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Massachusetts

Massachusetts knife laws are among the most convoluted and difficult to interpret in the nation. The following is a general primer on Massachusetts' knife laws that has been assembled from various sections of existing law, regulations, and rulings made by courts.

Massachusetts Knife Laws Quick Look

Preemption? No.

Concealed carry? No.

Open carry? Yes.

Off-limits places:

  • Schools.
  • Airports.
  • Public transportation.
  • State-owned rest areas.
  • Residential substance abuse facilities.
  • Hospital emergency rooms.
  • Electrician's trucks in the course of employment.
  • Public gatherings or demonstrations
  • Stadiums during professional sporting events and concerts/festivals where admission is charged to the event.

Length & critical dimensions: Automatic knives with blade length of more than 1.5 inches are prohibited.

Legal Types of Knives In Massachusetts

The types of knives legal in Massachusetts include the following:

  • Balisong knives also called butterfly knives
  • Switchblades and automatic knives.
  • Ballistic knives.
  • Dirks, daggers, stilettos, and push knives.
  • Knives with brass knuckles.
  • Disguised knives like cane knives and lipstick knives.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives.
  • Throwing knives and throwing stars.

NB: These knives are only legal to own.

Illegal Types of Knives in Massachusetts

There are no illegal knives to own

Massachusetts Knife Ownership Law

In Massachusetts, the laws concerning knife ownership are very liberal. There are no restrictions on a person's right to own any type of legal pocket knife. Ownership of large knives like Bowie knives and other large fixed-blade knives is also unrestricted.

However, there are few restrictions on possession.

Massachusetts Knife Carry Laws

Some of the gun carry laws in Massachusetts include the following:

Massachusetts Knife Open Carry Laws

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to openly carry a switchblade, dirk, dagger switchblades, dirks, daggers, stilettos, ballistic knives, double edge knives, and knuckle knives. It is also illegal to openly carry any weapon perceived as dangerous.

Massachusetts Concealed Carry Laws

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to conceal carry switchblade, dirk, dagger switchblades, dirks, daggers, stilettos, ballistic knife, double edge knives, and knuckle knives

Massachusetts Laws for Different Types of Knives

Different knife laws in Massachusetts include the following:

Massachusetts Automatic Knife Law

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to possess an automatic or switchblade knife that has a blade more than 1.5 inches long. They are also prohibited from open and concealed carry.

Massachusetts Knife Purchasing Laws

In Massachusetts, it is legal for adults over the age of 18 years old to purchase knives of any kind and carry them outdoors in public areas in any manner they choose. However, it is illegal to carry or display a knife in a manner that can easily be mistaken for a firearm.

Massachusetts Switchblade Knife Law

Switchblades are not legal to possess, open or conceal carry in Massachusetts. Exception: Automatic knives with blade lengths less than 1.5 inches are legal to own for citizens over the age of 18 years.

Massachusetts Knife Laws

Massachusetts law expressly prohibits the concealed carry of dangerous weapons, even if they are capable of being folded or retracted into the handle. Possession is not an issue as a matter of law and many people do not realize this until they are arrested for violating the concealed hand knife statute.

Massachusetts Knife Transport Laws

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to transport automatic and other switchblade knives outside your home or place of business without them being secured in a container that would prevent an average person from accessing the weapon. It is also against the law to transport daggers.

Massachusetts Knife Length

There are no limitations on the length of a legal knife in Massachusetts except automatic knives.

Massachusetts Oregon Knife Law Statutes & Penal Codes

Massachusetts knife laws and penal codes include the following:

  • MGL C.140 §53-3: Carrying a dangerous weapon
  • MGL C.140 §131: Carrying knives or transport of deadly weapons on publicly funded property
  • ML C.140 §159: Carrying knives on school property
  • MGL C.265 §10-1/2: Dangerous weapons and devices (g) Prohibited weapon Possession of any machine gun, assault weapon, or other firearm is prohibited except in certain cases under the law.
  • MGL C. 266 §129C Criminal use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon.
  • MGL C. 269 §10: Carrying of dangerous weapons upon the person
  • ME M.R.S Title 14-A, Chapter 58 Section 2904: Carrying concealed knives; exceptions; defenses; penalties.
  • ME M.R.S Title 14-A, Chapter 58 Section 3001: Carrying concealed knives or other dangerous instruments and weapons; exceptions; penalties.
  • MGL c. 269, §10(k): Weapons; Possession in correctional institutions
  • MCL c. 265, 782: Dangerous weapons: carrying concealed with intent to assault
  • MCL c. 750, §222: Carrying dangerous weapons with unlawful intent; exceptions; penalty
  • ME M.R.S Title 14-A, Chapter 58 Section 2904(A)(1): Carrying of concealed knives; exceptions; defenses; penalties.

