Kansas is something of a pleasant surprise when it comes to knife laws. Following a significant revision of the states statutes in 2012 and 2013, Kansas now has pride of place among the freest states for citizens when it comes to the ownership and carry of knives.
Kansas is a state without any restrictions on blade length, and shows total permissibility when it comes to open or concealed carry and highly permissive regulations concerning where you can and cannot take your knife.
Perhaps the only complaint we can level against Kansas is that they have a blanket ban on throwing stars. That is definitely irritating for collectors, but should not make much difference in practical terms for those who carry a knife for work or for self-defense.
Happily, Kansas also has strongly worded preemption laws that prevent counties and cities from implementing any knife laws more restrictive than the state standard.
Even though Kansas is nearly do-as-you-please when it comes to the carry of knives, we will still dig into all the relevant statutes below.
What You Need to Know
- What Kind of Knives Can I Own?: Any kind of knife except a throwing star or shuriken.
- Can I Carry a Knife Concealed Without a Permit?: Any kind of knife, including switchblades, dirks, daggers, gravity knives, etc.
- Can I Carry a Knife Concealed With a Permit?: Any kind of knife, including switchblades, dirks, daggers, gravity knives, etc.
- Can I Carry a Knife Openly?: Any kind of knife, including switchblades, dirks, daggers, gravity knives, etc.
There is only one kind of knife that is forbidden from private ownership in the state of Kansas, and that is the throwing star, or shuriken.
You may not possess or carry one openly or concealed. It is unfortunate, and somewhat foolish when you stop to think about it, but that is the way it is.
On the bright side, there is much to be thankful for: aside from that single restriction Kansas is a virtual free-for-all when it comes to the types and lengths of knives you may carry.
Due to the specific way that the Kansas statutes are worded, you are only forbidden from carrying specifically named knives if they are carried with the intent to use them unlawfully against another person.
Included among those specifically named knives are daggers, dirks, straight edge razors, stilettos and any other knife of like character.
Also included is the term “dangerous knife” which, though nebulous and undefined, is not an issue for non-felons who are carrying any such knife without criminal intent, whatever they are!
It is worth noting, and is expanded upon in the included statutes at the end of this article, that throwing stars are also among the knives that are illegal to carry with unlawful intent.
The way that the Kansas statutes are worded at first glance means that one is likely to determine you should be able to carry a throwing star so long as you are not carrying it with unlawful intent.
Unfortunately, the statutes later classify a throwing star as something other than a knife.
Concealed Carry, No Permit
You can carry concealed any type of legal knife in the state of Kansas lacking a permit with no problems.
There is no talk of any bladed instrument save for throwing stars being overtly criminal depending upon its mode of carry. This is definitely a good thing for anyone living or traveling in the state of Kansas.
Concealed Carry, With Permit
Having a Kansas concealed weapons permit or any permit recognized by the state of Kansas does not grant any additional permissions regarding the carry of knives; once again you can carry anything you want to, more or less, with or without a permit so long as it is not a throwing star.
Just like concealed carry, open carry is a-okay in Kansas. Any kind of knife, anywhere you are legally allowed to take it, so long as it is not a throwing star.
Schools. Though the way the state statutes are worded is a little unclear in this regard, I would advise you not to carry any bladed implement onto school property or into a school building proper.
At first glance the law looks like it merely forbids any student from carrying a switchblade knife or gravity knife, potentially classified as a butterfly knife, but if there were to be an incident or someone took offense to you carrying your knife onto school grounds you can rest assured the interaction will not end happily for you.
Is a great time to be a citizen or visitor in the great state of Kansas if you are a knife aficionado or just a person who appreciates being able to choose what you’ll carry without any hassle.
Any kind of knife goes in Kansas except throwing stars, and you can carry your knife pretty much anywhere openly or concealed with no permit needed.
Sturdy statewide preemption laws assure citizens that no locality will implement laws that undercut your right to go forth armed with the blade of your choice.
Important Kansas State Statutes
21-6301. Criminal use of weapons.
