Knife laws in Arkansas are considered to be among the most lax in the nation after a series of legislative repeals in recent years.
However, like many states in the US, local ordinances contradict and override the state laws.
Therefore, it’s not only important to know the state knife laws, but also the specific municipal knife regulations.
Arkansas doesn’t have any distinction between the types of knives, as all types of knives are technically legal according to state law. Arkansas definition of a knife is one that can basically hurt you (stab, kill, cut etc.) and this definition of a knife is legal.
Legal knives include (but not limited to):
- Gravity knives
- Automatic knives
- KA-BAR knives
- Switchblades, butterfly knives
- Dirks and daggers
Besides local laws that may ban certain types of knives, the only exception to legal possession of knives is if they are used for an illegal purpose.
There are no explicitly illegal knives written in the state law. However, some local legislatures have made sheathed knives illegal and other governments, such as the city of Texarkana, have passed laws outlawing knives on public transport.
While there is a lack of consistency between the local and state laws in terms of illegal types of knives, there is one clear law applicable all throughout the state: it is against the law for any minor to carry a knife unless it’s a regular packet knife. It’s also against the law and a misdemeanor to give a knife to a 18 and under minor unless the parent/guardian knows and gives consent. If the minor is caught with the knife, they will likely not be arrested and simply disarmed by a peace officer.
This state previously had a statewide length limit of knives of 3.5 inches, but the recent wave of deregulating laws have abolished this limit. As a result, there is no length limit on knives according to state law today. However, some city governments, such as Eureka Springs and Fort Smith, still enforce this 3.5 inch regulation.
It’s legal to conceal carry knives anywhere besides on school grounds and government buildings all throughout the state. But as with other knife laws, local city government have even more stringent regulations on concealed carry in more buildings and areas.
Also, it is illegal for any minor to conceal carry unless it’s a regular pocket knife.
Other Knife Laws in Arkansas
A preemption bill was introduced in 2011 which would have given state knife law preemption over all local laws. However, it failed, and local laws still rule over state laws in regards to knife regulation. Nevertheless, such a law could still be passed in the future, which could dramatically decrease regulations on knives across Arkansas.