Is it legal to posses a butterfly knife in the state of Maryland?

Title says it all. Please let me know if it is in any way lega, whether through an right to bear arms permit, ect. The knife in question would have a locking mechanism, if that matters.

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  • Moore
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Mark's Answer is correct and very good, though I can expand upon it.

    Maryland's law on knives is Title § 4-101, which, in plain English, forbids switchblades, fixed blade knives ("Dirks" and "Bowie knives"), throwing stars, and old timey straight razors. It makes a specific exception for "penknives" as being legal.

    "Penknife" is not defined in the statute, but a series of case law decisions in the state of Maryland, including the MD Supreme court and a few federal cases, have established that there is no legal length limit, a locking mechanism is irrelevant, and that the burden lies with the state to prove that a given knife is NOT a penknife. I have not located a single conviction in the MD court system for possession of a butterfly knife. That is, excluding cases where their were other crimes being committed such as assault or robbery, wherein the arrest has little or nothing to do with the knife, but rather it;s unlawful usage.

    As a practical consideration, a large number of stores in MD sell butterfly knives right along side regular pocket knives out in front in the glass case. This includes many stores I know whom police are also frequent customers.

    Source(s): I'm a local and a knife collector. http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinion.pdf/011565.U...
  • Mark
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Switchblade knives, mentioned in the statute, are prohibited. Maryland rewrote it's weapon law in 2004, so the applicable law is 4-101. Maryland has no limit on blade length, and no specific ban of butterfly knives. That being said, there is a nebulous "deadly weapon of any kind" carried concealed, though this definition excludes "penknives."

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