Everyone knows that following gun laws is an important part of being a good citizen. But did you know that there are laws for other weapons as well?
These laws are important to know because even if you can legally carry a concealed gun, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can carry other weapons (concealed or otherwise).
This post will cover important things like Virginia sword laws, Virginia switchblade laws, Virginia pocket knife laws, and Virginia knife length laws.
Possessing and Selling Knives in Virginia
Are automatic knives legal in Virginia? Are switchblades illegal in Virginia? Knife laws in Virginia prohibit owning, possessing, or selling,
(Source: Virginia law)
A ballistic knife is anything like a switchblade where a piece of the knife is designed to eject or propel from the knife. The law also goes on to say that anything resembling what is listed above is illegal.
Anyone caught open-carrying any of the prohibited weapons listed here can be charged with a Class 4 Misdemeanor, which comes with a fine of up to $250 but no jail time. Anyone caught concealing them on their person (not in their car or home) can be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor the first time and felonies the second or third time.
Be careful, because “concealment” is pretty strict in Virginia. You can be carrying the knife out in the open; but if it is disguised to look like something else, it can still be considered concealed.
Virginia Concealed Knife Laws
Not all knives are prohibited, though. You may be wondering, “Is it legal to carry a pocket knife?” Virginia concealed weapon laws do not prohibit knives that are not listed above from being carried out in the open.
If you have any questions about what is legal and not legal to open carry or conceal carry in Virginia, don’t conceal any weapons on your person, and contact Cook Attorneys to help you figure out what is allowed and what isn’t.
Substantial exceptions to the concealed carry laws exist in Virginia. The following are allowed to conceal legal knives on their persons:
- Any person while in his own place of business
- Any law-enforcement officer, or retired law-enforcement officer (with exceptions)
- Any person who is at, or going to or from, an established shooting range, provided that the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported
- Any regularly enrolled member of a weapons collecting organization who is at, or going to or from, a bona fide weapons exhibition, provided that the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported
- Any person carrying such weapons between his place of abode and a place of purchase or repair, provided the weapons are unloaded and securely wrapped while being transported
- Any person engaged in lawful hunting
- Any attorney for the Commonwealth or assistant attorney for the Commonwealth, wherever such attorney may travel in the Commonwealth
- Any judge or justice of the Commonwealth, wherever such judge or justice may travel in the Commonwealth
- Carriers of the United States mail
- Officers or guards of any state correctional institution
More exceptions apply; if you would like to see the whole law, you can read it here.
School Knife Laws in Virginia
All knives are prohibited on school grounds, grounds where school functions are taking place, and school busses in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with one exception: pocket knives. The legal blade length in VA of a pocket knife on school grounds is less than 3 inches. Any longer than that, and the carrier can be charged with a crime.
If you are caught with a knife of 3 inches or longer on your person on school property, you can be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which could come with up to 1 year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
If you are caught with a switchblade or other ballistic-type knife, the charge goes up to Class 6 Felony, which comes with a mandatory 5-year prison term.
Exceptions to the knife laws apply, such as for food preparation in kitchens and law enforcement officers on school grounds. You also cannot be charged if the weapons are in a locked trunk.
Weapons Brandishing in Virginia
It may be legal to carry certain knives/weapons out in the open in Virginia, but it is illegal to use them to threaten people.
If you are caught brandishing a weapon with an exposed blade of 12 inches or longer, and the people you are with perceiving that you are threatening them, you can be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor. If the location of the brandishing happens on the premises of or within 1,000 feet of a school, that charge moves up to a Class 6 Felony.
The exception to this rule is self-defense. Read our blog post about self-defense laws here.
Because of the nuances and exceptions to knife and weapons laws in Virginia, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney today to help you know your options and get advice. Learn more about our Criminal Defense service and contact Cook Attorneys to seek help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Or fill out the form below!