America is a federalist country, giving states and local governments a great amount of autonomy to enact their own laws. This means we will often see different laws in different states, and that is certainly true for laws concerning knives.
But if you are in Arizona, you have among the friendliest knife laws in America. The ownership and carrying of any type of knife is legal for those 21 years or older in almost every circumstance. If you are of age, there is no restriction on the size or type of your knife, and you can carry your knife either open or concealed.
And because of a statewide preemption law passed in 2011, this policy is uniform across the entire state rather than differing from one city or county to another. So if you are traveling throughout Arizona, you do not need to worry that you may run afoul of the law for no other reason but that you are have driven from one town to the next.
According to the City of Phoenix website, “A ‘deadly weapon’ means anything that is designed for lethal use. The term certainly includes a firearm but does not specifically include knives. Knives are generally regarded as tools.” As this shows you, knives are not considered a weapon in Arizona.
Here are more specifics:
Knife law specifics
For those 21 or older, every type of knife, including an automatic knife, is legal to own or carry (either open or concealed) in public. Specifically:
- There is no distinction to the knives you can carry based on length, closure or number of edges. Meaning you can carry a knife of any length.
- There is no distinction between open carry and concealed knife laws. So you can carry your knife how you would like; the same law applies regardless.
- There is no prohibition on the sale or transfer of knives.
- There is no distinction based on the type of knife you own or carry, nor is there any limitation on the types of knives you choose to carry. All are legal in Arizona.
These provisions apply only to those 21 years or older.
For those under 21
The liberal knife laws in Arizona apply only to those who are 21 years of age or older. For those under 21, they are only permitted to own and carry a pocket knife, either open or concealed. While there is no specific definition of what a pocket knife is, it generally describes what you and I think of as a pocket knife: a knife with a blade less than four inches that folds and opens manually.
While the Arizona knife laws are largely friendly, there are a handful of venues where carrying knives is prohibited. This includes schools, hydroelectric facilities, nuclear facilities and public events and gatherings.
Knives are also illegal to carry in the commission of a crime or an act of terrorism. And, you must inform a peace officer you are carrying a knife is he or she asks if you are armed.
Prior to legislation in 2011, Arizona had a hodgepodge of knife laws that left much confusion. A law-abiding knife owner could have easily of broken the law simply by crossing a city line and not realizing that their knife that was legal in their hometown is now illegal.
However, Section 13-3120 of the Arizona State Statutes cleared up the confusion and everyone over 21 has the freedom to own or carry any knife they would like. If you are carrying a knife in Arizona, you have very little to worry about.
None of the material in this article should be interpreted as legal advice. I am not a lawyer. Never take any action with legal consequences without first consulting with a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction. This article should not be relied upon for making legal decisions. This information is provided for scholarship and general information only.