Knife Laws In Louisiana

knife-laws-in-louisiana

Knife Laws In Louisiana

Louisiana knife laws are a bit baffling because of the lack of clarity in the statutes regarding ownership of knives. It is one of the most knife-cordial states in the US that has only one major concern with knives, and that is the blade type for open and concealed carry. No statewide law is implemented and you will have to follow the prohibitions of the towns and municipalities you dwell in. Though, no legal document is required for concealed carry of knives. People of Louisiana can use survival knives to avoid a nasty situation.

Legal to Carry Concealed Knives in Louisiana

It is permissible to carry almost all knives as concealed except the automatic knife that is also known as the Switchblade knife. And it is pertinent to note that rule does not apply to assisted opening, gravity, and other one-hand operation knives.

What is Legal/Illegal to Own in Louisiana

  • It is legal to own Balisong knives, also called butterfly knives.
  • It is legal to own dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other slender, sharp, and pointed knives.
  • It is legal to own disguised knives like belt knives and penknives.
  • It is legal to own undetectable knives–knives that will not set off metal detectors.
  • It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives.
  • It is legal to own Bowie knives and other large fighting knives.
  • It is legal to own switchblades and other automatic knives.
  • It is ILLEGAL to conceal or carry any automatic knife.

From this, we can conclude that the only banned knives in Louisiana are any knife that is automatically unlocked. The only individuals who are permissible and can own automatic opening knives are police officers who use them as rescue knives.

The law does not show any bewilderment with the legal and illegal status of knives but has concealment issues.

Limits on carrying in Louisiana

The state’s law is only disgruntled with an automatic knife, except it, any knife is legal for open or concealed carry.

According to the law, R.S. 14:95 (2013)

“The intentional concealment on one’s person of any switchblade knife, spring knife, or other knife or similar instrument having a blade which may be automatically unfolded or extended from a handle by the manipulation of a button, switch, latch, or similar contrivance located on the handle.”

The exception to the rule

“Any knife that may be opened with one hand by manual pressure applied to the blade or any projection of the blade. Any knife that may be opened through inertia produced by the hand, wrist, or other movements, provided the knife has either a detent or other structure that provides resistance that shall be overcome in opening or initiating the opening movement of the blade or a bias or spring load toward the closed position.”

The knife law in Louisiana permits an officer to carry a rescue knife

As per the law,

“It is legal for an officer to carry a “rescue knife.”

What makes a knife a “rescue knife”?

The law remains blurred in this regard nevertheless we will try to clear the air.  We know the blade length of a rescue knife cannot exceed 5 inches.

The law further explains,

 “A rescue knife is a tool that can fold, can be opened one-handed, and is designed to cut seat belts. If a knife has a button, but pressing the button does not automatically open the knife, it does not count as an automatic knife or switchblade and won’t be banned.”

The state’s law excludes Balisongs from the banned category

The Attorney General of Louisiana in La. Atty. Gen. Op. No. 1999-332 stated,

“Balisong knife is not a switchblade and is legal to own in Louisiana.”

Legal consequences of crossing the threshold of legality

According to the statute §94. (Illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities)

“Illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities is the intentional or criminally negligent discharging of any firearm, or the throwing, placing, or other use of any article, liquid, or substance, where it is foreseeable that it may result in death or great bodily harm to a human being.”

“Except as provided in Subsection E, whoever commits the crime of illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than two years, or both.”

“Except as provided in Subsection E, on a second or subsequent conviction, the offender shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than five years nor more than seven years, without the benefit of probation or suspension of sentence. The enhanced penalty upon second and subsequent convictions provided for in Subsection C of this Section shall not be applicable in cases where more than five years have elapsed since the expiration of the maximum sentence, or sentences, of the previous conviction or convictions, and the time of the commission of the last offense for which he has been convicted.”

Knife types that come under “dangerous instrumentalities”

It is for sure that all knives are not dangerous, mostly utilitarian, and used to serve chefs, hunters, ranchers, and the common man too. Though article A explains it a bit, the violation of this statute carries a stiff penalty on the first offense:

“A thousand bucks in fines and up to two years of hard labor. Bummer. The operative clause with intentional or criminally negligent does not cover the lawful use of a knife in self-defense”

According to the statute §95. Illegal carrying of weapons

A. Illegal carrying of weapons is:

(1) The intentional concealment of any firearm, or other instrumentality customarily used or intended for probable use as a dangerous weapon, on one’s person; or

(2) The ownership, possession, custody, or use of any firearm, or other instrumentality customarily used as a dangerous weapon, at any time by an enemy alien; or

(3) The ownership, possession, custody, or use of any tools, dynamite, nitroglycerine, explosives, or other instrumentality customarily used by thieves or burglars at any time by any person with the intent to commit a crime; or

(4)(a) The intentional concealment on one’s person of any switchblade knife, spring knife, or other knife or similar instrument having a blade that may be automatically unfolded or extended from a handle by the manipulation of a button, switch, latch, or similar contrivance located on the handle.

