Delaware 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.

Are you a knife enthusiast living in Delaware? Well, I’m sorry…

Knife law in Deleware is just about as confusing as possible. However, I’ve done my best to put in my time and help everyone (including me) know what’s allowed and what’s not.

Knife laws can be confusing and often vary by state so i’ts important to understand the regulations surrounding knives before buying or carrying one, especially when traveling across state lines.

To help ensure that your pocketknife collection complies with Delaware knife law, I’ve taken my understanding and attempted to make this comprehensive guide.

Here, you will find information on the types of knives allowed within the state as well as age restrictions for ownership and legal parameters for carrying them in public places. We also cover prohibited knives under Delaware’s law along with potential penalties if these rules are violated.

Finally, our preemption law section provides resources regarding further regulation changes so you can stay up-to-date on all applicable legislation related to Delaware knife law.

Types of Knives Allowed in Delaware

Pocket Knives

Pocket knives are one of the most common types of knives and are allowed to be owned and carried in Delaware. They typically have a folding blade that is less than 4 inches long, with a handle made from various materials such as wood, plastic, or metal. These knives can be used for everyday tasks such as cutting rope or opening packages.


Switchblades are another type of knife that is legal to own and carry in Delaware. Unlike pocket knives, switchblades open automatically when a button or lever on the handle is pressed.

The blades on these types of knives can range from 2-4 inches in length depending on the model. While they may look intimidating, switchblades can actually be very useful tools for those who need quick access to their knife while working outdoors or doing other activities where time is an issue.

In Delaware, pocket knives are legal to own and carry as long as they meet the requirements of state law. However, there are age restrictions for knife ownership in Delaware that must be considered when purchasing a knife.

Age Restrictions for Knife Ownership in Delaware

In Delaware, there are age restrictions for owning a knife. The minimum age requirement to own a pocket knife is 18 years old. Exceptions to this rule include minors who are accompanied by an adult or have written permission from their parent or guardian.

Under the minimum age requirements, anyone under the age of 18 must be supervised by an adult when carrying and using any type of knife in public places. This includes pocket knives, switchblades, balisongs, and other types of folding knives with blades longer than 3 inches in length.

Furthermore, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase any type of automatic knives such as stilettos and gravity knives even if they have parental consent or supervision while carrying them in public places. It is also illegal for anyone under the legal drinking age (21) to carry concealed weapons such as daggers and dirks regardless if they have written permission from their parents or guardians.

It should be noted that these laws may vary depending on local jurisdictions within Delaware, so it is important to check your local ordinances before purchasing or carrying any type of blade over 3 inches long in public places within state borders. Additionally, federal law prohibits individuals convicted of felonies from possessing certain types of knives including switchblades, regardless if they meet all other legal requirements set forth by state law regarding ownership and possession regulations.

The age restrictions for knife ownership in Delaware are fairly straightforward and easy to follow, but there are a few exceptions that must be taken into account. Now let’s look at the laws regarding carrying knives in public places in Delaware.

Carrying Knives in Public Places in Delaware

When it comes to carrying knives in public places in Delaware, there are two different laws that apply. The first is the concealed carry law and the second is the open carry law.

Concealed Carry Laws

In Delaware, it is illegal to conceal a knife with a blade longer than 3 inches on your person or within any vehicle you are operating. This includes pocket knives, switchblades, balisongs, and other types of folding blades. It does not matter if you have a valid permit for concealed carry; all knives with blades over 3 inches must be visible at all times when carried in public places.

Open Carry Laws

Openly carrying any type of knife with a blade longer than 3 inches is legal in Delaware as long as you do not use it to threaten or intimidate another person or act recklessly while doing so. You may also open carry any type of knife without fear of prosecution provided that its purpose is solely for self-defense purposes and not used as an offensive weapon against another individual or property damage.

It’s important to note that even though open carry laws allow individuals to possess certain types of knives, they can still face civil penalties if they fail to abide by state regulations regarding their use and ownership (such as using them for criminal activities). Additionally, anyone found guilty of violating these laws could face criminal charges which could include fines and/or jail time depending on the severity of the offense committed.

In conclusion, understanding local laws pertaining to carrying knives in public places can help ensure that individuals remain compliant with state regulations while also protecting themselves from potential legal repercussions should they choose to ignore them altogether. It is important to be aware of the restrictions and regulations regarding knife ownership and use so as not to face any civil or criminal penalties.

In Delaware, it is important to be aware of the laws regarding carrying knives in public places. This section has provided an overview of the rules and regulations surrounding concealed and open carry. Next, we will discuss prohibited knives in Delaware.

Prohibited Knives in Delaware

Knives are a popular tool and hobby for many people, but it is important to be aware of the laws regarding knife ownership in Delaware. In this article, we will discuss which types of knives are prohibited from being owned or carried within the state.

Gravity Knives and Butterfly Knives

Gravity knives and butterfly knives are both considered illegal weapons in Delaware. A gravity knife is defined as any device that has a blade that can be released from its handle by centrifugal force or gravity alone.

A butterfly knife is also known as a balisong and consists of two handles counter-rotating around the tang such that when closed, the blade is concealed within grooves in the handles. Both types of knives are illegal to own or carry in Delaware without proper authorization.

