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

Last updated on October 21st, 2023 at 01:19 am

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.

Missouri is a state with a relatively straightforward stance towards knife ownership and carrying. The state constitution provides for the right to keep and bear arms, with certain stipulations regarding the use and carrying of knives.

This article aims to demystify the legal nuances surrounding Missouri knife law, making it easier for you to navigate.

Our Top Rated “50-State-Legal” Knives

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

Does Missouri Have Statewide Preemption Knife Laws?

Missouri does not have statewide preemption knife laws, allowing local counties to establish their own regulations concerning knife usage and ownership within their jurisdiction. However, no significant variances in knife laws within different counties have been noted. The absence of preemption laws could potentially lead to varying local ordinances, so it’s advisable to check the local laws of specific cities within Missouri.

Missouri Knife Definitions

Understanding the legal definitions is crucial when delving into Missouri knife laws:

  • Knife: The law categorizes a knife as any bladed hand instrument, dirk, stiletto, or dagger capable of causing injury or death by cutting or stabbing. An ordinary pocketknife with a blade length of four inches or less is exempted from this definition.
  • Switchblade Knife: A folding or pocket knife that opens via a spring-loaded mechanism or by centrifugal force.
  • Concealed: A knife is considered concealed if it’s not readily visible to individuals under ordinary circumstances.

Legal Knives in Missouri

The following knives are legal to own in Missouri:

  • Dirks, stilettos, and other slim stabbing knives
  • Daggers, including boot knives
  • Balisongs or butterfly knives
  • Throwing knives, throwing stars, throwing axes
  • Large knives like bowies
  • Switchblade knives (note that while it’s legal to own a switchblade knife in Missouri, federal law imposes restrictions on their manufacture, transportation, and repair).

Missouri Knife Carry Laws

Missouri’s knife carry laws are quite straightforward. Here are the key points:

  • Concealed carrying of any knife, except for an ordinary pocket knife with a blade length of four inches or less, is generally not allowed unless you have a valid concealed carry permit.
  • Open carrying of any legal knife is permitted in Missouri​.

Can You Open Carry a Knife in Missouri?

Yes, you can open carry any legal knife, including switchblades and ordinary pocket knives with a blade length of four inches or shorter.

Can You Conceal Carry a Knife in Missouri?

Concealing a knife is generally not allowed in Missouri unless you have a valid concealed carry permit. With a permit, you can carry your knife anywhere, barring locations where firearms are restricted, such as schools, government buildings, and courthouses. The only knife you can conceal carry without a permit is a pocket knife with a blade shorter than four inches​5​.

Missouri Knife Length Laws

Missouri law doesn’t specify limits on knife length, with the exception being that an ordinary pocketknife has a blade length of four inches or less.

Missouri Knife Laws by Demographic

Who Can Carry and Buy Knives in Missouri?

Missouri state law doesn’t indicate age restrictions on selling or transferring knives. However, carrying a knife concealed or in certain public places may be restricted based on age.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife in Missouri?

Missouri law doesn’t specify an age limit for carrying a knife, but always respect the restrictions on where you can carry a knife.

Can a Felon Carry a Knife in Missouri?

Under Missouri law, it’s a class D felony for previous or persistent offenders to carry a concealed knife, with certain exceptions based on the type and length of the knife.


Are Neck Knives Legal in Missouri?

Neck knives, falling under the category of ordinary pocket knives with blades shorter than four inches, are legal to own and carry, either openly or concealed, in Missouri.

Can You Carry a Fixed Blade Knife in Missouri?

You can legally own and carry fixed-blade knives in Missouri, subject to certain restrictions based on blade length and the manner of carry.

Is it Legal to Own a Gravity Knife in Missouri?

Gravity knives are classified under the switchblade category as knives that open or release from the handle by the force of gravity. These knives are legal to own and carry in Missouri, guided by federal law.

Missouri State Knife Law References

Official Sources of Missouri’s Knife Laws

  • Missouri Revised Statutes, RSMo Section 571.030: Details the unlawful use of weapons including knives​

Prominent Court Cases

Case TitleSummary
State v. RoweThis case clarified that a six-inch bladed knife concealed in a vehicle met the legal definition of concealed, even if the handle was visible.

Timeline of Major Changes

  • 2012: Repeal of the law prohibiting switchblades in Missouri, making them legal except in cases where local government forbids them.
  • 2022: Introduction and passage of Bill HB1462 through the Senate Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Committee, advancing reforms in firearms and weapons law including further legalization regarding the possession of switchblade knives.

Missouri’s knife laws have evolved over the years with significant changes aimed at reducing restrictions on knife ownership and carry, particularly concerning switchblade knives. The laws regarding concealed carry and restrictions based on knife types or blade lengths, as well as the notable court case State v. Rowe, have contributed to the legal landscape surrounding knife use and ownership in the state.


Missouri is one of the few states that is less knife-friendly than my own home state so hopefully, I was able to give some reasoning and insight into why that is.

Missouri knife law leaves quite a bit of gray and I can’t guarantee that my interpretation is always correct so be sure to arm yourself with knowledge before anything else as you choose which knife to carry!

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