahoma

  12. I personnally like to carry a Mora with a 4.2″ blade. The thing is inexpensive, so if it is confiscated i won’t cry to much. It is very non-threatening, unlike many of the tactical knives out there, heck, it looks like a pairing knife. It”s sharp and long enough to cut and julienne the femoral or axillary artery if needed.

    1. I carry the Morakniv bushcraft. Well under $100. It’s 4.3″ blade, max. Typically keep it in my belt and the sheath in my front pocket. Police have seen it when I go into convenience stores. Nobody gave me any issues. One just asked what kind I had.

    1. It’s a 100-250 dollar fine and/or up to 30 days in jail for the first offense.

  13. would I get in trouble for the KA-BAR I carry in my fishing tackle box or the Ontario survival knife that is on me while I am hunting? even if I am going to or coming from my hunting/fishing site.

    1. the law does say KA-BARs are illegal , I have a USMC KA-BAR that I can not carry and the laws are so vague and convoluted no one can truly understand them . one thing is clear if you carry a Knife you do so at your own risk and the cops are never going to be on your side nor will the Courts its all about the money from fines and an excuse to take away your rights

    2. Michael is right in that the law is very vague and open to interpretation. The law doesn’t specifically call out Ka-Bar the company or the USMC knife itself. I’ve seen two men in my lifetime carrying a USMC (I assume Ka-Bar however the design is highly copied by other companies) on two different occassions/locations (both at flea markets) and more guys than I can count carrying other relatively large fixed blades. I don’t own a USMC but if I did I’d carry it. I’ve carried fixed blades of various lengths, some quite long, openly more times than I can remember and have never had a problem.

      Your mileage of course may vary, and as usual you do so at your own risk. But I’ve never felt uncomfortable about carrying long fixed blades and have never had anyone make a comment.

      Since the law mentions it’s illegal to carry a Bowie knife, there’s the potential for problems with the USMC. When I look at a USMC I don’t think “Bowie Knife!”. But others might. The blade length isn’t so much an issue as the clip point and hand guards. In a sheath only the hand guards would be visible, and just barely. So again I would indeed feel fine carrying one.

    3. No, that is a legal practice. I’ve been checked numerous times and had both spring assist. And large fixed blades in possession and carrying on my person.

  14. Since the case law states cited above states that an “offensive weapon” a judge should consider whether the weapon was designed for combat and capable of producing death. Your conclusions make reference to “dangerous weapons” and says since it is vague it is best not to carry any knives unless involved in approved activities. The term “dangerous weapon” does not appear in the law, the term is offensive. Every third man in blue jeans and many women have a pocket clip of knife visible in this state. Perhaps carrying an M9 Bayonet might not be advisable, as they are surplused as weapons by the federal government. However, carrying a single edged fixed blade knife of identical length that is not a bowie would be perfectly legal. Telling people they should not carry unless hunting, fishing etc. is not correct and certainly not the way things are done here.

    1. So something like a single-edged clip folder like a Cold Steel Vaquero would be OK, I take it?

    2. So is it illegal to carry throwing knives in your vehicle

  15. Im thoroughly confused. I have a ZT 302 with Speed Safe opening, i.e. one hand counterbalance opening. The “Gibbs NCIS” knife.
    Blade while thick is only 3-3/4″. Legal or no??

  16. What about carrying a knife home after you bought it and you get pulled over with it?

    1. No it is perfectly legal to transport your weapon after a purchase you must take it home immediately and also keep the receipt, this is not a part of law but it helps to have proof you are within the legal grace period.

  17. House Bill 2170 removes “spring-type knives” from the list of prohibited weapons to carry, either on one’s person or in purses or bags. Leave pistols and revolvers (unless you have a permit); shotguns or rifles (unless you’re hunting—with a permit, of course); daggers; bowie knives; dirk knives; switchblade knives; sword canes; knives having blades which open automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife; blackjacks; loaded canes; billies; hand chains; metal knuckles; or any other offending weapon at home. But, come Nov. 1, that spring-type knife is fair game. – See more at:

  18. Here is a copy of the Okla. bill passed in 2013 below:

    8. House Bill 2170 removes “spring-type knives” from the list of prohibited weapons to carry, either on one’s person or in purses or bags. Leave pistols and revolvers (unless you have a permit); shotguns or rifles (unless you’re hunting—with a permit, of course); daggers; bowie knives; dirk knives; switchblade knives; sword canes; knives having blades which open automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife; blackjacks; loaded canes; billies; hand chains; metal knuckles; or any other offending weapon at home. But, come Nov. 1, that spring-type knife is fair game.

    This certainly doesn’t outlaw assist open knives or Any knife that can be opened with one hand.

  19. I have a Randall #18 is this illegal and does a ccw permit change anything

  20. I normally carry a switch blade around when i am at home alone or outside on my property and im the only person home. Due to some safety concerns and close proximities to convicted sex offenders i carry mine when im alone. Could i still be convicted of anything if a cop was to see me with one on my own property?

  21. So any assisted opening Knife is illegal in Oklahoma like SOG Flash 2 or Kershaw Brawler. I even have a CRKT K.I.S.S Assist that has a patent tang, but Oklahoma Knife Laws state any knife that can be pretty much opened with one hand is illegal.  

  22. Is a large spring assisted stiletto knife w/ 7″ blade 12.5 when open legal under Oklahoma law ?

  23. One day I had a Coldsteel (brand) ti-lite VI (model) (6 inch blade/ 13 inch open, handle and all) in my pocket at a gas station and I was standing next to a police officer. He did notice I had a knife in my pocket and kept an eye on me while keeping a typical defensive stance. I can not blame him. He did not question me and I would be willing to bet even if I had asked him if he thought my knife was “cool” or “ok to carry” exc., He would have at most advised me not to be a show-off about it and for my own safety to not carry it. I would be surprised as allHell if he confiscated it from me. I live by the rule “carry any folding knife if you want, just be aware to not draw attention to it unless your life is being threatened, and above all NEVER BRING A KNIFE TO A GUN FIGHT!” In my experience if you have a punk talking spit at you and you produce a large knife and open your eyes wide and act crazy they will get quiet very fast and walk off nice and slowly. Then again, if they have a gun and permit to carry, you are good as dead. Do what you have to, expect anything and everything and if you step in spit and its your time to depart this world its just your time so be smart, not stupid, avoid the high-risk areas if possible and if not walk softly and carry a big stick as they say.

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