Understand Hawaii Knife Laws In 10 Minutes [Everything You Need To Know]

Understand Hawaii Knife Laws In 10 Minutes [Everything You Need To Know]

Knives can be useful for self-defense or as a utility tool. However, all the states of the USA do not see the use of knives in the same eyes.

For example, “switchblade” and “butterfly” knives are illegal in Hawaii.

Now, since different states function with different laws, it can be a bit hard to wrap your head around the Knife laws in Hawaii.

But luckily for you, we have broken down the Hawaii knife laws in easy words below.

If you’re someone who’s willing to carry a knife in Hawaii, we highly encourage you to read this article to the end.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Important Highlights

Let’s get to know the knife laws in Idaho at a glance:

  • Statewide Preemption: There are no statewide preemptions.
  • Allowed In Public: Pocket knives, machetes, single-edged fixed blade knives, and Bowie knives are allowed in public domains.
  • Allowed In Private: Daggers, stilettos, double-edged , and dirks are only allowed in private properties.
  • Fully Illegal: Switchblades, butterfly , and gravity knives are fully illegal in all areas of the states.
  • Schools Ground: All knives are illegal in schools. No tolerance against carrying knives on school grounds.
  • Knife Length: No restriction on the length of the knives.
  • In Vehicles: Legal knives can be carried on vehicles.

List Of Illegal Knives In Hawaii

Here’s a list of knives that are prohibited by law in Hawaii:

  • Switchblades
  • Gravity knives
  • Butterfly knives
  • Daggers or dirks

Now, let’s get to know a bit deeper into each of these illegal knives. Here we go:


Switchblade knives are considered “automatic” knives according to Hawaii law.

To be more specific, you cannot carry, possess, sell, buy or transfer any type of switchblade knives (both in an open-carry and concealed-carry state).

According to §134-52 of Hawaii state law, you cannot use switchblade knives because this type of blade can “open automatically by hand pressure”.

In addition to that, this particular section of Hawaii law also mentions that switchblades are illegal because these can be operated by “help of inertia or gravity”.

As a result, carrying, operating, transferring, possessing, selling, or buying all types of switchblades are prohibited on both private and public grounds.


§134-52 of Hawaii state law

§134-52 tells us that carrying a switchblade is a class C felony. That means carrying this knife is considered an equal crime of arson, burglary, armed robbery, and aggravated assault.

Therefore, carrying switchblades can cause you to serve a minimum of 1 year in confinement.

Gravity Knives

It’s to be noted that Hawaii state law also considers all types of gravity knives to be illegal.

More specifically, you can’t carry a gravity knife (both in concealed-carry or open-carry) on all private and public grounds.

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It’s due to the fact that the §134-52 law states that knives that can be “operated by gravity” are illegal to carry in the state of Hawaii. It is a major misdemeanor to own such a knife as well.


The penalty for owning or carrying gravity knives is the same as for switchblades.

Butterfly Knives

§134-53 of Hawaii state law mandates that possessing, carrying, transporting, or transferring any blade that is “encased within one or multiple split handles” is a misdemeanor.

More specifically, carrying a knife that has a handle that can manually unfold by wrist action, inertia, or gravity is illegal in Hawaii.

Hence, carrying butterfly knives is fully illegal on both private grounds and public places in Hawaii.


The penalty for carrying a butterfly knife is the same as other illegal knives. If you carry a butterfly knife, the state will consider you a class C felony.

§134-53 of Hawaii state law

Consequently, you will be subjected to a minimum punishment of 1-year confinement (or more).

Daggers Or Dirks

Carrying daggers or dirks is illegal on public grounds or in vehicles both in a concealed-carry or open-carry state.

According to the deadly weapons law §134-51, any person carrying any dirk, dagger, billy, metal knuckles, slug-shot, or blackjack is considered to have conducted a major misdemeanor.

As a result, law enforcement officers can arrest the individual carrying these without any warrant.

However, the Hawaii law does not mention any prohibition on using these types of knives on private grounds.

That means you can possess dirks or daggers inside your private premises.


deadly weapons law §134-51

The owner of a dirk/dagger in a public space or a vehicle will serve a minimum jail time of 1 year or more.

Depending on the severity of the usage of this knife, the penalty can be increased by the court.

Illegality Of Using Knives In Hawaii

In this point of discussion, let’s look at how and where using knives might be illegal in Hawaii.

A) Illegality In Certain Areas

Just to be clear, you should know that Hawaii laws prohibit the carrying of all sorts of knives in some special areas.

Schools: Hawaii law declares that the government of Hawaii provides zero-tolerance against carrying any type of knife on school grounds.

Public buildings and courthouses: Carrying any type of knife in an open-carry or concealed-carry state is a grave misdemeanor, according to Hawaiian law.

So, you can’t possess any type of knife in government buildings such as courthouses, police stations, etc.

