Knife Laws In Massachusetts

Knife Laws In Massachusetts

Massachusetts Knife Laws are enigmatic and hard to comprehend by the general public. Reading through the lines to grasp them properly is a constant headache. But we have tried to make it easier for the common man to abide by the rules and regulations. The laws are effusive and can let you down, and are failed to effectively voice the status of knives in the eyes of law in Massachusetts. Neither of you wants to bear the knife charge. And it could be worse to be in handcuffs just because of the ignorance of knife laws. So, you should know the legal status of a knife placed in your pocket or pouch. In Massachusetts, accidental felonies are still felonies.

Even for self-defense, you will have to be concerned about the legal status of the tool that you want to use as a survival knife

Let’s jump into some of the most relevant aspects of Massachusetts knife law!

What is Legal to Own in Massachusetts

  • Balisong knives, also called butterfly knives, are legal to own in the state
  • Switchblades and automatic knives are legally allowed
  • Ballistic knives are legal to own.
  • Dirks, daggers, stilettos, and push knives are legal to own.
  • Knives with brass knuckles are legal to own.
  • Disguised knives like cane knives and lipstick knives are legal to own.
  • Bowie knives and other large fighting knives are legal to own.
  • Throwing knives and throwing stars are legal to own.

No knife is outlawed in Massachusetts.

Limits on Carrying knives in Massachusetts

The aforementioned knives are all legal if you’re within the comfort zone of your home. However, few knives aren’t allowed to leave your property (no matter if they’re open-carried or concealed):

  • Switchblades
  • Daggers/dirks
  • Stilettos
  • Ballistic Knives
  • Double Edge Knives
  • Knuckle

Folding knives, Swiss army knives, and kitchen knives do not conflict with the law as long as you do not behave in a way that makes them dangerous.

According to the ALM GL ch. 269, § 10 (2012) § 10. Weapons — Dangerous Weapons — Unlawfully Carrying

“ Whoever, except as provided by law, carries on his person, or carries on his person or under his control in a vehicle, any stiletto, dagger or a device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position, any ballistic knife, or any knife with a detachable blade capable of being propelled by any mechanism, dirk knife, any knife having a double-edged blade, or a switch knife, or any knife having an automatic spring release device by which the blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches, or a slung shot, blowgun, blackjack, metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles, nunchaku, zoobow, also known as klackers or kung fu sticks, or any similar weapon consisting of two sticks of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather, a shuriken or any similar pointed starlike object intended to injure a person when thrown, or any armband, made with leather which has metallic spikes, points or studs or any similar device made from any other substance or a cestus or similar material weighted with metal or other substance and worn on the hand, or a manrikigusari or similar length of chain having weighted ends; or whoever, when arrested upon a warrant for an alleged crime, or when arrested while committing a breach or disturbance of the public peace, is armed with or has on his person, or has on his person or under his control in a vehicle, a billy or other dangerous weapon other than those herein mentioned and those mentioned in paragraph (a), shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two and one-half years nor more than five years in the state prison, or for not less than six months nor more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction, except that, if the court finds that the defendant has not been previously convicted of a felony, he may be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars or by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction.”

Restricted Venues In Massachusetts

According to the law,

“Whoever, not being a law enforcement officer, and notwithstanding any license obtained by him under the provisions of chapter one hundred and forty, carries on his person a firearm as hereinafter defined, loaded or unloaded or another dangerous weapon in any building or on the grounds of any elementary or secondary school, college or university without the written authorization of the board or officer in charge of such elementary or secondary school, college or university shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. For this paragraph, “firearm” shall mean any pistol, revolver, rifle or smoothbore arm from which a shot, bullet or pellet can be discharged by whatever means.”

Legal consequences of breaching the law

The law explains,

“Any officer in charge of an elementary or secondary school, college or university or any faculty member or administrative officer of an elementary or secondary school, college or university failing to report violations of this paragraph shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.”

The knife law in a simple language to grasp all relevant details

Let us make you understand to know what the law says.

• Stated as Illegal

  • Stilettos, daggers, ballistic knives, and dirks are outlawed from being carried, open, or concealed.
  • The law also bans a person from carrying a stiletto, dagger, ballistic knife, switchblade (with a blade of over 1.5 inches)
  • Open and locked knife, double-edged blade, and dirk in a car that is under the control of that person
  • A device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position.
  • Daggers are long, double-bladed knives with point tips.
  • Any folding knife that has a lock can be drawn in the locked and open position.

