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Oregon

Knife laws in Oregon are very complicated, but basically, there are very few restrictions on the possession and carrying of knives.

Oregon Knife Laws Quick Look

Preemption? No, Title 15 prohibits local regulation of knives.

Concealed carry? It is a factor.

Open carry? Yes.

Schools? Prohibited in schools.

Off-limits places:

  • Schools.
  • Courthouses.
  • Airport terminals.
  • Gambling facilities.
  • State or local government buildings with security checkpoints.
  • State parks and recreation areas.

Length & critical dimensions: Knives with blades less than 4 inches are allowed in some off-limit areas.

Legal Types of Knives In Oregon

The types of knives legal in Oregon include the following:

  • Dirk,
  • Dagger
  • Stabbing knives
  • Bowie knives
  • Switchblades
  • Automatic Knives
  • Ballistic knives
  • Gravity knives
  • Balisong Knives
  • Butterfly Knives
  • Stiletto

Illegal Types of Knives in Oregon

There are no illegal knives in Oregon

Oregon Knife Ownership Law

In Oregon, you must be 18 years old to purchase a knife. The exception is for hunting or fishing knives. It is legal to own any type of knife as long as you are not a convicted felon.

Oregon Knife Carry Laws

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

Oregon Knife Open Carry Laws

Open carry of any knife is permitted in Oregon, but it is not recommended. The open carry laws for knives are almost non-existent.

Oregon Knife Concealed Carry Laws

Concealed carry laws are very confusing in Oregon and make this state less than desirable for concealed carriers. This isn't a place where you want to be caught carrying a knife, even if you are carrying it for self-defense.

It is illegal to carry the following types of knives:

  • Dirks, daggers, or any stabbing knives
  • Balisongs, or butterfly knives
  • Gravity knives
  • Any knife with a blade that projects or swings into position by force of a spring or by centrifugal force.

Oregon Laws for Different Types of Knives

Different knife laws in Oregon include the following:

Oregon Automatic Knife Law

Oregon defines automatic knives as any knife that has a blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle by the force of a spring. They are illegal to carry concealed, but the knife law in Oregon is not clear about open carry.

Oregon Switchblades Law

The law does not prohibit switchblade knives, but it does require that they be carried openly. Switchblades are defined as any knife having a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button or other device in the handle.

Oregon Butterfly knife Laws

Oregon butterfly knife laws are very complicated. There does not seem to be a clear definition, but the law states that only knives with blades under 4 inches in length and no other characteristics of any listed types of illegal weapons can be carried concealed. Butterfly knives are generally accepted as dangerous weapons, which cannot be carried concealed.

Oregon Knife Law by Size

Knives with blades less than 4 inches in length are allowed in some off-limit areas. Pocket knives and folding knives that have handles that can be locked to prevent closure are legal, but there are no laws regulating their length.

Relevant Oregon Knife Law Statutes & Penal Codes

Oregon knife laws and penal codes include the following:

  • ORS 166.240 Unlawful use of weapons.
  • ORC 164 "Deadly and dangerous weapons; manufacture, possession, transportation sale or transfer."
  • ORS 166.470(2) Purchase, possession, or carrying of a firearm by certain persons prohibited.
  • ORS 166.470(4) Possession of a firearm by certain persons is prohibited.
  • ORS 167.250 Manufacture, importation, sale, or transfer of switchblade knives prohibited; exceptions.
  • ORS 165.770 Malicious mischief in the second degree. (5)(a) Unlawful entry into a motor vehicle for the purpose of removing there from money or other property of another.
  • ORC 164.055 Crimes against public peace and order; riots, disorderly conduct, disturbances, and unlawful assemblies [Effective 9/15/81].
  • ORS 166.370 Unlawful purchase, possession, or carrying of weapons prohibited.
  • ORS 166.260 Manufacture or sale of a switchblade.

Oregon Knife Offenses, Defenses, Restrictions & Penalties

They include:

Legal Defenses for Knife Charges

In Oregon, there are a few defenses that may apply to some cases.

There are a number of important legal elements which determine whether or not someone can be convicted of unlawful possession and/or use of a weapon in the state of Oregon:

  • Was an individual carrying a concealed weapon for self-defense purposes?
  • Was there intent to harm another person?
  • Did the individual have the legal authority to carry a concealed weapon?

