OLR Research Report

February 14, 2005




By: Veronica Rose, Principal Analyst

You want to know what knives are illegal in Connecticut and what knives cannot be bought on line from an out-of-state vendor and brought into the state.

State law defines certain knives as dangerous weapons and, with minor exceptions, makes it illegal to carry them. The knives defined as dangerous weapons are (1) dirk knives, (2) switch knives, (3) stilettos, (4) any knife that has an automatic spring release device that releases a blade from the handle longer than one and one-half inches, and (5) any knife that has a blade with an edged portion four inches or longer. The penalty for a violation is a fine of up to $500, imprisonment for up to three years, or both (CGS 53-206(a)).

The only people who can legally carry the knives listed as dangerous weapons are:

1. peace officers pursuing their official duties;

2. members of military organizations when on parade or when going to or coming from a place of assembly;

3. anyone transporting them as merchandise or for display at an authorized knife show;

4. anyone transporting them concealed while lawfully removing their household effects from one place or residence to another;

5. anyone transporting them for repairs;

6. hunting, fishing, or trapping licensees carrying them for lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping; and

7. anyone participating in an authorized historic reenactment.

Also, servicemen, including guardsmen and reservists, may, while on, or going to and from duty, carry the knife that has a blade with an edged portion four inches or longer (CGS 53-206(b)).

The law does not address possession. Similarly, it does not address knife sales or purchases. In the absence of such legislation, it appears that (1) mere possession of any of the listed knives is not illegal, and (2) a buyer may buy any knife on-line or through the mail order. But if the knife meets the standards identified above, only the people enumerated above can carry it in the circumstances specified.