Vermont’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.
- 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)