How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy A Knife

Knives are basic tools that could also be used as weapons, so there is some legal grey area about who can carry what knives, and where they can be carried too. One thing that might have skipped your mind is whether or not there is a legal age to own and carry knives at all.

So, how old do you have to be to carry a knife of any kind, and should you even worry about this?

Knives for domestic use can be sold to buyers of different ages across the US. Ordinary pocket knives can be sold to minors under the age of 18 as they are generally safer to carry. Likewise, these knives can be given to such minors also.

However, there are no federal laws around these provisions and things could get dicey in some areas. Read on to find out more about when you can buy a knife as a young person – or when it is appropriate to introduce your kids to knives.

What is the store policy?

There are some times when we confuse store policy for what the law is.

Some stores take extra care to protect their buyers as well as their interests, and this sees them fashion laws which you can take to be the norm.

Thus, it is not uncommon to go to a store where the manager and attendants won’t sell any kinds of knives to anyone under the age of 18. In most cases, these are areas where such knife laws are open to interpretation and the store attendants would rather not get into a bad spot with the law.

When you are dealing with such stores, shop around with other stores or buy your knife online. As long as you know that it is a legal knife to own and you are not breaking any laws by buying/ holding the knife.

How old to buy a knife in different US states?

One of the most prominent features of the article on the open and concealed carriage of knives is how these laws differ by state.

In multiple instances, you can take the same knife from one state into another without having any issues with it at all.

However, that is not always possible.

Here also, I have researched some states that have knife restrictions by age in place, and what these restrictions are.

Find them below.

1AlabamaUnder 18: Buyers will not be sold bowie knives and other knives that fit that description.
2AlaskaUnder 16: Minors can have a gravity knife or switchblade, only if okayed by their parents/ guardians.

Under 21: Only ordinary pocket knives can be carried by people in this category.
3ArizonaUnder 21: Only manually opened pocket knives and related blades can be owned. Gravity and automatic knives are deemed illegal for this age bracket
4ArkansasUnder 18: General ban on the sales of deadly weapons to kids in this age bracket. Check to see if that applies to ordinary pocket knives too.
5FloridaUnder 18: only an ordinary pocket knife can be sold to buyers in this category unless they have the permission of a parent or legal guardian
6GeorgiaUnder 18: Giving/ gifting/ selling a knife to anyone under the age of 18 is considered a misdemeanor
7IdahoUnder 12: requires parental consent and presence to possess a bowie or dirk knife.

Under 18: unlawful to sell knives to this age group unless with written parental consent
8IllinoisUnder 21: Blades with two inches or longer cannot be possessed by minors. Switchblades cannot be owned by anyone in this age bracket as it requires a minimum age of 21
9IndianaUnder 18: deadly weapons (such as knives) cannot be sold or transferred to minors unless with permission from a parent or guardian.
10KentuckyUnder 21: only eligible to carry ordinary pocket or hunting knives, nothing more.
11MississippiUnder 18: Minors cannot possess or carry any knives at all, parental consent or not
12New YorkUnder 16: persons in this age range should not own any ballistic knives, switchblades, metal knuckle knives, or any other ‘dangerous knife’
13North CarolinaUnder 18: you cannot gift/ sell a bowie or dirk knife to anyone in this category
14PennsylvaniaUnder 18: pocket knives are deemed to be lethal weapons and cannot be sold or given to this age range
15Rhode IslandUnder 18: knives with blades more than 3 inches can only be given, sold, or transferred to minors with written parental consent
16TexasUnder 18: knives with blades over 5.5 inches cannot be sold to, or possessed by, minors
17VermontUnder 16: age bracket for which young people should never be furnished with deadly weapons, such as switchblades with more than 3 inches blades
18West VirginiaUnder 18: Illegal to sell, transfer or gift weapons to minors. Minors in this age bracket cannot possess any knife considered dangerous
19WisconsinUnder 18: illegal to transfer deadly weapons (which could include knives) to a minor
20WyomingUnder 21: you must meet carry permit requirements to have an EDC here.

PS Look at this piece to understand how the knife length is measured so that you are always within the safe confines of the law.

Why would a young person even need a knife?

If you are buying for yourself or you’re getting a knife for a younger person in your life, I can see why that could be.

Parents and guardians might introduce their kids and wards to proper knife handling and safety by giving them a suitable knife early on in life.

Every kid also needs to know how to properly conduct themselves with a knife when outdoors, so a knife is a great thing to give them if they get out much. Such a child/ young adult will appreciate you later on in life when they can break out their knives, safely so, for a lot of things.

Knives are also nice tools to have for young adults staying in areas where crimes like sexual predation are common. In my piece about using knives for self-defense, I mentioned that just holding the knife out to scare the attacker is also a way to defend yourself.

So, you don’t have to stick the knife in anyone to stay safe.

Besides that, an EDC knife is just a great tool to have even if you don’t go outdoors. There are a lot of things that you can do with a handy knife daily.

Consider the options between a swiss army knife and pocket knife, in this case, to see what suits your style and purpose better.

All that, and I almost forgot that the knives could also be for kitchen duties. Whether the child has an affinity for kitchen duties or you’d like to train them up to make their meals right, getting them their knives is a fine idea.

At what age should your kid get a first knife?

This question is dependent on yourself and the kid.

There is no magic age for your kid to get their first knife.

Before going this route at all, make sure to have gauged the motor skills and ability of such a kid. You won’t always be around them when they are using the knife so you need to be sure they can handle themselves.

Otherwise, a small mistake is all it takes to create a gory scene.

Likewise, the kid should know that a knife is no toy. So, they don’t go playing with their friends, pets, other family members, or anyone else for that matter while wielding a knife.

When your kid is ready to have their first knife, you will know.

Even after giving them the knife, make sure to keep an eye on them. They’ll still need your continued guidance till you’re sure that they can handle and conduct themselves properly with the blade.

Wrapping Up

Buying your first knife is a thing of maturity more than age. Where the law applies, though, you have to obey the provisions of the law before you consider any other thing.

When every condition is met, you should be able to use and buy different kinds of knives – from kitchen knives to pocket knives.

When you do, make sure you check out the knife knowledge section for a huge resource on how to get the best out of your knives.

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