New York Knife Laws

Table of Contents

Understanding the Legalities of Owning a Knife in New York

Knife laws in New York are confusing and intimidating. This is because there are so many different jurisdictions that enforce restrictions on knives. An example would be the NYC Police Department which enforces its own set of rules and regulations on knives, despite being just one organization.

The law prohibits people from possessing a knife with a blade greater than 4 inches or having any sharp-pointed or edged instrument with an exposed blade longer than 3 inches in length, unless it is necessary for their occupation or to accomplish a specific task. Violators will be punished by imprisonment for up to 3 months, criminal fines, or both.

A military knife, also called a fighting knife or combat knife, is not allowed to be carried by civilians in New York City under any circumstance. Balisong knives on the other hand can be carried legally in New York City and state if they don’t have blades that are 2 inches or longer.

The Different Types of Knives Recognized by New York Law

Knives are one of the most well-known and used kitchen utensils. The law that governs these tools can vary from country to country.

The law in New York distinguishes three types of knives, namely, gravity knives, switchblade knives, and prohibited knives. These knives are not considered legal to carry in public places for self-defense purposes but they can be used in certain food preparation tasks such as chopping, slicing and dicing produce.

New York City has a law that prohibits knives over 4″ in blade length.

There are several types of knives available on the market.

Chef’s knives

Usually 8″ or more in blade length and has a broad curved edge that is perfect for chopping vegetables and dicing meats.

Bread knives

The serrated blades of bread knives are able to cut soft bread without crushing it.

Boning knives

With a sharp point and a narrow blade used in food preparation for removing the bones of poultry, meat, and fish.

Cleaver knives

Well-known as a butcher’s knife, characterized by its wide blade and tough edge that can chop through thick and dense materials.

Utility knives

Any type of knife with durable cutting edges suitable for general manual work purposes such as cutting cordage, cutting/scraping hides, butchering animals, cleaning fish scales, reshaping timber, and other tasks.

Paring knives

A paring knife is a small all-purpose knife with a plain edge that is ideal for peeling (or “paring”) fruits and vegetables, and other small or intricate work (such as de-veining a shrimp, removing the seeds from a jalapeño, ‘skinning’ or cutting small garnishes).

Who is Legally Recognized to Carry a Knife?

It is legal for anyone over the age of 16 to carry a knife in New York City except for people who are specifically prohibited. The following groups are prohibited from carrying knives in NYC:

  • Those convicted of any crime which carries a sentence of more than 1 year
  • Those with mental disabilities who are not accompanied by an adult guardian or other authorized person, or those who do not have the written consent of their parent or guardian, or their physician
  • Those wearing a mask or any other clothing to conceal their identity while committing a crime

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