Automatic Knives and Stilettos

Automatic knives, also known as switchblades, are not allowed to be owned or carried in Delaware without proper authorization due to their ability to open quickly with one hand via an internal spring mechanism. Similarly, stiletto blades—which have long thin blades designed for stabbing—are also prohibited from being owned or carried without proper authorization due to their potential use as offensive weapons rather than tools for everyday tasks like cutting rope or opening boxes.

It is important for anyone who owns pocket knives in Delaware to familiarize themselves with these laws so they can avoid any legal issues related to owning certain types of knives that may be deemed dangerous weapons by law enforcement officials. Knowing what type of pocketknife you can legally own will help ensure your safety while enjoying your favorite hobby.

It is important to be aware of the prohibited knives in Delaware, as it can result in serious civil or criminal penalties. Next, we will discuss the potential consequences for violating knife laws in Delaware.

Penalties for Violating Knife Laws in Delaware

Civil Penalties

Violating knife laws in Delaware can result in civil penalties. These may include fines, court costs, and other fees associated with the violation. For example, if someone is found to be carrying a concealed weapon without a permit or license, they may face a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to 30 days. In addition, the person could also be responsible for any legal fees incurred as part of their case.

Criminal Penalties

In some cases, violating knife laws in Delaware can lead to criminal charges being filed against an individual. Depending on the severity of the offense and whether it was committed intentionally or not will determine what type of penalty is imposed upon conviction. For instance, if someone is convicted of possession of an illegal switchblade or balisong knife they could face up to two years in prison and/or a fine up to $2,000 dollars depending on the circumstances surrounding their case.

Violating Delaware’s knife laws can have serious consequences, both civil and criminal. It is important to understand the law before carrying a pocket knife in Delaware, so let’s take a look at the preemption law regarding knife regulations in Delaware.

Preemption Law Regarding Knife Regulations in Delaware

Delaware is one of the few states that has a preemption law regarding knife regulations. This means that local governments are not allowed to pass laws or ordinances restricting the possession, sale, transfer, ownership, manufacture, or carrying of knives. The only exception to this rule is if a city or county passes an ordinance prohibiting the possession of switchblades and gravity knives by minors under 18 years old.

The Delaware Supreme Court has also ruled on several cases involving knife regulation in recent years. In 2015, they struck down a Wilmington ordinance banning pocketknives with blades longer than 3 inches as unconstitutional due to preemption law. They also held that state statutes preempted any local laws restricting the open carry of pocketknives in public places within Wilmington city limits.

In 2017, the court again ruled against a proposed ban on concealed carry of knives in New Castle County parks and recreational areas due to preemption law; however, they did uphold an existing prohibition on concealed carry for minors under 18 years old throughout all Delaware counties and municipalities.

Overall, it is important for those who own or wish to own knives in Delaware to understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to owning and carrying them legally within state boundaries.

Preemption law ensures that no local government can pass legislation limiting these rights; however, there are still restrictions placed upon certain types of knives such as switchblades and gravity knives which must be adhered to at all times regardless of location within Delaware’s borders.

Delaware has a preemption law in place that prohibits local governments from enacting their own knife regulations, so it’s important to understand the state laws before carrying any kind of knife. The next section will provide some helpful resources for further information on Delaware’s knife laws.

FAQs in Relation to Delaware Knife Law

What size knife is legal in Delaware?

In Delaware, the legal size of a pocket knife is 3.5 inches or less when measured from the pivot point to the end of the blade. The handle can be longer than 3.5 inches, but it must not contain any type of spring-loaded mechanism that opens and closes the blade automatically. Any knife with a blade length greater than 3.5 inches is considered an illegal weapon in Delaware and may result in criminal charges if found in possession by law enforcement officers.

How old do you have to be to carry a knife in Delaware?

In Delaware, the legal age to carry a pocket knife is 18 years old. This applies to all knives with blades that are 3 inches or less in length. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess any type of knife, even if it is used for work-related purposes. Any person found carrying a knife illegally can face criminal charges and potential jail time. Additionally, certain types of knives such as switchblades and gravity knives are prohibited by law regardless of age. It is important to be aware of the laws in your state before carrying a pocket knife.

What state has the strictest knife laws?

It may shock you to know that it’s not Deleware. It’s not actually New York or D.C. either.

It’s California. Shocker.

California has the strictest knife laws in the United States. It is illegal to carry a concealed dirk, dagger, or other deadly weapons on one’s person. Switchblades and ballistic knives are also prohibited. Furthermore, it is illegal to sell any type of switchblade or ballistic knife in California without prior authorization from local law enforcement. These restrictions make it difficult for pocket knife enthusiasts to legally purchase and own certain types of knives in California.

Can you open carry a sword in Delaware?

No, it is not legal to open carry a sword in Delaware. The state has specific laws regarding the possession and carrying of swords. It is illegal to openly carry any type of knife with a blade longer than 3 inches, including swords. Concealed weapons are also prohibited without a valid permit or license issued by the state government. Possession of an illegal weapon can result in criminal charges and fines.


In conclusion, it is important to understand the knife laws in Delaware before purchasing or carrying a pocket knife. Knife owners should be aware of what types of knives are allowed and prohibited, as well as any age restrictions for ownership and carrying them in public places.

Understanding Delaware’s preemption law regarding knife regulations can help ensure that you stay within the bounds of the law. If you have further questions about Delaware knife law, please consult your local government resources for more information.

Leave a Comment