Why Double-Edged Blade is illegal

The law also says,

“Any knife having a double-edged blade is banned. Regardless of length or size. Even if you have a double-edged survival knife, still it would be illegal.”

Discussion:

The grave reason behind the prescription of a double-edged knife is its anatomy and construction which is more towards attack than the utility. Having two blades allows one to slash in any direction as well as stab.

According to the law,

“Any knife having a double-edged blade includes knives whose second blade does not fully extend from the tip to the heel. The implication of this is that clip point knives whose clip is sharpened would be illegal to carry as well. This would include some types of Bowie knives.”

Automatic Knives Clause In Massachusetts

The law also says,

“Any knife having an automatic spring release device by which the blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches is banned from carrying. The law said that switchblades were illegal but this additional clause would ban any automatic knife whose blade is greater than 1.5 inches. The key here is the word automatic. If you are looking at a pocket knife that has a spring but requires a little push before it opens, it won’t be considered automatic. Balisong knives are not automatic either because, if you release the latch, nothing happens until you manually flip the knife.”

No Knives with Knuckles

The law says,

“Metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles are illegal to carry. This would exclude some WWI trench knives and push knives if they have metal knuckles as a part of the handle. This WWI trench knife would be illegal to carry because of the metal knuckles in the handle.”

Prohibitions to Dangerous Weapons

In the latter part of the law, it says,

  • Whoever, when arrested upon a warrant for an alleged crime, or when arrested while committing a breach or disturbance of the public peace, is armed with or has on his person, or has on his person or under his control in a vehicle, a billy or other dangerous weapon other than those herein mentioned.”
  • “It is illegal to carry any “dangerous weapon” when you are disturbing the peace or are arrested for any crime. If you were to be arrested for something and happen to carry a knife, you would be charged with an unlawful carry just like if you were to carry a switchblade around since a knife can be a dangerous weapon”

The legal stance toward utilitarian knives

The law states,

“Kitchen knives, folding knives, and Swiss army knives are not dangerous weapons per se. However, depending on your conduct, any knife can be a dangerous weapon. A steak knife is a dangerous weapon depending on an individual’s conduct. The word dangerous presents an objective threat of danger to a person of reasonable and average sensibility. So, if you carry something that others can perceive as dangerous, it is a dangerous weapon; or, if you carry something in a manner that makes others perceive it as dangerous, it is a dangerous weapon.”

Limits on Manufacturing and Sale

According to the (ALM GL ch. 269, § 12 (2012) § 12. Non-Mechanical Weapons — Manufacturing and Sale,

“Whoever manufactures or causes to be manufactured, or sells or exposes for sale, an instrument or weapon of the kind usually known as a dirk knife, a switch knife or any knife having an automatic spring release device by which the blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches or a device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position, any ballistic knife, or any knife with a detachable blade capable of being propelled by any mechanism, slung shot, sling shot, bean blower, sword cane, pistol cane, bludgeon, blackjack, nunchaku, zoobow, also known as klackers or kung fu sticks, or any similar weapon consisting of two sticks of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather, a shuriken or any similar pointed starlike object intended to injure a person when thrown, or a manrikigusari or similar length of chain having weighted ends; or metallic knuckles or knuckles of any other substance which could be put to the same use and with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles, shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty nor more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months; provided, however, that sling shots may be manufactured and sold to clubs or associations conducting sporting events where such sling shots are used.”

It is pertinent to note that, if you buy it from a different state (or online), it is legal.

Conclusion to Massachusetts Knife Laws

The Massachusetts knife laws are somewhat baffling. The super-long sentences harass dwellers, migrants, and tourists, despite making them understand the legal bindings.

Here is a quick sheet to guide people and make them aware of the laws of the state.

  • The law only limits the carry of some knives
  • Stilettos, daggers, dirks, double-edged knives, ballistic knives, knives with knuckles, and automatic knives are forbidden from carrying
  • It is illegal to sell some knives in Massachusetts
  • It is illegal to carry anything that can be perceived as dangerous and peace-reckoning
  • Kitchen knives, swiss army knives, and folding knives are intent-based, if you are found using them to stab someone, the law will not spare you
  • Do not bring knives to school

Hopefully, the Massachusetts Knife Laws are now a bit clear and will help you maintain your security and the safety of the citizens.

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