Knife Enthusiasts Guide to Knife Laws in Ohio

Knife Enthusiasts Guide to Knife Laws in Ohio

Overview of Knife Laws in Ohio

Ohio state law is fairly loose with some of its terms. Overall, it is legal to own any type of knife. However, when it comes to concealed carrying, the lines in the law become blurred. The law restricts the carrying of a concealed dangerous ordnance, as well as the sale or transferring of ownership of such items.

Dangerous ordinances and deadly weapons, as they related to knives, are defined as such:

2923.11 Weapons control definitions.

(A) "Deadly weapon" means any instrument, device, or thing capable of inflicting death, and designed or specially adapted for use as a weapon, or possessed, carried, or used as a weapon.

(J) "Ballistic knife" means a knife with a detachable blade that is propelled by a spring-operated mechanism.

(K) "Dangerous ordnance" means any of the following, except as provided in division (L) of this section: (1) Any automatic or sawed-off firearm, zip-gun, or ballistic knife; … (6) Any combination of parts that is intended by the owner for use in converting any firearm or other device into a dangerous ordnance.

In order to remain within Ohio state law, you must understand that you cannot carry any deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance in a concealed fashion. You may own these items, and you may openly carry them.

Despite this, Ohio Knife Laws Are Confusing, Watch This Video


Table of Contents

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

Which Types of Knives are Legal in Ohio?

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


Ohio Knife Laws Length

There are no laws that specify length of blades, however it is generally accepted that a non-deadly blade under 2.5 inches may be considered a work tool, and thusly can be concealed carried. However, this is very subjective in Ohio, and can vary from county to county.

Ohio Knife Open Carry Laws

Ohio open carry laws are fairly loose. Any knife may be owned and openly carried. The sale or other transaction types are limited, and the concealed carry laws are extremely restrictive.

Ohio Concealed Knife Laws

Ohio concealed carry laws, as well as their laws regarding transactions involving knives, are less clear than some other states. This is because, other than ballistic knives and automatic knives, none are specified in the law. Rather, the laws regarding knives are determined based on whether or not the knife could be considered a deadly weapon or a dangerous ordnance, as already defined. The laws regarding these items are as follows:

In terms of transactions:

2923.20 Unlawful transaction in weapons.

(A) No person shall:

(1) Recklessly sell, lend, give, or furnish any firearm to any person prohibited by section 2923.13 or 2923.15 of the Revised Code from acquiring or using any firearm, or recklessly sell, lend, give, or furnish any dangerous ordnance to any person prohibited by section 2923.13, 2923.15, or 2923.17 of the Revised Code from acquiring or using any dangerous ordnance;

(2) Possess any firearm or dangerous ordnance with purpose to dispose of it in violation of division (A) of this section;

(3) Manufacture, possess for sale, sell, or furnish to any person other than a law enforcement agency for authorized use in police work, any brass knuckles, cestus, billy, blackjack, sandbag, switchblade knife, springblade knife, gravity knife, or similar weapon;

(4) When transferring any dangerous ordnance to another, negligently fail to require the transferee to exhibit such identification, license, or permit showing him to be authorized to acquire dangerous ordnance pursuant to section 2923.17 of the Revised Code, or negligently fail to take a complete record of the transaction and forthwith forward a copy of that record to the sheriff of the county or safety director or police chief of the municipality where the transaction takes place;

In regards to the concealment of items:

2923.12 Carrying concealed weapons.

(A) No person shall knowingly carry or have, concealed on the person's person or concealed ready at hand, any of the following:

(1) A deadly weapon other than a handgun;

(2) A handgun other than a dangerous ordnance;

(3) A dangerous ordnance.

What this means is that you cannot carry your knife in a concealed manner if it falls under the two definitions, which are fairly loose in their interpretation.

Pocket Knife Laws Ohio

While there are no laws specifically banning or modifying how one may own or carry a pocket knife, it has occurred where those with these types of knives have been convicted of crimes nonetheless. In general, the list below is seen as a guide in courts on the matter of whether or not the knife qualifies as a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance. This is defined by the case of “State of Ohio v. Cattledge, 2010 4953” as the following (taken directly from the court findings):

{¶19} Based upon the above cases, the following characteristics may, but not always, support a finding that a folding knife is a deadly weapon within the definition of R.C. 2923.11(A): (1) a blade that can easily be opened with one hand, such as a knife with a switch, a spring-loaded blade, or a gravity blade capable of instant one-handed operation; (2) a blade that locks into position and cannot close without triggering the lock; (3) a blade that is serrated; (4) a blade tip that is sharp; (5) an additional design element on the blade, such as a hole, that aids in unfolding the knife with one hand; (6) does not resemble an "ordinary" pocket knife; and (7) is a type of knife considered a weapon for purposes of R.C. 2923.20(A)(3).

Fixed Blade Knife Laws in Ohio

As stated, these blades are legal to own and open carry. However, if they can be considered a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance then they are illegal to carry concealed.

Ohio Butterfly Knife Laws

These knives are likely to be considered a deadly weapon, and should not be attempted to carry in a concealed fashion. However, they are legal to own and openly carry.

Automatic Knife Laws Ohio

Automatic knives are one of two which are ever specified in Ohio state law. In general, they are considered a dead weapon, and thusly cannot be concealed carried. However, they are still legal to own, and legal to open carry.

Ohio Knife Laws in 2018

Currently there are no legal matters expected in 2018, however as the state law is fairly open to interpretation this has a relatively high chance of changing.

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