Rhode Island Knife Laws

Rhode Island Knife Law Made Simple: What You Need to Know

The small state of Rhode Island is known for its sandy shores and seaside. But even here, just like in most other countries, there are some rules regarding knives or weapons to follow.

This includes firearms, missiles, weapons, and knives. Although most people neglect knife laws, not following them can have hefty punishments.

This is why many people ask about the Rhode Island Knife Laws. In short, any knife with a blade length of over 3 inches is illegal, and minors can’t carry a lot of dangerous knives like bowies, but they can carry pocket knives.

Aside from that, there are some location-based restrictions on knives, like you can’t carry a knife in schools.

So today, we’ll be going over all the knife laws in Rhode Island, illegality in specific cases, penalties, the exceptions in the knife law, and much more.

Quick Legal Facts

  • Statewide Preemption: No
  • Concealed Carry: Any knife with a blade length of over 3 inches isn’t allowed to be carried concealed in public for both adults and minors.
  • Restricted Knives: There are no specific restricted knives, but knives like bowies, dirks, daggers, and stilettos aren’t allowed to have a blade knife of over 3 inches.
  • Schools: Knives aren’t allowed at all on school grounds, including pocket knives.
  • Critical Dimensions: Most knives over 3 inches in blade length are illegal.

List Of Relevant Laws

11-47-42: Prohibited weapons aside from firearms.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-42
R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-42

11-47-43: Exceptions for police officers.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-43

11-47-47: Displaying illegal knives.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-47

11-47-60.2: Carrying knives on school grounds.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-60.2

List Of Illegal Knives In Rhode Island

As mentioned above, Rhode Island has no specifically restricted knives. However, there’s a specified legal knife length for a few knife types.

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So you’re good to go if you don’t have knives such as bowies, swords, daggers, and stilettos over 3 inches in blade length.

However, the legal knife length isn’t the only thing to think about. There are many other aspects of knife illegalities in Rhode Island. Let’s check them out.

The Illegality Of Knives Based On Different Factors

Rhode Island takes into account different factors while constituting its knife laws. Here we’ll see all these factors, so you don’t put yourself into any trouble with knife laws while stationed in the state.

Illegality In Certain Areas

As you might expect, areas like schools, courts, and government buildings make it completely illegal to carry a weapon, including knives, inside, as per 11-47-60.2.

Even a simple pocket knife isn’t allowed near these, even for adults. However, if you’re a licensed guard or police officer, you’re exempted.

Illegality Based On Knife Length

What size knife is legal to carry in Rhode Island?

Here, open or concealed carry of different knives like bowies, swords, daggers, and stilettos with a blade length of over 3 inches is illegal.

This applies to both adults and minors, but you can avoid this as an adult if you get a verified permit from the local governor of your area.

It applies to weapons like blackjack, too, so be careful not to carry these out in public.

Illegality Of Carrying, Possession, Selling, Manufacturing, Importing, & Trading

If you’re an adult, manufacturing, selling, importing, and trading knives are all legal as long as you have a license for them and you’re not giving it to a minor.

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You can carry and possess knives too, but to be on the safe side, they’ll have to be under 3 inches in blade length.

Manufacturing dangerous knives such as bowies and stilettos are illegal without a proper license, so make sure to get one, or you might get fined or possibly confined in some cases.

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

Knowingly distributing or transporting dangerous knives such as bowies, stilettos, daggers, swords, and any knife over the length of 3 inches is illegal through borders.

Even if it’s not illegal in the other state or country, illegal interstate commerce anywhere from Rhode Island can lead to a hefty fine.

There’s a high possibility you could get confined too. This depends on the type of knife and the length.

Illegality For Minors

There aren’t any specific restrictions for minors. But it’s illegal to sell from sell or trade knives with them without any valid license.

If you carry knives illegally as a minor, you and your parents could get punished with a fine of several thousand dollars, depending on the crime and type of knife, and even possibly jailed.

Illegality In Local Governments

As we mentioned in the beginning, Rhode Island has no statewide preemption. This means local governments cannot modify the knife laws or make them stricter.

Penalties For Carrying Knives Illegally In Rhode Island

As per 11-47-42, carrying knives like crossbows, bowie, daggers, dirks, stilettos, sword-in-cane, blackjack, or kung-fu knives can lead to a punishment of up to $1000 or more.

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This applies to just possessing and carrying knives illegally for both adults and minors without a license. Your knife will be confiscated after this as well.

Aside from that, committing a crime with it can lead to imprisonment for 1 to 5 years, depending on the crime. So as you can probably tell, the penalties are quite harsh for illegally carrying knives or other weapons in Rhode Island.

Exceptions In The Knife Law of Rhode Island

Here are all the exceptions in the knife laws of Rhode Island —

  • Certified guards of prisons, asylums, and jails with a proper license.
  • Anyone working in the military.
  • All people work to fight crime, such as police officers.
  • Members of safety departments such as firefighters.
  • Wardens or superintendents active on duty.
  • Legal verified guards and security advisors.
  • Any trained professional with a complete course on how to handle firearms and knives with no criminal records regarding dangerous weapons such as knives.
  • Probation or security patrol officers.
  • Medical assistants and examiners.


Hopefully, now you have a good idea of all the Rhode Island knife laws. As long as you consider that the knife blade length can’t be over 3 inches, there isn’t much else to worry about.

If you need to use a bigger knife for your job, you can legally get a license for it if you’re a butcher or a chef.

However, knives aren’t the only thing you need to take into consideration. Weapons like slingshots, blackjacks, metal knuckles, and other weapons considered “Kung-fu weapons” are illegal as per 11-47-42.

With that, good luck carrying knives in Rhode Island, and cheers!

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