North Dakota 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.

When it comes to knife laws, North Dakota has some of the most lenient regulations in the United States.

Whether you’re a pocket knife collector or just someone who enjoys carrying a blade for everyday use, understanding North Dakota knife law is essential before buying and owning one.

In this guide, we will provide an overview of the types of knives allowed in North Dakota, restrictions on carrying them, age requirements for ownership, and other important information regarding penalties for violating state laws related to knives.

We’ll also discuss preemption law within the state as well as exceptions that can be made with regard to these rules and regulations. Finally, we’ll provide resources where readers can find further information about North Dakota’s specific knife laws if needed.

Types of Pocket Knives Allowed in North Dakota

Folding Knives

Folding knives are the most common type of pocket knife and are allowed to be owned and carried in North Dakota. These knives typically have a blade that folds into the handle, making them easy to carry and conceal when not in use. Examples of folding knives include traditional pocket knives, multi-tools, Swiss Army knives, lockback folders, slip joint folders, liner locks, frame locks, and more.

Fixed Blade Knives

Fixed-blade knives are also allowed to be owned and carried in North Dakota. These types of blades do not fold into the handle like folding knives; instead, they have a single-piece construction with a full tang or partial tang design. Examples of fixed blade knives include hunting knives, daggers/stilettos, Bowie’s/fighting style blades (up to 6 inches), boot/neck sheaths (up to 4 inches), karambits (up to 5 inches), push daggers (up to 3 inches).

Automatic or switchblade-style pocketknives are legal for ownership but illegal for carrying concealed in North Dakota unless you possess an appropriate permit from local law enforcement agencies such as police departments or sheriff’s offices.

An automatic knife is defined as any knife which has a spring-loaded mechanism that opens the blade automatically upon pressing a button on the handle or releasing some other form of locking device located on either side of it. Examples include butterfly knives (balisongs), OTF knives (out-the-front), and stiletto switchblades with blades up to 3.5 inches long only.

In North Dakota, there are a variety of pocket knives that are allowed to be owned and carried. It is important to understand the laws for carrying pocket knives in order to ensure you stay within legal boundaries.

Carrying Pocket Knives in North Dakota

Carrying pocket knives in North Dakota is regulated by state law. It is important to understand the laws before carrying a pocket knife, as violating them can result in fines and even jail time.

Concealed Carry Laws

Concealed carry of pocket knives with blades longer than four inches is prohibited in North Dakota. Pocket knives with blades shorter than four inches may be carried concealed if they are not used for unlawful purposes or with criminal intent. Open Carry Laws

Open carry of pocket knives with blades longer than five and a half inches is prohibited in North Dakota, while those shorter than five and a half inches may be openly carried without restriction. Prohibited Areas for Carrying Pocket Knives

There are certain areas where it is illegal to carry any type of knife, regardless of length or concealment status. These include schools, government buildings, courthouses, airports, prisons, and other secure facilities. Additionally, some businesses have policies prohibiting the possession of weapons on their premises; these should be respected when encountered.

It is also important to note that there are exceptions to these rules for certain individuals, such as members of the military or law enforcement officers who are authorized to possess weapons while on duty or engaged in official activities related to their duties.

Furthermore, some municipalities within North Dakota have enacted ordinances that further restrict the possession and/or carrying of certain types of weapons including pocket knives; it is important to check local regulations before carrying a knife into an area governed by such an ordinance.

In North Dakota, it is important to be aware of the laws surrounding pocket knives and knife carrying. Knowing the age restrictions and areas where they are prohibited can help ensure that you stay within the law when carrying your pocket knife.

Age Restrictions for Owning and Carrying Pocket Knives in North Dakota

In North Dakota, the age restrictions for owning and carrying pocket knives are determined by state law. The minimum age requirement for owning a knife is 18 years old. This means that any person under the age of 18 cannot legally purchase or own a pocket knife in North Dakota.

The minimum age requirement for carrying a pocket knife is also 18 years old. This means that anyone under the age of 18 cannot legally carry a pocket knife in public, even if they have permission from their parents or guardians to do so. It is important to note that there are some exceptions to this rule, such as when an individual is hunting or participating in other outdoor activities where having a pocket knife may be necessary.

It is also important to remember that while it may be legal for someone over the age of 18 to carry a pocketknife in public, certain areas may still prohibit them from doing so due to local laws and regulations. For example, many schools and government buildings will not allow individuals to bring weapons onto their premises regardless of whether they are legally allowed by state law or not.

