Knife Laws In Illinois

In Illinois, knife laws focus on the intent as one of the parameters when looking at the legality of carrying a knife.

These laws classify any knife more than 3 inches as a weapon that is dangerous especially if it is carried with an aim of causing bodily harm to a person.

The law further says that knives which is less than 3 inches but which is used to cause harm or injure another person is treated as a weapon.

Knife Laws In Illinois


The state allows people to own and a carry a wide range of knives. One can own and carry hunting knives if he does not intend to use the knife to assault another person. Other knives that one can own include daggers, KA-BAR, Bowie knives, and large or small faced blades. Other knives that fall in this category include gravity knives, balisong knives as well as throwing knives. In addition, it is legal to own folding pocket knives.



The law forbids ownership of the following three knives: switchblades, ballistic blades and martial arts throwing stars. Illinois code 2012 sec. 24-1 specifies that it is illegal to own knives such as daggers, and dirks if your intention is to commit an offence. The law states that it is illegal to manufacture, purchase or sell knuckle weapons such as throwing star, switchblade knife with a blade that opens automatically when the button is pressed, ballistic knife, and spring blades.

Length limit

One is free to own and carry blades of up to three inches as long as the blade is not used in unlawful activity. It is also legal to carry a blade that is longer than three inches if it is not carried with an aim of using it to harm another person. Therefore, whether owning and carrying a more than 3” blade is legal or illegal depends on how it is interpreted by the law enforcement agencies and courts.

Concealed carry

Illinois laws do not differentiate between concealed and open carry. However, one cannot conceal and carry a knife in school, courthouse, public transport and public parks.

Other knife laws in Illinois

Being an administrative state, Illinois is neither unfriendly nor friendly ownership of knives. The intention of the person carrying the blade determines whether it is illegal or legal to carry it. To be on the safer side, one should only carry a knife that is less than 3”. However, if you can project calm and go about your daily business and don’t behave in a threatening manner, you may carry a knife that is more than 3 inches. Note that Illinois’ counties and cities are at liberty to make ordinances that govern ownership and carrying of knives.

Generally, Illinois laws are written to counteract gang violence. They are not restrictive and allow one to carry a knife as long as they do not have the intent to harm another person. However, the law does not categorically specify weapons that are classified as deadly.