Knife Laws In New Jersey
Knife laws in New Jersey are somewhat betraying and mostly stir controversy in the context of explaining what is legal and what is not. Though, the law should be easy to know and comprehend to keep people aware and not let them land in an undesirable situation. Moreover, New Jersey knife laws have faced some rows over the past years. The legality of carrying a knife has been probed in several cases. Though people urge to reserve the right to use survival knives subject to some restrictions. Nevertheless, carrying a knife as a form of self-defense is observed as illegal in NJ.
New Jersey knife legislation is bewildering for the general public
The complication in-laws embark upon the safety measures of the state. Moreover, the uncertainty urges criminals to do something nasty. New Jersey knife laws are loquacious and oftentimes hard to understand. Most people are far away from the ability to grasp legal terms and conditions, and ignorance can put them in trouble. The particular content is a little effort to make things a bit clear to understand what is legal and what is not in the state.
The factors affecting knife legislation
NJ knife laws depend on several factors, for instance,
- Type of knife
- Size of knife
- Size of Blade
- Location of keeping or carrying the knife
By now, we will take a deep dive to have better knowledge of regulations and restrictions for owning or carrying a knife.
Definition of a Weapon
The New Jersey legislature has defined weapons as,
“Anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury. It includes gravity knives, switchblade knives, daggers, dirks, stilettos, or other “dangerous” knives.”
State v. Brown, the New Jersey Appellate Court states,
“A person does not need to intend to use a knife as a weapon for it to be considered a dangerous knife, and therefore a weapon. This decision can make it difficult for a person to determine if a particular knife is legal to own, as it could be considered a dangerous knife, even if the owner has no intention of using it to harm another. However, because New Jersey law allows for the possession of a dangerous knife, by those who have a legal purpose for owning them, any knife may be considered legal if owned for a lawful purpose.”
It is still baffling, let us dig deep to know more
Owning vs. Carrying NJ Knife Laws
According to NJ laws, (The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 2C § 39-3)
“Possession of any gravity knife, switchblade knife, dagger, dirk, stiletto, or ballistic knife, without any explainable lawful purpose’, is considered illegal.”
Law further explains,
“Owning a knife is legal, as long as you keep it in your home since it’s considered to fulfill the lawful purpose section of the law.”
Knife types that are illegal under the knife legislation in New Jersey
Let’s take a look at the different types of knives stated as illegal to carry on you in public.
• Gravity Knife
It is the knife type that is mostly used by daredevils, ranchers, and hunters. As the blade is concealed in the handle and opened by gravity force, the law does not believe it is a safe knife, that’s why a gravity knife is illegal in New Jersey.
• Switchblade Knife
A switchblade or is known as the name of automatic knife is fairly similar to the gravity knife. It has a blade that is entrenched in the handle. The only difference is the way the blade is released; the blade pops out when you press a button.
It is a deadly weapon and is crafted for self-defense, but the knife legislation in NJ declares it a banned knife. The grave reason is its heftiness and sharpness which could be dangerous and can be mishandled by anyone who is not capable to own such a dangerous weapon. The law calls it a stabbing weapon, the dagger has a fixed double-edged sharp blade with a very sharp pointed tip.
• Dirk Knife
The dirk knife is a more protracted form of the dagger, with a fixed blade that’s also double-edged with a pointed end. It’s considered to be a prodding weapon. So, is illegal in the state.
• Stiletto Knife
It is also from the family of the dagger and has a long, narrow pointed blade that’s also double-edged. It is an unsafe knife and can be used to harm people. That’s why knife laws in New Jersey called it illegal.
• Ballistic Knife
It is the knife type that is banned in many states in the US. So, is in the NJ. The most brutal feature of the knife is the detachable blade. If a person throws the knife or presses the button, its mechanism detaches the blade and throws it a few yards. It is like a throwing knife, but the difference is, in a ballistic knife only the blade flies.
The knife law in NJ further explain
“A conviction for aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation, possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, manufacture or transport of a prohibited weapon, unlawful possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance, or endangering the welfare of a child prevents a person from owning certain types of knives in New Jersey.”
