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

Arkansas is famous for its numerous fishing and hunting activities. The state has been operating using old knife laws, but that changed in 2011 when the law was repealed. Today, Arkansas, like many other states, is considered knife-friendly. To stay updated on the latest knife laws in Arkansas, keep reading.

Does Arkansas Have Statewide Preemption Knife Laws?

Arkansas does not have statewide preemption knife laws. Therefore, local municipalities can restrict the possession, use, and carrying of knives.

For example, sheathed knives are forbidden in Palmer. In Texarkana, it is illegal to carry knives on public transport. In addition, Fort Smith and Eureka Springs have blade length restrictions of 3.5 inches.

The lack of statewide preemption laws creates a risk for knife owners in the state as they might be arrested even though they follow state law. To avoid such trouble, research local county knife laws before traveling to a certain city in Arkansas.

Arkansas Knife Definitions

Below are definitions you must know to understand the law better.

  • A knife – any sharp, blade-like hand tool that is 3 inches or longer and capable of causing serious physical harm or death through cutting or stabbing. This includes, but is not limited to, knives, swords, spears, razors, ice picks, throwing stars, and switchblades.
  • A deadly weapon – is a firearm or anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted to inflict death or serious physical injury. A deadly weapon is also anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.

Note that there are some statutes where the above definition of a knife does not apply. However, it is safer to assume that it does if you want to remain within the law, especially if you like traveling to different cities within the state.

Legal Knives in Arkansas

All knives are legal to own in Arkansas, including:

  • Balisongs or butterfly knives
  • Switchblades and automatic knives
  • Gravity Knives
  • Dirks, stilettos, and other slim or stabbing knives
  • Large knives like bowies, machetes, etc.
  • Pocket knives

What Kind of Knives are Illegal in Arkansas?

No statutes restrict the type of knives you can own in the state. The only limitations are age and locations where you can carry your knives (see below).

Arkansas Knife Carry Laws

Knife carry laws guide citizens on how and where to carry knives within the state. As you read this section, it is crucial to remember the definitions of knife and deadly weapons as they will be used in different contexts within the law.

Below are knife carry laws in Arkansas:

  • A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if they possess a handgun, knife, or club on or about a person, vehicle owned by the person, or otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to attempt to use unlawfully or as a weapon against another person.

    The above statute prioritizes the intent of carrying a knife. Therefore, carrying a knife is illegal if you intend to use it unlawfully or as a weapon against another person.
  • Carrying or possessing a loaded firearm or other deadly weapons in any publicly owned building or facility or on State Capitol grounds is against the law. Publicly owned buildings include public schools and other educational institutions owned by the government.
  • It is illegal to sell, barter, lease, give, rent, or otherwise furnish a firearm or other deadly weapon to a minor without consent from a parent, guardian, or other people responsible for general supervision of the minor’s welfare.
  • It is illegal for incarcerated persons to use, sell, possess, make, repair, or otherwise deal in any weapon, including but not limited to knives, guns, bombs, or other weapons to inflict serious physical injury or death that serves no common lawful purpose.
  • In Fort Smith and Eureka Springs, carrying knives with blades longer than 3.5 inches is illegal.
  • It is illegal to carry sheathed knives in Palmer.
  • It is illegal to carry knives on public transport in Texarkana.

Exemptions

In Arkansas, you might be exempt from knife carry laws depending on your situation and occupation. Knife carry laws do not apply to

  • A person on their dwelling, property, or place of business in which they possess or have a proprietary interest.
  • Law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and members of the armed forces acting in a course or within the scope of their official duties.
  • A person assisting a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or member of the armed forces upon request while performing their duty
  • A person carrying a weapon upon a journey except through a commercial airport where the weapon must be lawfully declared as a weapon. Under this section, to be upon a journey is to travel beyond your county of residence.
  • Registered commissioned security guards on active duty
  • A person in a hunting game or en route to or from a hunting game
  • A certified law enforcement officer on or off duty. When off duty, a law enforcement officer must show valid identification to be allowed onto public school grounds or public institutions of higher education.
  • Retired law enforcement officer with a valid concealed carry license issued by the state
  • Prosecuting attorneys or deputy prosecuting attorneys
  • Anyone with a valid concealed carry license to carry a handgun

Arkansas Knife Length Laws

According to the law, a knife is a bladed hand instrument three inches or longer. The length mentioned here is for descriptive purposes, not as a length restriction.

Arkansas statutes do not provide guidelines for measuring knife size. Therefore, it is safe to say that Arkansas has no blade length or knife size restrictions.

However, local laws might differ. For example, Fort Smith and Eureka springs have blade length restrictions of 3.5 inches. Otherwise, you can own and carry any knife regardless of size or type in the state.

Arkansas Knife Laws by Demographic

Who Can Carry and Buy Knives in Arkansas?

The law prohibits selling, bartering, leasing, giving, renting, or furnishing a felon, incarcerated persons, and minors under 18 years. Otherwise, all knives are legal to carry in Arkansas regardless of size, type, and blade length.

Arkansas Knife Laws for Minors

According to the law, furnishing a deadly weapon to a minor without a parent or legal guardian’s consent is illegal.

Furnishing a deadly weapon includes selling, bartering, renting, giving, or leasing a fatal weapon.

The penalty for this crime depends on the type of deadly weapon.

Suppose the deadly weapon is a handgun, explosive, metal knuckles, defaced firearm, or another implement that can inflict serious physical injury or death. In that case, you will be charged with a Class B felony. Otherwise, furnishing a deadly weapon to a minor is a class A misdemeanor.

Can a Felon Carry a Knife in Arkansas?

Knives are not mentioned under the statute of furnishing a handgun or a prohibited weapon to a felon. The weapons mentioned in this section include a bomb, metal knuckles, defaced firearms, and other implements for the infliction of severe physical injury or death.

While the definition of a knife might not be applicable here, it is important to remember that it is still considered an instrument capable of inflicting serious physical harm or death through cutting or stabbing.

Arkansas Concealed Knife Carry Laws

Interestingly, Arkansas statutes do not distinguish between open and concealed carry. Therefore, the general rules apply in both situations.

It is legal to own and carry open or concealed all legal knives in Arkansas. However, there are location restrictions such as in schools and government buildings and other restrictions for minors.

FAQ

Can I Carry a Pocket Knife in Arkansas?

You can carry a pocket knife in Arkansas if you do not intend to use it unlawfully or as a weapon against another person.

Are OTF Knives Legal in Arkansas?

OTF knives are legal in Arkansas. No law restricts ownership or possession of any knife within the state.

Can You Carry an Automatic Knife in Arkansas?

Automatic knives and switchblades are legal to carry in Arkansas as long as you have no intention of using them as a weapon against others or unlawfully.

Conclusion

Figuring out Arkansas’ Knife laws shouldn’t take a lawyer (and I’m not one) so hopefully, my interpretation was helpful!

I did my best to put things as plainly as possible to enable you to know exactly what kind of knives you can be carrying without getting yourself in trouble.

To be on the safe side you can also check with your local offices and get the most up-to-date information if you want to be sure.

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