Knife Enthusiasts Guide to Illinois Knife Laws

Knife Enthusiasts Guide to Illinois Knife Laws

Illinois Knife Laws

Overview of Knife Laws in Illinois

Illinois is one of the states which references the intentions of the knife wielder in ascertaining whether or not it is legal for them to be in possession of said knife. However, that isn’t the only means by which they label a knife as legal or illegal.

The law states that certain knives, that is ballistic, throwing, and automatic, are completely illegal. These knives cannot be made, owned, sold, or otherwise be in your possession while in illinois.

(720 ILCS 5/24-1)  Sec. 24-1. Unlawful use of weapons.

(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:

(1) Sells, manufactures, purchases, possesses or carries any bludgeon, black-jack, slung-shot, sand-club, sand-bag, metal knuckles or other knuckle weapon regardless of its composition, throwing star, or any knife, commonly referred to as a switchblade knife, which has a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife, or a ballistic knife, which is a device that propels a knifelike blade as a projectile by means of a coil spring, elastic material or compressed gas; or

(2) Carries or possesses with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, a dagger, dirk, billy, dangerous knife, razor, stiletto, broken bottle or other piece of glass, stun gun or taser or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character;

This law does also state that the intention of the person carrying a knife can change the legality of it. A dagger carried harmlessly by one person may be considered illegal on another due to an intent to cause harm or commit any other unlawful act. By making this distinction it means that any knife is able to become an illegal knife, and it should not be carried if there is an opportunity for it to become a means of causing harm or damage.


Illinois Knife Laws are Confusing, Watch This Video


Table of Contents

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

Which Types of Knives are Legal in Illinois?

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


Illinois Knife Laws Length

For the most part there are no restrictions on knives based on their length. However, there are a few laws which related to knife length, banning knives that are of or over 3 inches when in places which are owned in part or wholly by the government.

These laws are listed as below:

(720 ILCS 5/21-6) Unauthorized Possession or Storage of Weapons.

(a) Whoever possesses or stores any weapon enumerated in Section 33A-1 in any building or on land supported in whole or in part with public funds or in any building on such land without prior written permission from the chief security officer for such land or building commits a Class A misdemeanor.

(b) The chief security officer must grant any reasonable request for permission under paragraph (a).

The relevant definition of weapons are as follows:

(720 ILCS 5/33A-1)

(1) "Armed with a dangerous weapon". A person is considered armed with a dangerous weapon for purposes of this Article, when he or she carries on or about his or her person or is otherwise armed with a Category I, Category II, or Category III weapon.

(2) A Category I weapon is a handgun, sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, any other firearm small enough to be concealed upon the person, semiautomatic firearm, or machine gun. A Category II weapon is any other rifle, shotgun, spring gun, other firearm, stun gun or taser as defined in paragraph (a) of Section 24-1 of this Code, knife with a blade of at least 3 inches in length, dagger, dirk, switchblade knife, stiletto, axe, hatchet, or other deadly or dangerous weapon or instrument of like character. As used in this subsection

This does mean that a knife, such as a stiletto, which is ordinarily legal, will then become illegal if it is carried or stored on a public property.

Illinois Knife Open Carry Laws

Illinois laws are fairly open. There are only a few types of knives which are flat out banned, and only certain areas where knives of or over 3 inches in length may not be carried. Otherwise, all non-banned knives are legal to carry, openly or otherwise.

The areas of concern are, of course, publicly funded properties as stated above. On these properties you cannot carry any knife which is of 3 inches in length or greater.

Illinois Concealed Knife Laws

There are no restrictions on concealed carry as compared to open carry within the state. So long as the knife is legal to posses and carry openly then it is also legal to posses and carry concealed.

Pocket Knife Laws Illinois

Generally speaking, pocket knives are fairly small. So long as they are smaller than 3 inches then there are no legal restrictions on them. They can be owned, purchased, traded, and carried wherever an individual may want to within the state.

However, if they are at or over 3 inches in length then they cannot be carried onto publicly funded properties. If they’re under though then there is nothing to be concerned about.

Fixed Blade Knife Laws in Illinois

For the most part there are no problems with fixed blade knives in Illinois. Fixed blade knives can be openly or concealed carried. However, if they are a part of any type of automatic knife where a covering automatically removes then they will be considered illegal.

As well, if the blade is at or over 3 inches in length then it cannot be legally carried on public properties. It will be considered a dangerous weapon at that point.

Illinois Butterfly Knife Laws

Butterfly knives are legal to own and carry, openly and concealed, within the state. However, as they are over 3 inches in length they will need to be kept off of public/government supported properties, as they then are considered an illegal and dangerous weapon.

Automatic Knife Laws Illinois

Automatic knives are considered illegal in Illinois. These knives are, in fact, banned and should not be owned, sold, traded, created, or otherwise be in your possession when you are within the state of Illinois.

Illinois Knife Laws in 2018

There are no 2018 legal activities planned with regards to knives, however this can change.

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