Although Maryland is not as strict when it comes to blades, you should be fully aware of your rights and laws before carrying knives inside the state.
It’s easier with knives that don’t just pop open, and you’re good if there’s no minor around, but still, there are some regulations you got to follow through.
Especially the ones decided by the local government, your knife might get you in trouble in some specified counties.
As long as the knife doesn’t fall under the “weapon” category, there’s nothing to worry about.
So, how to know if the knife you’re carrying counts as a “Weapon” in Maryland Knife Laws? Maryland Code Criminal Law Section 4-101 has all your answers.
The section explains all about what counts as weapons and how to deal with them when in the state.
However, in case your main concern happens to be only a knife, we got your back.
Maryland Knife Laws Highlights
Any sort of folding, fixed, and gravity knives, if not considered a “dangerous weapon” by any county.
Legal Minimum Knife Length
No strict state-wise legislation on maximum blade length. However, some local ordinances have imposed bans on a certain length. That may vary from place to place.
Ownership And Dealership
Anybody is free to own any sort of knife, although there are restrictions on carrying status. Dealership and trade are acceptable unless it’s a ballistic knife or a spring-activated automatic knife (like a switchblade).
School, prison area, court house, or any similar federal ground.
Law Regarding Minors
In certain counties, minors are prohibited from carrying a knife regardless of the type during the timeline between an hour after sunset and then an hour before the sun rises.
The only exception is for bona fide shoots, shooting camps, military training, or hunting trip.
Concealed carry is only legal for manual folding knives, not for complete automatic knives, special knives, or switchblades.
Federal officers and Military personnel can carry knives categorized as “weapons” if they’re required for official reasons or self-defense.
In certain circumstances, regular people can carry knives for self-defense purposes, but the court has full authority to subject the individual to inquiry if required.
This sums up section 4-101 of the Maryland Criminal Law Code.
List Of Illegal Knives In Maryland
From § 4–101, 102, and 105, it’s pretty clear that there are several confusing loopholes in the laws regarding carrying knives in Maryland.
Generally, no knife is illegal inside the state unless it can be categorized as a “weapon.”
So, if you want to understand what would make a knife illegal inside the Stateline, you have to learn how Maryland knife laws work.
It’s pretty hectic for most people to follow through with the official legal terms, so here we tried to explain everything in a much easier lingo.
As it was disclosed earlier, all knives are allowed for selling, buying, and using all over the state of Maryland, as there’s no statewide preemption or ban on knives.
However, the state gives the counties and the local government the complete freedom to make their own laws regarding the knife issue.
This makes the law on carrying knives more confusing even though there’s no statewide ban.
You have to be aware of the local ordinances of a particular area to avoid the possibility of charges.
Knives Allowed In The Maryland State
The state is flexible on any sort of regular blade as long as the county you’re planning to carry the knife in is okay with it.
According to § 4–101, you’re allowed to carry a knife without an issue if it doesn’t fall under the category of weapon.
According to knife laws in Maryland, the knives/blades that are recognized as “weapons” inside the state go as the followings- switchblade, bowie knife, dirk, and star blades.
As you can see, none of the blades we usually carry fall under the “weapon” category.
You are free to carry:
- Folding knives, even automatic knives
- Switchblades under conditions
- Fixed knives including K-BAR
- Hunting knives
- Butterfly knives
- Combat knives
- Survival knives
- Bushcraft knives
- Special knives including sword cane
You can even carry a ballistic knife or gravity knife if the county allows it.
Legal Minimum Knife Length
Like no preemption, there is no statewide law regarding what size knife is legal to carry in Maryland. However, this may vary when you’re carrying a knife in certain counties due to the local ordinance.
It’s not permissible in the city of Cheverly to conceal or carry a blade longer than 2.5 inches. The maximum blade length for concealed carry is 3 inches in the cities of Frederick and Cambridge.
Ownership And Dealership
No person is prohibited from privately owning a knife in the state, as long as they’re not engaging in illegal activity.
You can carry a knife in a car in Maryland or inside four walls regardless of the type as a private possession.
Without the exception of private possession, you may not carry a knife that counts as a “Weapon” under § 4–101.
Section 4-105 of the Maryland Criminal Law Code goes further into the discussion on dealerships of knives and blades.
And according to § 4–105, nobody can exchange or sell ballistic knives and switchblades. Not even as a police or military.
While the trade of switchblade and ballistic knives is prohibited within the Stateline, some stores in Frederick, St Leonard, Hagerstown and Rockville illegally sell these knives under the label of “Police and Military only.”
If a person is caught having partaken in such exchange, charges will be pressed against them for illegal sale and barter of the mentioned knives.
No knife is allowed on the school ground, and it cannot be possessed by a minor or an adult, even for self-defense. According to sections 4-102, knives are completely outlawed inside k-12 school premises.
Knives used for cutlery or classwork like woodworking or animal dissection in biology class don’t fall under this restriction.
Apart from schools, knife possession isn’t allowed on any federal grounds, including prison grounds and courthouses.
Law Regarding Minors
There are no statewide restrictions for the underage population, but minors in the following counties are not allowed to carry blades that can be categorized as “dangerous weapons”:
- Anne Arundel
- Prince George’s
- St. Mary’s
And it doesn’t end there. Minors from these counties are prohibited from carrying a knife that counts as a “dangerous weapon” during the curfew between an hour after the sun has set and an hour before the sun rises.
