Ohio Pocket Knife Laws

By Monty Dayton

Ohio knife laws are vague in many ways, leaving some gray area for interpretation. There are, however, several specific laws in the Ohio state code that deals with specific types of knives and what the rules are surrounding them. Many types of pocket knives are actually considered illegal in Ohio.

Illegal Pocket Knives

There are several specific types of pocket knives that are mentioned by name under Ohio State Code 2923.20. This section discusses unlawful transactions in weapons, and the law singles out butterfly (gravity) knives, switchblade knives, and spring blade (also known as ballistic) knives as being illegal to buy, sell, make, own, or carry. There is zero tolerance when it comes to those specific pocket knife designs in the state of Ohio. The only time a person can possess one legally is a law enforcement officer for official police use.

Age Requirements

There are no specific Ohio state laws regarding how old a person has to be in order to legally carry a pocket knife. This means that Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, or kids out camping don't have to worry. Any minor is allowed to carry a legal pocket knife. The one specific age requirement that is mentioned for Ohio when it comes to pocket knives is that no minor is allowed to buy one. Individuals must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a pocket knife of any kind.

Concealed Weapon Knife Laws

Pocket knives can be considered concealed weapons in the state of Ohio. The concealed weapon laws are a little vague, opening a wider range of circumstances where a pocket knife could be considered a concealed weapon. Any knife used as a weapon or brought out in a threatening manner is automatically considered a concealed weapon, as is any pocket knife that is "ready at hand" or prepared to be used for harm. A 1974 Committee Comment to the Ohio State Code added the interpretation that a normal pocket knife that is carried but not used as a weapon would not be considered a concealed or deadly weapon.

About the Author

Monty Dayton is a professional freelance writer who has worked for the ACLU, Touchstone Publishing LLC, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and many other employers. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska and loves writing about travel, the outdoors and health topics.

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