Arkansas Laws
Arkansas Sharpens Its Edge: A Dive into Knife Laws

Arkansas Sharpens Its Edge: A Dive into Knife Laws

Perhaps the Ozark Mountains and the state’s deep historical roots are the first things that come to mind when you think about Arkansas. However, Arkansas, like many other states, has its own distinct set of knife rules and regulations. Let’s investigate the “Arkansas knife laws” thoroughly to get to the bottom of the rumors and misinformation around them.

A Slice Through Arkansas Knife Laws History

To understand Arkansas knife laws, one must look at the trajectory of its historical decisions and amendments. Let’s dissect the important milestones:

  • Before 2011: “Arkansas knife laws” were a maze. Carrying a knife with a blade longer than 3.5 inches was considered illegal;
  • Act 746 of 2013: This was a watershed moment for “knife laws Arkansas”. The act removed the restrictions on the length of knives. As a result, Arkansas residents and visitors could carry knives of any length without any legal repercussions.

Types of Knives in Arkansas: Which Ones Are Legal?

In Arkansas, you can find several types of knives, but the real question lies in their legality:

  • Switchblades: In the bygone days, these sharp-edged companions were deemed contraband until the winds of change brought forth “Act 746” in 2013, a legislative shift that breathed legality into their ownership, carriage, and utilization;
  • Bowie Knives: A venerable chapter in the annals of American armament, Bowie knives find themselves nestled comfortably within the bounds of legality in the state of Arkansas;
  • Daggers and Stilettos: Much like their bladed brethren mentioned earlier, these slender and piercing implements have secured their rightful place within the legal framework of the state;
  • Balisongs or Butterfly Knives: To your surprise, the legal embrace of Arkansas had already enveloped these intricate folding blades, even preceding the 2013 relaxation of knife laws;
  • Others: Virtually every conceivable blade type now enjoys the freedom of possession and portage within Arkansas, thanks to the comprehensive amendments of 2013.

Knife Laws for Minors in Arkansas

Even though “Arkansas knife laws” underwent relaxation, it’s essential to understand the nuances related to age:

Purchasing Knives for Minors

In Arkansas, individuals under the age of 18 face restrictions when it comes to purchasing knives. Here are the key points to consider:

  • Age Restriction: Minors, meaning those under the age of 18, are generally not allowed to purchase knives on their own;
  • Guardian or Parent Supervision: However, there is an exception to this rule. A minor can purchase a knife if they are supervised by a guardian or parent. This means that a legal guardian or parent must be present during the purchase transaction.

Possession of Knives by Minors

While minors may have limitations on purchasing knives, they still have the right to possess and carry knives for legitimate purposes. Here’s what you need to know about the possession of knives by minors in Arkansas:

  • Legitimate Purposes: Minors are allowed to carry knives for legitimate and lawful purposes. These purposes can include activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, or any other lawful activities where a knife may be necessary;
  • Self-Defense: Minors can also carry knives for self-defense purposes. However, it’s crucial to emphasize that the use of a knife for self-defense must be justified and reasonable under the circumstances;
  • Educational Activities: Minors may also carry knives as part of educational activities or programs, such as scouting, outdoor education, or other similar endeavors. It’s essential to ensure that the possession of the knife is directly related to the educational or recreational activity;
  • Knife Type: The type of knife a minor carries matters. Arkansas knife laws typically distinguish between different types of knives, such as folding knives, switchblades, and Bowie knives. It’s essential to be aware of the specific regulations pertaining to the type of knife being carried.

Additional Considerations

While the above points cover the fundamental aspects of knife laws for minors in Arkansas, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind:

  • Local Ordinances: Some local jurisdictions within Arkansas may have additional regulations or restrictions on the possession of knives by minors. It’s advisable to check with local authorities to ensure compliance with any specific local laws;
  • Responsible Supervision: When a minor is carrying a knife, whether for hunting, camping, or other legitimate purposes, it is essential for a responsible adult, such as a parent or guardian, to provide guidance and supervision to ensure safe and responsible usage;
  • Safe Storage: It is crucial to store knives safely when not in use, especially if minors have access to them. Lockable storage or sheaths with secure closures can help prevent accidents and ensure compliance with the law.