The restriction isn’t applicable when the said knife is being used for bona fide hunting, trap shoots, camping, and defense training.
However, there’s no law imposed on minors from the other counties for carrying knives. In fact, there’s no statewide legislation on selling them blades either.
Again, section 4-101 doesn’t permit concealed carry of any blade that counts as a “weapon.” Under this condition, concealed carrying of a switchblade and spring-activated knives is not allowed.
Special knives like sword canes have to be openly carried as well.
Only manual folding knives don’t fall under this restriction. You can conceal carry those.
However, an individual is permitted to conceal carry knives categorized as “weapons” in Maryland state if they have legally issued a Maryland CCW license for their blades.
Adding, issuing a CCW license in the state of Maryland is quite difficult.
While any local or visitor isn’t permitted to carry or concealed carry weapon according to § 4–101, there is an exception.
Federal officers, military, and anybody who might have reasons to carry a weapon for self-defense against possible threats are allowed to do so.
The section permits a federal officer of the state or working for the county or local government to carry a weapon for his work or defense, including special agents of the railroad.
Any US military person working for the state or visiting the state can carry a knife under the same condition.
A regular person carrying a knife as a weapon for self-defense is accountable for his actions and can be subjected to stand before the court if the situation requires.
We hope this explains everything regarding how and where a knife might become illegal for an individual to carry inside the state.
So, a knife can be considered illegal if:
- It falls under the “Weapon” category according to Maryland Criminal Law Code, and an individual attempts to conceal carry without a Maryland CCW license, which includes spring-activated folding knives, switchblades, sword cane, bowie knives, dirk, gravity knives, and star knives (throwing stars).
- Concealed carried blade’s length exceeds 2.5” in the city of Cheverly, and 3” in the towns of Frederick and Cambridge.
- Carried open or concealed to cause damage or for assault.
- Openly possessed despite being categorized as a “weapon” under Maryland Criminal Law Code.
- Carried inside school premises and not used for education, maintaining the premise, or cutlery.
- Carried inside a federal ground, including prison and courthouse, unless an individual is required or permitted by the law.
- The person carrying a knife categorized as a “weapon” isn’t working as an officer of the state, an agent of the railroads, or a US Military personnel and isn’t required or permitted by the law.
- Minors from specific counties are found carrying knives during the curfew between an hour after the sun has set and an hour before the sun rises, unless it’s for bona fide training, camping, and hunting.
- Sold, bartered, or exchanged knives are switchblade and ballistic, and/or traded under the false label conditioning to be used by police or military personnel only.
Penalties And Punishment For Carrying Illegal Knives
According to Maryland Criminal Law Code § 4-101, violating the section can be convicted as guilty with the charge of misdemeanor.
Resulting in a fine of up to $1000 and/or imprisonment for up to 3 years.
The same goes for the violation of knife laws under § 4-102 as well.
The penalty is a little lighter in case of illegal transfer/trade of ballistic knives and switchblades under the Maryland Criminal Law Code Ann. § 4-105.
An individual violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be subjected to the penalty of a fine of at least $50 and up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months.
Exceptions In The Knife Law Of Maryland
We covered the exceptions above while discussing illegal knives; however, let’s go through them again if you are still confused.
- A regular individual is not allowed to carry a knife categorized as a weapon without a Maryland CCW license.
- An individual is permitted to carry a knife categorized as a weapon without a Maryland CCW license if they happen to be US Military personnel, a federal officer of the state, or an agent of the railroad.
- All knives are illegal on the school ground unless they’re used for classwork, maintaining the premise, or for cutlery.
- Any minor can carry a knife if they’re not from St. Mary’s, Baltimore, Worcester, Cecil, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Kent, Prince George’s, Baltimore, Talbot, Caroline, and Harford counties.
- Minors from these counties can also legally carry a knife if it’s not dark. The curfew starts approximately from 1 hour after the sun has set and lasts until there’s 1 hour left for the sun to rise again. Carrying knives is permitted in the restricted hours if it’s for bona fide training, camping, and hunting.
- There are ordinances for legal knife length in the cities of Cheverly (max blade length 2.5”), and Frederick and Cambridge (max blade length 3”)
- The local governments are allowed to make their own ordinances and changes in the knife law if they want to depend on the situation.
List of Relevant Laws
Sections 4-101, 4-102, and 4-105 under the code of Maryland Criminal Law discuss everything related to knives.
§ 4-101: Section regarding “Dangerous Weapons”. It discusses which knives are categorized as weapons and which are not.
Exceptions for specific individuals, the restrictions regarding knives categorized as weapons, and penalties for violating the section.
§ 4-102: Section regarding “Deadly Weapons on School Property”. It discusses exceptions, the restrictions regarding knives on school property, and penalties for violating the section.
§ 4-105: Section regarding “Transfer of Switchblade or Shooting Knife”. It discusses restrictions regarding the transfer and trade of switchblade or shooting knives and penalties for violating the section.
Yes, Maryland knife laws are quite confusing, to say the least. But with the explanation above, we hope now you’re clear on the restrictions and how to stay out of trouble in the state of Maryland.
Want to know more about the knife laws in other states? Check our other articles for a thorough insight into knife laws in other parts of the USA.
Respect the law, and don’t try to get involved in any illegal shenanigans. Lives and properties are valuable, and we must always work to protect our amendments. Imprisonment or fine is neither good for your reputation nor your bank account.