Iowa Knife Laws

Table of Contents

The state of Iowa has many laws regulating the use and possession of knives. These laws are broken down into two categories: (1) general restrictions and (2) exceptions for lawful activities.

The basic rule governing switchblades in Iowa is that they cannot be possessed by anyone under 18 years old; they cannot be possessed at schools; they cannot be carried onto school grounds; they cannot be sold to minors.

Switchblade in Iowa

Iowa has the most lenient knife laws in the country. This is because it does not restrict possession of switchblades or other knives based on blade length or type of weapon.

If you want to carry your switchblade in Iowa, all you need is to make sure that it is not concealed and doesn’t exceed 7 inches in length.

Switchblades are also called automatic knives, which are defined as any knife that opens automatically by the force of gravity or centrifugal force. A switchblade is a type of knife that has a folding or sliding blade contained in the handle which springs out into position when a release button is pushed.

Iowa defines switchblades as any knife with the push of a button, which would also include knives like Kershaw’s speed safe and Columbia River Knife & Tool’s Outburst.

General Restrictions and Exemptions

Blades of a certain length are illegal weapons in Iowa. This is because the law defines them as knives that are prohibited to be carried, sold or possessed in Iowa without lawful purpose.

  • Prohibits blades 3” or shorter from being sold to minors under age 18
  • Prohibits the sale of a switchblade or any other type of spring-loaded blade to a minor under age 18
  • Prohibits blades over 4” long being worn on the person unless they are for hunting and fishing, manufacturing, or farming purposes
  • Knives with blades over 4” long can only be carried outside of school or work in an automobile if they are in a closed container
  • Knife owners must keep it securely locked up where minors can not have access

Knives You Can Carry In Public Places Under the Law

When you think of a knife in public, a pocketknife may come to mind. But there are many other kinds of knives that can be carried in public under the law.

  • A single-edge razor is allowed in public in some places depending on the blade length and other factors.
  • If the blade doesn’t goes past your wrist when you hold it straight up from your hand.
  • Weapons with blades or sharp points shorter than four inches generally can be legally carried in public places by non-felons without a concealed-carry permit.
  • Knife clipped to your belt (Unsheathed)
  • Sheathed knife clipped to your belt (Unclipped)
  • Pocket Knife Unsheathed and Unclipped
  • Knife sheathed and clipped to your belt (Clipped)

Knives which you cannot carry in public places, even if they are not sheathed, are as follows:

  • Double edged knife or dagger
  • Sword, saber or other weapon used primarily for cutting or stabbing

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