A lack of these elements may be what it takes in showing that someone was not guilty.

Exceptions for Law Enforcement and Military

It is legal for law enforcement officers and military personnel to legally carry concealed weapons in off-limit areas, but there are exceptions.

Law enforcement officers can only bring their guns into such areas when they are responding to calls or on duty. There is also a provision where they may be allowed by the head of the agency if it is essential that they carry their weapons in certain public buildings.

Military personnel are allowed to carry guns for security and protection of military property, which includes the state capital and other government buildings.

Restrictions

It is a prohibition to possess a knife within school premises. This does not apply to pocket knives that are less than 4 inches in length; however, it is a violation for anyone to carry them concealed.

  • It is a prohibition to possess a knife on court premises.
  • It is a prohibition to possess a knife in airport terminals.
  • It is a prohibition to possess a knife within an airport security area.
  • It is a violation to carry concealed weapons into the premises of the Senate, House, or rooms where they are meeting.
  • It is unlawful for anyone to possess, use or threaten others with an explosive weapon within certain restricted areas such as government buildings.

Penalties for Knife Related Offenses

In Oregon, misdemeanors may incur one year of imprisonment. In some severe cases, the punishment can go up to a maximum of 6 years in prison and or a fine not exceeding $125,000.

Carrying a concealed weapon for self-defense purposes is considered an unlawful act. Penalties include a fine not exceeding $500; imprisonment of up to 6 months or both.

A person who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon may establish a defense for possessing a said weapon in places where it is illegal for anyone else to be in possession of weapons including schools, courts, and government buildings. This does not apply to schools within school areas that are designated as gun-free zones and courthouses within court areas that are designated as gun-free zones.

It is unlawful for a person to use or possess an explosive weapon in certain restricted areas such as government buildings, hospitals or places where gas is passed through pipes.  A fine not exceeding $50,000; imprisonment of between 1 year to 5 years or both.

Oregon Knife Law FAQs

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

  • How Long Can a Knife Be in Oregon?

In Oregon, the length of a knife is governed by statute 167.340, which says that the blade must not exceed 4 inches when it is carried or used in public areas. 

  • What Types of Knives are Illegal in Oregon?

Most knives are legal to own, but illegal to carry in Oregon. It is illegal to carry any kind of switchblade in the state of Oregon. In addition to this, there are several other types of knives that are illegal to carry in Oregon. These include:

  • Dirks, daggers, or any stabbing knives
  • Balisongs, or butterfly knives
  • Gravity knives
  • What types of knives are legal to carry in Oregon?

Knives that are legal to carry in Oregon include:

  • Pocket knives with blades 4 inches or less. 
  • Switchblades – so long as the blade does not lock into place.
  • Balisongs – so long as they are under 2 inches when closed and do not have any other banned features such as a gravity feature, automatic opening
  • Pocket knives or folding knives with a blade less than 4 inches long
  • Bowie/dagger-style hunting and fishing knife with fixed blades that do not exceed 5 ¼ inches in length
  • What is the length limit for pocket knives in Oregon?

In Oregon, it is legal to carry a pocket knife with a blade length of 4 inches or less.

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

You can sell or transfer ownership of a knife in Oregon unless it is illegal to possess the knife.

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

You can brandish a knife in Oregon as long as you do not intend to harm or threaten anyone with it.

  • Can a minor carry a knife in Oregon?

A minor may carry a pocket knife with a blade length less than 4 inches in Oregon.

  • Are swords legal in Oregon?

The Oregon Revised Statutes do not prohibit the possession of swords, dirks, or daggers.

  • Are switchblades legal in Oregon?

Yes, but they may not be concealed carried.

  • Are folding knives legal in Oregon?

Yes, so long as they are not conceal carried

  • Are fixed blade knives legal in Oregon?

Yes, so long as they are not concealed carry.

  • Are butterfly knives legal in Oregon?

Yes, so long as they are not concealed carry.

  • Are automatic knives legal in Oregon?

Yes, so long as they are not concealed carry.

Are spring-assisted knives legal in Oregon?

Yes, so long as they are not concealed carry.

  • Are gravity knives legal in Oregon?

Yes, so long as they are not concealed carry.

  • Are throwing knives legal in Oregon?

Yes, if they are used in an 'acceptable' manner such as for a sport.

  • Are karambits Legal in Oregon?

Yes, so long as they are not concealed carry.