Massachusetts Knife Laws

Massachusetts’s Knife Laws Explained: What You Need To Know

According to Massachusetts knife laws, the knife you carry while camping for hunting or self-defense can cause penalties.

As the law is stated in an almost never-ending sentence, it is tough to understand for the mass.

We tried to decrypt those teeth-shattering words and describe the clauses of the law in simple words.

Owning and carrying a knife is entirely different under almost all knife laws across Massachusetts.

According to Section 10 (b) under Chapter 269 of General Laws, you can’t carry any knife open or concealed upon you. But you can own almost all types of knives without any restrictions.

You might ask, which knives can I carry then? Well, you need to finish the article to find that out.

We will discuss all legal and illegal knives, carry limits, and other restrictions according to Massachusetts knife laws. Let’s get started.


Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the knife laws in Massachusetts, take a quick look at some of the most important points.

Statewide Preemption

There is no statewide preemption regarding knife laws in this state. Different counties can impose different laws or hardness of different levels.

Concealed Carry

Specific knives like a stiletto, dagger, dirks, switchblade, slingshot, double-edged knife, nunchaku, zoobow, or knife with a locking blade can’t be carried, whether open or concealed.


Carrying knives or any other dangerous weapon within the boundaries of an elementary school, secondary school, college, or university is prohibited according to Section 10 (j) under Chapter 269.

Section 10 (j) under Chapter 269

Critical Dimensions

According to Section 10 (b), carrying an automatic knife with a blade length of more than one and a half inches is illegal in Massachusetts.

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Breaking the law shall cause your imprisonment in the state prison, jailhouse, or correction house for different periods depending on the intensity of the incident.

List Of Illegal Knives In Massachusetts

If we break down the knife laws in Massachusetts, the following knives will be found illegal to carry on a person, in their cars, or under their control.

  • Stiletto
  • Dagger
  • Knife with detachable blades or a device with a locking blade inside it
  • Ballistic knives or a knife with detachable blades that can be propelled with any mechanism
  • Dirk knife
  • Knives having a double-edged blade
  • Switch knives or a knife with an automatic spring release system having a blade length of more than one and a half inches
  • Slingshot
  • Blowgun
  • Blackjack
  • Metallic knuckles or anything having the same effect as metallic knuckles
  • Nunchaku
  • Zoobow or klackers or kung fu sticks or anything similar
  • Shuriken or any similar pointed object
  • Armbands with metallic spikes

Now, all knives may not be illegal to carry in places. Let’s find out the illegality of different knives.

A. Illegality In Certain Areas

Any of the above-mentioned weapons or any other dangerous weapons meant to harm anyone is strictly prohibited in places like courthouses or school grounds.

No matter the level of risk associated with the knife, you can’t carry any of these weapons without prior authorization from the authority.

B. Illegality In Local Governments

The same law applies to local governments like town halls, the mayor’s office, city councils, etc.

You can’t carry any open or concealed knives in these places.

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C. Illegality Based On Concealed And Open Knives

As we have already mentioned, carrying any open or concealed knives is illegal according to the knife law.

Even if you carry a knife in car in Massachusetts, it will be illegal except you are authorized to do so.

D. Illegality Of Carrying, Possession, Selling, Manufacturing, Importing, Trading

Owning all knives is legal in Massachusetts as long as you possess the knife inside your home or residential property.

Manufacturing, selling, or trading of the listed knives is illegal, according to Section 12 under Chapter 269.

Section 12 under Chapter 269

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

Even if you don’t carry a knife, anything meant to harm others or breach public peace will be considered illegal, according to Section 10 (b).

Penalties And Punishments For Carrying Illegal Knives

If you break the knife law and get arrested for an alleged crime or while disturbing public peace, you can face two types of punishments depending on your previous activity.

  • In the case you were not convicted by a court, you may face a fine of up to fifty dollars or imprisonment of up to two and a half years.
  • If you were convicted previously, you will face at least two and a half years and a maximum of five years of imprisonment.

List Of Legal Knives In Massachusetts

After all these hectic regulations, you may ask, what knife is legal to carry in Massachusetts?

Well, you can carry the following knives regardless of their size –

  • Pocket knives
  • Multitools
  • Kitchen knives
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Remember, these knives can still be considered dangerous weapons if you have the intention to harm anyone or breach public peace.

Knife Length Limit In Massachusetts

Many people ask what size knife is legal to carry in Massachusetts. The length of the blade only matters in the case of a switchblade knife or any other automatic knife.

According to the law, automatic knives with blades no longer than one and a half inches are legal.

But the law is different in Boston, Salem, and some other cities. The maximum legal knife length is two and a half inches in these cities.


Though owning any knife is legal in Massachusetts, you can’t trade, manufacture, or carry such weapons according to state law.

Only a few knives are legal to carry unless you mean to harm fellow citizens. If arrested for

breaking the knife law, you may face fines or imprisonment of different degrees based on the intensity of the crime.

This is why we tried to pull out the gist of the law for you to understand easily. If you are interested, you can also check relevant laws in the same chapter to avoid future penalties.

We hope you will be more careful from now on before carrying an illegal knife according to the Massachusetts knife laws.

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