New Jersey has specific laws that govern the possession and use of knives. Knowing the differences between legal and prohibited knives is important for anyone who carries a knife in New Jersey.
In this article, we’ll delve into the details of New Jersey knife laws and provide an overview of what you need to know. It’s critical to understand the laws in New Jersey if you plan to carry or use a knife in the state.
Without formal legal education, deciphering the law can be pretty tricky, especially regarding knife laws. Is it legal to own a knife in New Jersey? If so, what knife types are legal to own? Also, can knives be carried in public? Stick around to learn all about NJ knife laws.
Types of Knives Legal in New Jersey
New Jersey law generally allows residents to own and carry certain types of knives. These include:
- Pocket knives: Small folding knives that can be carried in a pocket or purse.
- Utility knives: Knives that can be used for everyday tasks such as cutting rope or opening packages.
- Hunting knives: Knives that are used for hunting or fishing.
- Swords: These are legal to own and have on one’s property, but it’s illegal to carry in public.
- Other types of knives: Such as kitchen knives and other types of knives used for work or recreation are generally legal to own and carry in New Jersey.
Prohibited Knives in New Jersey
While many types of knives are legal in New Jersey, there are several types of knives that are strictly prohibited. These include:
- Switchblades: Knives that can be opened with the press of a button or switch.
- Gravity Knives: Knives that can be opened with a flick of the wrist.
- Daggers: Double-edged knives that are designed for stabbing.
- Stilettos: Knives with a long, thin blade.
- Balisongs: Also known as butterfly knives, these knives have a folding blade that is concealed within the handle.
- Any other knives that are illegal to possess or carry: Such as ballistic knives, shurikens, throwing stars, and other similar weapons.
Restrictions on Carrying Knives in New Jersey
In addition to restrictions on the types of knives that can be possessed or carried, New Jersey law also places restrictions on how knives can be carried. These include:
- Concealed carry: It is illegal to carry a knife concealed on one’s person or in a vehicle.
- Open carry: It is legal to carry a knife openly, but it is still illegal to carry a knife with the intent to use it unlawfully.
- Carrying knives in specific places: It is illegal to carry a knife on school property, in government buildings, or in other specific locations designated by law.
Penalties for Breaking Knife Laws in New Jersey
Violations of New Jersey knife laws can result in criminal charges and penalties. These include:
- Possession of illegal knives: This is considered a fourth-degree crime and can result in up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Carrying illegal knives: This is considered a fourth-degree crime and can result in up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Using illegal knives in a crime: This can result in additional criminal charges and penalties depending on the specific circumstances of the crime.
Second Amendment and Knife Rights
When it comes to knife ownership, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution serves as a key factor in protecting our rights.
The Second Amendment states that “a well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This legally protects our right to own knives, as long as they are used for lawful purposes.
Knife Rights is an advocacy organization that defends our knives and works to protect our rights. They have two main goals: to ensure that essential tools are recognized as such and that knives are treated fairly under the law. In New Jersey, retired law enforcement officers have the right to possess certain knives, including switchblades and other types of knives with blades over five inches.
Knife Use as a Weapon in New Jersey
In New Jersey, it is illegal to use a knife as a weapon, regardless of the type of knife. If a person is found using a knife as a weapon, they can face serious legal consequences, including jail time and hefty fines.
New Jersey also has specific laws in place regarding the use of dangerous knives such as switchblades, gravity knives, and ballistic knives. These knives are illegal to possess or carry under any circumstances and are deemed dangerous weapons.
Consequently, if someone is found in possession of one of these knives and uses it as a weapon, they can face serious criminal charges.
Lawful Knife Possession in New Jersey
According to the Second Amendment, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Contrary to what many may think, the Second Amendment doesn’t just pertain to guns. The word ‘arms’ encompasses knives as well. That being said, the state has no authority to infringe upon a citizen’s right to own or carry a knife, with some exceptions, of course.
In New Jersey, some knife types are legal to own, whereas other types are illegal to possess regardless of any explainable, lawful purpose. You should also note that there are circumstances that constitute whether or not a knife is legal or illegal to carry, as we’re going to explain shortly.
