Can You Carry a Pocket Knife In a Hospital? (Truth Revealed)

Most pocket knives are not considered weapons, meaning they are not banned from hospital facilities. Hospital policies outline the procedures around weapons, which can vary from state to state. This leaves a fuzzy interpretation on what to do when it comes to pocket knives, but in terms of blades, a weapon is considered over 4 inches or opened by a mechanical device. Pocket knives and other folding blades are legal for open carry. 

This may seem relaxed for a hospital, however, folding blades are intended for utility uses. The healthcare facility has regulations on more serious weapons to keep the occupants safe. 

Be aware that a teaching hospital may be considered an educational institution, meaning knives and other weapons are not permitted.

Where can’t I carry a pocket knife?

Even though I just told you pocket knives aren’t weapons, there are still places they are not welcome. Knives are not permitted on planes, in schools, courts, or other federal buildings. Unless you are a member of the Armed Services, knives are also not allowed on military bases.

What size knife can I carry?

Although some policies are more strict depending on the state, a knife under 2.5 inches can be carried almost anywhere except where I listed above, of course. A multitool or knife intended for utility use is commonly permitted. 

What are The Knife Laws Per State?

Here is the list from each state, you can find more details by going to the American Knife and Tool Institute website.

  1. Alabama does not permit the carry of Bowie knives or knives with similar characteristics. Montgomery has a three-inch blade limitation.
  2. Alaska has obligations on individuals over 21 concealing knives, but pocket knives are exempt from these restrictions.
  3. Arizona has zero restricted knives and only enforces disclosure of concealed carry if asked by law enforcement.
  4. Arkansas is focused on intent. They find it an offence to carry a knife on the person or within reach while within a vehicle ‘with unlawful intent.’ There will likely be no issues if the knife is under 3 inches.
  5. California has several cities with knife ordinances and it is unlawful to concealed carry any knife with a fixed blade.
  6. Colorado does not allow knives over 3 ½ inches to be carried. Denver and Boulder have knife ordinances.
  7. Connecticut has a limitation of 4 inches that can be legally carried.
  8. Delaware considers any knife over 3 inches that do not fold, as a “deadly weapon” which is unlawful to carry unless licensed. 
  9. The District of Columbia has restricted locations. This makes it difficult to carry a pocket knife, even though you can legally do so.
  10. Florida allows its residents to carry a common pocket knife openly. There are many cities with knife ordinances.
  11. Georgia only restricts blades over 12 inches, otherwise, they can be carried freely.
  12. Hawaii has forbidden “Switchblades” and “Butterfly” knives and they also do not allow fixed blades to be carried.
  13. Idaho allows pocket knives with a blade less than 2 ½ inches to be carried on school grounds, where other states prohibit any blade on school grounds.
  14. Illinois restricts switchblades and ballistic knives and Chicago has a knife ordinance.
  15. Indiana does not have any concealed carry restrictions, however, it is unlawful to possess “Chinese throwing stars.”
  16. Iowa considers blades over 5 inches dangerous, which means they cannot be carried in a concealed manner.
  17. Kansas does not have any concealed carry restrictions or size limitations.
  18. Kentucky has restrictions on concealed carry with residents under 21, excluding a pocket knife.
  19. Louisiana is home to Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport which have knife ordinances.
  20. Maine does not have any size limitations but there are ordinances in Augusta, Bangor, and Lewiston.
  21. Maryland takes daylight into account, limiting minors of open or concealed carry between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. 
  22. Massachusetts limits automatic knives to 1 ½ inch.
  23. Michigan does not allow fixed blades to be concealed or carried in a vehicle with Detroit and Lansing having ordinances.
  24. Minnesota has 3 cities with restrictive ordinances; Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul.
  25. Mississippi does not allow its residents to carry bowie knives, switchblades and other fixed knives concealed.
  26. Missouri allows pocket knives under 4 inches to be carried concealed.
  27. Montana does not have a restriction on knives under 4 inches on school grounds.
  28. Nebraska leaves school officials and boards to punish students who possess weapons on grounds and allows 3 ½ inch blades or less to be carried concealed.
  29. Nevada restricts switchblades and fixed blades on school properties, otherwise, it is legal to carry knives.
  30. New Hampshire does not have strict knife laws except for residents who have previously committed a crime.
  31. New Jersey does not have restrictions on concealed carry.
  32. New Mexico does not allow knives where ‘dangerous cuts can be given’ to be carried.
  33. New York has a maximum blade length of 4 inches and has many cities with ordinances.
  34. North Carolina does not allow for the concealed carry of knives except for a common pocket knife.
  35. North Dakota considers blades over 5 inches as a “dangerous weapon” where other restrictions are in place.
  36. Ohio does not allow someone to concealed carry a “deadly weapon” and any knife may be considered a “deadly weapon.”
  37. Oklahoma has generally no restrictions on knife possession.
  38. Oregon has restrictions with concealed carry and other possession if the knife is over 4 inches and projects into place.
  39. Pennsylvania does not differentiate its law between concealed and open carry restrictions, the limitations are determined by intent.
  40. Rhode Island considers it unlawful to concealed carry a blade more than 3 inches.
  41. South Carolina does not allow for deadly weapons to be carried in a concealed manner.
  42. South Dakota also focuses on intent when determining its restrictions.
  43. Tennessee allows all types and sizes of knives to be carried either concealed or open.
  44. Texas restricts blades over 5 ½ inches.
  45. Utah allows all knives to be carried concealed or openly besides those who have previously committed a crime or have criminal intent.
  46. Vermont does not allow automatic knives over 3 inches but does not distinguish between open and concealed carry restrictions.
  47. Virginia allows pocket knives under 3 inches on school grounds, other weapons are prohibited.
  48. Washington deems it unlawful to carry fixed blades concealed.
  49. West Virginia considers knives over 3 ½ inches as “dangerous weapons.”
  50. Wisconsin does not restrict open or concealed carry of knives specifically.
  51. Wyoming allows for the possession of knives to persons over 21 and not previously convicted of a crime and does not have concealed restrictions.

It’s safe to say, using your best judgment can work when choosing where to bring a blade. However, it is important to double-check when you may be in no weapon zones.


I’m Ahmed, the guy behind I’ve owned several types of knives and sharpeners over the last few years and have become obsessed with everything to do with knives. I’m always trying to improve my cleaning and sharpening process, and always on the hunt for the next best knife. But when I’m not spending time with my hobby, I’m here, writing about Knives and Sharpeners on KnifePulse to share with you what I learn along the way.

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