Are Butterfly Knives Illegal in Arkansas? A Guide!

Butterfly knives, also known as balisongs, have long been a popular choice among knife enthusiasts for their unique design and flipping versatility.

Many would-be collectors and users, however, often question the legality of these knives, particularly in various states across the United States.

In Arkansas, one might wonder if owning or carrying a butterfly knife is permitted under the state’s knife laws.

Fortunately, Arkansas boasts relatively lenient knife laws, and this extends to butterfly knives as well.

Under Arkansas law, there are no specifically restricted or forbidden knives, which means that balisongs, or butterfly knives, are legal to own and carry in the state.

Concealment is also not an issue, granting knife owners an added sense of security.

It is important for knife owners to be mindful of places where carrying knives may be restricted, such as schools or government buildings, to ensure compliance with the law.

Key Takeaways

  • Butterfly knives are legal to own and carry in Arkansas
  • Arkansas has lenient knife laws with no specific restrictions or prohibitions
  • Be aware of restricted areas to avoid any legal issues when carrying a knife

Arkansas Knife Laws

Arkansas knife laws are quite lenient compared to other states, allowing for the possession and carrying of most types of knives.

The state recognizes the innate right of the citizenry to keep and bear arms, as acknowledged in Article 2 Section 2 of the AR State Code 14-54-1411.

In Arkansas, all knives are legal to own, including balisongs (butterfly knives), switchblades, automatic knives, gravity knives, dirks, stilettos, and other slim or stabbing knives.

Large knives such as bowies and machetes, as well as pocket knives, are also permitted. The state does not have any statutes restricting the type of knives you can own, as explained on

However, there are a few restrictions when it comes to carrying knives, especially when it comes to blade length.

According to, the blade of a knife cannot be carried legally if it’s above 3.5 inches, except on the owner’s property.

Additionally, carrying a knife with the intent to unlawfully employ it as a weapon against a person is considered an offense under § 5-73-120, as stated by the American Knife and Tool Institute.

In terms of location restrictions, all knives are prohibited in schools and specific areas such as government buildings.

There is no statewide preemption concerning knife laws, and the issue of concealed carry is not relevant, as long as there is no unlawful intent to employ the knife.

In conclusion, butterfly knives are not illegal in Arkansas, along with other types of knives. As a knife owner, it is essential to adhere to the state’s laws and restrictions to avoid any legal issues.

Butterfly Knives and Their Legality

Butterfly knives, also known as balisongs, have a complicated relationship with the law in various states across the United States.

Their legality often depends on the specific state laws and the purpose for which they are being used.

In Arkansas, butterfly knives are not explicitly mentioned in the state’s statutes. However, they are considered a type of gravity knife, which is prohibited by Arkansas Code § 5-73-121.

The law specifies that it is an offense to carry a knife with a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle.

Since butterfly knives open using a similar mechanism, they may be considered illegal under this statute.

Additionally, Arkansas has a concealed carry law that prohibits the carrying of certain types of knives, including daggers, dirks, and others that could cause serious injury.

While butterfly knives may not fall under the specific categories listed, they could still be considered dangerous weapons, and carrying them concealed may result in legal consequences.

It is important to note that law enforcement officers and active-duty military personnel are generally exempt from these restrictions.

They may be allowed to carry automatic knives and other types of restricted blades while on duty or in the performance of their job.

In conclusion, while butterfly knives are not explicitly mentioned in Arkansas law, their status as gravity knives may render them illegal under certain circumstances.

It is recommended that individuals take care to understand the local laws related to knives, especially when considering the purchase or use of restricted types like balisongs or automatic knives.

Carrying Knives in Arkansas

In Arkansas, there are no specific restrictions on the types of knives you can own or carry 1. This includes butterfly knives, switchblades, dirks, stilettos, large knives like bowie knives, and pocket knives, among others.

