Rhode Island knife laws are short, but poorly worded and leave much to be desired in the way of definition. This article will give you the plain English version of what is legal and what is not legal when it comes to owning and carrying knives in Rhode Island.
What is Legal to Own
- It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
- It is legal to own a stiletto
- It is legal to own a sword cane
- It is legal to own a concealed knife, such as in a belt buckle or lipstick
- It is legal to own a Bowie knife
- It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
- It is legal to own a switchblade
What is Illegal to Own
- It is not illegal to own any type of knife in Rhode Island, so long as you do not intend to use it unlawfully against another.
Restrictions on Carry
- It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
- It is illegal to conceal carry a stiletto
- It is illegal to conceal carry a sword cane
- It is illegal to conceal carry a bowie knife
- It is illegal to conceal carry any knife with a blade more than 3 inches in length
- It is legal to open carry any type of knife in Rhode Island
What the Law States
§ 11-47-42. Weapons other than firearms prohibited
(a) (1) No person shall carry or possess or attempt to use against another any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a blackjack, slingshot, billy, sandclub, sandbag, metal knuckles, slap glove, bludgeon, stun-gun, or the so called “Kung-Fu” weapons.
(2) No person shall with intent to use unlawfully against another, carry or possess a crossbow, dagger, dirk, stiletto, sword-in-cane, bowie knife, or other similar weapon designed to cut and stab another.
(3) No person shall wear or carry concealed upon his person, any of the above-mentioned instruments or weapons, or any razor, or knife of any description having a blade of more than three (3) inches in length measuring from the end of the handle where the blade is attached to the end of the blade, or other weapon of like kind or description.
Definition of Blade
Rhode Island statute § 11-47-42 defines the blade of a knife as the part of the knife beginning at the end of the handle where the blade is attached down to the end of the blade.
Definition of Concealed Carry
Concealed carry means to wear or carry on your person a weapon that is not visible to others. A weapon does not need to be completely covered in order to be considered concealed.
Definition of Various Types of Knives
Neither the Rhode Island Code nor the case law offers any definition of any type of knife. Generally, when the legislature fails to define a word, the Court will give that word its ordinary meaning, which it usually finds in Webster’s Dictionary.
Penalty for Violating Conceal Carry Law
A violation of the conceal carry law may result in a fine of $1,000 to $3,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to one year, as well as confiscation of the weapon.
Conclusion on Rhode Island Knife Law
Is it legal to own any type of knife you chose in Rhode Island as long as you do not intend to use the knife against another person.
It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk, dagger, bowie knife, stiletto, sword cane, or any knife with a blade more than 3 inches in length.
It is legal to open carry any type of knife in Rhode Island.
R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-42 (2012)
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