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Vermont Knife Laws

vtVermont’s knife laws are almost nonexistent, making it very difficult for someone without legal training to find them. This article takes what laws Vermont does have, and puts them into plain English so anyone can understand what is legal and what is not when it comes to owning and carrying knives in the state of Vermont.

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 bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as a lipstick or belt buckle
  • It is legal to own throwing starts or knives

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal to own a switchblade with a blade that is 3 inches or longer

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to carry openly or concealed a dangerous or deadly weapon with the intent of using it to harm another.
  • It is illegal to carry openly or concealed a dangerous or deadly weapon onto school or government property.

Vermont law does not place any other restrictions on the carrying of knives. In 1903, in State v. Rosenthal, Vermont’s Supreme Court said that under the general laws, a person may carry a dangerous or deadly weapon, openly or concealed, unless he did it with the intent or avowed purpose of injuring another.

What the Law States

§ 4003. Carrying dangerous weapons

A person who carries a dangerous or deadly weapon, openly or concealed, with the intent or avowed purpose of injuring a fellow man, or who carries a dangerous or deadly weapon within any state institution or upon the grounds or lands owned or leased for the use of such institution, without the approval of the warden or superintendent of the institution, shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $ 200.00, or both.

§ 4013. Zip guns; switchblade knives

A person who possesses, sells or offers for sale a weapon commonly known as a “zip” gun, or a weapon commonly known as a switchblade knife, the blade of which is three inches or more in length, shall be imprisoned not more than 90 days or fined not more than $ 100.00, or both.

Definitions of Various Types of Knives

Neither Vermont’s code nor its case law defines any type of knife. This is likely due to the fact that the code governing the ownership and carrying of knives does not refer to any particular type of knife, except a switchblade, but instead makes it illegal to carry any “dangerous or deadly weapon” with the intent of using it to harm another.

Definition of Dangerous or Deadly Weapon

The Vermont code does not define a dangerous or deadly weapon; however, the Courts have interpreted the phrase in a couple of cases. In 1983, in the case of State v. Lupien, the Supreme Court of Vermont held that it was the manner in which a knife was used, or intended to be used, and its potential for inflicting serious bodily injury that makes it a dangerous weapon or not.  In 2003, in State v. Turner, the Court found that Mr. Turner’s 3-inch long knife was a dangerous weapon because it caused a wound on a stabbing victim that needed stitches.

Conclusion on Vermont Knife Laws

It is legal in Vermont to own any type of knife except for a switchblade with a blade that is 3 inches or longer.

It is legal in Vermont to carry, openly or concealed, any type of legal knife, so long as you have no intention of harming another and do not carry it on to school or government property.

Sources

  • 13 V.S.A. § 4013 (2012)
  • 13 V.S.A. § 4003 (2012)
  • State v. Lupien, 466 A.2d 1172 (1983)
  • State v. Turner, 830 A.2d 122 (2003)
  • State v. Rosenthal, 55 A. 610 (1903)

Peter Stec

Hey Knife Up gang!  I'm Pete and I'm just a small man in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like Knifeup.com every day.  The difference is that I like to share what I know, and research what I don't totally know, so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice eh?
Peter Stec

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Comments

    1. Balisong is not considered illegal in the eyes of the state and I carry a balisong of about 4 inches and its fine. The definition of a switchblade is one that is auto / out the front; in this case it is only legal to carry up to 3 inches. With that being said I am not completely sure if you can carry a balisong as a minor but If the knife was gifted to you (meaning given to you by an adult) then I don’t believe that it matters.

      P.s I wouldn’t recommend flipping it in public to much because it is a flashy knife and people might not be informed about the state laws. I had done it once and had to explain to a knife salsmen that it was completely legal to carry, and then I directed him to where he can find the state laws.

  1. Can I carry an OTF knife with a 3″ blade? Also are there any restrictions for minors?

    1. Yes and as long as the knife was gifted to you (meaning bought or given to you by an adult) then it should be fine.

    2. Is a butterfly knife classified under Vermont law as a switchblade like some states?

    1. As long as its not in a government or school building.

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