Oregon 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.

Oregon knife laws are important to know if you live in the state of Oregon or plan on visiting.

In fact, it’s essential to understand what is legal and not when it comes to carrying, possessing, and using knives in public or private spaces.

This guide covers all aspects of Oregon knife law so that you can stay informed about your rights as a pocket-knife owner.

From understanding where you can carry your pocket knife legally to being aware of potential penalties for violating these laws, this complete guide will help ensure that you comply with Oregon knife law while still enjoying owning a pocket knife responsibly.

Overview of Oregon Knife Laws

Oregon knife laws are complex and vary depending on the type of knife, where it is carried, and who is carrying it. It is important to understand these laws before purchasing or carrying a pocket knife in Oregon.

Definition of a Knife

In Oregon, a “knife” is defined as any instrument with an edge that can be used for cutting or stabbing. This includes traditional pocket knives, switchblades, butterfly knives (balisongs), gravity knives, stilettos, daggers, and other similar instruments.

Prohibited Knives

Certain types of knives are prohibited by law in Oregon including ballistic knives (knives with blades that shoot out when triggered) and undetectable blades such as plastic knuckles or metal knuckles made from materials like aluminum or brass. Additionally, dirks and daggers may not be concealed without a valid permit issued by the state police department.

In Oregon, you must be at least 18 years old to carry any type of knife legally in public places unless accompanied by an adult over 21 years old who has permission from the minor’s parent or guardian. Minors under 18 may still possess certain types of folding pocketknives on private property if they have written consent from their parents or guardians, but cannot carry them outside onto public property without being accompanied by an adult over 21 years old with parental permission.

Oregon knife laws are complex, but with knowledge of the definitions and restrictions, one can safely carry a pocket knife in Oregon. Next, we’ll discuss carrying knives in public and what exceptions may apply.

Carrying Knives in Public

Open Carry Restrictions

Oregon law prohibits the open carry of any knife with a blade longer than 4 inches. This includes pocket knives, folding knives, and other types of blades. It is also illegal to openly carry any knife that has been modified or altered in such a way as to make it more dangerous than when originally manufactured.

Concealed Carry Restrictions

Concealed carry of any type of knife is prohibited in Oregon unless you have a valid concealed handgun license (CHL). Even then, only certain types of knives are allowed to be carried concealed; these include pocket knives with blades shorter than 4 inches and non-locking folding knives with blades shorter than 5 ½ inches. All other types of blades must remain visible at all times while being carried on your person or within reach in your vehicle.

There are some exceptions to these restrictions for certain individuals who may need to carry a larger blade for work purposes, such as hunters or fishermen who require larger hunting or filleting knives. In addition, members of the military and law enforcement officers may be exempt from some restrictions depending on their duties and responsibilities.

Carrying knives in public is regulated by Oregon state law, but there are exceptions to the rules. It’s important to understand the restrictions and exceptions before carrying a knife in public, so let’s take a look at what is allowed when it comes to the possession of knives on school grounds.

Possession of Knives on School Grounds

Possession of Knives on School Grounds is a serious issue that must be taken into consideration when carrying knives in public. In Oregon, there are specific laws and regulations regarding the possession of knives on school grounds.

Elementary and Secondary Schools

In elementary and secondary schools, it is illegal to possess any type of knife or weapon without permission from the school principal or other authorized personnel. This includes pocket knives, switchblades, butterfly knives, balisongs (also known as “butterfly” or “batangas”), daggers, stilettos, dirks, razors and any other type of knife with a blade longer than three inches.

Possession of such items can result in suspension or expulsion from school. It is also important to note that even if a student has permission to carry a knife for educational purposes (such as for use in shop class), they must keep it securely stored at all times while on campus property.

Colleges and Universities

At colleges and universities in Oregon, students may possess certain types of pocketknives provided they are not used as weapons against another person or property. However, switchblades are strictly prohibited regardless of purpose due to their potential for misuse by criminals who might attempt to conceal them under clothing while walking around campus grounds.

Additionally, some college campuses have enacted policies prohibiting all types of knives regardless if they are intended for educational purposes only; therefore it is important to check with your university’s policy before bringing any kind of knife onto campus grounds just to be safe.

Possession of knives on school grounds is strictly regulated by Oregon law, but employers and private property owners have their own rules about carrying knives. In the next section, we will look at what these rules are and how they may affect knife ownership.

Possession of Knives in Private Places

Private property ownership rights in Oregon allow individuals to possess knives on their own property. This includes both residential and commercial properties, as long as the owner of the property is aware that a knife is present. However, it should be noted that this does not extend to public spaces such as parks or sidewalks.

Generally speaking, employers are allowed to set rules about what type of knife may be brought onto their premises and when they may be used. For example, some businesses might prohibit pocket knives while others might only allow them if they are kept out of sight and never used in any manner which could endanger other employees or customers. Additionally, employers have the right to inspect any items brought onto their premises for safety reasons at any time without prior notice or permission from the employee who owns them.

It is important to understand the rights of private property owners and employers when it comes to the possession of knives in private places. Knowing when self-defense with a knife is legally justified can help prevent any legal repercussions if ever faced with such a situation.

