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Understanding Washington Knife Laws

Although gun control laws have been circling the public conscience in the past few years in the United States, a lot of people have somewhat forgotten about knife laws and regulations. A knife is inherently less dangerous than a gun but can still be used for crime – of course, knives also serve other non-violent purposes.

This dilemma about the purpose and uses of knives is at the heart of the knife law debate in the state of Washington, as it is one of the most outdoor-oriented states in the country. In recent years, Washington has doubled back on its lenient knife regulations and has since made carrying and other knife restrictions much more serious offenses.

Below, we offer an overview of Washington’s knife laws, including vital information about what is legal in terms of carrying so that you can be a more prepared and cognizant knife owner.

Call Twyford Law Office at (509) 327-0777 if you have questions about Washington knife laws or if you have been charged with a knife-related crime.

What Is Legal?

The truth of the matter is, Washington has some rather confusing knife laws that seem lenient but under certain circumstances can be very strict.

In the state of Washington, it is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or any kind of stabbing knife; a bowie knife; a stiletto; a disguised knife; and even throwing stars. What is illegal is to conceal carry a dirk, dagger, or any dangerous weapon. If you are a knife owner, you must open carry in Washington in order to obey the law.

It’s also important to clearly state that it is illegal to own any kind of switchblade or spring blade knife in Washington or possess any kind of knife or dangerous weapon on school grounds.

Washington has no knife length limits, but the counties and municipalities throughout Washington have varying knife length restrictions. Depending on where you are within the state, a certain knife can become legal or illegal to own.

It is technically legal to open carry any kind of legal knife throughout the state, but there is also a twist to this law because there is a restriction stating that if anyone is to be alarmed or intimidated by the presence of an open-carried knife, then the knife owner can be charged with a dangerous weapons penalty.

It is imperative that every Washington knife owner understands that they can, in theory, be arrested if someone gets frightened and calls the police on them because they are open carrying. Causing fear or some kind of alarm without intent is not an adequate legal defense. Because this law is open-ended, knife owners who aren’t necessarily doing anything dangerous could technically face criminal charges.

Exceptions to Concealed Carry

There are a few exceptions to the concealed carry of knives in Washington.

Exceptions include those who are:

  • Inside their homes
  • At their place of business
  • Defending themselves or others from an unlawful force

Even though Washington is known for it’s great outdoors and hunting, there are several restrictions against knife owners that all knife owners need to be aware of. If you do choose to open carry a knife, be sure you are not carrying the knife in a way that could potentially alarm other people.

Twyford Law Office Is Here to Help

Knife charges are serious and you should seek immediate assistance from a competent knife crime defense attorney in Spokane if you are facing these charges. It is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Contact Twyford Law Office at (509) 327-0777 if you have been arrested for a dangerous weapons charge.