Ohio 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.

Are you a knife enthusiast living in Ohio? Are you curious about the rules and regulations governing knives in your state? If so, then this article is for you.

This comprehensive guide covers all aspects of Ohio knife law, at least, as well as I can comprehend it.

From understanding what types of knives can be legally carried to learning more about possible defenses against charges involving them, we will discuss everything related to carrying and using pocket knives within the state’s boundaries.

Additionally, learn how local governments are limited by preemption laws when regulating these weapons at a municipal level. With all that said, let’s dive into an overview of Ohio knife law.

Overview of Ohio Knife Laws

Knife laws in Ohio can be confusing, so it’s important to understand the basics before carrying or using a knife. In this section, we will discuss the definition of a knife, the types of knives allowed in Ohio, and prohibited knives.

Definition of a Knife

A knife is defined as any instrument that has an edge or blade and is capable of cutting or stabbing another person or object. This includes pocketknives, switchblades, daggers, dirks, stilettos, and other such instruments with blades longer than four inches (4″).

Types of Knives Allowed in Ohio

Generally speaking, most pocketknives are legal to carry in Ohio provided they have a blade length shorter than four inches (4″) long when measured from the tip to where it meets the handle.

Other types of knives that are allowed include hunting knives used for skinning game animals; kitchen cutlery; swords kept as collector’s items; and Bowie-style hunting knives with blades no longer than five-and-one-half inches (5 1/2″). It should also be noted that certain cities may have their own restrictions on what type of knives can be carried within city limits so check local ordinances if you plan on traveling with your knife outside your home county.

The state also prohibits anyone from owning or carrying any type of automatic opening knife, commonly referred to as a “switchblade”, regardless of its blade length being less than four inches (4″).

Additionally, ballistic knives which use springs or gas pressure to launch blades outwards at high speeds, and disguised weapons such as cane swords and belt buckle daggers are illegal even if they do not exceed 4″ in blade length.

Last of all, throwing stars/shurikens are prohibited under state law due to their potential for causing serious injury; this is true even though they may not exceed 4″ either when opened up fully into star shape configuration nor closed down into flat disc shape configuration respectively.

Carrying and Concealing Knives in Ohio

Open Carry Laws for Knives in Ohio

In the state of Ohio, it is legal to openly carry a knife with a blade length of up to four inches. This includes pocket knives, folding knives, and other types of blades that are not considered weapons under Ohio law. However, it is important to note that some cities or counties may have their own laws regarding the open carry of knives; these should be checked before carrying any type of knife in public.

Restrictions on Knife Possession and Use in Ohio

Age Restrictions on Knife Possession and Use in Ohio

In Ohio, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess a knife with a blade longer than 3.5 inches or any other type of dangerous ordnance such as switchblades, gravity knives, and ballistic knives. Additionally, no one under the age of 21 may purchase or carry any kind of automatic opening knife such as a switchblade or gravity knife.

Location Restrictions on Knife Possession and Use in Ohio

It is unlawful to carry concealed weapons into these places without proper authorization from local authorities. Furthermore, it is illegal to bring any kind of weapon onto school grounds, regardless if they are concealed or not, unless authorized by school officials for educational purposes only.

Penalties for Violating Knife Laws in Ohio

Penalties for violating knife laws in Ohio can vary depending on the type of violation and whether it is a first or subsequent offense. Generally, violations are considered misdemeanors and may be punishable by fines up to $1,000 and/or jail time of up to six months.

For example, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is generally punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of $250. Carrying an illegal switchblade or gravity knife is also considered a misdemeanor with penalties including fines of up to $500 and/or jail time of up to 6 months. Possession of any prohibited weapon such as brass knuckles or nunchucks could result in imprisonment for 6-18 months along with possible fines.

Violating age restrictions on possession or use can also lead to serious consequences such as expulsion from school, suspension from extracurricular activities, probation, community service hours, mandatory counseling sessions or even juvenile detention if applicable. Additionally, minors who violate these laws may have their driver’s license suspended until they turn 18 years old.

Furthermore, anyone found guilty of using a deadly weapon while committing certain crimes will face additional charges that carry harsher punishments than those associated with simply possessing the weapons themselves. For instance aggravated robbery committed with the use of a deadly weapon carries potential sentences ranging from 3-11 years in prison depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime itself.

Finally, some cities within Ohio have enacted ordinances that impose stricter regulations regarding knives than state law does. This means that individuals found guilty under local ordinances could face higher fines than those imposed at the state level, as well as other penalties such as confiscation of property used during the committing of said offenses.

Defenses to Charges Involving Knives in Ohio

In Ohio, there are several potential defenses to charges involving knives. The most common defense is self-defense. If a person can demonstrate that they were in imminent danger of bodily harm or death and had no other means of protection, then the use of a knife may be considered justified.

Another defense is the lack of intent to commit a crime with the knife. A person must have intended to commit an illegal act with the knife in order for it to be considered criminal behavior.

Additionally, if a person was unaware that their possession or use of the knife violated any laws, then this could also serve as a valid defense against criminal charges related to knives in Ohio.

For example, if someone unknowingly carried an illegal switchblade while walking down the street and was stopped by police officers who found it on them during a search, they could potentially argue that they did not know carrying such a weapon was prohibited under state law and therefore should not face criminal penalties for doing so.

