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New Jersey

New Jersey knife laws are preeminently fair and reasonable. If you've ever visited New Jersey or known anyone from there you might have a preconceived impression of the state and its knives laws. You may think of Jersey as being a violent place full of tough guys who walk around with switchblades and throwing stars. That's actually not really far from the truth.

New Jersey Knife Laws Quick Look

Preemption? No.

Concealed carry? No limitation.

Open carry? No limitation.

Schools? Prohibited in schools.

Off-limits places:

  • Schools,
  • School sports events, including interscholastic or intramural competitions not sponsored by a school;
  • Penal institutions;
  • Child daycare centers.
  • Public parks.

Length & critical dimensions: It is a crime to sell a knife with a blade length of more than 5 inches and an overall length of more than 10 inches to minors.

Legal Types of Knives In New Jersey

The types of knives legal in New Jersey include the following:

  • Balisong and Butterfly knives.
  • Disguised knives like lipstick knives
  • Bowie Knives
  • Throwing stars and knives.

Illegal Types of Knives in New Jersey

Illegal knives in New Jersey include:

  • Gravity knives
  • Switchblade
  • Dirks, daggers, and stilettos

New Jersey Knife Ownership Law

New Jersey knife laws state that any person who is at least 18 years of age may purchase, possess, or transport a switchblade or gravity knife.

However, it is a crime to sell any knife or bladed device designed for combat or deadly assault or to any person under 18 years of age. This law does not apply to knives sold as antiques, relics, curiosities, or collectibles; nor does it apply to the sale of switchblades and gravity knives by manufacturers,

New Jersey Knife Carry Laws

Some of the gun carry laws in New Jersey include the following:

New Jersey Knife Open Carry Laws

Open carry of legal knives is allowed in the state. New Jersey knife laws specifically state that any person may openly carry a dirk, dagger, or stiletto if they are being used as part of the daily work of that person and not for any unlawful purpose.

The only exceptions to this rule would be schools and places where children under 18 are likely to gather.

New Jersey Knife Concealed Carry Laws

Concealed carry laws in New Jersey are limited to pocket knives carried for a non-criminal purpose. Any other type of knife is not permitted to be concealed carry.

New Jersey Laws for Different Types of Knives

Different knife laws in New Jersey include the following:

New Jersey Switchblade Knives Laws

Switchblade knives are prohibited in NJ. A switchblade is any knife having a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other devices in the handle of the knife. Any person who sells, rents, or loans a switchblade to any minor under 18 years of age shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

New Jersey Gravity Knife Laws

Gravity knives are defined as "any knife which has a blade released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever, or other devices."

New Jersey Stiletto & Dagger Knife Laws

Daggers and stilettos are knives with a blade length greater than three inches. Dirks, daggers, and stilettos are weapons and must be concealed carried with a permit.

New Jersey Bowie Knife Laws

Bowie type or butcher knives are prohibited from being sold to persons under 18. Other than that, there are no laws regulating their ownership in New Jersey.

Relevant New Jersey Knife Law Statutes & Penal Codes

New Jersey knife laws and penal codes include the following:

  • 2C:39-3. Prohibited weapons and devices.
  • 2C:39-4. Other weapons.
  • 2C:39-5. Unlawful wearing of military uniforms
  • 2C:39-6. Use or possession of deadly weapons in public places; exceptions
  • 2C:39-9. Manufacture, transport, disposition, and defacement of weapons and dangerous instruments and appliances.
  • 2C:39-10. Supplying or causing to be supplied dangerous weapons to minors.

New Jersey Knife Offenses, Defenses, Restrictions & Penalties

They include:

Legal Defenses for Knife Charges

The legal defenses for knife charges in NJ may include the following:

Mistaken Identity- If accused of carrying an illegal knife or using a knife in a crime, then you should contact your attorney as soon as possible. Many times these cases are just that, mistaken identity.

Defending Against An Illegal Knife Charge in New Jersey

If you have been arrested for a knife charge in NJ, then contact an experienced criminal attorney who will defend your rights.

Knife laws and regulations are complex and filled with many exceptions to the rules. If you don't know what you can or cannot do with a particular type of knife, then talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Some cases can be resolved without a trial.

