Pennsylvania Knife Laws – Are Butterfly Knives Legal in 2023?

pennsylvania knife laws

Curious about the ins and outs of knife ownership in Pennsylvania? Wondering if you can legally wield your trusty blade without fear of legal repercussions? The good news is that owning a knife in the Keystone State is entirely legal. 

Pennsylvania’s knife laws come with nuances and gray areas that can trip up even the most well-intentioned knife enthusiasts. While the state allows knife ownership, understanding the finer points of the law is crucial to avoid potential legal troubles. 

Whether you’re an avid hunter, a survivalist, or simply someone who values their trusty pocket knife, delving into Pennsylvania’s knife laws is a wise move. It’s a step that not only ensures you stay within the bounds of the law but also equips you to know when it might be time to seek legal counsel.

PA Knife Laws Blade Length – What Is Legal?

Pennsylvania’s knife laws primarily revolve around the blade length which is pretty similar to Tennessee knife laws. The state allows for the possession of most types of knives, including folding knives, pocket knives, and hunting knives. However, there is a significant restriction on blade length. 

Moreover, The legal limit for blade length is 3 inches or fewer. Blades exceeding this limit are considered illegal weapons. It’s crucial to note that the 3-inch rule applies to both fixed-blade and folding knives. Possession of a knife with a blade longer than 3 inches in public places or during the commission of a crime can lead to criminal charges.

Legal & Illegal Knives in Pennsylvania in 2023:

Legal KnivesIllegal Knives
Folding knivesSwitchblades (automatic knives)
Pocket knivesKnives with blades over 3 inches
Hunting knives
Kitchen knives

PA Automatic Knife Bills – Updated List:

Pennsylvania has seen some developments regarding automatic knives, also known as switchblades. It’s important to note that laws can change, so it’s advisable to check for any updates beyond that date. Here’s what was known up to that point:

  1. In 2010, Pennsylvania passed a bill (House Bill 40) that legalized the possession and carrying of automatic knives for individuals over the age of 18.
  2. This bill removed the ban on switchblade possession and allowed their ownership.
  3. However, the bill didn’t completely deregulate switchblades; it maintained some restrictions just like the knife rules in Utah. For instance, it’s still illegal for minors (those under 18) to possess automatic knives.
  4. Additionally, carrying an automatic knife with the intent to use it criminally is prohibited, and individuals who do so could face legal consequences.
  5. It’s essential to stay updated with current laws and regulations, as they may change over time. Always consult legal sources or professionals for the latest information on automatic knife laws in Pennsylvania.

Knife Law Status in Pennsylvania & What Do They Mean?

Relevant StatutesDefinedLegal statutes governing knife laws.
Restricted KnivesNoneMost common knives are allowed; no specific restrictions.
Concealed CarryNo distinctionOpen/concealed carry is treated the same unless for criminal intent.
Sale/Transfer RulesNo under-18 sales; Knife must be weapon-designed.Selling knives designed as weapons to under-18s is illegal. Proof of weapon design is required.
Carry RestrictionsSchools: Yes; Airports: No; Courts: Yes; State Property: Posted RulesKnives banned in K-12 schools; no statewide airport ban. Court facilities and State property rules apply.

Are Butterfly Knives Legal in PA?

Yes, butterfly knives are generally legal in Pennsylvania. Butterfly knives, also known as balisong knives, are generally legal to own and possess in Pennsylvania. The state does not have specific restrictions or prohibitions against butterfly knives. 

However, it’s crucial to be aware of any potential changes in the law since my last update, as regulations can evolve. Always verify the most current legal status of butterfly knives in Pennsylvania to ensure compliance with any new legislation or local ordinances that may have emerged since then.

Can a felon carry a knife in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, individuals with felony convictions are not subject to specific restrictions on carrying knives. However, it’s essential to remember that federal law may restrict felons from possessing weapons, which could include certain knives. 

Moreover, Felons should consult legal counsel to understand any federal restrictions that might apply to them.

Other States & City Knife Laws to Consider:

1. Philadelphia Knife Laws

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has specific knife regulations that differ from the state’s laws. The city has an ordinance, § 10-820, that prohibits the possession of any cutting weapon, including knives, on public streets or public property. 

Moreover, There are exceptions for emergency personnel. Violation of this ordinance can result in fines and imprisonment just like Minnesota knife laws. Individuals in Philadelphia must be aware of these local laws and exercise caution when carrying knives in the city.

2. Pittsburgh Knife Laws

Pittsburgh, like Philadelphia, has its own set of knife regulations. The city doesn’t have a specific ordinance prohibiting the possession of knives in public places. 

Still, it’s essential to be aware that the city’s laws might differ from the state’s, so it’s advisable to review local ordinances and stay informed about any changes in knife regulations within the city.

3. Maryland Knife Laws

Maryland has specific knife laws that apply statewide. In Maryland, it is illegal to carry concealed, dangerous weapons, including certain types of knives. It’s essential to be aware of the specific knife types that are restricted, such as switchblades and gravity knives. 

Understanding Maryland’s knife laws is crucial to ensure compliance and avoid legal issues. If you plan to carry a knife in Maryland, be sure to familiarize yourself with these regulations and consult legal resources or professionals for any updates or clarifications.

Is it Legal to Carry a Machete in your Car in PA?

In Pennsylvania, it is generally legal to carry a machete in your car, as there are no specific statewide restrictions on transporting machetes. Thus, to avoid potential issues during traffic stops, it is extremely important to exercise caution and store the machete securely and not within easy reach. 

Moreover, Local ordinances or regulations may apply, so it’s advisable to check for any city-specific rules. And always handle the machete responsibly and in compliance with the law.

Final Verdict:

Pennsylvania generally allows the possession of most knives, with no specific restrictions on blade length or types. Local regulations differ, so be aware of city-specific laws in places like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Maryland has its statewide knife laws. 

Moreover, Carrying a machete in your car is generally legal, but secure storage and compliance with local rules are essential. Felons may be subject to federal laws regarding weapons. Stay updated with potential legal changes and consult legal sources for the latest information on knife laws.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can I carry a sword in PA?

There are no laws prohibiting the possession of swords or machetes per se, however, there are some restrictions. Philadelphia does not categorically prohibit the use of swords or machetes. Law enforcement may charge you if you carry large blades, like machetes or swords.

What self-defense weapons are legal in PA?

Pittsburgh allows the carrying of non-lethal weapons for self-defense. Among them are pepper spray, mace, and tasers. These items may, however, only be carried for self-defense. The age requirement for possessing a stun gun in Pittsburgh is 18 years of age.

Does PA allow fully automatic weapons?

Under Pennsylvania law, machine guns may not be possessed, unless they are registered under the National Firearms Act, or fall within some other exception.


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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