Knife laws in Arkansas were substantially liberalized in recent years, offering residents and visitors greater latitude in the types of knives they can own and carry. Understanding these laws, including the different types of legal and illegal knives, carrying stipulations, restricted locations, and possible exceptions, is essential for anyone possessing or using a knife in Arkansas.
Types of Knives
In Arkansas most types of knives are legal to own and carry. This includes:
- Pocket Knives: Small folding knives generally with a blade length less than 3.5 inches.
- Bowie Knives: Large sheath knives with a fixed blade.
- Switchblades: Knives with a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button or other devices in the handle.
- Butterfly Knives/Balisong: A folding knife with two handles counter-rotating around the tang.
- Daggers and Dirks: Knives with a sharp point and two sharp edges.
There are no specific types of knives that are completely outlawed in Arkansas; individuals can legally own any type of knife. However, it’s always recommended to check for any local or municipal laws that might impose additional restrictions.
Open carry of knives is generally permitted in Arkansas without any specific restrictions on the type or length of the blade. However, the intention behind carrying a knife can influence its legality; carrying a knife with the intent to use it as a weapon against another person could be considered a criminal act.
As for concealed carry, as per Act 746 of 2013, individuals can carry a knife concealed as long as it is not carried with the purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the knife as a weapon against a person.
Though Arkansas has liberal knife laws, there are still places where carrying knives are restricted, including:
- Schools: It is generally prohibited to carry a knife onto the grounds of any school or university.
- Government Buildings: Like schools, government buildings often prohibit the carrying of weapons, including knives.
- Private Property: Individual property owners may have their own rules about carrying knives, and these must be respected.
Law Enforcement or Military Exceptions
Law enforcement officers, members of the military, and other similar government agencies may be exempt from some of the restrictions that apply to civilians. This might include the ability to carry knives in restricted locations or carry types of knives that might otherwise be prohibited.
Consequences of Law Violation
Violating knife laws in Arkansas can result in various penalties depending on the severity of the violation. If a person is found to be carrying a knife with the intent to use it as a weapon unlawfully, they could face criminal charges which may range from misdemeanors to felonies, potentially resulting in fines, probation, or imprisonment.
While Arkansas has liberalized its knife laws, permitting the ownership and carrying of most types of knives, it is essential to be aware of the existing restrictions to avoid legal complications. This includes being knowledgeable about restricted locations and the intentions behind carrying a knife. Additionally, individuals should remain abreast of any changes to the law, as legal stipulations can change.
Arkansas Code Title 5. Criminal Offenses § 5-73-120
Act 746 of 2013, Arkansas General Assembly