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

Knives are one of the most commonly used weapons of crime in the U.S. And that is exactly why there are so many regulations in the usage,

possession, buying, and selling of knives. Just like any other U.S. state, Arizona has its own distinct knife laws, the violation of which may result in a penalty in the form of monetary fine or imprisonment, or both. Let us take a closer look into understanding how the Arizona knife laws work.

Arizona Knife Laws

Although the Arizona knife laws were different from the knife laws of its individual cities, uniformity across all of Arizona is presently maintained when it comes to the question of knife laws. This uniformity was implemented in 2010 with the introduction of Section 13-3120 into the Arizona State Statutes (Section 1, Title 13, Chapter 31). All the local and municipal laws, that previously existed, were pre-empted as a result of this said amendment.

The knife laws of Arizona permit almost unlimited rights to its inhabitants as long as they are at least 21 years old, with just a few restricted venues. You can own, sell, buy, carry or trade any type and any length of knives across the state.

However, if you are less than 21 years of age, then you are only allowed to carry and own pocket knives. Although the state does not define what specifically does and does not qualify as a pocket knife, it is generally concluded that it refers to any folding knives that have to be opened manually. As such, it would mean that centrifugal-force knives or gravity knives and automatic knives like switchblades would be considered illegal for a person under the age of 21 years to own and carry.

Limitations on the Length of the Blade in Arizona

All lengths of knives are legal to be possessed by anyone above the age of 21 in the state of Arizona. This makes Arizona one of the most knife-friendly law states in the U.S.

Those who are under 21 years old are only permitted to carry pocket knives that are less than 4 inches.

Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry

In contrast to some of the other U.S. states, there is no difference between the open carry and concealed carry of knives in Arizona as long as you are of 21 years of age. The regulations against both of them are the same.

Phoenix, the capital city of Arizona, defines a ‘deadly weapon’ as anything that has been designed for lethal use. The term definitely includes a firearm, but it doesn’t specifically include knives. This is due to the fact that knives are regarded as cutting tools rather than weapons in Arizona.

Penalties for Breaching Knife Laws in Arizona

Although knives are not technically considered deadly weapons, or even weapons in Arizona, there can be situations when a knife can be interpreted as a weapon by an attorney. Therefore, it is very important to know the penalties for breaching the knife laws.

A person will fall under misconduct involving weapons if by knowingly:

  1. They carry a deadly weapon (except a pocket knife) in a concealed manner with themselves or travel with it on a means of transportation:
  2. In the furtherance of an infringement of the law as defined in Section 13-706, a violent crime as defined in Section 13-901.03 or any other felony offense, or
  3. When hiding the truth from a law enforcement officer when asked about the existence of a concealed weapon.
  4. They carry a deadly weapon (except a pocket knife) in a concealed manner with themselves or travel with it on a means of transportation and they happen to be less than 21-years old.

Types of Legal Knives in Arizona

As long as you are at least 21 years of age, you are allowed to possess any of the following types of knives in any part of Arizona:

  • Butterfly Knife – Also known as a Balisong or a fan knife or a Batangas knife, it is a folding pocketknife that is marked by two handles that counter-rotate around the tang in a manner that when it is closed, the blade is covered within the grooves of the handles.
  • Pocket or Folding Knife – It refers to a foldable knife that comes with one or more blades that can be fit inside the handle, which in turn, fits in a pocket.
  • Bowie Knife – It is a type of a fighting knife with a fixed blade.
  • Switchblade – Also known as ejector knife, springer, automatic knife, flick knife, or pushbutton knife, it is marked by a folding or sliding blade contained in the handle that opens up when a lever or switch on its handle is stroked.
  • Sword – A bladed weapon that is known for slashing or thrusting and is identified by its long size.
  • Ballistic Knife – It is a knife with a detachable blade that can be ejected to a distant area on the trigger of a switch or lever located on the handle.
  • Dagger – Primarily as a stabbing weapon, it refers to a variant of knife with a very sharp point with both of its edges being extremely sharp.
  • Dirk – It is a longer version of a dagger.
  • Gravity Knife – A type of knife that has its blade inside its handle, which opens up by the force of gravity.
  • Stiletto – Stiletto is a type of knife that is identified by its long slender blade, having almost a needle-like appearance.
  • Machete – One of the broadest blades, it can be used as an axe or like a short sword.

Illegal knives in Arizona

If you are under the age of 21, then none of the aforementioned knives are legal for you to own, sell, buy, carry or trade. However, if you are above 21, then you can own any of them except in certain places mentioned in our next section.

Restricted Places in Arizona to Carry Knives

Although the Arizona knife laws are not strict (as mentioned earlier), there are a few places where carrying knives is prohibited either openly or in a concealed manner, irrespective of the owner’s age. These places include:

  • Schools, colleges, and other educational institutions.
  • Government Buildings such as police stations, courtrooms, administrative buildings, municipality offices, among others.
  • Federal properties such as airports, post-office, banks, among others.
  • Public transport.
  • Organized public events and gatherings such as fairs.
  • Polling places on Election Day.

Exceptions/Other Restricted Circumstances

  • If you are a convict and you are caught escaping prison, the charges against you will be much more stringent if you are seen with a knife.
  • When entering a private venue, the owners may refuse you to carry knives inside their establishment.

Penalties for Using Knives for Criminal Acts

If you attempt or intend to harm someone or rob a place with a knife or just recklessly wave your knife, you will run into the possibilities of getting penalized. Also, trafficking knives for criminal activities are considered a felony. If you commit a crime while in the possession of a knife, the charges against you will be much stricter.

Final Thoughts

Essentially, as it has been noted that a knife is seen as a cutting tool in Arizona rather than a weapon. Henceforth, the laws are much more relaxed than most of the other parts of the U.S. In fact, if a list of the most knife-friendly law states is made, Arizona will land itself among the top three positions.

However, a qualified attorney may possibly argue that a knife can be a deadly weapon in specific contexts. If you are faced with a knife-related charge in the state, you will have to contact a criminal defense attorney.

The majority of the knife owners in Arizona use their knives as basic tools rather than as weapons, which has resulted in Arizona featuring a relaxed approach to its knife laws.