District of Columbia (Washington DC) Knife Laws


Washington DC is surprisingly lenient with knives.  It’s not the safest state for knife aficionados in America, but it’s far from the worst.  Basically, everything is legal aside from switchblades.  You also cannot conceal carry a dangerous weapon, which DC law defines as any kind of blade without practical use.

In other words, swords are weapons because they have no use other than combat, therefore you cannot conceal them.  If your knife doesn’t have use as a utility or tool, then it’s a weapon.

What Kinds of Knives are Legal in the District of Columbia?

All knives except for switchblades are legal in the District of Columbia.  This means you can own Bowie knives, disguised knives, throwing knives, gravity knives, and basically anything else.  So long as you aren’t carrying concealed knives that are obvious weapons when you go out, you’re good.

What Kinds of Knives are Illegal in the District of Columbia?

  • Switchblades are illegal to own
  • You cannot carry concealed knives that have no utility purpose
  • You cannot bring a knife to the Capitol
  • You cannot bring a knife with a blade more than 3″ to the Supreme Court (but just to be safe, you probably shouldn’t bring any knives)

Relevant Statutes

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