Arizona Knife Law – The Complete Guide (In Plain English)

This article was created to be a brief synopsis of the law according to my understanding and is not legal advice. Knifeade is not a legal service provider. Using this site does not create a client/lawyer relationship. Because knife laws can be interpreted differently by different people and entities it is recommended that you consult legal counsel for specific information and guidance.

Arizona is one of the least problematic states regarding knife laws. This is because knives in Arizona are seen more as tools than weapons. However, this does not mean that there are zero restrictions. Fortunately, Arizona knife laws are relatively easy to understand, so staying legal while in the Grand Canyon State should not be hard.

Does Arizona Have Statewide Preemption Knife Laws?

Unlike many states, Arizona has statewide preemption knife laws, meaning local municipalities cannot enact prohibitive laws greater than the state.

Statewide preemption came about in 2011 to minimize confusion among citizens traveling through the state.

The amendment to the law states that a political subdivision of the state is not allowed to enact any ordinances, rules, or taxes relating to the transportation, sale, possession, carrying, transfer, purchase, gift, devise, licensing, or registration of knives or knife-making components.

The law in Arizona stipulates that no rule or ordinance related to the manufacture of knives can be more restrictive than those associated with the manufacture of any other commercial goods.

The above statutes ensure that knife carry laws regarding possession, carrying, ownership, sale, and transfer are uniform across the state. Therefore, you can travel across Arizona with your knives without fear of jail as long as you abide by state laws.

Arizona Knife Definitions

As you read this post, you should know that Arizona has specific knife definitions you should know:

  • Knife – a cutting instrument that includes a sharpened or pointed blade.
  • Deadly weapon – anything designed for lethal use, including a firearm. A knife can be considered a deadly weapon if the intent of carrying it is to commit a crime or harm another person.
  • Prohibited possessor – a prohibited possessor is:
    • A convicted felon within or without the state whose right to possess a firearm has not been restored.
    • An undocumented alien or nonimmigrant traveling or studying without proper documentation.
    • Someone currently serving a prison term in jail or correctional facility.
    • Someone serving a probation term due to a conviction of domestic violence or felony offense.
    • Someone who is considered a danger to themselves or others and whose right to possess a firearm has not been restored.

Legal Knives in Arizona

The knives listed below are legal to own in Arizona:

  • Pocketknives
  • Balisongs and butterfly knives
  • Switchblades, gravity knives, and other automatic knives
  • Bowies and other large knives
  • Dirks, daggers, stilettos, and other slim knives
  • Undetectable knives
  • Disguised knives
  • Double-edged knives
  • Swords
  • Machetes

Illegal Knives in Arizona

There are no restrictions on which knives you can own in Arizona. There are only limitations on carrying knives in specific locations and which persons can carry the knives legally.

Arizona Knife Carry Laws

Arizona knife carry laws determine how and where you can carry knives within the state. Here is what the law says:

  • It is a crime for a person to knowingly carry a deadly weapon (pocket knives excepted) concealed on a person, within their immediate control, or on a means of transport.
  • It is illegal for anyone under 21 years to conceal carry upon a person within their immediate control or on a means of transport a deadly weapon except a pocket knife.
  • It is illegal for a prohibited possessor (see definitions section) to have a deadly weapon.
  • It is illegal to have a deadly weapon while committing a crime.
  • It is illegal to have a deadly weapon on school grounds or polling stations on election day unless authorized by law.

As you can see from the above statutes, anybody over 21 can carry a knife in Arizona. However, people under 21 years can only have a pocket knife on them.

Because the law has not defined a pocketknife, it is good to go with the general definition. The widely accepted definition of a pocket knife is a folding knife with a blade shorter than four inches that opens manually.

As much as Arizona knife carry laws are liberal, the law requires you to disclose whether you have a deadly weapon or knife when law enforcement stops you.


Arizona knife laws do not apply to the following persons:

  • A person in his dwelling, on his place of business, or real property owned or leased by that person, legal guardian, parent, or grandparent of that person.
  • An authorized volunteer member for the sheriff or reserve organization.
  • A peace officer or any person summoned to assist a peace officer while performing official duties.
  • A member of the military forces of the US or any state who is on active duty.
  • A correctional officer of the Arizona state department of corrections, community correctional officer, detention officer, juvenile corrections officer, special investigator, or warden/deputy warden.
  • A person licensed, authorized, or permitted to carry a deadly weapon by the state or country.
  • Museums, educational institutions, or recipients of charitable contributions as long as reasonable precautions are taken.

Arizona Knife Length Laws

What is the legal length of a knife in Arizona? There is no state law restricting blade length or knife size in Arizona. This means you can own and carry a knife regardless of size and type within the state.

The only restriction is on people under 21 years, who can only carry pocket knives.

Arizona Knife Laws by Demographic

Who Can Carry and Buy Knives in Arizona?

According to the law, anyone aged 21 years and older can carry any knife regardless of size and type in Arizona. Minors under 21 years can only carry pocket knives. The law does not provide any age restrictions on selling and transferring knives in the state.

However, the law prohibits selling or transferring a deadly weapon to a prohibited possessor.

Remember, a knife can be considered a deadly weapon when used with ill intentions, and a prohibited possessor is a felon and anyone considered to be a danger to themselves and others.

How Old do You Have to be to Carry a Knife in Arizona?

According to state law, anyone over 21 can carry a knife in Arizona regardless of type and size.

Since there is statewide preemption, you can carry knives in any city within the state without fear of jail. It is illegal for anyone under 21 years to carry a deadly weapon except a pocket knife.

Can a Felon Carry a Knife in Arizona?

According to Arizona knife law, a felon is a “prohibited possessor”. A prohibited possessor is not allowed to carry a knife or deadly weapon unless their rights to possess a weapon have been restored.


Arizona knife laws (thankfully) weren’t quite as long-winded and cryptic as others that I’ve dealt with.

Hopefully, you found them to be quite straightforward and now have a better understanding of how you can stay on the right side of the law in the state regardless of whether you’re a resident or visitor.

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