Massachusetts Knife Offenses, Defenses, Restrictions & Penalties

They include:

Legal Defenses for Knife Charges in Massachusetts

There are a variety of possible legal defenses for knife charges in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts law does not provide a minimum or maximum penalties for violations involving the possession of knives. This is up to the court's discretion where the case is tried. However, it is clear that punishments usually increase with repeated offenses and there may be additional penalties depending on the type of weapon.

A proper defense can make a world of difference in any criminal case including charges involving knives or other weapons.

Restrictions

  • It is a prohibition to possess a knife within school premises.
  • It is a prohibition to possess a knife in government buildings and properties.
  • It is a prohibition to have a knife in any correctional facility.
  • It is a prohibition to carry any knife, dirk knife, or other dangerous weapon concealed in the state House of Representatives.
  • It is a prohibition to possess a dangerous weapon while attending public functions.

Penalties for Knife Related Offenses

Massachusetts knife laws and penalties include the following:

U.S.C. Title 18 §1716 Carrying a concealed dangerous weapon (CCDW) is generally a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year in jail.

As part of the punishment for CCDW, the defendant may be sentenced to probation with up to a year of jail or prison time. This is in addition to any prison time that s/he may receive for the underlying crime because it is considered part of an enhanced penalty.

Massachusetts law expressly prohibits the concealed carry of dangerous weapons, even if they are capable of being concealed. This includes firearms and other weapons such as knives, clubs, or brass knuckles. This offense is a misdemeanor and the penalty for carrying a concealed weapon in Massachusetts is up to two and one-half years in prison.

Massachusetts law provides that it shall be illegal to have or possess any machine gun, assault weapon, or another firearm within school premises. A violation of this law is considered a misdemeanor, and an offender may be sentenced to up to two and one-half years in prison.

Massachusetts Knife Law FAQs

Some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about Massachusetts knife laws include the following:       

  • How Long Can a Knife Be in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, the length of a knife is not specifically addressed in statute. Thus, like most states, the common law governs whether it is legal to carry and conceal a knife. However, automatic knives must not be more than 1.5 inches long

  • What Types of Knives are Illegal in New York?

Most knives are legal to own, but not legal to carry in Massachusetts.

  • What types of knives are legal to carry in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts has no laws prohibiting individuals from carrying pocket knives and folding knives as long as they do not pose any danger.

  • Can I sell or transfer ownership of a knife in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts has no laws regarding the sale, transfer, or ownership of a knife.

  • Is it Illegal to scare someone with (brandish) a knife in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts law prohibits individuals from brandishing a knife in a public way to intimidate someone. Brandishing is considered offensive and threatening behavior towards another person, even if the individual has no intention of causing physical harm with the knife.

However, you have a right to defend yourself with a knife if attacked.

  • Can a minor carry a knife in Massachusetts?

Yes, a minor can legally carry and own a knife in Massachusetts.

  • Are swords legal in Massachusetts?

Yes, it is legal for an individual to own and carry swords in Massachusetts.

  • Are switchblades legal in Massachusetts?

Yes, switchblades are legal to own in Massachusetts, but not to open or concealed carry.

  • Are folding knives legal in Massachusetts?

Yes, folding knives (not automatic) are legal to own and carry in Massachusetts.

  • Are fixed blade knives legal in Massachusetts?

Yes, fixed blade knives are legal to own and carry in Massachusetts.

  • Are butterfly knives legal in Massachusetts?

Yes, butterfly knives are legal to own, open and conceal carry in Massachusetts.

  • Are automatic knives legal in butterfly knives?

Yes, automatic knives are legal to own and carry in Massachusetts.

  • Are throwing stars legal in Massachusetts?

Yes, Massachusetts has no laws prohibiting ownership. carry and use of throwing stars and knives.

  • Are spring-assisted knives legal in New York?

Yes, spring-assisted knives are legal to own and carry in Massachusetts.

  • Are gravity knives legal in Massachusetts?

No, gravity knives are prohibited in Massachusetts.

  • Are karambits Legal in Massachusetts?

No, Massachusetts has banned the ownership, possession or use of karambits.

  • Are dirk knives Legal in Massachusetts?

No, Massachusetts has banned the ownership, possession or use of dirk knives.

  • Are ballistic knives legal in Massachusetts?

No, the ownership or possession of a ballistic knife is illegal under Massachusetts law.