Criminal Law
New York Knife Laws 2024 – What You Need to Know

New York Knife Laws 2024 – What You Need to Know

On Behalf of vitalianolaw | Mar 03, 2023 |

New York is known for its stricter weapon laws when compared to other states, and that includes knife laws. In the state, certain knives are illegal to possess. However, any knife can be considered dangerous depending on the interpretation of the law. Staying up to date on the current knife laws can help you avoid potential criminal charges for a dangerous knife.

Knife Carry Law

Under New York law, it’s illegal to carry a knife that can be seen publicly. Even if the blade isn’t exposed, no portion of the knife can be seen publicly. Whether your knife is publicly visible or fully concealed, the possession of a knife in public that has a blade over four inches long is illegal. It’s also illegal to carry a knife with the intent to use it against another person unlawfully.

Knives are categorized as illegal when it can be presumed that they are used to harm another person. For legal knives, it can be hard to determine if the knife is considered dangerous. If a person is arrested for a crime and has a legal knife on them, there is a possibility they will be charged for carrying a knife with intent to harm.

According to the NYPD, even carrying a legal knife for self-defense may be considered unlawful if it is used as a weapon.

Knives That Are Legal

You can legally own:

  • A hunting knife
  • A stiletto
  • A dirk or dagger
  • A gravity knife

Though these knives are not illegal, they can be classified as illegal if they are used or may be used against another. No knife possession is legal for non-U.S. citizens.

Gravity knives are only legal as of 2019. This type of knife has a blade that is released by gravity or natural force and locked back into the open position with a spring or lever mechanism. Just as with other legal knives, this type can become illegal based on its use. If a legal knife has been modified to be used mostly as a weapon, it becomes an illegal knife.

Knives That Are Illegal

Knives that are illegal to possess include:

  • A switchblade knife. This is defined in state law as a knife that opens automatically when pressure is applied to a device in the handle.
  • A metal knuckle knife. This functions as both brass knuckles and a knife.
  • A ballistic or pilum ballistic knife. This is a knife with an ejectable blade that can shoot a short distance under spring-loaded power.
  • A cane sword. This is defined as a cane or walking stick that conceals a sword or stiletto within it.
  • Throwing stars. This is any bladed disc that is hand-held and can be thrown.

It is also illegal to transfer, loan, or sell an illegal knife to someone not exempt from the law.

Exceptions to Knife Laws

There are a number of reasons a person may be exempt from illegal knife ownership or concealed carry. These include:

  • They are a member of the military who has authorized possession.
  • They are a police officer or peace officer.
  • They are using a switchblade for hunting, trapping, or fishing and have a valid license to do so.
  • They are carrying it for work that requires regular use of the knife.
  • They are an on-duty EMT or ambulance driver.

Penalties for Knife Violations

If you are convicted of possession of an illegal knife, the misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail. If you are charged with possession while committing another crime, this charge may go up. It may also increase if you have a criminal record already. The court can even sentence you to up to seven years in prison. The ideal way to lessen the harm of knife violations is to speak with a criminal defense attorney.


Q: How Big of a Knife Can You Legally Carry in NY?

A: A legal knife cannot have a blade of 4 inches or more, whether it is concealed or in the open. The knife must be concealed completely and cannot be on the outside of a person’s clothes. Even legal knives can become illegal in certain circumstances, such as if the person has the intent to use them as a weapon or otherwise unlawfully against a person.

Q: What Types of Knives Are Illegal in NY?

A: Illegal knives in New York include switchblades, metal knuckle knives, pilum ballistic knives, cane swords, and throwing stars. If legal knives, such as daggers, dirks, or stilettos, have been changed so that their primary use is as a weapon, they become illegal. Ultimately, whether a knife is considered dangerous is a vague law that is up to the interpretation of officers and the court.

Q: How Old Do You Have to be to Buy a Knife in NY?

A: A person can’t sell an illegal knife to a minor, and to do so is a misdemeanor. A person under the age of 16 who possesses an illegal knife will be considered a juvenile delinquent. In some cases, any knife that is considered dangerous is illegal to sell to anyone under the age of 16. Knives are also not allowed on school grounds or school buses.

Q: Who Can Carry a Pocket Knife in NY?

A: New York knife laws state that persons under 16 cannot carry a dangerous knife. If the pocket knife has a blade of under 4 inches and is not going to be used as a weapon, then it may be legal. However, the possession of any knife, even a legal knife, may become illegal depending on the circumstances of possession, such as intent to use it against a person unlawfully.

The Vitaliano Law Firm: Criminal Defense for Knife Violations

If you’ve been arrested for violation of knife laws, your next step should be working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. What is considered a dangerous knife is up to the court’s interpretation. At The Vitaliano Law Firm, we have years of working with criminal cases, including knife violations. You need an advocate on your side fighting against the prosecutor’s arguments in your interests. Contact The Vitaliano Law Firm today for personalized and experienced representation.