Is It Legal To Carry A Knife In Washington State

Home / Beginners Guides / Is It Legal To Carry A Knife In Washington State

The state of Washington has strict laws when it comes to carrying a knife in public. As with many states, the legality of knives depends on various factors such as blade length and intended use. The question remains: is it legal to carry a knife in Washington State?

To answer this question, several statutes must be examined, including RCW 9.41.250 which outlines the unlawful possession or carrying of firearms and dangerous weapons on school grounds. Additionally, RCW 9.41.270 addresses the restrictions on carrying firearms and other deadly weapons while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Understanding these laws is crucial for anyone who wishes to possess and carry a knife legally in Washington State. This article aims to provide an overview of the relevant laws regarding knife ownership and carriage, as well as any exceptions that may apply for innovation-driven individuals seeking new ways to utilize cutting-edge technology in their daily lives while staying within the bounds of the law.

Understanding Knife Laws In Washington State

Knives are common tools that can be used for various purposes, including self-defense. However, the legality of carrying a knife in Washington State is subject to certain restrictions and requirements. The state has specific laws governing the possession and use of knives.

Washington State law allows individuals to carry knives as long as they comply with legal knife sizes. According to RCW 9.41.250(1), it is illegal to carry or possess any fixed-blade knife longer than three and one-half inches (3-1/2″) without a valid reason, such as hunting or fishing activities. Similarly, folding knives must have blades that are less than three inches (3″) if intended for concealed carry.

Moreover, under RCW 9A.16.020, an individual may use force, including deadly force when necessary, to protect themselves from imminent harm by another person. This includes using a knife in self-defense situations where there is a reasonable belief of immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury. However, it should be noted that self-defense justifications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis depending on circumstances surrounding the incident.

In summary, while carrying a knife is generally legal in Washington State provided you adhere to legal knife sizes, the right to use it in self-defense situations depends heavily on the context surrounding its usage. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these laws and regulations before possessing or using any kind of weapon in public spaces within this jurisdiction.

Factors That Determine The Legality Of Carrying A Knife

The legality of carrying a knife in Washington State is determined by several factors. One of the primary considerations is the size and type of knife being carried. Knives that are considered dangerous or deadly weapons, such as switchblades, daggers, and ballistic knives, are prohibited from being possessed or carried on one’s person in public places without proper licensing.

Another factor that determines the legality of carrying a knife in Washington State is whether it is concealed or not. Concealed carry refers to carrying a weapon in a manner where it cannot be seen by others. In general, if an individual carries a concealed knife with intent to harm another person, they may face criminal charges for assault with a deadly weapon.

Additionally, other circumstances surrounding the possession and use of knives can impact their legality under Washington law. For example, minors under 18 years old generally cannot own or possess certain types of knives classified as “dangerous” except when engaged in lawful activities like hunting or fishing. It is important to note that local laws related to knife ownership and transportation may differ from state law; therefore, individuals should research specific regulations before transporting any kind of bladed tool across state lines.

Exceptions To Knife Carrying Restrictions

Factors that determine the legality of carrying a knife vary from state to state. In Washington State, it is legal to carry a knife with a blade length of less than 3 inches without any restrictions. However, if the blade exceeds this limit, then one must have a valid reason for carrying such knives.

Restricted knives in Washington State include ballistic knives, throwing stars or oriental darts and switchblades. These knives are illegal to possess under all circumstances, even when kept as an antique collection. Possessing these types of knives may lead to criminal charges and hefty fines.

Nevertheless, there are exceptions to the knife carrying restrictions in self-defense situations where individuals can use deadly force against another person who poses an immediate danger of death or great bodily harm. This means that people can defend themselves using any weapon they deem necessary including restricted knives as long as their lives are at risk.

In summary, while it is generally permissible to carry small knives in Washington State without restriction, it is important to note that some types of weapons are prohibited entirely regardless of intent or purpose. Nonetheless, in cases where an individual’s life is threatened by another person and no other alternative measures could provide adequate protection or defense, restricted knives may be used lawfully for self-defense purposes.

Staying Within The Bounds Of The Law: Tips For Carrying A Knife In Washington State

Carrying a knife in Washington State can be likened to walking on thin ice. It can be done, but with caution and careful consideration of the law. While it is not illegal to carry a knife, certain restrictions apply that must be observed by anyone who wishes to carry one.

To stay within the bounds of the law when carrying a knife in Washington State, here are some tips:

  1. Know your knife – Understand the type of blade you have and its intended use.
  2. Choose your carrying method wisely – Concealing or openly displaying your knife will determine how others perceive you and could affect whether or not authorities approach you.
  3. Observe safety practices – Be responsible with your knife at all times, keeping it away from children and using it only for legal purposes.
  4. Familiarize yourself with state laws – Ensure that you understand what kind of knives are prohibited under Washington State law.

It is important to note that while these tips may help individuals stay within the confines of the law, they do not guarantee immunity from prosecution if found carrying a weapon illegally. Therefore, always exercise good judgment and observe common sense when carrying any bladed instrument in public spaces.


Washington State has specific laws that regulate the carrying of knives, and it is important for residents to be aware of these regulations. The legality of carrying a knife in Washington depends on several factors such as the type, length, and intended use of the blade. While some types of knives are legal to carry without any restrictions, others require a permit or license.

It is also essential to understand the exceptions to the knife-carrying restrictions in Washington State. For example, individuals with valid hunting licenses can carry certain types of knives while engaged in lawful hunting activities. Additionally, people working in professions that require the use of knives like chefs or fishermen may legally carry them as part of their job duties.

According to a report by Knife Up Magazine, between 2011 and 2015, there were over 2 million emergency room visits due to injuries caused by sharp objects including knives. This statistic highlights the importance of understanding knife laws not only in Washington but across all states. By staying within the bounds of legal regulations and following safety guidelines when handling a knife, individuals can avoid accidents and potential legal consequences associated with violating state knife laws.