Knife Laws in Arizona (AZ)

Knife Laws in Arizona (AZ)

Overview of Knife Laws in Arizona

For the most part, Arizona is a very knife-friendly state, with perhaps the most lenient knife laws of any state in the nation,except perhaps for Alaska. Any type and any length of knife may be legally owned and carried (openly or concealed) by anyone 21 years of age or older. About the only restrictions are those respecting the ownership and carry of knives for persons under 21 years old and for certain sites.

It hasn't, however, always been all that sunny for knife enthusiasts in the sunny state of Arizona.

Prior to 2011, state knife laws and city knife laws often varied widely, sometimes conflicting and contradictory, and laws could be different from city to city. The result was that sometimes when people traveled from one city to another, they wound up being charged with illegal possession and carry of knives that were perfectly legal in their home city.

But the insertion of Section 13-3120 into the Arizona State Statutes (Section 1, Title 13, Chapter 31) in 2011 cleared up all that confusion and brought uniformity to knife laws all across the state. With this amendment, the state of Arizona preempted all local and municipal laws, basically making every type of knife legal anywhere throughout the state. Arizona based the decision to make this change primarily on the fact that the majority of knife owners use their knives as tools rather than as weapon. Another factor in this was that the lack of uniformity in knife laws across the state often harmed innocent citizens rather than deterring criminals in the unlawful possession and use of knives.

Section 13-3102 of Arizona state law ensures broad and liberal possession and carry rights for knife owners. Under the heading "Misconduct involving weapons," it grants all persons at least 21 years old the right to own and carry, either openly or concealed, any type of knife or bladed instrument with no length restrictions. The only restriction concerns people under 21 years of age.

In Arizona, anyone at least 21 years old can own, buy, sell, trade, or carry any any type and any length of knife statewide. But persons under 21 years old may own and carry only pocket knives. While Arizona law does not specifically define "pocket knife," law enforcement, for practical purposes, generally interprets the term to mean folding knives that have to be pulled open manually. This would most likely mean, then, that gravity or centrifugal-force knives and automatic knives like switchblades would be unlawful for ownership and carry for anyone under the age of 21.

Although Arizona grants almost unlimited rights to knife owners at least 21 years old, there are a few venues where carrying knives (either openly or concealed) is prohibited. These include, of course, schools as well as hydroelectric facilities, nuclear facilities, and on the grounds of organized public events and gatherings.

In addition, it illegal to carry a knife in the commission of a crime or an act of terrorism. Also, if a police officer (or any other law-enforcement officer) happens to ask whether you are armed, Arizona law requires that you inform the officer if you are carrying any knives.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview of Knife Laws in Arizona
  2. Which Types of Knives are Legal in Arizona?
  3. Arizona Knife Laws Length
  4. Arizona Knife Open Carry Laws
  5. Arizona Concealed Knife Laws
  6. Pocket Knife Laws Arizona
  7. Fixed Blade Knife Laws in Arizona
  8. Arizona Butterfly Knife Laws
  9. Automatic Knife Laws Arizona
  10. Arizona Knife Laws in 2018


Which Types of Knives are Legal in Arizona?

Type of Knife

Legal (*with restrictions)


Pocket Knife / Folding Knife



Butterfly Knives



Switch Blade



Bowie Knives









Dirks / Daggers / Stilettos



Ballistic Knives



Misleading Knives



Hidden Knives




Arizona Knife Laws Length

Technically, Arizona has no limits, restrictions, or prohibitions on the length of knives or knife blades for lawful ownership and carry. The only exception would be the possible one for persons under 21 years of age, who are allowed to legally carry only pocket knives. This, then, implies a practical length limit in this instance.

Arizona Knife Open Carry Laws

With its generous knife laws, the state of Arizona legally permits the open carry of any knife of any length (except in the restricted venues and on the prohibited sites –  schools, hydroelectric and nuclear facilities, organized public gatherings). And, again, anyone under the age of 21 may lawfully open carry only pocket knives.

Arizona Concealed Knife Laws

Arizona makes no distinction between open carry and concealed carry – the same rules and regulations obtain in both cases. So it is legal to carry concealed any type of knife with no length restriction at all. But if you are under 21 years of age, you may carry concealed only pocket knives, just as with open carry.

Pocket Knife Laws Arizona

Pocket knives are legal across the board for all ages. Arizona law stipulates that pocket knives are legal for ownership and both open and concealed carry. The age restriction for legal carry does not apply here. So anyone of any age may own and open carry or concealed carry a pocket knife.

Fixed Blade Knife Laws in Arizona

Under Arizona law, fixed blade knives are treated basically the same as pocket knives (except for the age restriction). All fixed blade knives may be lawfully owned and carried openly or concealed, unless you are under 21 years old and except at the restricted sites mentioned above.

Arizona Butterfly Knife Laws

Anyone 21 years of age or older may legally own and open carry or concealed carry butterfly knives. If, however, you are under 21 years old, ownership and carry of butterfly knives is probably illegal because they most likely will not be construed as pocket knives. And, again, the same site/venue restrictions and prohibitions apply.

Automatic Knife Laws Arizona

Arizona is one of a handful of states where you will have absolutely no worry about owning or carrying automatic knives – if, that is, you are 21 years old or older. Arizona law allows owning, buying, selling, trading, and carrying (both open and concealed carry) of automatic knives. The only exceptions here are for persons under 21 year of age (who may legally possess and carry only pocket knives) and the prohibition against carrying at schools, hydroelectric and nuclear facilities, and organized public events.

Arizona Knife Laws in 2018

Section 13-3120 of Arizona state law, enacted in 2011, remains the most recent re-working of knife laws in the state. This amendment provided a statewide preemption to ensure protection of law-abiding knife owners from conflicting and contradictory local laws. With respect to knife laws, there is nothing new slated for 2018 – no changes, amendments, or additions.

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