Knife Laws in New York

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Knife laws in New York are a bit confusing and depend upon one’s definition of a dangerous knife. All in all, here is what you need to know about the local knife laws in New York in order to avoid trouble.

What knives are legal to own in New York?

Times Square, New York
Times Square, New York

A hunting knife is legal in New York. The same rule applies to stilettos. Gravity knives are also accepted in the state. Knives that are not mentioned in the law can be assumed as legal, as there are no regulations regarding them.

What knives are illegal to own in New York?

New York is one of the most restrictive states in the country when it comes to knife laws. For example, you are not allowed to own a metal knuckle knife. Ballistic knives are also illegal – just like in many other states. The same rule applies to cane swords and Chinese throwing stars.

Now, there are a few restrictions based on something else too. If you are not a US citizen, you are not allowed to own any knife at all. Moreover, knives adapted to be used as weapons are illegal, even if they are legal in the stock form which is up to one’s interpretation.

People under 16 cannot own any dangerous knives either.

What are the limits on carry?

This part is a bit vague. Practically, you cannot carry a stiletto, dagger, dirk, or other stabbing knife if your primary purpose is to use it against someone else. Other than that, you can legally carry any knife in the open as long as it is legal to own and carry it for peaceful purposes.

Concealed Carry

New York does not have any restrictions when it comes to concealed carry. You can conceal carry any type of knife if it is legal to possess – unless you are planning to commit a crime. The law claims that stabbing knives cannot be carried in the open or concealed. They are considered crime weapons. However, this presumption can be rebutted in court.

Restrictions on Carry in Specific Locations / Circumstances

You are not allowed to bring a weapon – including knives – into a school, on school grounds, or in safety zones. School transportation and school-related activities also prohibit knives. Knives are also banned from public transportation.

Restrictions on Sale or Transfer

Unless you are dealing with a banned knife, there are no rules to prevent you from selling or transferring a knife.

Is there a statewide pre-emption?

New York does not have a statewide pre-emption.

Major Cities in New York with Knife Ordinances

  • Buffalo does not allow carrying knives – whether in the open or concealed – on public properties.
  • In New York City, you cannot carry a knife in the open and the blade must not exceed four inches.
  • Rochester does not allow carrying knives – apart from pocket knives with blades shorter than three inches.
  • In Syracuse, you cannot carry weapons – including knives.


There are no exceptions in New York.

Summary of Knife Laws in New York

New York is a bit restrictive and different municipalities have different rules. When it comes to critical dimensions, stick to less than four inches for the blade in New York City, or you might get in trouble.