Use of Knives in Self-Defense Situations

When it comes to using a knife for self-defense, the law in Oregon is clear: it is only justified when you are facing an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm. In other words, if you feel that your life or safety is in danger and there’s no other way out, then using a knife may be permissible. However, even if you can prove that your actions were necessary to protect yourself from harm, this does not guarantee immunity from prosecution.

When Is It Justified?

The use of deadly force with a knife must meet certain criteria under Oregon law before it can be considered legally justifiable as self-defense. These include: the person was without fault in bringing on the conflict; they had reasonable grounds to believe they were in immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury; and they used no more force than was reasonably necessary under the circumstances to defend themselves against such danger.

If any one of these conditions cannot be met then the use of deadly force with a knife would not likely be considered justifiable by courts as self-defense.

In Oregon, it is important to understand the laws surrounding the use of knives in self-defense situations. Knowing when and how they can be used is essential for any knife owner.

Next, we will discuss the penalties associated with violating Oregon knife laws.

Penalties for Violating Oregon Knife Laws

Penalties for violating Oregon knife laws can be severe. Depending on the type of violation, a person may face fines and/or jail time.

Possession of Prohibited Knives:

It is illegal to possess certain types of knives in Oregon, including switchblades, gravity knives, ballistic knives, and metal knuckles. Possession of any such weapon is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $6,250.

Carrying Knives in Public:

Carrying any knife with a blade longer than four inches (4”) openly or concealed without an appropriate permit is illegal in Oregon. This offense is classified as Unlawful Use Of A Weapon (UUW), which carries potential penalties ranging from probation all the way up to five years imprisonment depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Possession On School Grounds:

It is illegal for anyone other than law enforcement officers or school personnel who are authorized by school officials to possess any kind of dangerous weapon while on school grounds or at any school-sponsored event anywhere else within state boundaries. Violation of this law can result in felony charges that carry prison sentences between two and twenty years depending upon the prior criminal history and other factors related to the case itself.

The use of deadly force with a knife against another person will generally only be justified if it was necessary for self-defense purposes when faced with an imminent threat that could cause serious bodily harm or death if not acted upon immediately.

However, even then there may still be legal repercussions depending on how much force was used compared to what was actually necessary under those particular circumstances at that moment in time. If convicted under these conditions, potential penalties range from probation up to ten years imprisonment, depending on prior criminal history and other relevant factors associated with each individual case.

Violating Oregon knife laws can result in serious consequences, so it’s important to know the applicable laws. To learn more about Oregon knife laws and their associated resources, please read on to the next section.

Resources for Further Information on Oregon Knife Laws

Oregon knife laws can be complex and confusing, so it is important to have reliable resources for further information. The Oregon State Legislature website provides an overview of the state’s knife laws, including definitions of prohibited knives and open carry restrictions. Additionally, the Oregon Department of Justice has a publication that outlines all applicable statutes related to knives in Oregon.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) also offers a comprehensive guide on carrying concealed weapons in Oregon. This guide covers topics such as when it is legal to carry a concealed weapon and what types of knives are allowed under state law. It also includes detailed maps showing where firearms may not be carried or possessed in public places throughout the state.

For more specific questions about how Oregon’s knife laws apply to your situation, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in criminal defense law or civil rights law. An experienced lawyer will be able to provide advice tailored specifically to your case and help ensure that you understand all applicable regulations before making any decisions regarding the possession or use of a pocketknife in the state of Oregon.

FAQs in Relation to Oregon Knife Law

What size knife is legal in Oregon?

In Oregon, it is legal to carry a pocket knife with a blade length of up to 4 inches. Any knives with blades longer than 4 inches are considered illegal and may not be carried in public. It is important to note that some cities or counties may have additional restrictions on the size of pocket knives that can be legally carried, so it is best to check local laws before carrying any type of knife.

Can you carry a fixed-blade knife in Oregon?

In Oregon, it is illegal to carry a fixed-blade knife with a blade longer than 3.5 inches in public places. This includes pocket knives and other types of folding knives as well. It is also illegal to carry any type of concealed weapon without a valid permit or license from the state. Additionally, carrying any kind of knife on school grounds is prohibited by law regardless of its size or type. Violation of these laws can result in criminal charges and possible jail time depending on the severity of the offense.

How long can a pocket knife be in Oregon?

In Oregon, pocket knives with a blade length of 4 inches or less are legal to own and carry. It is important to note that the law does not distinguish between folding and non-folding blades, so any knife with a blade length of 4 inches or less is considered legal. Additionally, it is illegal for anyone under 18 years old to possess any type of knife in public places. Finally, it should be noted that local laws may vary from state laws regarding the legality of carrying certain types of knives.


In conclusion, Oregon knife laws are complex and vary depending on the type of knife you own or carry.

It is important to be aware of all applicable state and local regulations before carrying a pocket knife in public.

While there are exceptions to some of these laws, it is best to err on the side of caution when considering any potential violations.

If you have any questions about Oregon knife law, consult an attorney for legal advice or visit the resources listed above for more information. Remember that knowledge is power when it comes to understanding your rights under Oregon knife law.

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