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

Maybe it’s my hillbilly blood showing through but, in my opinion, Maryland Knife Law is quite a handful.

The Chesapeake State is no stranger to knife crimes and violent confrontations however so it’s worth taking the time to understand the sta’s knife laws. In fact, Maryland has the 4th highest homicide rate in the country (9 per 100k).

If you plan on carrying a knife in the state of Maryland, it’s well worth your time to understand the knife laws as they are strict and the penalties can be severe.

So let’s get into it!

Summary of Maryland’s Knife Laws

Knives You Can Legally Buy & Own

Maryland Knife Laws allow a person to purchase and use:

  • Balisong/Butterfly Knives
  • Switchblades, Gravity Knives, OTF Knives, and Automatic Knives
  • Daggers, Dirks, and Stilettos
  • Ballistic Knives
  • Disguised Knives (belt buckle knives, lipstick knives, pen knives, etc.)
  • Throwing Knives & Throwing Stars
  • Undetectable Knives

In general, Maryland laws have much more to do with how you carry your knives than whether you own them.

For example:

  • You cannot carry knives at a school unless you are a police officer or have another applicable exception
  • You cannot conceal a throwing star, otf switchblade, gravity knife, bowie knife, or dirk
  • You cannot carry any of the above knives if you are intending to harm someone

If you didn’t get your answer thus far, don’t worry, we have lots more to talk about!

State Knife Law in Maryland

Maryland knife law depends on the type and intent of the blade and the legal limitations to carry it as per its nature that whether it is dangerous or not. You can buy, use, own, and sell different kinds of blades that are legal to Maryland (MD). Moreover, you also have to consider the length limit while carrying and owning knives. For using long knives, you need authorization from the peace officer of the state.

Maryland Knife Law for Minors

According to MD. Code, CR Section 4-101 (c)(3), a minor is not allowed to carry any dangerous weapon after the sunset and one hour before sunrise. It won’t be allowed whether it is opened or concealed. For violating this rule, you will be guilty under the misdemeanor, and you will be imprisoned for 3 years. You may have to compensate $1,000 for the infringement.

Concealed vs. Open Carry Knife Law in Maryland

According to Section 4-105, the transfer and selling of shooting knives and switchblades are prohibited in Maryland.

According to Section 4-101 of Maryland Knife Law, every dangerous weapon and long knife cannot be carried in a concealed way.

You cannot conceal a dirk, throwing star, gravity knife, bowie knife, or dagger.

Moreover, it is not legal to carry dangerous weapons and illegal blades in Maryland.

You can carry legal knives and folding blades openly in the state.

Exception for Carrying Knives and Weapons

The legal restrictions that apply to citizens have exceptions for certain jobs and activities.

These legal restrictions are not effective for the soldiers, armed forces, police officers, and air force officers. However, valid ID proof is always needed to prove your occupation.

If you require a “dangerous knife” to perform your profession (eg. fisherman, butcher, barber, etc.) then you will need a valid ID proof sufficient to prove their occupation. So, any sections and restrictions are not applicable to them.      

Penalties for Breaching Concealed Carry Law in Maryland

For violating Section 4-101 of Maryland Knife Law, the possible consequences include up to 3 years of jail time and a $1,000 fine.

Knife Length Limitation in Maryland

According to Maryland Knife Law, you cannot carry knives whose length is more than 3”.

Failure to observe this law is punishable by a $1,000 fine.

6 Types of Legal Knives in Maryland

While there are a significant number of illegal knives, there are many types that you can legally buy, sell, and own. (Just don’t sell one to a minor)

Let’s take a look at the legal knives which you can carry openly and use:

  1. Balisong Knife. The Balisong knives are often used for knife games, hunting, slashing meat and cutting fish. This knife is also known as fanning or flipping knife. This knife is legal in Maryland.
  2. Stiletto Knife. Stiletto is a slender knife with the needle-point shaped blade. This knife is legal in this state.
  3. Ballistic Knife. Ballistic Knife gets expelled from the barrel similar to a bullet that expels from a gun barrel. It also has a spring to open the blade of the knife.
  4. Disguised Knife. Disguised knives such as lipstick knife, pen knife, and cane sword are small knives which are often carried for cutting paper, rope, and for self-defense.  
  5. Bowie Knife. Bowie Knife is a hunting knife or a gaming knife. It is also used by chefs, butchers, and fishermen.
  6. Undetectable Knife. The undetectable knives are also like disguised knives which cannot be detected. This knife is allowed to carry in Maryland.  

Types of Illegal Knives in Maryland

Most of the knives which have switches are not allowed to carry in Maryland. These laws apply to you while you’re in Maryland whether you are a citizen or not.

Some illegal knives in Maryland are:

  1. Star Knife. This is a throwing knife that is often used as a gaming knife for hunting and playing. This type of knife is illegal in Maryland.
  2. Brass Knuckles. Metal knuckles (knuckle dusters) are a combat weapon that fits over your hand and protect you while striking things. They are illegal in Maryland.
  3. Dagger. It is a sharp and slim weapon that is often used for stabbing people. Some people use it as self-defense, but it is illegal in Maryland.
  4. Cane Sword. A cane sword is also a stick sword that is used for different purposes. However, it is not legal to own and use in Maryland.

If you own weapons such as guns and firearms, then you need a license for carrying those weapons for your safety.

Penalties for Using Illegal Knives

According to the Criminal Law Code Ann 1-101(2012), using illegal knives or dangerous weapons is completely prohibited in Maryland. The penalty for breaching the section is one-year imprisonment and a $500 fine. 

Restricted Places to Carry Knives in Maryland

As per the Maryland Knife Law, there are some places for carrying knives, and blades are completely restricted. You should not carry knives to some places as follows:

  1. Schools. According to 5-101 of Maryland Knife Law, you should not carry knives, blades and any dangerous weapon in schools and other educational institutes. As per MD Code, CR Section 4-101 (a)(5)(i), pen knives can be carried in educational institutes, but you have to take the permission of the authority of the school and educational institutes.   
  2. Vehicles. You should also not carry knives and blades in motor vehicles because it can harm others. The federal government of Maryland has introduced this rule for the wellbeing of the state.
  3. Government Buildings. The government buildings such as courts, party houses, municipality offices, banks, federal departments and police stations never allow carrying knives and blades.
  4. Private Properties. It is legally not allowed to bear armaments and knives in someone’s private properties such as house, cars, grounds, etc.

Penalties for Carrying Knives in Restricted Places

For breaching MD Code, CR Section 4-101 (a)(5)(i), and carrying knives in school, you can be imprisoned for 3 years and your penalty will be $1,000. If you carry knives in other places such as government buildings, public vehicles, and private properties of others, you have to compensate $600 for that. So, the knife owners should be completely aware of the regulations.


If you follow the Maryland Knife Law made by the government of the state, then you can make the city safe and corruption-free. A single initiative for making the state crime-free can really help you and the other citizens.