Missouri Knife Laws


Missouri has some interesting knife laws, although it’s not nearly as restrictive as some states.  The real issues with the laws stem from the sometimes confusing definitions.  Luckily, I’m here to help you figure it out.

What You Need to Know:

Pocket Knife: Folding knives with blades no longer than 4″

Knife: Everything that isn’t a pocket knife

While you can own any kind of knife, there are numerous restrictions on concealed-carrying.  Limitations can be overcome with a concealed weapons permit.

What Kinds of Knives are Legal in Missouri?

You can own any knife you wish.  Switchblades were illegal until 2012, but more modern legislation has rectified that.

  • You can own any knife, including switchblades, balisongs, daggers, throwing stars, boot knives, undetectable knives, etc.
  • All pocket knives can be carried concealed; see definition under ‘Summary’
  • Restrictions on concealed-carry can be overcome with a concealed-carry permit

What Kinds of Knives are Illegal in Missouri?

There aren’t any prohibited or restricted knives any longer in Missouri.  However, unless you have a permit, there are restrictions on the carrying and concealing of knives.

  • You cannot conceal-carry anything with a blade of more than 4″, including within your vehicle
  • You cannot bring your knife to school or other weapons-prohibited areas, such as courtrooms and police stations

Be sure to check local ordinances, as Missouri has no statewide preemption.  Permits can make you exempt from this rule, as can peacefully traveling through the state.  Also, the military, police, prosecutors, and judges are exempt from their own laws.  Go figure.

Also, be aware of what Missouri considers concealed.  A man named Thomas Rowe was prosecuted after a search of his vehicle produced a knife with a 6″ blade sitting in the pocket of his driver’s-side door.  While I recommend everyone keep a knife in their vehicles for emergencies, you need to be aware of your local knife laws.

In Thomas’ case, the handle of the knife was visible but the blade wasn’t, whether by design or not.  Moreover, it was within easy reach, as all knives kept in a vehicle for emergencies (no clue if that was the intent here or not) are, but to a judge that meant he had a concealed weapon with easy reach and could’ve gone nuts and stabbed someone.

He was convicted.

Remain aware of your local laws.

Relevant Statutes

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