Washington State Knife Laws

washington state knife laws

Going to buy a pocket knife or any other knife? Well, it might be or legal or illegal. Read this article thoroughly to know more about Washington State Knife Laws.

Knife laws differ for various states in the United States, and then there are federal laws which also require consideration. However, for specific states, you have to be careful because owning a deadly weapon in the state like Washington will be accountable to the owner of the knife. Knife possession isn’t very simple yet not very complicated because you just have to be careful about certain laws. In this article, we will take you through each law one by one, so you can understand them easily.

Legal Knives

Let’s discuss what’s legal to own in Washington.

  • Legal: It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or another stabbing knife
  • Legal: It is legal to own bowie knife
  • Legal: It is legal to own a stiletto
  • Legal: It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as a lipstick or belt buckle
  • Legal: It is legal to own throwing stars

Illegal Knives

  • Illegal: It is illegal to own a switchblade or other spring blade knife in the state of Washington.
  • Illegal: It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk
  • Illegal: It is illegal to conceal carry a dagger
  • Illegal: It is illegal to cover carry any dangerous weapon
  • Illegal: It is illegal to open or conceal carry any weapon into a Courtroom

Washington is very careful about the knife possessions, and it is illegal to carry or even display all types of dagger, sword or knife, it is even illegal to display any cutting material in public that may intimidate another person or cause panic or alarm. In a case happened in 1994, it was concluded by the Supreme Court of Washington that there should be enough evidence for causing the alarm, if a reasonable person gets alarmed by your display of knife then it is questionable. Any weapon that may add the fear or alarm irrespective of its original intention is a violation because the statue doesn’t entertain intent. This, by all means, is sufficient to say that you can be held guilty of causing fear or panic in public using a knife without considering the intent of your actions.

The Law
  • 9.41.250. Dangerous weapons — Penalty

(1) Every person who…

(a) Manufactures, sells, or disposes of or possesses any instrument or weapon of the kind usually known as a slungshot, sand club, or metal knuckles, or spring blade knife

(b) Furtively carries with intent to conceal any dagger, dirk, pistol, or other dangerous weapons

Definition of different kinds of knives

There are different types of knives as you may already know, but you should know the exact meaning of each one especially the ones which are forbidden by the law. Spring knives are specially defined by the state of Washington as the mechanical device which has a blade, and it automatically releases by the help of spring and ejects, opens, falls by the force of gravity, outward, downward or even centrifugal movement like the spinning of the knife. This knife has been specially defined by the statutes and by the legislature. If the court or law fails to define a knife term, then the court will use the simple English meaning of the word which can mean any definition of the Webster’s dictionary will be applicable.

Definition of dangerous knives/weapon

The state of Washington hasn’t strictly define a dangerous or deadly knife of weapon however in 2002 an unpublished opinion from the court stated that generally, the courts had defined the dangerous weapon to be something that can inflict harm on anyone. It was also said that the term dangerous weapon was noted as similar to the term deadly weapon and as most of you know that deadly weapon has been defined by RCW 9.94A. 125 and it means any instrument which has any capacity of inflicting death.

Furtively meaning in the statue

The Supreme Court of Washington discussed in 1996 regarding the secret word especially in the conceal carry statue in a case where a 16-year-old was discovered swearing off at a group of people while having a knife in her pocket. She was still charged with the with the possession of a dangerous weapon as the court found that the knife she was carrying was dangerous. The case was then moved by the convicted family to the Court of Appeals, who then reversed the conviction. Later the state appealed to Supreme Court of Washington that the sentenced argued about a statue required a furtive act especially when you have to charge the accused with the possession of dangerous weapon. Then the term was properly looked into by Supreme Court, and it was found out that furtively means secretly. It then started to apply to the conduct of carrying a concealed weapon which whenever concealed on purpose is especially to hide it, irrespective of the intent. Therefore conviction can be upheld.

Knife carrying exceptions, concealed or displayed

Carrying concealed or display weapons laws don’t apply specifically to people who use the knives in their homes and keep it at a fixed place for work use or protection of themselves against a particular threat of some unlawful force. It was found in 1983 by Supreme Court of Washington in a case where it was seen that the deck of the home was attached to several parts of the house and it was exempted from the display statue. However, in 2003, the Supreme Court of Washington found that a backyard is explicitly not part of the home and that’s why the person accused can’t be exempted from the carry or display statue while being in the backyard of a house.

Final Words on Washington Knife Laws

Washington Knife Law is very complicated about concealed or displayed knives and it even consider a knife to be a dangerous weapon which is same as a deadly weapon and deadly weapon term has been well defined by the courts. It is essential to be aware of the laws for possession of a knife in the state of Washington. Make sure you’re aware of the limits.


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