Arkansas Knife Laws

Updated for 2023

Arkansas has evolved to become one of the most knife-friendly states in America, especially after the repeal of several restrictive laws in 2011. This guide aims to provide an in-depth understanding of Arkansas knife laws, incorporating recent legal decisions, statutory references, and practical advice for knife enthusiasts and everyday citizens.

Key Statutes and Legal Interpretations

Arkansas knife laws are primarily governed by the Arkansas Code, with several key sections relevant to knife ownership and carry:

  • Arkansas Code § 5-73-120: Defines the unlawful use of a weapon, including knives, in a manner that could cause harm.
  • Arkansas Code § 5-73-121: Previously restricted blade length but was repealed, allowing for the carry of knives of any size.
  • Arkansas Code § 5-73-122: Pertains to carrying a weapon in a publicly owned building or facility.
  • Arkansas Code § 5-73-123: Addresses the possession of weapons on school property.

Recent legal cases that have influenced the interpretation of these statutes include:

Local Municipality Knife Laws

In Arkansas, local municipalities have the authority to enact more restrictive knife laws. For example:

  • Fort Smith City Ordinance: Limits the blade length of knives to 3.5 inches.
  • Eureka Springs City Regulation: Imposes restrictions on carrying certain types of knives.
  • Palmer City Ordinance: Forbids carrying sheathed knives in certain localities.
  • Texarkana City Law: Prohibits carrying knives on public transport.

Practical Information on Knife Carry

  • Pocket Knives: Legal to own and carry without blade length restrictions.
  • Fixed Blade Knives: Can be carried openly or concealed, but restrictions apply in certain public buildings and schools.


  1. Are Karambits Legal in Arkansas? Yes, all types of knives, including karambits, are legal in Arkansas, provided they are not carried with unlawful intent.
  2. Are Throwing Knives Legal in Arkansas? Throwing knives are legal as long as they are not used for unlawful purposes or as a weapon against someone.
  3. Are Balisongs Legal in Arkansas? Balisongs are legal to carry in Arkansas. The law allows citizens to carry all types and sizes of knives unless intended for unlawful use.
  4. Are Swords Legal in Arkansas? Swords are included in the definition of a knife and are legal to carry if there is no intention of causing injury or harm.
  5. Is it Legal to Carry a Knife on School Grounds or College Campuses? It is illegal to carry any type of knife in schools and public buildings in Arkansas, with limited exceptions for certain areas controlled by the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

Conclusion and Legal Compliance

Arkansas knife laws have evolved to become more permissive, focusing on the intent behind carrying a knife. The statutes and cases mentioned provide a framework for understanding these laws, but as legal interpretations can evolve, it is crucial to stay informed of any changes. Always verify the current laws and consult with a legal professional to ensure compliance and to understand the implications of carrying a knife in Arkansas.

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