Can Felons Carry Knives?

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While incarcerated, felons are restricted from using knives of any type.  “Silverware” consists of plastic forks, spoons, and sometimes a combination called a spork.

There are no knives.

For any purpose in prison, unless working a job under close supervision, knives or any other sharp objects are off limits.  They can easily become a weapon to attack fellow inmates or prison staff.

For those serving a lengthy sentence, they may go many years without the privilege of using a knife.

Following release from prison and returning to society there is still the concern of felons coming into contact with weapons that could be used against other persons.

Among the many restrictions they face, felons are not allowed to possess or carry a firearm.  They may own a crossbow, as a previous post indicated.  However, can they return to owning a knife or even carrying one?

This blog post will cover the question of whether felons can carry knives.

  • Knife Terminology
  • Types of Knives
  • State Laws
  • Supporting Felons in Following the Knife Laws

Knife Terminology

Of course knives have many purposes other than as a weapon.

Knives have long been considered a necessity for survival, for hunting.  Knives can be practical and useful or sharp and dangerous, depending on how you view them and how they are used.

There is commonly used terminology involving knives.

First, there is a legal term for having a knife.  Ownership law dictates what you are to own or have at home.

A carry law states what you are allowed to have with you outside the home.

Types of Knives

What are the different types of knives?

There is a fixed blade knife, which is one without a folding mechanism.  Kitchen knives fall into this category.

A folding knife is one where the blade folds into the handle.  An assisted-opening knife is one which has a spring mechanism that assists in applying the force needed on the blade to open the knife.

A switchblade is a knife with a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button or other device in the handle of the knife or by operation of inertia, gravity, or both.

A gravity knife is one where the blade opens using the force of gravity to fall open.

A Bowie knife is a large fixed blade knife.

A stiletto is a very thin knife designed to stab.

A dagger is one with both edges of the blade sharpened.

State Knife Laws

It is important to make these distinctions between the types of knives because state laws address each of these different kinds with some being legal and others not for all persons, not just for felons.

The only federal knife law is the one outlawing carrying a knife with a blade longer than 4 inches.

Otherwise laws pertaining to knives are left up to each state to regulate.  State laws address different types of knives with some being allowed and some not.  It depends on the type of knife in question.

State laws are based at least in part on the intent behind different types of knives and not just on the design.

Intent is a major part of how knife laws are enforced.  If a knife appears scary or is carried in a hidden or suspicious manner, legal authorities may view it differently.

Carrying even a legal knife can open felons up to deadly weapon charges.  If this occurs it is important to contact a lawyer.

In carrying any knife, it is important to have it in plain sight in a sheath, depending on the type of knife.

When using a knife in public, it is particularly important for felons to use any knife in a careful manner, taking it out slowly, using it gently, and replacing it in its sheath or pocket.

Of course there are places that knives cannot be carried.  A knife cannot be taken into schools, courts, on planes, or into most federal, state, or local government building.  Only members of the military can take a knife onto a military base.

With so many types of knives and so many purposes for their use, may often have a need to own or carry a knife.  In order to do so, it is essential to follow the laws of whatever state they live in.

Equally important is how to properly carry and safely use a knife in public.  There is no reason for felons to call attention to themselves needlessly.

Obeying the laws and restrictions they face is difficult enough.

Supporting Felons in Following the Knife Laws

For families of felons, it is crucial to recognize that your loved one is trying to readjust to society and do the right thing.  Be there to encourage and support them in living an honest life and fitting back into society once again.  It may seem like a little thing, but obeying the laws regarding carrying knives will help them follow other laws also.

So what do you think about this blog post about can felons carry knives?  Have you or someone you know been in this situation?  What was that like?  Please tell us in the comments below.

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