Can A Felon Have A Knife (Detailed Answer Here)

Knife carrying can be illegal in most parts of the United States, depending on the kind of knife, where the carrier is, and other unique situations.

For that, I have developed a guide to knife carry in the States, complete with an age-based guide to when you should carry certain knives in the first place.

However, another unique situation is whether or not a felon can have a knife on them.

A felon can carry a knife if the knife is not illegal in their region. Otherwise, the knife is a weapon not deemed appropriate and will be taken into account if they were ever approached by law enforcement.

Due to the existing criminal record, the felon might also be charged with an aggravated count if a knife is found on them illegally.

What type of knives can a felon own?

If you have watched/ read some news items, you might already be familiar with the charge for felons in charge of firearms. The one that you might not have heard as much but is just as grave, is the weapons misdemeanor charge.

A convicted felon is not allowed to publicly carry any of:

  • Switchblades – and all knives that might fall under this definition
  • Bowie knivesgo here to learn all about these knives
  • Ballistic knives – find out more about ballistic knives here
  • Dirks and daggers – see how they differ from ordinary knives
  • Butterfly knives – learn all you can about these knives here
  • Stiletto knives, etc.

Looking through that list above, one thing becomes obvious:

The law is not unnaturally skewed against felons alone but designed to keep everyone safe. After all, most of these knives are banned for general public use anyway, no matter if you are a felon or not.

Likewise, the law is not about not owning these knives only. A felon, or anyone else, can have these knives in their homes. Thus, you can be a collector of such knives or just love to have them around for other intents and purposes.

However, when you take the knives out of your home, they become a legal concern.

The rate at which they are a legal concern is also dependent on factors such as:

  • Where you are carrying the knives – some areas are designated no-weapon zones.
  • The government level of the facilities you are in – state laws will apply in state facilities while federal laws will take precedence in federal institutions.
  • The length of the blade – even though a machete is also a knife, for example, you should not be carrying and brandying it around. Learn more about how law enforcement officers measure knife length here.

Know where to carry knives

Even if knives are not illegal; in your region, there are areas where you must never carry them to.

These are designated especially for the safety of yourself and everyone in there. Likewise, I think it helps to keep calm and order in such areas.

You would agree too when you find out that some of the areas on this list include:

  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Planes
  • Courtrooms
  • Government facilities, etc.

If you have a pocket knife that you EDC normally, it is best to leave it away when you’re going into these places. Better safe than sorry, I always say.

Kitchen knives are out of this mix

To be clear, we are not talking about kitchen knives here.

Everyone has the right to cook and make their meals, at least. You would need kitchen knives to do that and there is no law keeping you from using your kitchen knives that way, felon or not.

Kitchen knives will become a concern, however, when you take them outside of the home with you. Now, that would be dicey so just keep using your kitchen knives at home.

Best practices for carrying a knife as a felon

If you have been convicted of a crime in the past, and you still want to carry a knife, make sure of these:

  • Check the right laws – never carry a knife that is not supported by the knife laws in your region. That is just asking for trouble from the authorities.
  • Know where you are – never carry a knife into areas where they have no business being. Refer to the appropriate section above for examples of major places you should not go with your knife
  • Declare your knife – if you ever get stopped by authorities for unrelated reasons, declare that you have a knife on you if the situation warrants that. It helps to let them know what kind of knife it is also.
  • Have a good reason – don’t just carry a knife because it is cool. There are a lot of reasons to carry a knife, but not all those reasons might be relevant. Make sure to have a good reason for EDCing that fine, legal blade.


A felon can legally carry a knife that doesn’t defy the applicable state laws. As long as the felon is not carrying with an intent to commit a crime, they will be treated with the same liberties as everyone else carrying a legal knife in the region.

Dig into the specifics when you look at the knife laws in your region, establish areas where you should not be going with the knife, and such other concerns.

With that, you are safe from another strike from the law.

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