Places Where Carrying Knives is Restricted

Despite the considerable leeway “Arkansas knife laws” provide, there are certain places where carrying knives remains restricted:

Educational Institutions

It is generally illegal to carry a knife on the premises of educational institutions, which include schools, colleges, and universities. This restriction is in place to ensure the safety of students, staff, and visitors.

  • Scope: The restriction extends to all areas within the boundaries of the educational institution, including classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, and dormitories;
  • Additional Areas: Carrying knives is also prohibited on school buses and during any event under the control of school authorities, such as sports events, extracurricular activities, and school-sponsored trips;
  • Exceptions: Some educational institutions may have exceptions for certain activities, such as culinary classes, where knives are essential tools for instruction. However, these exceptions are typically tightly regulated.

Government Buildings

Government buildings, such as courthouses, state offices, city halls, and other official facilities, often have strict restrictions on carrying knives.

  • Scope: These restrictions apply to all areas within government buildings, including public lobbies, courtrooms, offices, and meeting rooms;
  • Reasoning: The prohibition of knives in government buildings is primarily aimed at maintaining a safe and orderly environment, as these places deal with important legal and administrative matters;
  • Exceptions: In some cases, individuals with valid permits or those who can demonstrate a legitimate need for carrying a knife (e.g., law enforcement officers) may be exempt from these restrictions. However, these exceptions are usually highly regulated and may require prior authorization.

Secure Areas of Transportation

Carrying knives is typically restricted in secure areas of transportation facilities, such as airports, train stations, and bus terminals.

  • Scope: These restrictions apply to areas beyond security checkpoints and are enforced to ensure passenger safety and comply with national security regulations;
  • Penalties: Violating these restrictions can result in fines, confiscation of the knife, and potential legal consequences;
  • Exceptions: Certain utility knives or tools may be allowed in these areas if they are properly secured and declared to authorities.

Correctional Facilities

Carrying knives is strictly prohibited in correctional facilities, including prisons, jails, and detention centers.

  • Scope: These restrictions extend to both visitors and staff within the confines of correctional facilities;
  • Reasoning: Preventing the presence of knives within correctional facilities is essential for the safety of inmates, staff, and visitors. Knives can pose a significant security risk and lead to dangerous situations;
  • Penalties: Violations of these restrictions within correctional facilities are treated seriously and may result in criminal charges.

Private Property and Businesses

Property owners and businesses have the authority to set their own rules regarding the possession of knives on their premises.

  • Scope: Restrictions may vary widely, and it is essential to be aware of posted signs or inquire about specific policies when entering private property or businesses;
  • Penalties: Violating these restrictions may result in being asked to leave the premises or, in extreme cases, facing trespassing charges.


The “knife laws Arkansas” have been relaxed, allowing citizens and visitors more leeway on how and where they carry knives. However, it is essential to make responsible use of these rights, as is the case with all others. Be cognizant of local regulations at all times, and make lawful, non-threatening uses of the knife your first priority.

Knowing the “Arkansas knife laws” will help you stay on the right side of the law whether you’re a collector, an enthusiast, or just someone who requires a knife for everyday work. Keeping the current legal climate in mind is important if you plan on picking up a Bowie or switchblade in the near future.


Can I carry a concealed knife in Arkansas?

Yes, according to “knife laws Arkansas”, you can carry a concealed knife without any legal issues.

Are there any blade length restrictions in Arkansas?

No, the state removed blade length restrictions in 2013. You can now legally carry knives of any length.

Are throwing stars legal in Arkansas?

Yes, throwing stars or shurikens are legal in Arkansas.

Can I get in trouble for carrying a knife in places like bars or public gatherings?

While the “Arkansas knife laws” do not have specific restrictions for such places, it’s always best to exercise discretion. Private property owners or establishments might have their own rules.

What happens if a minor is caught with a knife?

The repercussions depend on the circumstances. If the minor has the knife for a legitimate purpose like fishing or camping, there might be no legal consequences. However, if the knife is being used with ill intentions, the minor could face legal penalties.

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