New Jersey Knife Laws – Can you Carry or Conceal a Knife Here?

new jersey knife laws

Discover the intriguing world of New Jersey’s knife laws, often overshadowed by discussions on the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment, which safeguards the right to keep and bear arms, extends its protection to knives, making it essential to understand the state’s regulations.

In the Garden State, certain knives, such as gravity knives, switchblades, and daggers, are prohibited for possession “without any explainable lawful purpose.” Fortunately, there are exceptions, like possessing these knives within the confines of your home.

But not all hope is lost. You can legally own and carry various knives, including disguised ones like lipstick knives, pocket knives, and Swiss Army knives, as long as you can justify their lawful purpose. In this brief overview, we’ll unravel New Jersey’s knife laws, providing you with the essential information to stay compliant and well-prepared.

Are Pocket Knives Legal In NJ? 

Yes, pocket knives are generally legal in New Jersey just like the Pennsylvania knife laws of 2023. The state allows the possession and carrying of pocket knives as long as you can provide a lawful and justifiable reason for having them. 

While specific definitions and restrictions can vary, common folding pocket knives. Like Swiss Army knives and everyday utility blades are typically considered legal tools for personal use. 

Moreover, It’s crucial to remember that certain types of knives, such as switchblades, gravity knives, and daggers, may still be subject to restrictions, so always ensure your chosen pocket knife falls within the accepted legal boundaries.

What size knife is legal in NJ?

In New Jersey, there is no specific overall size limit for knives. However, certain types of knives with blades longer than 5 inches or total lengths exceeding 10 inches should not be sold to individuals under 18. The legality of knives depends on their purpose and how they are carried.

What Knives Are Legal & Illegal In New Jersey?

Type of Knife/WeaponLegal to Possess and Carry?
Pocket KnivesGenerally legal with a lawful purpose
Swiss Army KnivesGenerally legal with a lawful purpose
Fixed Blade KnivesLegal with a lawful purpose (hunting, fishing, work)
Butterfly KnivesGenerally illegal to carry
SwitchbladesGenerally illegal to carry
Gravity KnivesGenerally illegal to carry
Daggers, Dirks, StilettosGenerally illegal to carry
Ballistic KnivesGenerally illegal to carry
Throwing StarsGenerally illegal to carry
Brass KnucklesGenerally illegal to possess or carry

NJ Fixed Blade Knife Laws:

In New Jersey, fixed-blade knives are generally legal to own and carry openly. However, it’s essential to have a lawful purpose for carrying them, such as hunting, fishing, or work-related tasks in Tennessee knife law books as well as in NJ.

The state law does not explicitly prohibit fixed-blade knives, but restrictions may apply if they are carried with unlawful intent or in a concealed manner. Always exercise caution and ensure your use of fixed-blade knives aligns with the intended legal purposes.

1. Why are butterfly knives illegal in NJ?

Butterfly knives are illegal in New Jersey due to their potential for quick and concealed deployment, which is seen as a safety concern. 

The state aims to restrict weapons that can be readily concealed and used offensively, and butterfly knives, with their distinctive design and flipping action, fall under this category.

2. How are bowie knives legal in NJ?

Bowie knives are generally legal in New Jersey when carried for lawful purposes such as hunting, fishing, or work-related activities. 

However, using them with unlawful intent or carrying them concealed may still lead to legal issues similar to Utah knife laws. Always ensure that your use of a Bowie knife complies with the intended lawful purposes.

3. Why are switchblades illegal in NJ?

Switchblades are illegal in New Jersey due to concerns about their rapid and easy deployment, which could pose a safety risk. The state’s regulations aim to restrict weapons that can be quickly and covertly activated, potentially increasing the danger of misuse or criminal activity.

What is the 4-finger knife law – How It Affects NJ Knife Laws?

The “four-finger knife law” is a colloquial term that refers to the general guideline for measuring the legal blade length of a folding knife. In many places, including New Jersey, a folding knife is often considered legal if the blade is under 4 inches long.

The idea is that the blade should not be longer than the average person’s closed hand, allowing the knife to be easily carried for common utility purposes. However, it’s essential to check your specific state or local laws, as the blade length regulations can vary.

NJ Knife Laws in a Nutshell – What is illegal in New Jersey?

