Arizona Knife Laws


If you’re a knife enthusiast in Arizona, it’s time to break from your self-induced constraints and let your hair down; there are no restrictions stopping your fun in the Grand Canyon State. According to Knife Up, “Arizona has the best knife laws of all 50 states.”

Anyone over the age of 21 can open or concealed carry any type or length of knife legally across the state of Arizona.

What the Knife Laws in Arizona?

While there may be very few laws regulating every day knife ownership in Arizona, there are a few laws regulating the possession and use of knives. These include:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Dealing with Law Enforcement

Age Restrictions for Knife Laws in AZ

In the state of Arizona, it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to open or concealed carry a knife that is not a pocket knife.

Anyone aged 21 years or older may open or concealed every day carry (EDC) knives of any type or length in any city in the state of Arizona.

Location Restriction for Knife Laws in AZ

Unsurprisingly, it is still illegal to possess a knife in certain locations, such as schools. Other locations where it is illegal to carry a knife include hydroelectric and nuclear facilities, and the grounds of an organized public event or gathering.

Private venues maintain their right to refuse ever day carry knives into their establishment, but otherwise anyone over the age of 21 may open or concealed carry any type of knife in any other location in Arizona.

Knife Law Restrictions – Dealing with Law Enforcement

The final ‘restriction’ deals with interactions with police. Under Arizona law, if a law enforcement officer stops you for any reason and you are currently in possession of an EDC knife (anything aside from a pocket knife), you must disclose that you have the knife on you.

BTW, What’s a Pocket Knife?

Interestingly enough, especially when you consider the low degree of severity that possession of a ‘pocket knife’ is viewed by authorities, there is no real legal or definitive definition of the object.

However, a pocket knife is widely accepted to be a folding knife with a blade of less than four inches that pulls open manually.

Using a Knife in the Commission of a Crime

To be very clear: just because Arizona’s knife laws allow for broad interpretations in some areas, it is still illegal to use a knife in the commission of another crime.

So, while you may be able to every day carry any type or length of knife in Arizona, including the Bowie Knife—which, according to Wikipedia, was created as a ‘fighting knife’ for famed knife-dueler Jim Bowie—you are not allowed to use a knife to commit another illegal act, like robbery, harassment, murder, etc.

Is a knife a weapon in Arizona?

According to the Arizona Weapons and Firearms FAQs on the City of Phoenix website, under the question: “How are knives regulated? Are they treated any differently under the law than firearms?”,

“’Knife’ means a cutting instrument that includes a sharpened or pointed blade…” and “Under A.R.S. 13-3101, a ‘deadly weapon’ means anything that is designed for lethal use. The term certainly includes a firearm, but does not specifically include knives. Knives are generally regarded as tools.”

Translation: a knife is generally considered as a tool rather than a weapon in Arizona.

However, it may be possible for a qualified attorney to argue that a knife could be a deadly weapon in certain contexts if it was used in a lethal crime. If you are concerned about criminal charges you may be facing involving knives in Arizona, contact a respected JacksonWhite criminal defense attorney today.

What types of knives are legal in Arizona?

It is legal for anyone over the age of 21 to possess any of the following  knives in any city in Arizona:

  • Pocket/Folding Knife
  • Butterfly Knife
  • Switchblade / Automatic / OTF
  • Bowie Knife
  • Machete
  • Sword
  • Gravity Knife: folding knife where blades open with the force of gravity.
  • Dagger: knife with sharpened edges on both sides.
  • Stiletto: thin knife designed to stab.
  • Dirk
  • Ballistic Knife

Are every day carry knives legal in all Arizona cities?

Yes, Arizona’s lenient laws governing the possession and use of knives extend to all Arizona cities, thanks to a 2011 update in state law.

Prior to the policy change, municipal laws regarding knife laws varied from city to city, commonly causing confusion and reportedly resulted mainly in citations for otherwise law-abiding citizens.

The amendment of A.R.S.-3120 “preempted all local and municipal laws” and allowed for uniform EDC knife laws in the entire state of Arizona.

Is there a difference between open or concealed carry knife laws?

Regarding knife laws in Arizona, they are exactly the same for open carry as they are for concealed carry.

Anyone over the age of 21 in Arizona can legally open or concealed carry any type or length of knife.

How do Arizona knife laws compare nationally?

This article from Gizmodo offers some discrepancies between state, and sometime city, laws regulating knife possession. And indeed, Arizona certainly has some of the most lenient in the country, aside from perhaps Arkansas and a few others. Here are some other examples of how EDC knife laws laws vary across the US.

  • Colorado: it is illegal to conceal any blade longer than 3.5 inches.
  • Connecticut: it is illegal to carry blades over 4 inches.
  • Georgia: knives with blades longer than 5 inches require a permit to conceal.
  • Louisiana: it is illegal to possess a switchblade.
  • Michigan: it is illegal to conceal a stiletto knife.
  • Nebraska: it is illegal to possess any knife if you are a felon.

Have you been charged with a crime involving a knife in Arizona?

If you are concerned about charges you are facing involving knives in AZ, the criminal defense attorneys at JacksonWhite can expertly defend your case. We’ve worked with many criminal defendants facing violent and non-violent crimes to obtain successful results.

Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.

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Call (480) 467-4370  or fill out the form below to get your free consultation and discuss your best legal options.