Therefore, it is always best practice to check with local authorities before bringing any type of weapon into these types of locations just in case there are additional restrictions on top of those imposed by state law.

It is important to be aware of the age restrictions for owning and carrying pocket knives in North Dakota, as there are serious consequences for violating these laws. Moving on, let’s take a look at what penalties you may face if you violate North Dakota knife laws.

Penalties for Violating Knife Laws in North Dakota

Violating knife laws in North Dakota can result in serious penalties. Depending on the nature of the violation, a person may face fines, jail time, or both.

The most common penalty for violating North Dakota’s knife laws is a Class B misdemeanor. This carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and/or up to $1,500 in fines. Additionally, if an individual violates these laws while carrying a concealed weapon they may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor which could lead to up to one-year imprisonment and/or up to $3,000 in fines.

In some cases, more severe punishments may apply such as when an individual commits an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or uses it during the commission of another crime like robbery or burglary. In these instances, individuals can face felony charges that carry sentences ranging from 5 years imprisonment up to life without parole depending on the severity of the offense committed and other factors involved such as prior criminal history and whether anyone was injured due to their actions.

It is important for people who own pocket knives or are considering purchasing one to understand North Dakota’s knife laws so they do not accidentally break them and find themselves facing legal consequences as well as potential harm from using their pocket knives inappropriately. Understanding the laws can help individuals avoid any unnecessary penalties and keep everyone safe.

In North Dakota, violating knife laws can result in fines and/or jail time. It is important to understand the preemption law in place regarding knife regulations to ensure that you are following the state’s rules.

Preemption Law in North Dakota Regarding Knife Regulations

In North Dakota, state law preempts local governments from regulating the ownership and usage of knives. This means that any knife laws or regulations must be enacted by the state legislature. As such, all knife-related laws in North Dakota are uniform throughout the entire state.

The preemption law applies to both folding and fixed-blade knives as well as automatic knives. It also covers carrying pocket knives concealed or openly, age restrictions for owning and carrying a pocket knife, and penalties for violating these laws.

When it comes to concealed carry of pocket knives in North Dakota, there is no specific law prohibiting it; however, some cities may have ordinances restricting this activity within their jurisdiction. Additionally, certain areas may be off limits when it comes to carrying a pocket knife even if they are not explicitly stated in any ordinance or statute—such as schools or government buildings—so always check with local authorities before doing so.

Openly carrying a pocket knife is generally allowed unless otherwise prohibited by an ordinance passed by a city council or county commission (which would only apply within that particular jurisdiction). Generally speaking though, open carry of a pocketknife is allowed throughout most parts of the state without issue.

There are also age restrictions on owning and/or carrying a pocketknife in North Dakota depending on its size: anyone under 18 years old cannot own one with blades longer than 3 inches while those over 18 can own larger ones but still cannot carry them openly if they’re longer than 4 inches long (unless they have permission from someone who has authority over them). Violating these age restrictions can result in fines of up to $500 plus court costs being imposed upon conviction.

North Dakota has a preemption law in place that prohibits local governments from enacting knife regulations beyond those established by the state. Despite this, there are still exceptions to these laws which will be discussed in the next section.

Exceptions to the Knife Laws in North Dakota

In North Dakota, there are some exceptions to the state’s knife laws. These exceptions allow for certain types of knives to be legally owned and carried in certain circumstances.

One exception is that individuals may own a switchblade or other automatic knife if it has been purchased from an out-of-state source and brought into the state. This means that these knives can be shipped directly to a person’s home in North Dakota without violating any laws. However, they must not be used as weapons or concealed on one’s person while in public places within the state.

Another exception is for members of the military who are currently serving on active duty or have recently retired from service with honorable discharge papers. These individuals may possess and carry pocket knives regardless of their length, provided they do so openly and not conceal them on their persons while in public places within the state boundaries.

Knives that are considered “antique” by definition may also be possessed without fear of legal repercussions under North Dakota law, even if such blades would otherwise violate existing statutes regarding blade length limits or other restrictions related to pocket knives carried by civilians within the state borders.

An antique knife is defined as being at least 100 years old and having been manufactured before 1920; it must also meet all applicable federal regulations regarding antique weapons ownership requirements set forth by ATF (Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms).

Finally, those who work in occupations where carrying a pocketknife is necessary for job performance – such as chefs – may possess larger blades than what would normally be allowed under North Dakota law when engaged in activities related to their profession outside of regular business hours or away from work premises entirely (e.g., attending culinary competitions). These individuals are permitted to do so provided that they abide by all applicable laws and regulations while doing so.

