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

Last updated on October 20th, 2023 at 09:31 pm

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 considering buying or carrying a pocket knife in Maine?

If so, it’s crucial to understand the state’s laws regarding knives to ensure you remain compliant. This article aims to provide an overview of Maine knife laws, discussing everything from the definition of a knife to age restrictions on possession and usage within the state.

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*These knives are listed based on their broad legality across states, but always consult your local laws before making a purchase.

Overview of Maine Knife Laws

Knives are a versatile tool, useful for a myriad of activities ranging from hunting and fishing to everyday tasks. Knowing the laws governing knives in Maine is key to enjoying these tools responsibly.

Definition of a Knife

In Maine, a knife is broadly defined as any instrument or device with a blade or sharp point capable of being used as a weapon. This encompasses pocket knives, switchblades, daggers, dirks, stilettos, and other similar instruments.

Prohibited Knives in Maine

Maine law restricts the possession of certain types of knives. The prohibited categories include:

  • Bowie Knives
  • Dirks
  • Stilettos
  • Any other dangerous or deadly weapon usually employed in an attack on or defense of a person​

However, contrary to common belief, switchblades and automatic knives are not explicitly banned under Maine law, as the prohibition was lifted in 2015.

Legal Carry of Knives in Maine

Maine’s laws provide guidelines on the legal ownership and carry of knives, whether concealed or open.

Carrying Knives Concealed in Maine

The state imposes more restrictions on the concealed carry of knives, particularly those classified as dangerous or deadly. Concealed carry of Bowie knives, dirks, stilettos, and similar weapons is illegal, with violations categorized as a Class D crime.

Places Where Concealed Carry Is Prohibited

Carrying concealed weapons is illegal in:

  • Court facilities
  • School premises​

Open Carry of Knives in Maine

Open carry of knives is generally permitted, although it’s essential to avoid displaying knives in a threatening manner, especially those categorized as dangerous or deadly.

Age Restrictions on Knife Possession and Use in Maine

Maine law doesn’t specify age restrictions for owning or possessing knives, but it prohibits minors from bringing knives to school. Moreover, the minimum age to purchase or sell a knife in Maine is 18 years old.

FAQs in Relation to Maine Knife Law

What knives are illegal in Maine?

Bowie knives, dirks, and stilettos, along with other dangerous or deadly weapons usually employed in an attack or defense of a person, are prohibited​.

What is the legal knife blade length in Maine?

Maine law doesn’t specify a legal blade length for knives. However, certain types of knives are prohibited when carried concealed.

Are OTF knives illegal in Maine?

OTF (Out-The-Front) knives are not illegal in Maine, but like other knives, they are subject to state knife laws.

Are butterfly knives illegal in Maine?

Butterfly knives, also known as balisongs, are not explicitly illegal in Maine.

Are switchblades legal in Maine?

Contrary to common belief, switchblades are not explicitly banned under Maine law. However, carrying any knife concealed that falls under the dangerous or deadly weapon category is not allowed.

Maine State Knife Law References

Official Sources of Maine’s Knife Laws

  • Title 17-A, §1055: Possession or distribution of dangerous knives from the Maine State Legislature.
  • Title 17, §3952: Dangerous knives, also from the Maine State Legislature​.

Significant Court Cases

Case NameSummary
State v. ShortsleevesInvolved a steak knife; resulted in a Supreme Judicial Court decision on August 30, 1990.
Maine v. JonesDefendant found guilty of carrying a concealed weapon.
State v. LagasseDefendant charged with murder, found guilty of manslaughter.
State v. NileSupreme Judicial Court decision on April 21, 1989.
State v. FlickSupreme Judicial Court decision on January 26, 1981.

Timeline of Major Changes

  • 1967: Law concerning dangerous knives amended (PL 1967, c. 42).
  • 1975: Repeal of previous dangerous knives law (PL 1975, c. 499, §24).
  • 2015:
    • April 17: Governor LePage signed LD 264, repealing the state’s ban on switchblade (automatic) knives.
    • October 15: Effective date of legalization of automatic knives in Maine.


Being knowledgeable about Maine’s knife laws is essential for anyone looking to own or carry a knife in the state. By understanding and adhering to these laws, you can enjoy your pocket knives responsibly while ensuring you remain compliant with state regulations.

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