Knife Laws In New York


Knife Laws In New York

New York is second to New Jersey where knife laws are comparatively stringent and strictly enforced. The law is harsh and arrests a huge number of offenders every year for possessing and carrying knives illegally (especially the gravity knives). The knife legislation is quite verbose and wildering for the common men.

Can you move around in New York with a knife for self-protection?

The state’s law allows people to reserve their basic right; self-defense. Nevertheless, the survival knife should be legal under the knife legislation of NY. Moreover, the most concerned knife in NY is the gravity knife, and you should never indulge with a contentious tool to avoid knife charges.

As per the law,

“A hunting knife with a blade no longer than 4″ (per New York restrictions) that cannot fold can be used for self-defense.

Knife Possession Laws in New York

In New York, the list of illegal knives to own or possess is quite more prominent than in the other states.

Someone is only guilty of fourth-degree criminal possession of the equipment if

As per the knife legislation in NY,

(1) They possess a firearm, an electronic dart gun, an electronic stun gun, a gravity knife, a switchblade knife, a pilum ballistic knife, a metal knuckle knife, a cane sword, a billy, a blackjack, a bludgeon, plastic knuckles, metal knuckles, a Chuka stick, a wrist-brace type slingshot. 

(2) They have any dagger, dangerous knife, dirk, razor, stiletto, imitation firearm, or other hazardous or deadly device or weapon in their possession with the purpose to use it illegally against another

Let us take you a deep dive to know the banned knives in New York.

  • Gravity knives
  • Switchblades
  • Pilum ballistic knives
  • Cane swords
  • Metal knuckles, plastic knuckles
  • Bludgeons
  • Sandbags, sand clubs
  • Slingshots or slungshots
  • Blackjacks
  • Shirken or Kun Fu Star

Legal knives in New York include

  • Bowie knives and other large single-edged knives are legal
  • All sorts of undetectable knives are legal

As per the state’s law

“If there is any intent to use unlawfully any dirks, daggers, stilettos, machete, razor and other dangerous knives or deadly weapons, it would be considered a felony.”

It is pertinent to note that carrying a pocket knife and Balisong knives in New York could be dicey because the Police and Court are comparing the pocket knives and Balisong knives with the gravity knives. And it is good to be on the safe side.

Possession of any deadly weapon or a dangerous knife by a non-resident of the US

It is unlawful for non-U.S. citizens to carry any of the weapons listed in § 265.02, even if they are the legal dwellers of the state, and is permitted by the Federal Law. New York is the most knife-fiend state among the states of the US. Knives are less welcome in New York than illegal immigrants.

Penal Law – PEN § 265.01: Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree

“A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree when:

(1) He or she possesses any…  gravity knife, switchblade knife, pilum ballistic knife, metal knuckle knife, cane sword, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, plastic knuckles, metal knuckles, Chuka stick, sandbag, sand club, wrist-brace type slingshot or slungshot, shirken or “Kung Fu star”; or

(2) He or she possesses any dagger, dangerous knife, dirk, machete, razor, stiletto, imitation pistol, or any other dangerous or deadly instrument or weapon with intent to use the same unlawfully against another;

(5) He possesses any dangerous or deadly weapon and is not a citizen of the United States;”

Knife-Carrying Laws in New York

There is no legal knife-carrying binding in New York.

As per the knife law,

“Any legal knife can be carried concealed or openly without getting offended. But you cannot carry any knives which are illegal to possess. You can carry dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other dangerous knives with good intentions, otherwise, the possession is rightly illegal. The deadly knives can be carried openly or concealed without any wrong intention and that would be legal.”

But it is observed that carrying these dangerous knives would land you in trouble. So, it is always a good idea to avoid an unnecessary knife display.

The exception to the rule

  • Carrying switchblades and gravity knives during the period of hunting, fishing, gaming, or trapping might be legal if you have the lawful permit for that.
  • People without a legal permit or who failed to prove the claim would be treated as guilty.

Blade Lengths of the Knives In New York

As per the knife legislation,

“There is no particular & fixed blade-like karambits length size for the knives whether it is about the legal or the illegal knives.”

Weapon-free zones in New York

There are specific locations in New York where visiting knives is a crime.

As per the Regulation of the New York State code

“All institutions to adopt weapons-related rules for students, teachers, and visitors. Knives are prohibited on campus and buses. knife/weapon restrictions and prohibitions apply to courtrooms, penal facilities, and as well as some airports.”

According to a code clause

“In a metropolitan region where individuals use mass transit, there is essentially a public transportation knife restriction; weapons or hazardous tools are not permitted to be carried in or on any NYC Transit Authority vehicle or facility.”

What are dangerous weapons in New York

Dangerous knives or deadly instruments include

  • Switchblades
  • Boxcutters
  • Straight razors/razor blades
  • Gravity knives
  • Swords


The New York State removed the restriction on gravity knives on May 30, 2019. As a result, owning a gravity knife is no longer a felony, but the possession of pilum ballistic knives, metal knuckles, or switchblades is still a crime. Although there are no guidelines for carrying a concealed weapon in New York, several city policies require discernibility.

The law further explains:

“Any permissible knife to own and that the bearer does not plan to use criminally against another is permitted to open or concealed carry. If someone is caught with a dirk, dagger, or stiletto, the law assumes they meant to use it as a weapon against someone else. Even if a person did not have any plan to do so, they might be arrested and charged with a felony.”

How to be safe in New York with knives and not get offended

New York’s knife legislation is stricter than the other states and its rules and regulations are baffling and appear to be contradictory sometimes. So, if you want a smooth run and do not get involved in a complicacy, then don’t go for:

  • Don’t carry any problematic knife for no reason. For instance, a gravity knife
  • Don’t hide from the Police that you have a knife with you
  • Don’t claim for an unlawful reason, you will be guilty if fail to furnish a valid permit

The pertinent parts of the NY Penal Code 265 (Firearms and Other Dangerous Weapons) demonstrate the scope of the “dangerous knife” problem.

Previous Convictions and knife law in New York

As per the state’s law,

“Someone who violates Section 265.01 (Criminal Possession of a Weapon 4th Degree) and has previously been convicted of any crime is charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree.”


It should be observed that the aforementioned conviction does not have to be for a violent crime, and it is not restricted to convictions in New York. Possession of a secure slip-joint pocket knife or compelling circumstances can put you behind bars.

Final Words

  New York Knife Laws are strict for lawbreakers and lenient for those who respect the state’s laws. Being a responsible dweller of the state, you should abide by the rules and regulations that are introduced and enforced for people’s safety. Before getting involved in a knife fair you should have a better idea of the state’s law. It is always suggested to get yourself stress and hassle-free in the first place before traveling to New York and also to become a knife user here.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *