Nebraska has fairly straightforward knife laws with little room for interpretation.
For the few questions that did surround the right to carry a concealed knife, the courts have stepped in to provide clarity and guidance.
Nebraska boasts fairly relaxed knife laws that reflect both a respect of knife owners and the safety of Nebraska citizens.
Most knives are allowed to be owned and openly carried in Nebraska. Varieties of knives that are permissible in the state of Nebraska include bowie, dirks, daggers, stilettos, switchblades, Ka-Bams, Balisongs, automatic, and ballistic.
Nebraska does not explicitly prohibit the ownership or open carry of any particular style of knife. Rather, the state prohibits certain individuals from enjoying knife ownership privileges. The following individuals are prohibited from owning or carrying a knife:
- Convicted felons
- A person with a history of domestic violence
Additionally, Nebraska prohibits knives from being carried – whether openly or concealed – on school property, in government buildings and prisons, and at nuclear power facilities.
The state of Nebraska does not impose length limitations on knives that are openly carried. However, knives concealed on one’s person or in one’s vehicle must not exceed 3.5 inches in length.
At first glance, Nebraska law seemingly indicates that concealed carry of a knife not exceeding 3.5” is permissible. The statute prohibits individuals from carrying concealed knives and deadly weapons. The Nebraska Code considers a knife that you can not conceal carry that has over a 3.5 inch blade that is capable hurting/cutting/stabbing another person, which includes any dirk, dagger, knife or stiletto. Deadly weapons are not explicitly defined by the Code. The Nebraska Supreme Court, however, includes knives as stated in Section 28-1202 in the definition. The scope of permissible knives that may be concealed was narrowed in 2000 when the Court also found that any type of knife – aside from a pocket knife – regardless of length can still be a “dangerous instrument” as defined in Section 28-1202.
In sum, a person in Nebraska may not carry a concealed knife of any length – unless it is a pocketknife.
Other Nebraska Laws
Concealed carry of knives is generally illegal in Nebraska, but the state offers an affirmative defense for certain individuals who carry a concealed knife at their place of employment or business and have a reasonable expectation of needing to protect themselves there. Note, this is not an exemption from the concealed carry prohibition, but rather a defense that can be asserted in court against concealed carry charges.
Certain cities in Nebraska have enacted local legislation which, in most cases, further restricts the right to own or openly carry knives. These include Omaha (switchblades are prohibited in city limits), Nebraska City (a permit must be obtained prior to concealed carry), and North Platte (knives prohibited in parks and recreational facilities). Interestingly, South Souix City actually expands the length limitation for concealed carry to 4 inches.
- R.R.S. Neb Sec. 28-1201
- R.R.S. Neb. Sec 28-1202
- State v. Goodwin, 184 Neb. 537, 169 N.W.2d 270 (1969)