Knives are useful tools, but they can also be dangerous weapons. People ranging from mail carriers to cooks handle knives every day as part of their job, and the vast majority of knives serve a practical purpose rather than one of intimidation or violence.

Virginia has many people who use knives for work and many more who enjoy hobbies, like hunting and fishing, that necessitate knives. However, the state has to have rules in place to prevent people from putting others at unnecessary risk, which has resulted in significant restrictions on knife ownership and the right to carry a knife in public.

When can you carry a knife legally?

Virginia is very strict in its weapons laws. It is illegal for people to carry knives such as machetes, bowie knives, dirks, switchblade knives or even razors in public. Openly carrying certain knives, like work-related razors, doesn’t technically violate the law.

However, carrying a knife or blade in your pocket or out of the view of others could put you at risk of criminal charges. The law is somewhat vague about what kinds of knives are part of this law, with any knife primarily used for fighting or defense likely falling into the prohibited category. People should be mindful of what they do with knives they use for work or hobbies when headed out into public spaces

There are some knives you can’t own at all

In addition to banning the concealed carrying of many kinds of knives, the state also bans the ownership of certain blades. It’s illegal to even own switchblade or ballistic knives in Virginia.

If you are charged with the possession of an illegal knife, an experienced attorney can provide you guidance on your legal rights.