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What Are the Ohio Knife Laws?

Updated: September 14, 2021
Nicholas Gounaris
By Nicholas Gounaris

Nicholas G. Gounaris is a skilled trial lawyer and founding partner of Gounaris Abboud law firm. He provides clients of the firm with competent legal representation and focuses his law practice in the areas of DUI Defense, Criminal Defense, Family Law Issues, Federal Criminal Law and Personal Injury cases.

ohio knife laws

Individuals seek ways to protect themselves. This can include carrying things such as pepper spray, personal alarms, and even knives.

Others use knives as a collectible item or handy tool. However, given the impact a knife injury can have, Ohio knife laws impose restrictions on how they are possessed and used.

These laws seek to balance the freedom to possess and carry various types of knives with the justice system’s duty to protect others from the dangers knives can present. 

Ohio Revised Code Knife Laws

First things first: The revised Ohio knife law effective April of 2021 provides a significant adjustment to knife laws in Ohio. The law now states that the prohibition against carrying concealed weapons does not include knives that are not used as a weapon. “Knives” include:

  • Razors;
  • Automatically opening pocket knives;
  • Folding knives; and 
  • Any knife-type cutting instrument.

Senate Bill 140 also repealed a statewide ban on the manufacture and sale of automatically opening pocket or folding knives.

Knife as a Weapon Designation

In general, when the law addresses an offense involving a “deadly weapon” or “weapon” it does not include any knife in that category.

However, here is the exception, and it is a crucial one to know: If an offender uses any knife or cutting instrument as a weapon, law enforcement can then categorize the item as a deadly or concealed weapon. Here is an example.

A person is smoking marijuana in a public park, in violation of the law. The police stop the person because of the smoking and pat them down without any struggle. They find a switchblade in their pocket.

The switchblade possession will not lead to a charge of possession of a concealed or deadly weapon.

On the other hand, if law enforcement apprehended the same individual after they attempted to rob a person and used the knife to threaten the victim, things would change.

At that point, as the offender used the knife as a weapon in the robbery, they can be charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

So, Ohio knife carry laws provide citizens with the freedom to carry a knife. However, if a citizen uses that item as a weapon, its possession and use can become illegal. There remain, of course, various prohibitions regarding having knives on school grounds and other locations.

Attorneys Who Know Ohio Knife Laws

If a person is facing Ohio knife carry law violations or other knife-related offenses, they should look for a criminal defense attorney.

Knife law violations are criminal offenses, and penalties could include incarceration and fines and lead to the loss of employment. An established law firm with a history of clients who recommend it can put an offender in the best position to fight charges. 

The time to seek legal advice is when one fears they may be facing charges or as soon as possible after law enforcement charges them. However, even if a court date is around the corner, experienced attorneys can step in and take over.

Gounaris Abboud, LPA

Gounaris Abboud, LPA has more than 50 years of collective experience in criminal defense and other areas of law. We handle every level of the case, from the most challenging legal cases in Ohio to everyday smaller matters. To our attorneys, every case is important. Please call us at 937-222-1515 or reach us online to schedule your free consultation today.

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