Washington Knife Laws

Navigating Washington’s Knife Laws: What You Need to Know

Bowie knives are banned in most states for being considered a deadly weapon.

However, Washington being the creator of it, hasn’t prohibited owning or carrying a bowie knife despite its savage threat. However, there are things to follow.

The United States has been acting up on public security every often, and knives aren’t anything non-threatening.

Thus, a throwing star is also legal here, but there is also a risk of getting convicted for doing nothing with it.

It doesn’t matter why you would need to carry a knife in the first place but knowing the law is crucial.

It can save you from years of jail time as well as uncountable fines that you shouldn’t suffer from for doing anything.

Undoubtedly, law language is hard to understand for simple citizens, but that is why we are here.

Without any further ado, let’s check out the Washington knife laws!


Before we dive into detail, let’s have a sneak of what the Washington laws look like when it comes to knives. Here they are:

  • Switchblades are prohibited.
  • Almost all sorts of knives are legal.
  • There’s no length of the knife’s blade for it to be legal, but it varies from place to place in Washington.
  • Concealed carry is prohibited despite the type of knife.
  • Carrying a knife on school premises, court, or law enforcement offices is illegal.
  • Penalties can start from a $1000 fine and 90 days of jail time to $10000 and 5 years of jail time.
  • If anyone feels frightened by your open carry, then they can press charges.

The Federal Law Vs Washington

The U.S. Code Chapter 29 is all about knives Congress and the president has decided how knives should be treated.

The federal is the highest rank of law that is obeyed by every state in the US. Each regulation is made by different political units and then agreed on it by every unit.

To finalize, it is signed by Congress and the President. As a result, the federal laws are undoubtedly important to follow.

However, when it comes to knives, the federal laws are more strict about switchblades than any other knives.

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As per § 1241, the switchblade means;

the switchblade means

§ 1243 clarifies laws regarding switchblades. You cannot possess, manufacture, import, or carry any switchblades.

However, there are exceptions for verified manufacturers and importers who are allowed to do that in the land of the United States.

Nevertheless, Washington state agrees with the federal law in every way.

Why wouldn’t they? The white house, where the president sits to sign laws, is in Washington.

Section 9.41.250 states the same restrictions on switchblade knives. Thus, when it comes to switchblades, there is no way you will be compromised when in Washington.

Legal Knives To Own

Apart from switchblades, Knife laws in Washington seem very lenient. It’s surprising how you can even carry throwing stars and get away with it.

Undoubtedly, it’s kind of odd. Nevertheless, here are some examples of legal knives;

  • Dirk
  • Dagger
  • Bowie knife
  • Belt Buckle
  • Fixed Blade Knife
  • Throwing Stars
  • Disguised Knife
  • Knuckle Knife

However, there is a turnover in the concealed carry section, which we will talk about in a bit.

Even though it changes the entire perspective of the available legal knife, it’s done for public safety.

All things aside, you may be allowed to carry these knives, but it also opens up a slot for some jail time and fines. If anyone feels frightened by the knife you are carrying, then he/she can press charges against you.

Even though you have no wrong intention, you would still need to go through a lot to prove yourself not guilty.

Illegal Knives To Own

When it comes to illegal knives to own, there is no list that we can provide. Any knife that has a spring, button, or push mechanism is banned from owning in the state of Washington.

They are the ones that we talked about in the federal law, the switchblade knives.

As per the 9.41.250, the dangerous weapons are;

As per the 9.41.250

Nevertheless, a lot of common sense applies to illegal knives too. If you think that just because a butcher knife is not mentioned here doesn’t mean you will get away with it.

Legal Knife Length In Washington

The laws also regulate the legal knife length to ensure that no one carries a way too dangerous knife. It is generally measured from the tip of the knife to the bolster. In short, the blade size of the whole knife.

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In most states, they maintain an average legal length of about 3 and a half inches. However, in Washington, there is surprisingly none.

As per the Washington constitution, you can carry a knife of any length you want.

Yet, there has to be someone regulating the size, or else everyone would legally carry these lethal knives.

Here’s where the counties come in. In different parts of Washington, different county laws are applied, and the

length varies from place to place. For example, Seattle restricts the knife’s blade length to three and one-half inches.

So, what size knife is legal to carry in Washington? You have to check with your local laws by consulting a local lawyer or anyone who knows about the law.

Concealed Carry

As we promised, let’s talk about the twist on concealed carry law present in Washington.

So far, it looks like the Washington laws are very lenient when it comes to knives. However, the concealed carry section breaks all of it.

You can carry any knife you want with you, but it has to be openly carried. As a result, there’s no way you can carry a simple knife in your pocket.

You must always carry the knife openly where it is visible from a distance and make others aware that you have a knife with you.

Remember anyone can put you in jail if that person feels dangered or frightened? Well, this is where you should consider the threats that the other person might feel.

As you always have to do an open carry, there’s a chance someone might feel threatened and call the cops on you.

Of course, if you are on your premises then it doesn’t matter whether it’s a concealed carry or an open carry.

Where Can’t I Carry A Knife?

Following 9.41.280, any education-related institution is prohibited from a knife being carried inside it. It also means that you cannot carry a knife in car in Washington if it’s linked with a school.

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Additionally, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a legal knife or even a small pocket knife. You cannot carry one on school premises.

Similarly, the same law applies to court and law enforcement offices as well. Seeing you with a knife in these places will lead to trouble that you can never imagine.

However, if it is a military school, then there are exceptions. You are allowed to carry a knife in a military school as it involves practices that might require a gun. Thus, the government won’t interfere here.


Unless you stab someone with a knife, there are three classes of penalties that you can receive. They are; gross misdemeanors, plain misdemeanors, and Class C felonies.

It’s entirely up to the judge to decide which one you fit in according to the law you broke. If it’s a serious one, then surely you will be taken into the Class C felony category.

Whereas a gross misdemeanor is the second serious and plain misdemeanor is almost not a lawbreaker.

According to your classification as a criminal, you will be set a penalty. Generally, a plain misdemeanor will get a maximum of 90 days of jail time and a $1000 fine.

On the other hand, a gross misdemeanor receives a jail time of a year and up to a $5000 fine. Finally, a class C felony will receive a jail time of a maximum of 5 years and a $10000 fine.


To conclude, Washington knife laws are very straightforward. Even though almost every knife is legal here doesn’t mean you can take it lightly.

Open carry is surely haunting as if anyone feels threatened can lead to jail time and fines. You might not have the intention to, but who knows how someone else will feel!

Like other states, education premises are prioritized more than anything, and any sort of knife is banned there.

However, there is no state law restricting a knife’s blade size but it varies from place to place.

Be sure to follow the laws, or it will lead to charges depending on the crime. Starting from a $1000 fine and 90 days jail time to a $10000 and 5 years of jail time.

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