Preemption Law Regarding Local Regulation of Knives in Ohio

In Ohio, the state law preempts local governments from passing laws that are more restrictive than state law when it comes to regulating knives. This means that any knife laws passed by a city or county in Ohio must be at least as strict as the statewide regulations.

The types of knives allowed in Ohio are limited to pocketknives and other non-locking folding blades with a blade length of less than four inches, switchblades, gravity knives, ballistic knives, disguised knives (such as lipstick cases), throwing stars/shurikens, undetectable blades (such as those made out of plastic). Knives such as daggers and stilettos are prohibited under state law

When it comes to carrying and concealing a knife in public places within the state of Ohio, there is no open carry restriction on pocket knives or other non-locking folding blades with a blade length of less than four inches.

Concealed carry is illegal for all types of knives except for pocketknives with a blade length shorter than three-and-a-half inches. Switchblades may not be carried either openly or concealed without prior written permission from an authorized government official.

There are also restrictions on who can possess certain types of knives depending on their age. Minors under 18 years old cannot own switchblades or automatic opening devices unless they have written consent from their parent or guardian. Minors under 16 years old cannot own any type of double-edged dagger, and minors under 13 years old cannot possess any type of knife regardless if it has one edge or two edges.

Furthermore, some locations such as schools prohibit the possession and use of knives even if you meet the age requirements set forth by the state law

Finally, violating these laws can result in serious penalties including fines up to $1 000 dollars plus jail time ranging anywhere between six months to five years depending on what type of weapon was used while committing the offense(s).

However, there may be defenses available which include self-defense claims along with having proper authorization documents issued by an authorized government official allowing possession/use etcetera.

Ultimately this will depend upon individual circumstances surrounding each case respectively so consulting legal counsel is highly recommended before making any decisions regarding potential defenses against charges involving weapons violations within the State Of Ohio’s jurisdiction boundaries.

Resources for Further Information on Knife Laws in Ohio

If you are looking for more information on knife laws in Ohio, there are a few resources available. The first is the Ohio Revised Code (ORC). This code contains all of the state’s statutes and regulations related to knives, including definitions of different types of knives, open carry and concealed carry laws, age restrictions on possession and use, location restrictions on possession and use, penalties for violations of knife laws, defenses to charges involving knives, preemption law regarding local regulation of knives and other relevant topics.

Another resource is your local county or city government website. These websites often contain ordinances that may be specific to your area regarding carrying or possessing certain types of knives. It is important to check with your local authorities before purchasing any type of knife as some cities have stricter regulations than others.

You can also contact an attorney who specializes in criminal defense if you need legal advice about knife-related issues such as defending yourself against a charge involving a knife or understanding how the law applies in your particular situation. An experienced lawyer will be able to provide guidance based on their knowledge of state and federal laws as well as case law precedents.

Finally, there are several online forums dedicated specifically to discussing pocketknife ownership where users can ask questions about buying pocketknives legally in Ohio or share stories about their experiences with various models they own. These forums can provide valuable insight into what it takes to buy a pocketknife legally within the state’s boundaries while still staying informed about new developments related to legislation concerning them.

FAQs in Relation to Ohio Knife Law

What is the legal knife length in Ohio?

In Ohio, the legal knife length is 4 inches or less. This includes all types of knives such as pocket knives, folding knives, and other non-fixed blade knives. It is important to note that any knife with a locking mechanism must be opened by pushing a button or sliding a lever in order for it to be considered legal. Knives with blades longer than 4 inches are illegal to carry in public places and can result in criminal charges if found on your person.

Can I legally carry a knife in Ohio?

Yes, you can legally carry a pocket knife in Ohio. The state has specific laws that define what types of knives are legal to own and carry. Generally speaking, folding knives with blades less than four inches long is considered legal to possess and carry. However, some localities may have more restrictive regulations regarding the carrying of certain types of knives. It is important to check your local laws before carrying any type of knife in public places.

What knife is illegal in Ohio?

In Ohio, it is illegal to own a switchblade knife. This includes any knife with a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button or other device in the handle of the knife. It is also illegal to carry any type of dangerous ordnance, including knives with blades longer than four inches. Additionally, certain types of disguised knives such as belt buckle knives and lipstick case knives are prohibited. Finally, no person under 18 years old may possess or carry any deadly weapon without parental permission or supervision.

Can you defend yourself with a knife in Ohio?

In Ohio, it is legal to carry a pocket knife for self-defense as long as the blade does not exceed 4 inches in length. However, if an individual uses a pocket knife to threaten or harm another person with the intent to cause physical injury or death, they may be charged with assault and/or aggravated assault depending on the severity of the incident. It is important to note that even though carrying a pocket knife for self-defense purposes is legal in Ohio, using it aggressively can result in criminal charges.


In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the laws surrounding knives in Ohio. The state has a preemption law that prevents local municipalities from enacting their own knife regulations. In general, carrying and concealing knives are allowed as long as they do not exceed certain lengths or have prohibited features such as switchblades.

However, there are restrictions on the possession and use of knives in public places and for minors. Violating Ohio knife law can result in criminal penalties including fines and jail time depending on the severity of the offense. It is best to familiarize yourself with all applicable laws before carrying or using any type of knife within the state of Ohio.

Let’s come together to understand what knives are legal in Ohio and how they should be used responsibly so that everyone stays safe.

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