But first, here’s a list of all the knives that you’re allowed to own in New Jersey:
- Bowie knife
- Balisong knife
- Butterfly knife
- Throwing knives
- Throwing stars
- Disguised knives
Unlawful Knife Possession in New Jersey
According to N.J.S. 2C: 39-3, the possession of dirks, daggers, switchblades, gravity knives, ballistic knives, stilettos, and wood-embedded razor blades is illegal. Possession of any of these weapons is considered a crime of the fourth degree. So, if you’re caught with any of these items, you may spend 18 months in prison and receive a $10,000 fine.
Also, you should know that people with certain mental illnesses and people who are convicted of particular crimes aren’t allowed to own a dangerous knife.
Furthermore, it’s illegal to possess any type of knife on school property without written consent from the school. This is a fourth-degree crime, under N.J.S 2C:29-5(e), and is punishable by up to 18 months and a $10,000 fine.
Unlawful Knife Use
In the state of New Jersey, if you use any knife for an unlawful purpose, you can be charged with “Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose” under N.J.S. 2C:39-4. This applies whether the knife is legal or illegal. If you’re charged with this third-degree crime, you may spend 3-5 years in prison and receive a fine of up to $15,000.
Let’s put things into perspective with an example. Let’s assume you have a kitchen knife in your vehicle’s glove box. The presence of the knife in your vehicle’s glove box is legal, and you can’t be charged with possession.
However, if you decide to use the kitchen knife in your glove box to threaten someone or in the course of a burglary, then you may be charged with “Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose.”
What About the Sale of Knives?
Selling knives isn’t illegal in the state of New Jersey. After all, knives can be used for lawful purposes.
However, selling a knife with a blade that’s 5 inches or more or a knife that has a total length of 10 inches or more to an individual under the age of 18 is against the law. This is a fourth-degree crime that’s punishable by up to 18 months and a $10,000 fine, according to N.J.S. 2C:39-9.1.
Moreover, selling a prohibited knife to any individual, regardless of age, is a violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-9(d). This is also a fourth-degree crime that’s punishable by up to 18 months and a $10,000 fine.
What About the Transportation of Knives?
Transporting a legal-to-own knife is acceptable in the state of New Jersey. However, transporting illegal knives, such as dirks, daggers, switchblades, gravity knives, ballistic knives, stilettos, and wood-embedded razor blades, is unlawful.
And if you transport an illegal knife without a license, you can be charged with “Unlawful Transportation of a Prohibited Weapon” under N.J.S. 2C:39-9(d). This is a fourth-degree crime that’s punishable by up to 18 months.
Robbery and Aggravated Assault
If a knife is used during a theft or robbery to threaten or hurt someone, the knife’s holder can be charged with a second-degree crime under N.J.S. 2C:15-1. This is a crime that’s punishable by 5-10 years and a fine of up to $100,000.
Otherwise, using a knife during a robbery in an attempt to kill or seriously injure someone else is considered a crime of the first degree, punishable by 10-20 years. Also, note that a conviction for knife robberies is subject to no early release under NERA. This entails spending 85% of the sentence before the possibility of release.
Concerning aggravated assault, under N.J.S. 2C:12-1, if a knife is used during a fight, the knife’s holder can be charged with aggravated assault, a second-degree crime punishable by 5-10 years (state prison). And a person can be charged with this crime even if the victim suffered no injury.
Aggravated assault, similar to knife robbery convictions, is subject to the no early release act, meaning that the sentenced has to serve 85% of their sentence before the possibility of release.
Frequently Asked Questions
The legal knife length in NJ is not specified in the law.
It is legal to carry a knife openly, but it is illegal to carry a knife with the intent to use it unlawfully.
It’s legal to carry a pocket knife, utility knife, hunting knife, and other types of knives used for work or recreation.
Spring-assisted knives are not specifically mentioned in NJ knife laws, but they may be considered switchblades which are illegal.
The state with the most relaxed knife laws would vary depending on the specific type of knife and carrying restriction being considered.
Is it legal to own a knife in New Jersey? According to the Second Amendment, it’s acceptable to own a knife. However, certain types of knives are illegal to own in New Jersey, and possession of any of these knives is considered a crime of the fourth degree.
Furthermore, the unlawful use of a knife, whether it’s legal or illegal, is considered a third-degree crime that can lead to up to 3-5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Unlawful knife use can be anything from using a knife to threaten someone to using a knife in the course of a burglary.