The exception to the rule

(i) Any knife that may be opened with one hand by manual pressure applied to the blade or any projection of the blade.

(ii) Any knife that may be opened through inertia produced by the hand, wrist, or other movements, provided the knife has either a detent or other structure that provides resistance that shall be overcome in opening or initiating the opening movement of the blade or a bias or spring load toward the closed position.

The knife laws for convicted felons

Section 95.1 spells out,

“The carrying of guns and weapons (knives included) by felons and the crazy is not okay and is a felony. Interestingly, it also spells out explicitly that those who fit the above category can carry a knife or other weapon if at least 10 years have elapsed since the completion of their sentence or discharge from a mental hospital.”

§95.1. Possession of a firearm or carrying concealed weapon by a person convicted of certain felonies

It is unlawful for any person who has been convicted of, or has been found not guilty by reason of insanity for, a crime of violence as defined in R.S. 14:2(B) which is a felony or simple burglary, burglary of a pharmacy, burglary of an inhabited dwelling, unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling, felony illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities, manufacture or possession of a delayed action incendiary device, manufacture or possession of a bomb, or possession of a firearm while in the possession of or during the sale or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, or any violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law which is a felony, or any crime which is defined as a sex offense in R.S. 15:541, or any crime defined as an attempt to commit one of the above-enumerated offenses under the laws of this state, or who has been convicted under the laws of any other state or of the United States or of any foreign government or country of a crime which, if committed in this state, would be one of the above-enumerated crimes, to possess a firearm or carry a concealed weapon.”

Legal consequences of the violation of §95.1

As per law,

“Whoever is found guilty of violating the provisions of this Section shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than five nor more than twenty years without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence and be fined not less than one thousand dollars nor more than five thousand dollars. Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S. 14:27, whoever is found guilty of attempting to violate the provisions of this Section shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than seven and one-half years and fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars.”

The Knife legislation further explains:

“The provisions of this Section prohibiting the possession of firearms and carrying concealed weapons by persons who have been convicted of, or who have been found not guilty because of insanity for, certain felonies shall not apply to any person who has not been convicted of, or who has not been found not guilty because of insanity for, any felony for ten years from the date of completion of sentence, probation, parole, suspension of sentence, or discharge from a mental institution by a court of competent jurisdiction.”

No-Go Zones in Louisiana

An excruciating detail in black and white in section 95.2:

“You cannot carry your knife onto the premises, property, or any conveyance or shuttle (i.e. bus) belonging to a school, elementary, secondary, high school, or technical school. You may also not carry any knife to any school-run function or activity, so ballgames and so on are out.“

Carrying a dangerous weapon in school in §95.2

“Carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon by a student or nonstudent on school property, at school-sponsored functions, or in a firearm-free zone is unlawful and shall be defined as possession of any firearm or dangerous weapon, on one’s person, at any time while on a school campus, on school transportation, or at any school-sponsored function in a specifically designated area including but not limited to athletic competitions, dances, parties, or any extracurricular activities, or within one thousand feet of any school campus.”

The exception to the rule:

  • Any person having the written permission of the principal or as provided in R.S. 17:3361.1.
  • Any constitutionally protected activity which cannot be regulated by the state, such as a firearm contained entirely within a motor vehicle.

Legal consequences of breaching the law

“Whoever commits the crime of carrying a firearm, or a dangerous weapon as defined in R.S. 14:2, by a student or nonstudent on school property, at a school-sponsored function, or in a firearm-free zone shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than five years. If you keep your knife inside your vehicle while visiting the school, you are okay, as is carry of the knife within 1,000 feet of the school if you have a permit!”

You are also forbidden from carrying your knife into a courtroom or courthouse, or at the state capitol buildings.

It is pertinent to note that breaching it will land you in serious trouble. The statutes also explicitly state that claiming unfamiliarity or obliviousness of the law or that any illegal event took place shall not be regarded.

Conclusion on Louisiana Knife Law

Louisiana is a place where you can enjoy the freedom of rights as far as you don’t conflict with the laws. The law has a straightforward stance against switchblades or any other automatic knife. If the knife has a detent biased to the locking position and you must use inertia to open it, you can conceal or open carry it.  The law does not spare anyone who has been a convicted felon. A rescue knife that has a blade exceeding 5 inches in length is tolerable and permitted.

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