What Size Knife Is Legal To Carry In PA

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In the state of Pennsylvania, there are specific laws and regulations regarding the carrying of knives. It is essential to understand these legal guidelines before purchasing or carrying a knife in public spaces. The legality of a particular size or type of blade can vary depending on various factors such as the context and location.

As innovation takes precedence in modern society, many individuals have found themselves interested in outdoor activities that require cutting tools. From camping to hiking, having a reliable knife has become an integral part of these experiences. However, it is important for those engaging in these activities to be aware of what types of blades they can legally carry in Pennsylvania to avoid any unintentional violations. This article aims to provide comprehensive information about what size knife is legal to carry in PA based on existing laws and recent developments in legislation related to this topic.

Understanding Pennsylvania’s Knife Laws

Pennsylvania’s knife laws are regulated under Title 18, Chapter 91 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. The state allows for individuals to carry knives openly without any restrictions on blade length or type of knife. However, concealed carrying of a knife is subject to several limitations and regulations.

Under Pennsylvania law, it is illegal to conceal carry any knife that has a blade longer than four inches. This includes all types of knives such as switchblades, gravity knives, daggers, stilettos, and other similar weapons. Any individual found in violation of this law may face criminal charges and penalties.

It is important to note that even if an individual possesses a valid license to carry firearms within the state, it does not permit them to conceal carry knives with blades longer than four inches. In addition, while open carrying of knives is permitted in most cases, there may be certain circumstances where carrying a particular type or style of knife could lead to legal issues. Thus, anyone intending to possess or use a knife should familiarize themselves with Pennsylvania’s specific laws pertaining to these weapons.

Factors Affecting The Legality Of Knife Size

Blade length is a key factor in determining the legality of knife size, as many states have specific restrictions on the maximum length of a knife blade. Location is also a factor, as certain areas may have stricter regulations on knife size than others. Age is a consideration, as minors may be prohibited from carrying certain knives regardless of their length. Finally, the intent of the person carrying the knife may affect its legality, as even a small blade may be considered a weapon if it is used in a threatening manner.

Blade Length

When it comes to knife size and the law, one of the most important factors is blade length. In Pennsylvania, there are specific regulations in place regarding the maximum legal length for a measuring blade on any type of knife. According to state law, it is illegal to carry or possess any knife with a blade longer than 4 inches.

This restriction applies to all types of knives, including folding knives, fixed-blade knives, and even kitchen knives. The penalty for violating this law can vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. For example, carrying an oversized knife in public may result in a summary offense that carries fines up to $300 dollars and/or imprisonment for up to three months.

It’s also important to note that some municipalities within Pennsylvania have their own laws related to blade length and other aspects of knife ownership. As such, it’s always wise to consult local ordinances before carrying a knife anywhere within state borders. By following these guidelines and understanding the potential penalties associated with carrying an oversized blade, individuals can stay safe and avoid legal trouble while pursuing their passion for innovation through cutting-edge tools like knives.


Moving on to another factor affecting the legality of knife size, location plays a crucial role in determining what knives are allowed and where they can be carried. In Pennsylvania, there are specific laws surrounding the possession and carry of knives that vary depending on the location. For instance, while it is generally legal for an individual to own a certain type of knife, carrying that same knife in public may be prohibited or restricted.

Pennsylvania Knife Laws dictate that certain locations have prohibitions against carrying weapons such as knives. It is important to note that these restrictions apply regardless of blade length, meaning even small pocket knives could be illegal in some areas. For example, schools and government buildings are considered weapon-free zones under state law; therefore, possessing any kind of knife within their premises could result in serious consequences.

Additionally, municipalities within Pennsylvania may have their own set of regulations when it comes to owning and carrying knives. These local ordinances often target specific types of blades or restrict carry within certain areas like parks or public spaces. As such, individuals should always check with local authorities before bringing a knife into any new area to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations related to knife restrictions.

Types Of Knives Permitted In Public Spaces

Transitioning from the previous section, it is important to note that various factors affect the legality of knife size in different states. In Pennsylvania, for instance, the law defines a legal pocket knife as one with a blade length not exceeding four inches. Any knife with a longer blade than this limit falls under prohibited items and may attract penalties.

While considering the type of knife permitted in public spaces, it is essential to recognize that handle materials also play a significant role. Handles made of brass knuckles or any other metallic material are illegal in most jurisdictions since they can be used as weapons. On the other hand, knives with handles made from wood, plastic, or rubber are allowed because they pose no threat to others’ safety.

It is worth noting that while some types of knives are considered more dangerous than others due to their intended use, all knives fall under certain regulations regarding their dimensions and composition. Therefore, when carrying a knife in public places such as schools or government buildings within Pennsylvania’s borders, ensure it meets the state’s requirements on blade length and handle material to avoid running into legal trouble.

Recent Developments In Pennsylvania Knife Legislation

Pennsylvania has recently undergone changes to its knife laws that have been a source of confusion for many residents. In 2019, the state removed the prohibition on automatic knives, commonly known as switchblades, which had previously been illegal to own or carry. This change came with some caveats – while it is now legal to own an automatic knife, they are still prohibited from being carried concealed without a valid license.

The new legislation also allows for individuals to carry larger knives than were previously allowed. The state no longer limits blade length but instead defines “offensive weapons” as those designed primarily for fighting and automatically opening knives. These may not be carried unless there is a justifiable reason such as self-defense purposes. It should be noted that anyone who uses a knife in self-defense must be able to prove that their life was at risk and that using the weapon was necessary.

Understanding recent developments in Pennsylvania’s knife ownership laws can help people make better decisions about how best to protect themselves in situations where self defense strategies might come into play. Those looking to purchase a knife for this purpose should consider factors such as portability and ease of use when selecting one appropriate for their needs. Ultimately, every individual must weigh the benefits against the risks before deciding whether carrying a knife is right for them.


Pennsylvania’s knife laws are complex and have evolved over the years. The legality of carrying a particular size of knife in public depends on various factors, including the location and purpose of possession. For instance, while it is generally legal to carry a folding pocketknife with a blade length not exceeding four inches, certain exceptions apply.

Pennsylvania law prohibits the carrying of dangerous weapons such as automatic knives, blackjacks, brass knuckles, daggers, gravity knives, stilettos, switchblades or ballistic knives without a valid justification. However, recent legislative efforts have aimed at relaxing some restrictions on knife ownership and use in Pennsylvania. In 2019 for example, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law House Bill 229 that repealed provisions criminalizing automatic knives in the state.

An interesting statistic shows that between 2001 and 2018 there were approximately 34 homicides involving sharp objects (knives) per year in Pennsylvania. This highlights the importance of having clear regulations regarding knife possession and usage. While people may need to carry knives for self-defense or other legitimate purposes like hunting or fishing activities, it is essential to ensure that these tools do not pose a risk to public safety. As such, individuals must be aware of their rights and responsibilities when owning or carrying any type of knife within the state’s jurisdiction.