Virginia Knife Laws

Seal of Virginia

First, the information on this page is not legal advice and should not be construed as such, but this information covers the known Virginia knife laws as they stand today. This information was pulled from The Law Office of Shawn M Cline which was pulled from KnifeUp.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is legal to own any type of knife. It is also legal to open carry any type of knife. The state restrictions deal with what you can and cannot conceal carry when moving about Virginia.

Concealed Carry:

The statute states “if any person carries about his person, hidden from observation” the items that follow below, then they are in violation of the code. The statute also proscribes that hidden from observation is to mean that the item or instrument is “observable, but is of such deceptive appearance as to disguise the weapons true nature.” The Virginia Supreme Court has interpreted “about the person” to not only be directly on a person, but also if the item is in arm’s length of the person, such as in a bag or container near the person, or readily accessible. Va. Code Ann. 18.2 §308

Two important elements of the concealed carry portion of the statute are:

  1. the hidden or deceptive appearance of the item and
  2. accessibility

Types of Knives Illegal to Conceal Carry in Virginia:

  • Dirk (long dagger)
  • Bowie Knife
  • Switchblade
  • Ballistic Knife (automatic knife)
  • Machete
  • Razor
  • Throwing Stars/Darts
  • Any of the like kind of this list

Definitions:

The statute only defines a ballistic knife as a knife with a detachable blade, that is propelled by a spring-operated mechanism; this is commonly known as an automatic knife. The code doesn’t define the others, but the court will look at the purpose of carrying the item in determining if it is a weapon within the meaning of the law.

In summation, almost all EDC (everyday carry) folding knives are legal to conceal carry unless they fit into one of the above category, or are of the like kind of one those specified knives. An example of this would be when the Virginia Supreme Court held that an open balisong or butterfly knife closely resembled a dirk, and thus was in violation of the law. Fixed blade knives (bushcraft, survival, tactical) will depend on the length of the blade and purpose for which you intend to use the knife, if you intend to conceal carry. Otherwise, belt knives of any kind are legal to carry if it is obvious that the object is a knife.

Sources:

Va. Code Ann. 18.2 §308

http://www.knifeup.com/virginia-knife-laws/