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Washington knife laws

Washington knife laws
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Knife laws in Washington can be a complex set of rules and regulations governing the ownership, possession, and carrying of knives. These laws are in place to help maintain public safety and order. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the knife laws prevailing in Washington as of the last update in 2021. It’s always recommended to check the latest updates to the laws, as they may have changed.

Types of knives

Legal Knives

In Washington, individuals are generally allowed to own and possess a wide variety of knives. This includes, but is not limited to:

Illegal Knives

There are certain types of knives that are considered illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess in Washington. These generally include:

Carrying Laws

Open Carry

Open carry of legal knives is generally permitted in Washington. However, it’s advisable to exercise caution and discretion, especially in populated areas or sensitive locations.

Concealed Carry

The concealed carry of certain types of knives, particularly those considered to be dangerous weapons, might be restricted or prohibited. It is generally considered illegal to conceal carry any knife with a blade that opens automatically, including switchblades and gravity knives.

Restricted Locations

In Washington, there are specific locations where carrying knives is restricted or prohibited, including but not limited to:

  1. Schools and school grounds;
  2. Government buildings;
  3. Courts and judicial buildings;
  4. Places that serve alcohol;
  5. Private properties with posted restrictions.

Law Enforcement or Military Exceptions

Members of law enforcement agencies and the military may be exempt from certain restrictions on the carrying and possession of knives. These exemptions usually allow them to carry knives that are considered to be a part of their official equipment or which are required for their duties.

Consequences of Law Violation

Violating knife laws in Washington can result in serious consequences. Depending on the nature of the violation, individuals might face:

  1. Fines;
  2. Imprisonment;
  3. Criminal records;
  4. Seizure of the illegal knife.

The severity of the consequences can vary depending on factors like the type of knife involved, the location of the violation, and whether the individual has any previous criminal history.

Understanding the knife laws in Washington is vital for any resident or visitor who intends to carry or possess a knife. While certain types of knives are illegal and certain manners of carrying are restricted, individuals generally have a fair amount of leeway in terms of owning and carrying knives. Always ensure to stay updated with the latest legal provisions to avoid any legal complications.


To get a comprehensive understanding and recent updates on Washington’s knife laws, refer to:

  1. Revised Code of Washington (RCW) – the official state statutes.
  2. Local municipal codes – for information on local laws that might vary from state laws.
  3. Official websites of law enforcement agencies in Washington.
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