Updated for 2021
Previously, Arkansas had one of the most rigid knife laws among the other states in the U.S.. But after repealing several knife laws in 2011, it has become one of the most knife-friendly states in America. Which is great news for those who want to enjoy the recreational activities and extensive park areas in Arkansas.
The Arkansas law is based on the intent of carrying a knife, which makes possession of a knife lawful or unlawful. It is illegal to own a knife in Arkansas if a person carries it with the intent to harm anyone, or use it as a weapon against others. However, you still must be 18 years or older to possess a knife.
Lets take a look at the regulations related to the possession and use of knives in Arkansas.
What Knives are Explicitly Illegal in Arkansas
Arkansas law declares a knife as a bladed hand instrument that can be used for stabbing or cutting, causing severe physical injury or death. The law specifies that if the person does not intend to use the knife for unlawful purposes, there are no restrictions on the person carrying the knife.
Thus, the state of Arkansas does not restrict or forbid any type of knife. It is only illegal to carry a knife if the intent is to use it is to stab someone or cause physical injury.
Knife Size Regulations in Arkansas
Formerly under Arkansas law, it was illegal to carry any knife, open or concealed, with a blade length more than 3.5”, however, after the repeal of the state code 5-73-121, this law does not apply anymore, making it legal to carry any type of knife you want.
Some localities, like Fort Smith and Eureka Springs, still restrict the knife size and do not allow citizens to carry knives with a blade length exceeding 3.5”.
Local Municipality Knife Laws in Arkansas
The state of Arkansas allows carrying knives, concealed, regardless of the size and type. However, it is prohibited to carry any type of knife in schools or government buildings. Municipalities have the authority to add concealed carry regulations if they deem suitable.
Some local city governments impose rigid restrictions on concealed carry. Palmer, AR forbids carrying sheathed knives in some localities, whereas, Texarkana prohibits carrying knives on public transport.
Due to the lack of a preemption act, the local authorities have the ability to question citizens otherwise complying with the state law. However, it is most unlikely to happen because of Arkansas’ focus on their fishing and hunting tourism industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Karambits Legal in Arkansas?
All types of knives are legal in Arkansas, including karambits. The law of Arkansas only considers carrying a knife illegal if the person intends on using it for unlawful purposes, or to cause harm.
Are Throwing Knives Legal in Arkansas?
Yes, throwing knives are legal in Arkansas as long as you do not use them for unlawful purposes or as a weapon against someone.
Are Balisongs Legal in Arkansas?
Balisongs are legal to carry in Arkansas state. The law allows the citizens to carry all types and sizes of knives. The only time carrying or owning a knife becomes illegal is when the person has unlawful intent to hurt someone or use the knife as a weapon.
Are Swords Legal in Arkansas?
The law of Arkansas clearly states that a “knife” is a bladed hand instrument that can cause serious physical injury or death by cutting or stabbing. It says that if the person does not have any intention of stabbing or causing injury, they can legally carry a knife, so by that definition it would includes swords, dirk, switchblades, butterfly knife, etc.
Is it Legal to Carry a Knife on School Grounds or College Campuses?
According to Arkansas law, it is illegal to carry any type of knife in schools and different public buildings. However, exceptions may apply to rest areas and weigh stations controlled by the Arkansas Department of Transportation.
Can a Minor Carry a Knife in Arkansas
Under Arkansas law, it is illegal for a minor below 18 years to carry any knife, concealed or open, anywhere in the state, besides a regular pocket knife. According to state code 5-73-109, selling a knife to a minor without parental or legal guardian approval comes under a Class A Misdemeanor. A peace officer may disarm a minor possessing a forbidden knife without arresting them if the peace officer deems it fit.
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