Mexico Knife Laws

Your Guide To Mexico’s Knife Laws And Legalities

Just like any other state, the Mexico knife laws are complex and twisted. As a tourist or even as a local, it’s understandable to be wondering if carrying a knife is illegal.

Well, for starters, it’s not illegal as long as you can validate your purpose of carrying. However, with 94 homicides per day on average in 2021, the government can’t just let anyone handle any type of knife with them. There have to be some restrictions to prevent these crimes from happening.

At this point, we are certain that many questions are popping into your head, such as which knives are legal and which aren’t.

Moreover, where can I carry it and where can’t I? Well, don’t worry, as you have got your back!


Before we dig in deep, let’s have a look at the highlights of the entire article, so you get the important pieces of information in the least read;

  • Pocket knives are legal
  • Small knives are legal as long as they are not lethal
  • Open carry is illegal
  • Concealed carry is allowed only for small knives
  • The legal knife length is 4 inches
  • Exceptions for professional workers that need a knife on them
  • Exceptions for public servants on active duty
  • Schools, restaurants, government buildings, and tourist spots are banned
  • Punishment of up to 5 years of jail time and 360 days of your income as a fine

Nevertheless, knowing just half the laws doesn’t make any sense. You have to know them in deep to utilize them properly. So let’s jump straight in.


List Of Illegal Knives In Mexico

To start, any knives that ring a bell in your head as dangerous are illegal. Just because you are allowed to carry a non-lethal one, such as a pocket knife, doesn’t mean you can carry any type of knife with you.

Nevertheless, here are some examples of knives that are strictly prohibited;

  • Hunting knives
  • Automatic knives
  • Ballistic knives
  • Switchblades
  • Dagger
  • Dirks
  • Knuckle Knives
  • Any type of disguised knife
  • Cane knives
  • Bowie knives
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Table: Why These Knives Are Illegal

You might be curious and wondering why these knives may be illegal. Here’s why;

Knife TypeReason For Ban
Hunting knivesUsed for skinning animals and cutting up meat
Automatic knivesThey are viewed as being the weapon of “thugs”
Ballistic knivesKnives can easily cause lethal injuries, especially by stabbing
SwitchbladesThe blade comes out considerably more quickly than with conventional knives thanks to a button or other assisted mechanism.
DaggerDaggers are easy to sneak up on someone from behind
DirksCan be used immediately as a stabbing weapon, and that may inflict great bodily injury or death
Knuckle KnivesA hit from them causes more than severe head trauma
Any type of disguised knifeCan be hidden easily
Cane knivesIt is a large hand-wielded cutting tool similar to a machete and can cause dangerous injuries
Bowie knivesIt can stab, cut, slash, and chop very well

Illegality In Certain Areas

There is no surprise in knowing there are certain locations in Mexico where no one can carry a knife. Generally, they are sensitive areas where one isn’t supposed to carry one in the first place.

The first most prohibited place is the school. You shall never be seen having a knife on you at a school. This is a straight go-to jail card, and the officers wouldn’t even bother asking why you have it on you. Even if it’s a pocket knife.

Other banned places include-

  • Tourist spots, restaurants
  • Government buildings such as Palacio de Gobierno, Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Jalisco, and Palacio Postal.

Another no-brainer is the hospital. You should never carry a knife with you in a hospital unless you are the doctor.

Illegality In Local/State Governments

To understand what local and state law is, you have to understand what is Federal law.

In short, Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. It is the regulations that no matter where you are in a country, you must follow that country’s Federal laws.

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State law varies in states but never contradicts Federal law. They work with Federal laws in a way and work with individual states.

On the other hand, local law is last in the pyramid. Statutes are the name given to local laws created by a city, municipality, or county.

There are several ways to create laws at the local level because each state sets down the requirements for cities to exercise their right to self-govern.

Nevertheless, when it comes to knife laws in Mexico, there are no Federal ones present in Mexico. Yet, there are state laws and local laws present.

Thus, if you have to know about them, the only way is to consult a local lawyer. The internet won’t help in this case.

Concealed Carry Vs Open Carry

Open carrying a knife is prohibited in Mexico. Anyone near you might get scared and call for emergency help anytime.

The lawman can’t help you with it as open carrying is seen as a lunatic move, and no right mind would do that in a public spot.

Therefore, make sure when you carry one, it is concealed. Yes, it is concealed carry if you carry a knife in car in Mexico.

Additionally, a small one like a pocket knife means you have to answer when the police officer charges you. Moreover, passes the legal knife length. We will discuss the legal length in the next section.

It’s best to always think about what you will answer the officers when they charge you. Thus, it’s always best to carry one concealed if you need it in your professional work.

What Length Of A Knife Is Legal?

So what size knife is legal to carry in Mexico? You can carry a knife as long as it’s not lethal and is 4 inches or shorter.

To be more precise, the 4-inch refers to the blade size. Starting from the point of a knife to the bolster.

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Any knife, even if it’s a pocket knife, beyond 4 inches would lead to police officers asking you no questions about it. Moreover, take you right away to their nearest station.

List Of Legal Knives

Now that you know the list of illegal knives and all their factors, let’s take a look at the list of some common knives that are legal.

  • Swiss Army knives
  • Utility knives
  • Butterfly knives
  • Bread Knives
  • Diamond knives
  • Palette knives
Mexico Illegal and Legal Knives

Penalties For Carrying An Illegal Knife

Now that you know everything that makes a knife illegal, it’s time to know about the penalties if anything illegal is carried.

Carrying an illegal knife in Mexico can get quite hefty as it gets considered a dangerous weapon, and Article 160 comes into place. It states as follows the image shows.

Article 160

“You may be sentenced to up to five years in prison. Yes, the numbers vary from 3 months to 3 years maximum. Additionally, you are obligated to pay a fine up front. The penalty varies on your income. It’s the amount you earn in 180 days or 360 days.”


When it comes to all the laws stated in this article, they might get invalid in some cases.

Firstly, if you are a licensed hunter or fisherman, the knife length law might be omitted as it’s part of your profession.

On the other hand, if you’re a public servant on active duty and your work necessitates being armed, then none of the laws would apply to you.


Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions before we wrap up.

Can I bring a knife to Mexico in my checked luggage?

Yes, excluding butter knives with circular blades or made of plastic. To protect baggage handlers and inspectors from harm, all sharp objects in checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped.

Can I bring a knife from Mexico back with me?

If it’s legal in Mexico, you can take it back home with you. No one will stop you. The real question is whether it’s allowed by your country’s airport security.

Do customs in Mexico inspect your bag?

Yes, all bags go through airport scanners. They will certainly catch any type of knife you are trying to take away or bring in.


Inevitably, Mexico knife laws are not that hefty for general people to follow. Anyone might need to carry a knife for certain reasons, and they have kept that scope. Anyone can get away with it if it’s a pocket knife and smaller than 4 inches.

On the other hand, Mexico had to ban certain places for public safety. There’s certainly no need to carry a knife in a governmental building, school, or restaurant.

With such a significant crime rate in Mexico, they are trying their best to minimize it.

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