Exceptions to Unlawful Possession of a Knife
Exceptions to the rule describe,
“A person may not be convicted of the unlawful possession of a knife if he or she is carrying the knife for hunting or fishing purposes, the knife is legal and appropriate for hunting or fishing, and the person has a valid hunting or fishing license. A person is also exempt from the unlawful possession statute if he or she is transporting a legal knife to or from a place for hunting or fishing, so long as he or she has a valid hunting or fishing license. When carrying a knife for such purposes, the statute requires that it be locked in a box or the trunk of the vehicle in which it is being transported.”
Lawful Knife Possession In NJ
To regulate the lawfulness of carrying a knife, let’s examine how “lawful purposes” is construed and law omissions.
Definition of lawful purpose
The state’s law explains the lawful purpose in these words,
“The situation in which someone who has not yet formed an intent to use an object as a weapon possesses it under circumstances in which it is likely to be so used. The obvious intent of the Legislature was to address a serious societal problem, the threat of harm to others from the possession of objects that can be used as weapons under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as those objects may have. Some objects that may be used as weapons also have more innocent purposes. For example, a machete can be a lethal weapon or a useful device for deep-sea fishing.”
How Knife Possession is Defined in NJ
The knife law in New Jersey is wordy and tries to define the term, “possession”. But it is still vague, and perplexing to have a better knowledge regarding “possession of knives”.
The law explains further,
“Carrying a knife on your person is considered possession, and having it in the glove compartment of your car can also be considered possession. Having the knife in your car may be construed as weapon concealment. Though, it isn’t imminently clear if all NJ districts consider knife concealment a crime.”
The final definition of “possession”
“Having a knife with you outside your home is defined as knife possession. The purpose of carrying the knife has a momentous impression on whether it’s regarded as legal or not.”
What is Legal to Own in New Jersey
Here is the list of knife types that are permissible under the knife legislation in New Jersey
- It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
- It is legal to own disguised knives like lipstick knives
- It is legal to own a Bowie knife
- It is legal to own throwing stars and throwing knives
The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 2C § 39-5, describes
“Any weapon for which a person has an explainable lawful purpose for owning. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any other weapon under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as it may have is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.”
The exception to the rule
It’s legal to carry a knife if your job requires it, as it is your working tool.
According to the NJ Code of Criminal Justice,
“Someone who has been convicted of crimes such as aggravated assault, kidnapping, or robbery, among others, is prohibited from possessing any kind of weapon, including knives.”
Another section of the NJ Code of Criminal Justice states, (Code of Criminal Justice 2C § 39-4)
“Any person who has in his possession any weapon, except a firearm, with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the third degree.”
Locations Where It’s Unlawful to Possess a Knife
Certain places in the state are of high security and scanning, and entering there with a knife is forbidden by law, and breaching the law can put you behind bars.
The exception to the rule
You carry a knife for very good reason. For instance, military personnel gets exceptions if they are on active duty.
Restricted venues in NJ are:
- Educational concerns
- Governmental institutions
- Military arenas
Not abiding by this can be regarded as a fourth-degree crime.
Further Restrictions in NJ
If you are intended to travel to New Jersey, it is pertinent to note that you should go through all legal guidelines regarding knives. Regarding safety measures can keep you safe. There are a couple of things to consider. For instance,
- Prohibited knife size
- Knife ownership
- Knife manufacturing
- Knife selling
Legal Knife Size
In New Jersey knife law explains the legal knife size in these words,
“It’s considered legal to carry a knife that has a blade up to 5 inches or a knife up to 10 inches of length.”
Manufacture, Sale, and Ownership Transfer Laws
According to the law,
“It’s a fourth-degree crime to manufacture the restricted types of knives. Selling knives that exceed the legal knife size mentioned to persons under 18 years of age is considered a fourth-degree offense.
Consequences of Illegal Practices
If found guilty of unlawful knife possession can be considered a third or fourth-degree crime, depending on the circumstances.
The legal consequences:
“Third-degree crimes are penalized by imprisonment for 3 to 5 years and a payable fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree crimes are punishable by up to 18 months confinement and paying a fine of up to $10,000.”
After getting through several statutes and restrictions, figuring out the definite law regarding carrying or not carrying a knife is still a grey area. The law does not support the exceptions and defined terms, leaving them up for open interpretation. And it makes it hard to enforce laws, as people are not known the laws to follow. However, it is for sure that New Jersey knife laws show a drastic move as compared to the other states in the US; you cannot carry a knife with the purpose of self-defense, it’s considered a felony of the fourth degree.
So, it is suggested that do not move around with a knife for any purpose.