Relevant StatutesDefinitions of prohibited weapons and their penalties are outlined in 2C:39-1, 2C:39-2, 2C:39-3, and more.
Restricted KnivesGravity knives, automatic knives, dirks, daggers, stilettos, and ballistic knives are significantly restricted.
Concealed CarryConcealment is generally not an issue under New Jersey state law.
Sale/Transfer RestrictionsSelling or disposing of prohibited weapons, including gravity knives and switchblades, is a fourth-degree crime.
Carry RestrictionsKnives are prohibited on school property and must be used for “manifestly appropriate” purposes.
Statewide PreemptionNo statewide preemption; local ordinances may vary.
Municipalities with RestrictionsSelected municipalities, such as Camden, have specific ordinances regarding concealed weapons and switchblade knives.

Explanation for Knife-Carrying & Using Limitations:

1. Unlawful Possession of a Knife

  • New Jersey law (N.J.S. 2C: 39-3) prohibits the possession of certain knives, including dirks, daggers, stilettos, switchblades, gravity knives, ballistic knives, and razor blades embedded in wood.
  • Possession of these prohibited items is a Fourth-Degree crime, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of $10,000.

2. Unlawful Use of a Knife

  • If any knife, legal or illegal, is used for unlawful purposes, it falls under N.J.S. 2C:39-4, “Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes.”
  • This offense is a Third-Degree crime, carrying a penalty of 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

3. Unlawful Sale of a Knife

  • While it’s not illegal to sell knives used for lawful purposes, selling a combat, hunting, or survival knife with a blade five inches or longer to anyone under 18 is a Fourth-Degree crime, per N.J.S. 2C:39-9.1.
  • Selling a prohibited knife to anyone, regardless of age, is also a Fourth-Degree crime, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • Exceptions include being a licensed retailer or collector or if the minor presented identification showing they were 18 or appeared convincingly older.

4. Unlawful Transportation of a Knife

  • Transporting prohibited knives without a license is a Fourth-Degree crime under N.J.S. 2C:39-9(d) and carries a penalty of up to 18 months in prison.

5. Possession of a Knife on School Property

  • Possessing a knife on school property without prior written consent is a Fourth-Degree crime (N.J.S 2C:29-5(e), punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

6. Robbery & Aggravated Assault

  • Using a knife during a theft, causing injury, or making threats can result in robbery charges, a Second-Degree crime with penalties of 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
  • If the knife is used to attempt to kill or seriously injure someone, it becomes a First-Degree crime, punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison and subject to the “No Early Release Act” (NERA), requiring the offender to serve 85% of the sentence before release.
  • Using a knife in a fight, even without causing injury, can lead to Aggravated Assault charges, a Second-Degree crime with a similar 85% NERA requirement.

New York Knife Laws – How They Differ From MJ?

New York State has strict knife laws. It is legal to possess common folding knives with blades under 4 inches, but carrying any knife with the intent to use it unlawfully is prohibited. Gravity knives and switchblades are illegal to possess or sell. 

Moreover, The legality of other types of knives may vary by local city and county ordinances. It’s important to stay updated with the latest laws, as they can change. 

In Conclusion:

New Jersey’s knife laws are essential to understand. While pocket knives, Swiss Army knives, and fixed-blade knives are generally legal with lawful intent, certain knives like switchblades and gravity knives are restricted. 

Moreover, Concealed carry isn’t a significant issue under state law, but knives on school property and unlawful use can result in criminal charges. The “four-finger knife law” suggests a blade under 4 inches for folding knives. 

Plus, Bowie knives are legal when used lawfully. Butterfly knives are banned due to concealment concerns. New Jersey’s knife laws are outlined in statutes like 2C:39-1, 2C:39-2, and 2C:39-3. Local ordinances may vary. Stay informed staying compliant.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can you carry a knife in NYC?

It is also illegal in New York City to possess in public a knife with a blade of four inches or more, regardless of whether any part, including the blade, is visible.

Can I carry a Swiss Army knife in NYC?

New York allows the carrying of knives with fixed blades less than four inches long. Knives that are folding knives, balisongs, butterfly knives, gravity knives, or any other form of plum ballistic are illegal to carry in New York.

What is the largest knife you can carry in NYC?

It is also illegal in New York City to possess in public a knife with a blade of four inches or more, regardless of whether any part, including the blade, is visible.


Rafay Malik

Rafay Malik is a knife expert and writer who is very passionate about writing on knives, and also he is always trying to transform his knowledge to other people who love to explore knives. With years of experience in the field, he has developed a deep understanding of knives, and he is still exploring other types of knives.

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