Exceptions to the Knife Laws in North Dakota are important to be aware of, as they provide some relief from certain restrictions. However, it is still important to familiarize yourself with the full scope of laws and regulations surrounding knife ownership in North Dakota before making any purchases or carrying a pocket knife. Now let’s take a look at resources for further information on North Dakota Knife Laws.

Resources for Further Information on North Dakota Knife Laws

Relevant Statutes

North Dakota has several statutes related to knife laws. The most relevant are North Dakota Century Code (NDCC) § 62.1-01-02, which defines a “dangerous weapon” as any instrument that is capable of inflicting death or serious bodily injury; NDCC § 12.1-17-07, which prohibits the possession of dangerous weapons on school property; and NDCC § 62.1-04-03, which prohibits the sale of switchblade knives to minors under 18 years old without parental consent

Court Cases

The Supreme Court of North Dakota has issued several decisions regarding knife laws in the state. In State v. Delongchamp, 521 N.W.2d 693 (Neb., 1994), the court held that a pocketknife was not a deadly weapon for purposes of criminal liability because it did not have an automatic blade release mechanism and could only be opened with two hands using considerable force; thus making it unlikely to cause serious harm or death if used as a weapon against another person in combat situations such as bar fights or street brawls where other weapons may be present and more easily accessible than pocketknives.

Legal Opinions

In addition to court cases, there are also legal opinions from attorneys general in North Dakota concerning knife laws in the state. For example, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem issued an opinion stating that carrying concealed pocketknives is generally allowed under North Dakota law unless specifically prohibited by statute or ordinance within certain areas such as schools and government buildings

It’s worth noting that local governments within North Dakota may also have their own regulations governing the possession and use of knives within their jurisdiction, so it is important to familiarize yourself with any applicable ordinances before using a pocketknife or other type of blade inside the city limits or other areas governed by local regulations.

For example, Grand Forks County has an ordinance prohibiting people from carrying any type of weapon openly without a permit, while Fargo City has an ordinance restricting ownership and use of switchblade knives specifically within city limits.

So be sure to ask authorities if you have any specific questions!

FAQs in Relation to North Dakota Knife Law

What size knife is legal to carry in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, it is legal to carry a pocket knife with a blade length of up to 3.5 inches. Any knives with blades longer than this are illegal and may be subject to criminal charges if found in possession. It is important to note that certain types of knives such as switchblades, butterfly knives, gravity knives, and other similar weapons are not allowed regardless of the blade length.

Additionally, some cities or counties may have their own laws regarding carrying pocket knives so it is best to check local regulations before carrying any type of knife.

What state has the strictest knife laws?

California has the strictest knife laws in the United States. It is illegal to carry a switchblade, butterfly knife, or any other type of concealed blade without a valid permit. Possession of certain types of knives such as dirks and daggers is also prohibited. In addition, it is illegal to sell or transfer ownership of these knives without first obtaining written permission from local law enforcement. These restrictions make California one of the most restrictive states when it comes to pocket knives and other blades.

Can I carry a sword in North Dakota?

No, it is illegal to carry a sword in North Dakota. Carrying any type of concealed weapon without a permit is prohibited by state law. This includes swords, knives with blades longer than five inches, and other types of weapons such as brass knuckles or nunchucks. Possession of these items may result in criminal charges if found on your person or property. It is important to be aware of the laws in your state before carrying any type of weapon.

Can you carry a butterfly knife in North Dakota?

No, it is illegal to carry a butterfly knife in North Dakota. According to the North Dakota Century Code 12.1-32-02, it is unlawful for any person to possess or carry concealed upon his or her person any switchblade knife, gravity knife, machete, dagger, stiletto or other dangerous weapons of like character. This includes butterfly knives as they are considered a type of switchblade and therefore prohibited from being carried in public places.


In conclusion, it is important to understand the knife laws in North Dakota before carrying or owning a pocket knife.

There are several types of pocket knives allowed in North Dakota, but there are also restrictions on who can carry and own them. It is illegal for anyone under 18 years old to possess a pocket knife, and there may be other exceptions that apply depending on where you live. Violating these laws can result in penalties such as fines or jail time.

Knowing the preemption law regarding knife regulations and understanding any exceptions to the North Dakota knife law will help ensure that you stay within legal limits when using your pocketknife. If you need more information about North Dakota’s Knife Laws, please consult local resources for further guidance.

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