The state’s knife laws are quite permissive, allowing for both open carry and concealed carry of knives without any blade length restrictions.

However, it is essential to be aware of certain situations where carrying a knife might be considered an offense.

According to the Arkansas Code § 5-73-120, carrying a weapon, including knives, can be considered unlawful if the person has an intent to use it unlawfully as a weapon against another person.

This includes possessing a knife on your person, in a vehicle, or anywhere readily available for use.

Arkansas distinguishes knives from “deadly weapons” as per the law § 5-1-102, and mainly considers firearms and guns when discussing the latter 2.

Consequently, there are no specific state laws related to knife carrying or possession when it comes to places, and restrictions are mainly focused on firearms.

It is also important to remember that when traveling outside of Arkansas, other states’ knife laws may differ significantly, so it is always essential to be familiar with the local laws and regulations in order to avoid any legal issues.

Considering these points, Arkansas residents and travelers can confidently and responsibly carry knives without much concern for breaking the law.

However, always be cautious if your intent is shifting from self-defense to causing harm, as an unlawful intent might result in criminal charges.

Prohibited Knives and Related Penalties

In Arkansas, the laws governing the possession and carrying of knives are relatively lenient.

However, the state does impose restrictions on certain types of knives, such as automatic knives, switchblades, and butterfly knives, which are considered dangerous weapons.

Switchblades and automatic knives are classified as dangerous weapons under Arkansas state law, due to their easy deployment and potential for malicious intent.

It is illegal to possess or carry a switchblade or an automatic knife in Arkansas, regardless of the purpose and intent of the individual carrying it.

Violators can face penalties, including fines, probation, or even jail time, depending on the severity of the offense and the person’s criminal history.

Butterfly knives, also known as balisong knives, are regulated more strictly than other types of knives in Arkansas.

Their unique design allows for quick deployment and concealment, which can pose risks to public safety when used with malicious intent.

In addition to being illegal to carry or possess, it is also unlawful to manufacture, sell, or transfer butterfly knives within the state. Penalties for violating these laws can range from fines to imprisonment.

The state legislature does provide some exemptions for those traveling with prohibited knives, such as collectors and knife manufacturers, as long as proper precautions are taken to ensure public safety.

These precautions may include securely storing the knives during transportation or obtaining appropriate permits or licenses when transporting large quantities.

While possession of certain knives is prohibited under state law, it is important to note that federal law regulates possession of certain types of knives, such as switchblades, depending on specific circumstances, such as interstate commerce or travel.

Violation of these federal regulations may lead to harsher penalties, such as substantial fines or imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense.

In summary, the possession and carrying of switchblades, automatic knives, and butterfly knives are prohibited in Arkansas, with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment.

However, there are some exceptions for those traveling with these prohibited knives, provided proper precautions are taken and federal regulations are followed.

Knife Laws in Different States and Locations

Knife laws vary significantly across the United States, with each state having its own regulations regarding ownership, carrying, and usage of various types of knives.

Generally, knives designed for utility purposes, such as Swiss Army knives, are allowed in most places as long as the blade length does not exceed 3 inches source.

In Arkansas, the law states that carrying a knife with the intent to use it as a weapon against a person is considered an offense. This includes carrying a knife on your person, in a vehicle, or having it readily available for use source.

Different states have varying regulations on types of knives, such as switchblades and butterfly knives. For example:

  • Colorado: It is illegal to possess a switchblade knife, but butterfly knives are allowed.
  • California: Possessing switchblades and butterfly knives with a blade length greater than 2 inches is illegal.
  • Texas: Both switchblades and butterfly knives are allowed, with certain restrictions on carrying.
  • Wisconsin: Switchblades are allowed, while butterfly knives are subject to some local restrictions.

Additional considerations also apply in certain locations, such as schools and capitol grounds. In many states, it is illegal to bring any type of knife on school property, including utility knives.

On capitol grounds, the rules can also be more restrictive when it comes to knife possession and carrying.

