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

Massachusetts Knife Law is cryptic. Pouring over it gave me a headache but, hopefully, it was worth it in the end.

Nobody wants to be on the wrong end of a knife-charge. But what’s worse would be to get pulled over for speeding and to unknowingly have an illegal knife in your pocket.

Accidental felonies are still felonies.

So, without further ado, let’s jump into some of the most pertinent aspects of Massachusetts knife law!

Quick Notes Version Of Massachusetts Knife Law

Legal Knives

Nearly every type of knife that you can easily buy online can be owned in Massachusetts.

Legal knives include:

  • Balisong/butterfly knives
  • Throwing knives
  • Brass knuckle knives
  • Daggers and dirks
  • Stilettos and push knives
  • Switchblades and auto knives
  • Bowie knives and other large knives
  • Hidden/disguised knives such as belt buckle knives, lipstick knives, etc.

Basically, any type of knife that you can think of is legal to own if all you’re going to do with it is have it in your home. There are, however, laws that make certain types of knives illegal for public carry.

Illegal Knives

The above knives are all legal if you’re just sitting around your home in sweats. If you decide to run to the grocery store, however, there are few knives that aren’t allowed to leave your property (no matter if they’re open-carried or concealed):

  • Switchblades
  • Daggers/dirks
  • Stilettos
  • Ballistic Knives
  • Double Edge Knives
  • Knuckle

So, if a police officer arrests you while you have any of the above and tells you that they’re illegal, he’s right. The second you’re out of your house carrying one on your person, it’s illegal.

If you are going to transport any of the above knives off of your private property, your trunk is the best place for it to be.

State law also gives Massachusetts an “out” to prosecute just about anything knife-related crime they want. It is illegal to carry “anything that is perceived as dangerous while disturbing the peace or being arrested”. So be judicious in what you decide to carry and stay firmly within the law.

*Check out our list of legal knives (under 3″ blade)

Other Regulations To Be Aware Of

  • If you live (or travel in) Boston or Salem there are additional knive laws to make yourself aware of
  • There are exceptions to knive laws for police officers but not for military personal or those with other professions
  • Automatic knives are prohibited if the blade is over 1.5″ (measured along the cutting edge)

State Knife Law in Massachusetts

Massachusetts (MA) is neither very strict nor liberal. In this state, the citizens are not allowed to manufacture, sell, export and buy any dangerous knives and other weapons like Dirk. According to M.G.L.A. 269 & 12 of Massachusetts Knife Law, you have compensated not more than a thousand dollars and you will be imprisoned for six months for carrying dangerous knives and other weapons without the written permission of the peace officer of the locality.

According to Part IV, Title I, Chapter 269 of Section 12, dirks are not even allowed to manufacture and sold inside Massachusetts. For manufacturing dangerous weapons, the penalty is $50-$1,000 and you will be imprisoned for six months.

Concealment Carrying Law in Massachusetts

Like other states, Massachusetts also has some legal rules for concealment carry of knives and blades. According to M.G.L.A. 269 Section 10 (b), you cannot carry sharp knives such as double-edged blades, dirk knives, and switch knives in the state by concealing them. For violating the law, you can be in the term of imprisonment for six months to five years.

Limitation on the Length of Knife in Massachusetts

As per the Massachusetts knife law, there are various limits to carrying a knife. The limit in the length of the knives and blades is stricter. You cannot carry blades or knife which has a length more than 1.5”. If you violate this law, then you will be imprisoned for 2.5 years, and you have to compensate $50 alternatively.

Massachusetts Knife Law for Minors

According to ALM GL Ch. 269, Section 12, selling any knife or blade to minors is illegal. Especially the double-edged knives are completely restricted for the minors. You have to compensate $50 or you will be kept behind the bar for six months.

Types of Legal Knives in Massachusetts

Not all knives are illegal as per Massachusetts Knife Law. Some knives and blades are legal in this state.

  1. Pocket Knives: The pocket knives are small foldable blades, which can be carried from one place to another for the purpose of cutting papers, ropes, etc. These blades or knives are legal to carry in Massachusetts.
  2. Balisong Knives: People usually carry Balisong Knives for self-defense. It is also known as a fanning or a flipping knife which is often used for knife games. Balisong is legal to own in this state.
  3. Ballistic Knives: Ballistic Knife is a spring-based knife which can be opened by using a switch that has spring. Ballistic Knife is legal in this state.
  4. Bowie Knives: The bowie knife is known as a hunting knife. This knife is also used in the butchering game. It is legal to use in this city.
  5. Disguised Knives: The small knives which are undetectable and carried in a hidden way is known as disguised knives. Disguised or hidden knives such as lipstick knife, cane sword, etc. are legal to carry in Massachusetts.
  6. Throwing Star: Throwing star or ninja star is a gaming knife often used for ninja games. This knife is illegal in most of the states in the U.S. but it is legal to use in Massachusetts.

Types of Illegal Knives in Massachusetts

As we know that every knife cannot be legal as per Massachusetts Knife Law, so remember you cannot carry these knives and blades in this state.

  1. Daggers/Dirks: Dagger or Dirk is a pointed and sharp knife that is used for stabbing. Most of the crimes are often done by this knife. So, this knife is banned in Massachusetts.
  2. Ballistic Knives: Ballistic Knife or Butterfly Knife is a long spring knife that can be opened with a push, just like a bullet is expelled from a barrel. This knife is not legal in this state.
  3. Stilettos: Stiletto is a tapering blade that is thin and it looks like a short dagger. In the ancient time period, this blade was used as a weapon to fight and play sword games. This knife is not legal in Massachusetts.  
  4. Double-Edged Knives: Double-edged knives are sharper and dangerous because they have edges on both sides. So, it is restricted to use in this state.
  5. Automatic Knives: Another name of an automatic knife is switchblade, which can be carried as pocket knives. As per the switchblade act, these types of knives are illegal in Massachusetts.

Penalties for Using Illegal Knives in Massachusetts

According to Code 269, Section 10 (b), if you carry illegal knives and blades in Massachusetts, then the person will be punished for not less than 2-5 years in the state prison. Moreover, they have to penalize $50-$1,000 for manufacturing, selling and displaying these knives as per Section 12 of Massachusetts Knife Law.


The person who has been previously convicted as a felony will have to compensate $50.

Restricted Places to Carry Knife in Massachusetts

There are various places in Massachusetts where you cannot buy, manufacture, sell and use knives. Always keep in mind that you cannot use and sell these knives in these places.

  1. School or Educational Institutes: According to Chapter 94 C of Massachusetts Knife Law, you cannot carry knives, blades and other weapons in schools and educational institutes. Moreover, if any student carries knives or blades in any athletic game, then he may be suspended from the school and subjected under a felony.
  2. Government Buildings: You cannot carry knives, blades and other weapons in any government building such as post office, bank, party houses, federal buildings, courts, and police stations.  
  3. Vehicles: As per Massachusetts Knife Law, you are not allowed to carry knives in a school bus and other public vehicles because the government has made this regulation for the safety of the citizens in the state.  
  4. Private Properties: You cannot bear weapons and carry knives or blades in any kind of private property without the permission of the owner.

Penalties for Carrying Knives in the Restricted Places

If you violate the regulations and carry knives or blades in Massachusetts, then you will be imprisoned for six months and you have to compensate $50-$1000.

Bottom Line

Following the regulations of Massachusetts Knife Law will help you maintain your own security and also maintain the safety of the citizens.