New York 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.

If you’re a knife enthusiast living in New York, understanding the laws and regulations surrounding knives is an important part of being able to responsibly own and carry them.

To help you better understand your rights as a knife owner in New York State, this article will provide an overview of new york knife law including what types of knives are allowed or prohibited, age restrictions for ownership, and carrying laws.

Additionally, we’ll cover potential penalties for violations as well as defenses that may be available if charges are brought against someone accused of violating these laws. To finish up we’ll provide some resources on where to learn more about Knife Laws in New York State.

Carrying Laws in New York State

Open Carry Laws in New York State

In the state of New York, it is legal to openly carry a pocket knife with a blade length of less than four inches. However, knives that are considered dangerous weapons such as switchblades and gravity knives are not allowed to be carried in public places. Additionally, some cities may have their own laws regarding open carry of pocket knives so it is important to check local regulations before carrying any type of knife.

Concealed carry laws for pocket knives vary by county and city within the state of New York. Generally speaking, most counties allow concealed carry if the blade length does not exceed four inches and there is no intent to use the knife unlawfully or threaten someone with it. It is important to note that even though you may legally possess a pocket knife under these conditions, you can still be arrested for disorderly conduct if your behavior causes alarm or distress among other people in public areas

It is important to be aware of the laws governing knife carrying in New York State, as failure to abide by them can result in both civil and criminal penalties. In the next section, we will discuss the potential consequences for violating these laws.

Penalties for Violating Knife Laws in New York State

Civil Penalties for Violating Knife Laws in New York State

Violations of knife laws in the state of New York can result in civil penalties. These penalties may include fines, court costs, and other associated fees. For example, a person who is found to be carrying an illegal knife or switchblade may face a fine of up to $250 and/or imprisonment for up to 15 days. In addition, individuals who are convicted of possessing an illegal gravity knife or dirks/daggers/stilettos may be subject to a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to 1 year.

Criminal Penalties for Violating Knife Laws in New York State

In some cases, violations of knife laws in the state of New York can result in criminal charges as well as civil penalties. Criminal offenses related to knives can range from misdemeanors such as unlawful possession or sale of certain types of knives (e.g., switchblades) all the way up to felonies such as possession with intent to use unlawfully against another person (e.g., gravity knives).

Depending on the severity of the offense, criminal convictions could lead to jail time ranging from several months up to 10 years or more depending on prior convictions and aggravating factors present at the time of arrest or conviction.

It is important to understand the penalties for violating knife laws in New York State, as ignorance of the law does not excuse anyone from responsibility. Therefore, it is equally important to be aware of possible defenses that may be used when accused of violating these laws.

Defenses to Charges of Violating Knife Laws in New York State

When facing charges related to violating knife laws in the state of New York, there are several potential defenses that can be used. The most common defense is lack of knowledge or intent. This means that if the defendant was unaware that they were breaking a law, then they cannot be held liable for their actions.

Additionally, if the defendant had no intention of breaking any laws when carrying a pocket knife, then this could also serve as a valid defense.

Another possible defense is known as the “defense of necessity.” This means that if you were using your pocket knife for self-defense or protection from harm, then this could be considered a valid reason for carrying it and may result in the charges being dropped.

If you’ve been in law before you might recognize the next defense which is called the “choice of evils” defense. This applies when an individual has no other option but to use their pocket knife due to an imminent threat or danger posed by another person or situation. For example, if someone was about to attack you and you had no other way of defending yourself except with your pocket knife, then this could potentially be used as a legal defense against any charges brought against you for violating knife laws in New York State.

In addition, there is also what is known as the “lawful possession” defense which states that individuals who have legally obtained their pocket knives (such as by purchasing them at a store) should not face any penalties for carrying them unless they are using them unlawfully or breaking other applicable laws while doing so.

Finally, there is also what is referred to as the “constitutional right” defense which states that individuals have a right under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution to possess certain weapons such as pocket knives without fear of criminal prosecution provided they do not violate any state or federal laws while doing so. This means that if an individual has legally obtained their pocket knife and is using it in accordance with applicable laws, then they should not face any penalties for carrying it.

It is important to understand the defenses available in New York State if you are charged with violating knife laws. Next, we will explore resources for understanding and complying with these laws.

Resources on Understanding and Complying with Knife Laws in New York State

The laws regarding knives in New York State can be confusing, so it is important to understand the regulations and restrictions that are in place. There are several resources available to help individuals learn about knife laws in New York State and ensure they comply with them.

One of the best resources for understanding knife laws in New York State is the website of the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). This site provides detailed information on all types of knives that are legal or illegal under state law, as well as age requirements for owning a pocketknife and carrying restrictions. It also outlines penalties for violating these laws, including both civil and criminal penalties.

In addition to online sources, individuals should consult their local police department or sheriff’s office for additional information about applicable knife laws in their area. Local law enforcement officers can provide up-to-date information on any changes that may have been made since the publication date listed on websites like DCJS this one.

Finally, individuals should always exercise caution when purchasing a pocketknife from a store or online retailer located outside their home state because different states may have different regulations governing blade length and other features associated with certain types of folding blades. Additionally, some states do not allow out-of-state purchases at all while others require buyers to show proof that they meet certain criteria before allowing them to purchase a particular type or size blade from another jurisdiction altogether.

FAQs in Relation to New York Knife Law

What size knife is legal to carry in NY?

In New York, it is illegal to carry any knife with a blade longer than four inches. This includes pocket knives, switchblades, gravity knives, and other similar types of knives. It is also illegal to possess certain types of disguised weapons such as cane swords or belt buckle knives. Possession of these items can result in criminal charges. However, folding pocketknives with blades shorter than four inches are generally allowed for everyday use and transportation within the state.

Is it legal to carry a knife in New York?

It is legal to carry a pocket knife in New York, provided it meets certain criteria. The blade must be less than four inches long and the handle cannot exceed five inches in length. Additionally, the knife must not be a gravity knife, switchblade, or another type of prohibited weapon. It is important to note that local laws may vary from state laws; therefore it is important to check with your local police department for more information on specific regulations regarding carrying knives in your area.


Understanding and complying with knife laws in New York State is important for anyone who enjoys owning or carrying a pocket knife. It’s important to know the types of knives allowed, age restrictions, carrying laws, and potential penalties for violating these laws. With this knowledge, you can be sure that you are staying within the boundaries of the law when it comes to new york knife law.

The laws governing knives in New York are complex and often confusing. Too much so in my opinion. Going forward we must work together to create clear, sensible knife legislation that balances public safety with the rights of responsible citizens who use pocket knives for everyday tasks.

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