In summary, knife laws differ significantly among the 50 states, including their statutes on specific cutting instruments like switchblades and butterfly knives.

It is crucial for individuals to be aware of and comply with their respective state regulations and restrictions, especially in sensitive locations such as schools and government buildings.

Exceptions and Special Cases

Arkansas is a mostly permissive state when it comes to knife ownership and carry laws. There are no specific restricted or forbidden knives under Arkansas law. However, certain exceptions and special cases apply to the carrying of knives in the state.

While the state allows individuals, including minors, to possess and carry knives, it is a Class A misdemeanor to furnish a “deadly weapon,” such as a cutting instrument, to a minor. It is also a Class D felony to provide any knife to an incarcerated person.

Though concealed carry is not an issue in Arkansas, certain places are off-limits, such as government buildings, schools, and places of business that prohibit weapons. It is essential to be aware of these restrictions to avoid any legal complications.

Carrying a knife with unlawful intent is illegal in Arkansas. According to the Arkansas Code, a person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if they possess a knife, club, or bladed hand instrument with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ it. This includes carrying a weapon for the purpose of causing serious physical injury or using it as a threat.

Additionally, while butterfly knives are not explicitly categorized as illegal in Arkansas, it is important to understand that the legality of a knife may be subject to individual interpretation, especially if it is considered potentially dangerous or harmful. Law enforcement, military, and federal officials may have different rules and regulations when it comes to carrying knives on duty.

In summary, Arkansas has relatively permissive knife laws, but certain exceptions and special cases need to be considered, such as restrictions on providing knives to minors and incarcerated persons, as well as carrying weapons in certain locations or with unlawful intent.


In Arkansas, there are no restrictions on the ownership of butterfly knives. The state has a friendly stance towards knives, making it legal to own various types of knives, including balisongs, switchblades, and others (source).

While carrying a butterfly knife is also allowed, it’s important to note that one must not have any unlawful intent. Concealed carry is not an issue in Arkansas, but the state does have restrictions on knives in schools and certain areas like government buildings (source).

In summary, butterfly knives are legal to own and carry in Arkansas, given that there is no unlawful intent. However, users should be aware of restrictions concerning certain locations such as schools and government buildings. By understanding the state’s knife laws, one can confidently and lawfully possess and use butterfly knives within its boundaries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there specific laws about balisong knives in Arkansas?

There are no specific laws that target balisong knives in Arkansas. All types of knives, including balisongs or butterfly knives, are legal to own and carry in the state, provided there is no unlawful intent involved 1.

What are the general knife laws in Arkansas for 2023?

Arkansas knife laws are relaxed, with no statewide knife preemption 3. The focus is on the user’s intent rather than the concealability of the knife. All knives are legal to own and carry, but it is illegal to use them for unlawful purposes or carry them into restricted areas, such as schools, government buildings, and certain public spaces 4.

What is the maximum allowable knife length in Arkansas?

There is no specific maximum knife length in Arkansas. However, if a knife has a blade that is three inches or longer and the person carrying it has the intent to use it unlawfully, it may be considered a violation of the law 2.

What are the age requirements for carrying a knife in Arkansas?

Arkansas does not have specific age requirements for carrying a knife. However, minors should exercise caution and obtain parental consent before carrying a knife, especially in public spaces.

Can felons possess knives in Arkansas?

While there is no direct information found in the provided sources, felons should seek legal advice before deciding to carry or possess a knife in Arkansas. Depending on the felony conviction and other circumstances, possessing a knife could potentially violate other laws or parole conditions.

What other weapons, like brass knuckles or swords, are regulated in Arkansas?

There are no specific regulations for weapons like brass knuckles or swords in Arkansas. However, just like with knives, it is essential to comply with local laws, avoid carrying them with unlawful intent, and adhere to restrictions in certain locations, such as schools or government buildings 5.


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