Exceptions for Law Enforcement and Military Persons

Law enforcement officers and members of the military may possess knives in New Jersey that are not allowed to the general public. They may carry pocket knives, non-automatic folding knives, hunting knives, and box cutters. Law enforcement officers may carry automatic or switchblade swords that are not otherwise prohibited.


  • It is a prohibition to possess a knife within school premises.
  • It is a prohibition to possess a knife on public transportation.
  • It is a prohibition to possess a knife on most public property.
  • It is a prohibition to possess a bowie knife, dirk, dagger, or switchblade within the State of New Jersey without an appropriate license or permit.
  • It is a crime to sell, loan, give away or furnish any dangerous knife to anyone under 18 years of age in the State of New Jersey.

Penalties for Knife Related Offenses

Penalties for the illegal sale, possession, or use of a knife can be severe. Some of the harsher penalties include:

  • If using, carrying, or possessing an automatic or switchblade knife that is not permitted by law - up to $5000 and/or 3-5 years in prison.
  • If selling any dangerous knife as defined within the statute to anyone under the age of 18 - up to $5000 and/or 3-5 years in prison.
  • If the violation occurs on school grounds or a public highway - additional penalties can be imposed.
  • If you have been charged with any type of knife offense in New Jersey, then call an experienced criminal defense attorney at once. Consultations are free, and a skilled New Jersey defense attorney can help you understand the knife laws in NJ.

New JerseyKnife Law FAQs

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

  • How Long Can a Knife Be in New Jersey?

The length of the knife is not a determining factor. There are no restrictions on blade length or size in New Jersey, so long as the knife is possessed legally.

  • What Types of Knives are Illegal in New Jersey?

It is illegal to sell or possess any knife that may be considered a "dirk" or dagger. A dirk or dagger is defined in the New Jersey code as a knife or other instrument with a blade at least 3 inches long which may be easily concealed on one's person, and which is designed to inflict serious injury.

  • What types of knives are legal to carry in New Jersey?

There are two categories of knives that are allowed by law: those that cannot be concealed, and those that can. Knives that cannot be concealed include dirks, stilettos, and other similar instruments. These types of knives must be visible at all times while in public. Knives that can be concealed include large hunting knives, swords

  • What is the length limit for pocket knives in New Jersey?

There are no length restrictions on pocket knives in NJ, as long as they are not switchblades.

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

The sale of any knife is illegal to anyone under the age of 18 in New Jersey, unless you are transferring ownership from a parent or guardian, or are selling the knife as part of a collection.

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

Brandishing a knife is illegal in New Jersey. Someone who brandishes his or her knife, and the person who sees that blade, could face serious charges for this action. However, where there is no intent to scare or intimidate another party with the deadly weapon, most likely only a fine would be imposed for brandishing.

  • Can a minor carry a knife in New Jersey?

A minor may possess a pocket knife in public, as long as the blade is under 4 inches in length and it cannot be concealed.

  • Are swords legal in New Jersey?

Swords are legal in New Jersey, as long as they are not concealed. The sword must be sheathed at all times while the owner is on public property.

  • Are switchblades legal in New Jersey?

Switchblade knives are not legal in New Jersey. This is true even if the knife was purchased out of state and brought into NJ legally.

  • Are folding knives legal in New Jersey?

Folding knives with blades less than 2 inches long are legal in New Jersey. Folders with longer blades may be carried but must be sheathed at all times.

  • Are fixed blade knives legal in New Jersey?

Fixed blade knives, including pocket knives and sheath knives, are legal in NJ. The knife must be carried openly at all times while on public property.

  • Are butterfly knives legal in New Jersey?

Butterfly knives are specifically banned by law in New Jersey.

  • Are automatic knives legal in New Jersey?

Automatic knives (switchblades) are not legal in New Jersey.

  • Are spring-assisted knives legal in New Jersey?

Spring-assisted knives are considered switchblades and are illegal in New Jersey.

  • Are gravity knives legal in New Jersey?

Gravity knives are illegal in New Jersey. These types of knives open by centrifugal force or gravity when the knife is moved.

  • Are throwing knives legal in New Jersey?

Throwing knives are not permitted in New Jersey.

  • Are karambits Legal in New Jersey?

Karambits are illegal to possess in New Jersey.