Are Switchblade Knives Unlawful? – Blade HQ

In some unspecified time in the future in your life, you in all probability noticed some film or performed some online game that had some character, who was the epitome of cool, who carried a knife. Not simply any knife, however one thing that might be deployed into motion depraved quick and was as cool because the particular person wielding it.

That epic knife is named a switchblade, and many of the nation thinks they’re unlawful. However are they? When you stay within the USA, you’re sure by federal legislation, state legislation, and native legislation, and there are knife legal guidelines at every of those ranges. We are going to focus on them on this article, however it’s all for naught if we don’t know what a switchblade even is.

The Authorized Definition of Switchblade

Earlier than you learn any additional, please be aware: The creator of this text is a author for Blade HQ, and Blade HQ is a knife retailer. He’s not a lawyer, and Blade HQ will not be a legislation agency. The authorized evaluation beneath will not be assured in any kind. In case you are even in the least anxious in regards to the legality of a knife in your space, search actual authorized recommendation (from a actual lawyer) earlier than shopping for it.

Now, with that out of the best way,

Not all knives are switchblades, however as a result of “switchblade” is extra enjoyable to say than “knife”, the time period is commonly a misnomer. United States Code Title 15 Chapter 29, typically referred to as the Federal Switchblade Act (which might be referenced at size on this article) defines a switchblade as any knife with:

  • A blade that opens mechanically, both by
    • strain on a button or different machine
    • “operation of inertia, gravity, or each”

This implies the next are, legally talking, not switchblades.

  • Spring-Assisted Knives
    • The legislation excludes knives that feather a “spring, detent, or different mechanism making a bias towards closure”. Spring-assisted knives have a spring that have to be overwhelmed to open.
  • Manual Knives
    • Even should you can flick your knife open with out touching something, if it has a detent or one thing related, you’re within the clear.

Properly, that appears like what I’m after. Can I purchase one?

The legislation prohibits “manufacture, sale, or possession” of the switchblade knives in “any territory or possession of the US, inside Indian nation…, or inside the particular maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the US”, punishable by “no more than $2,000 or [imprisonment] of no more than 5 years, or each”.

However, as in most issues in life, particulars are the whole lot, and there are some exceptions to the legislation that the knife neighborhood is generally conscious of.

  • This legislation regulates switchblades so far as “interstate commerce” is concerned. Below most circumstances, it doesn’t regulate clients and retailers. This legislation additionally makes it unlawful to import switchblades.
  • “Any widespread service or contract service” will not be penalized for delivery switchblades, even throughout state traces. That’s why, whenever you order a switchblade from Blade HQ, we will ship it proper to your door, with no federal legislation hanging over anybody’s head.
    • The USPS is sure by “injurious and non-mailable” legal guidelines, which embody switchblades. If that you must mail one, UPS and FedEx are higher choices.
  • Navy members and workers are permitted to personal, carry, and use switchblades within the “efficiency of [their] obligation”.
    • Most states embody this provision as nicely, and in lots of circumstances, it extends to police, EMS, and fireplace departments.
  • Individuals with one arm are permitted to personal and use any switchblade with a blade below 3”.

If it’s a ballistic knife (that means one that may launch its blade) you’re after, legal guidelines are somewhat stricter and penalties somewhat extra extreme. They’re additionally costly, harmful to ship, and few and much between, so we don’t deal in them.

Lengthy story brief, Uncle Sam would like you didn’t purchase one, however he has a tough time making you.

Nevertheless, the state and municipality you reside in have the final phrase.

Some states ban switchblades outright (like Hawaii), and a few don’t regulate knives hardly in any respect (like Texas). Some cities (like Boston) have a lot stricter legal guidelines than their states (like Massachusetts). Some states have legal guidelines about the way you carry (hid, unconcealed). To get into the main points of every state could be a a lot bigger endeavor than this text can stand up to, however the American Knife and Tool Institute (AKTI) has a wealth of data on numerous knife legal guidelines in numerous states, together with hyperlinks to handed laws. The AKTI’s web site, in addition to the textual content of the US code, served as the idea for this text. When you’re interested by studying about state legal guidelines that apply to you, the AKTI is a good place to start out.

California knife legal guidelines get particular consideration due to their restriction on automatic knives with blades longer than two inches. Most corporations who make autos make a CA-legal variant, just like the Kershaw Launch 4, the Pro-Tech Runt sequence, the Microtech Exocet, and others.

If you have already got a switchblade, however you came upon it’s unlawful the place you’re, don’t freak out! Many states enable possession however prohibit carry. You’ll be able to preserve your computerized in your assortment, and as long as you keep out of bother, the cops won’t kick down your door and search your own home for it. They’ve a lot larger fish to fry.


Switchblades could also be a little bit of a controversial determine as far as the legislation is anxious. You will get misplaced for hours researching the legal guidelines on the topic, however the AKTI, different knife advocacy organizations, and attorneys in your space may help you identify if a switchblade is authorized for you. If they’re (and also you could be shocked), a switchblade is usually a spicy addition to your assortment. When you stay in a state that means that you can have automatic or switchblade knives, try our greatest sellers at

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