Military premises: Military knives may be used by military personnel on military premises. That means law enforcement agencies and the army can use their state-issued knives in lawful practices on military grounds.

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Otherwise, any citizen without a lawful permit for knife usage will be convicted of a class C felony.

B) Illegality In Local Governments

Local governments do not assign any additional laws regarding carrying knives that overrule the state laws.

Therefore, the laws mandated by §134-51, §134-52, and §134-53 are the same laws that local law enforcement agencies practice for knife regulation and control.

C) Illegality Based On Concealed And Open Knives

In the state of Hawaii, all knives that are legal to carry can be carried in a concealed or open state. But, all illegal knives are prohibited in both concealed-carry and open-carry states.

That means the law for open-carry or concealed-carry is the same for all types of knives.

D) Illegality Of Carrying, Possession, Selling, Manufacturing, Importing, And Trading

All knives that are termed “illegal” in Hawaii are prohibited from being carried, manufactured, imported, traded, or sold.

To be precise, as a civilian, you cannot do anything connected to the possession of switchblades, butterfly knives, and other illegal knives.

E) Illegality To The Degree Of Significance Such As Impact On Interstate Commerce

As we have already mentioned above, Hawaiian law makes certain types of knives fully illegal.

That means these “illegal” knives, such as switchblades and butterflies, are prohibited even from being exported to other states.

So, interstate commerce does not have any effect on the legality of using knives in Hawaii.

Legal Knife Length In Hawaii

Since certain knives have been made illegal in Hawaii; you might be tempted to know what size knife is legal to carry in Hawaii.

Well, Hawaii law does not explicitly impose any limit to how long a knife you can possess.

However, State v. Giltner:: 1975:: Supreme Court of Hawaii Decision tells us that using blades under 6.5 inches in length on appropriate premises is constitutionally protected.

So, unless you use illegal knives, you can rest assured that carrying knives under 6.5 inches of blade length will not get you arrested.

List Of Legal Knives

In general, aside from automatic knives such as switchblades, balisongs, or butterfly knives, all types of knives are legal to carry in both concealment and open.

However, for clarification purposes, we have provided a list of knives that are explicitly legal to carry in Hawaii:

  • Single-edged undetectable knives
  • Single-edged fixed knives
  • Machetes
  • Pocket knives
  • Kitchen knives
  • Bowie knives
  • Daggers
  • Stilettos
  • Dirks
  • Or, any other single-aged knives within the length of 6.5 inches

Different Laws For Different Kinds Of Knives

Although almost all knives fall under the general laws of the state, some knives have received special verdicts in different lawsuits.

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Diver’s Knives

If we observe the lawsuit State v. Ogata, 572 P.2d 1222, we can notice that the state does not consider a “Sea Hunter” model dagger (also known as a diver’s knife) a weapon of harm.

Therefore, you can use diver’s knives as accessories for doing lawful jobs.

Machetes Or Bowie Knives

Machete or any other type of single-edged blade is fully lawful to use in the state of Hawaii.

Not only that, you can carry, possess, buy or sell these types of knives in an open-carry or concealed-carry state.

However, it is unlawful to use these types of knives in a deadly or unlawful way.

Exceptions In The Knife Law Of Hawaii

According to the Griffin v. State (2012) lawsuit, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that carrying a concealed knife in one’s home is constitutionally protected.

However, only laws given by the state government of Hawaii in §134-51, §134-52, and §134-53 will be applicable in the state of Hawaii. Therefore, legal knives can be carried in openness or concealment at home.

But, automatic knives such as switchblades, butterfly knives, or gravity knives are illegal regardless of what premises they are used on.

List Of Relevant Laws

In this subsection, you can take a look at the laws regarding carrying knives in Hawaii at a glance.

§134-51: Deadly weapons; prohibitions; penalty.

§134-52: Switchblade knives; prohibitions; penalty.

§134-53: Butterfly knives; prohibitions; penalty.

Griffin v. State (2012): The lawsuit Griffin v. State (2012) states that carrying concealed knives in an individual’s home is constitutionally protected.

State v. Giltner:: 1975:: Supreme Court of Hawaii Decision : States that knives under 6.5 inches of length are considered legal if lawfully used.


Well, that’s all there’s to it, people. The bottom line is that according to Hawaii Knife laws, you should avoid carrying automatic knives.

For example, switchblades and butterfly knives if you are in Hawaii because they are fully unlawful to carry.

However, if you use any other type of knife in your house or private property, you won’t be in trouble.

But, if you need to carry a legal knife in public, your knife must be a single-edged knife with a fixed handle.

Finally, while carrying any type of knife in Hawaii, our recommendation is that you keep some proper documentation with you.

Valid documents regarding the purpose of knife usage should be enough to keep you away from arrests by the police.

Have a nice day, and peace!

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