state knife laws feature

Vermont Knife Laws

Freedom UnityVermont’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
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Comments

  1. Does anyone know if a utility knife would fall under the category of deadly weapon in the eyes of the law? I work on school grounds and use a utility knife to cut up boxes for easy disposal. Just want to make sure I’m still following the law.

  2. I’m I was arested for having one and yet u can buy them in the u-mall in burlington

  3. any type of knife..sword..axe..as long as youre not out to harm anyone..yes cops may stop and ask questions but most dont really know this law..was essentially made for hunters back in the ..i believe late 1800’s early 1900..

  4. Sorry for the typo.. i meant here in Vermont..very lax as far as guns knifes etc. etc..just as long as you keep it together..

  5. I’ve carried a saex..9 inch blade..herd in ermont among other type..and never a problem..but some establishments may ask that you leave with them upon entering

  6. Can I open carry a 7 inch double edge dagger on my hip in a snapped sheath ?
    or a concealed boot knife?

  7. I have a 15 inch hunting knife, a 12 inch spring assisted stilleto. Is it legal to carry open or concealed in VT

  8. Can i carry a 7ich knife on me with a sheath on my belt? and what about butterfly knives are they legal or illegal?

  9. Two questions on definitions:
    Does “intent to harm” include carrying for the purposes of self-defense? That is, if you fear that you are going to be attacked, are you permitted to carry a “knife”.

    And then the term government property, how exactly is this defined? There are a number of town and state owned parks and walking trails, are those considered government property for this purpose? what about the public road, since that is also state property?

  10. A balisong is a butterfly knife . It is not a switchblade because it is manually opened not spring

  11. I recently moved to Vermont and this information is extremely helpful and wanted to thank you for taking the time to research and publish.

  12. Can I carry a large survival knife in Burlington if its in my back pack.?

    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.

  13. 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?

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