Ohio Knife Laws – Everything You Need To Know

Ohio Knife Laws – Everything You Need To Know

People are looking for ways to protect themselves, such as carrying pepper spray, personal alarms, and even knives.

Others use knives as collectors’ items or practical tools. However, given the effects a knife injury can have, Ohio law places restrictions on the possession and use of knives.

These laws seek to balance the freedom to own and use various types of knives with the duty of the judiciary to protect others from the dangers knives can pose. Ohio’s knife laws are vague and the statutes lack definitions and clear language.

This article examines the decisions of the court or jurisdiction that include some of these definitions and brings more clarity to the Code. After reading this article, even those untrained in the law will know what is legal and what is not by owning and carrying knives in Ohio.

Why Ohio People Cannot Carry Ballistic Knife

There are no illegal knives in Buckeye State, although people can own them; carrying certain knives is illegal.

There are no restrictions on the concealed carrying of a particular knife. However, the law provides for an exception, namely for a so-called “dangerous device”. This includes ballistic knives. Concealed carrying law makes it illegal to conceal the carrying of a deadly weapon. To convict a defendant of carrying a hidden deadly weapon, the state must prove that it is intended or that additions have been made. to be used as a weapon and has the ability to cause death.

  • Stilettos
  • Switchblades
  • Butterfly knives or balisong
  • Gravity knives
  • Daggers, dirks, or other stabbing knives

Why Ohio People Cannot Carry Ballistic Knife

These knives are considered lethal weapons by the state.  The Ohio Knife Laws state that both open and concealed carrying of dangerous weapons is prohibited in a courtroom or school zone. However, persons of legal age can open and carry any type of knife, either in a car or on their body.

Ohio Knife Laws – Can You Carry A Knife In Ohio:

Ohio knife laws will be changed effective January 11, 2021. On that day, Governor DeWine signed SB 140, which will take effect 90 days after signing. SB 140 changes sections 2923.12, 2923.18, and 2923.20 of the revised code to exempt knives that are not used as weapons. In addition, there are no longer any ownership restrictions on snap knives.

The new changes will also suspend the prohibition on the sale, possession for sale, manufacture, or supply of certain weapons other than firearms or dangerous explosive devices. Once the change is solidified, Ohio residents are less likely to break the law by simple acts Pocket knife.

Current Ohio law permits the legal possession of switchblades and gravity knives, balisong (butterfly) knives and balisong trainers, ballistic knives, daggers, daggers, bowie knives, stilettos, and other stabbing knives. Ohio knife law contains few restrictions on the types of knives that a person can own.

In Ohio, legality issues arise where and how a person is in possession of a knife, rather than what type of knife that person owns. For example, wearing a knife concealed in Ohio could potentially result in charges even if the knife is not completely concealed. The state allows some exemptions for law enforcement officers.

Are Automatic Knives Legal in Ohio?

Are Automatic Knives Legal in Ohio

While it is not illegal to own an automatic knife in Ohio knife laws, it is illegal to have an automatic knife for the purpose of selling. It is also illegal to sell an automatic knife or transfer an automatic knife to someone who is not a law enforcement officer.

Under these laws, switch knives, spring knives, and gravity knives are some types of knives that the state considers automatic; however, the open carry of this type of knife is not prohibited if the knife is not covered. As a precaution, a person should not have an automatic knife or deadly weapon “close by”, even in their own home.

What Size Knife Is Legal To Carry In Ohio?

Knife laws are still very vague, especially in Buckeye State; however, as a general rule of thumb, a blade 4 inches or less in length is not classified as a weapon, so it is legal for everyone, minors too.

For example, it is legal for minors to carry and use a simple pocket knife.

However, a 2-inch blade has two caveats: if a blade is fixed (i.e. not lockable) or double-edged, it is considered a lethal weapon and therefore cannot be opened in public places if you are a minor.

Are OTF Knives Legal In Ohio?

Are OTF Knives Legal In Ohio

An OTF knife (which may be known by many other names including “push-button knife” or “ejector knife”) has a blade that is contained in the handle and is automatically spring-loaded by pressing a button or switch on the handle. Switchblades with blades larger than 2 it is illegal to carry in Ohio.

OTF Knives / OTF Knives and Balisongs (butterfly knives) are illegal everywhere without exception.

Ohio Knife Laws – FAQ’s

Are knives legal to carry in Ohio?
Ohio law allows knives of all kinds to be owned and carried openly. Ohio concealed carry laws do not specify any type of knife, except ballistic knives, which cannot be concealed carried. Instead, it makes it illegal to conceal carry any deadly weapon.
Can you carry an OTF knife in Ohio?
It is legal to own automatic knives, to carry them openly, and to carry them covertly. Ohio law defines a “lethal weapon” as An instrument or object that can cause death. It is possessed, carried, or used as a weapon. A knife is not considered a “deadly weapon”.
Are spring-loaded knives legal in Ohio?
The only types of knives that are specifically banned in Ohio are ballistic knives, spring-loaded blades that can be fired from a distance and fall under the definition of “dangerous devices”. Otherwise, there is no official law in Ohio that prohibits the possession or carrying of a knife.
Are knuckle dusters illegal in Ohio?
Ohio law goes into effect legalizing concealed knife carry; also enables brass knuckles. The law also permits the manufacture, sale, and possession of knuckles, baskets, billy sticks, blackjacks, sandbags, switchblades, spring blades, and gravity knives.
What Types of Knives Are Illegal To Carry in Ohio?
Under current Ohio knife laws, it is not illegal to own a specific type of knife. However, situations can get more and more complicated when you hide the knife and take it out of your property. Under current laws, any type of knife can fall into the “lethal weapon” category. The law defines lethal weapons as “any instrument, device or thing capable of inflicting death and designed or specially adapted for use as a weapon, or possessed, carried or used as a weapon”. While some states have legal provisions to make exemptions for standard pocket knives, Ohio is not one of them.
Can I open carry a knife in Ohio?
Open carrying of lethal weapons is legal under Ohio law. Just as it is legal to carry an open pistol, it is also legal to carry any type of knife openly. For most people carrying a pocket knife while walking in public is essentially “open carry” and is considered legal.
Can you carry brass knuckles in Ohio?
Ohio law goes into effect legalizing concealed wear also enables brass knuckles. The law also permits the manufacture, sale, and possession of knuckles, baskets, clubs, blackjacks, sandbags, switch knives, spring knives, and gravity knives.


To Sum Up:

Ohio law permits the possession and open carrying of any type of knife.

Ohio secrecy laws do not mandate any type of knife other than a ballistic knife that cannot be concealed, but instead prohibits the carrying of a deadly weapon. A steak knife is a “deadly weapon”. However, it is checked whether the instrument is lethal AND was manufactured or modified as a weapon or is carried as such.