(a) Criminal use of weapons is knowingly:
(1) Selling, manufacturing, purchasing or possessing any bludgeon, sand club or metal knuckles;
(2) possessing with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, a dagger, dirk, billy, blackjack, slungshot, dangerous knife, straight-edged razor, throwing star, stiletto or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character;
(3) setting a spring gun;
(4) possessing any device or attachment of any kind designed, used or intended for use in suppressing the report of any firearm;
(5) selling, manufacturing, purchasing or possessing a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches in length, or any firearm designed to discharge or capable of discharging automatically more than once by a single function of the trigger, whether the person knows or has reason to know the length of the barrel or that the firearm is designed or capable of discharging automatically;
(6) possessing, manufacturing, causing to be manufactured, selling, offering for sale, lending, purchasing or giving away any cartridge which can be fired by a handgun and which has a plastic-coated bullet that has a core of less than 60% lead by weight, whether the person knows or has reason to know that the plastic-coated bullet has a core of less than 60% lead by weight;
(7) selling, giving or otherwise transferring any firearm with a barrel less than 12 inches long to any person under 18 years of age whether the person knows or has reason to know the length of the barrel;
(8) selling, giving or otherwise transferring any firearms to any person who is both addicted to and an unlawful user of a controlled substance;
(9) selling, giving or otherwise transferring any firearm to any person who is or has been a mentally ill person subject to involuntary commitment for care and treatment, as defined in K.S.A. 59-2946, and amendments thereto, or a person with an alcohol or substance abuse problem subject to involuntary commitment for care and treatment as defined in K.S.A. 59-29b46, and amendments thereto;
(17) possessing any firearm by a person while such person is subject to a court order that:
(A) Was issued after a hearing, of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an opportunity to participate;
(B) restrains such person from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner of such person or a child of such person or such intimate partner, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or the child; and
(C) (i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or
(ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or
(18) possessing any firearm by a person who, within the preceding five years, has been convicted of a misdemeanor for a domestic violence offense, or a misdemeanor under a law of another jurisdiction which is substantially the same as such misdemeanor offense.
(b) Criminal use of weapons as defined in:
(1) Subsection (a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3), (a)(7), (a)(8), (a)(9) or (a)(12) is a class A nonperson misdemeanor;
(2) subsection (a)(4), (a)(5) or (a)(6) is a severity level 9, nonperson felony;
(3) subsection (a)(10) or (a)(11) is a class B nonperson select misdemeanor;
(4) subsection (a)(13), (a)(15), (a)(16), (a)(17) or (a)(18) is a severity level 8, nonperson felony; and
(5) subsection (a)(14) is a:
(A) Class A nonperson misdemeanor except as provided in subsection (b)(5)(B);
(B) severity level 8, nonperson felony upon a second or subsequent conviction.
(c) Subsections (a)(1), (a)(2) and (a)(5) shall not apply to:
(l) Subsection (a)(1) shall not apply to any ordinary pocket knife which has a spring, detent or other device which creates a bias towards closure of the blade and which requires hand pressure applied to such spring, detent or device through the blade of the knife to overcome the bias towards closure to assist in the opening of the knife.
(m) As used in this section, “throwing star” means any instrument, without handles, consisting of a metal plate having three or more radiating points with one or more sharp edges and designed in the shape of a polygon, trefoil, cross, star, diamond or other geometric shape, manufactured for use as a weapon for throwing.
21-6302. Criminal carrying of a weapon.
(a) Criminal carrying of a weapon is knowingly carrying:
(1) Any bludgeon, sandclub, metal knuckles or throwing star;
(2) concealed on one’s person, a billy, blackjack, slungshot or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character;
(3) on one’s person or in any land, water or air vehicle, with intent to use the same unlawfully, a tear gas or smoke bomb or projector or any object containing a noxious liquid, gas or substance; or
(4) any pistol, revolver or other firearm concealed on one’s person if such person is under 21 years of age, except when on such person’s land or in such person’s abode or fixed place of business; or
(5) a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches in length or any other firearm designed to discharge or capable of discharging automatically more than once by a single function of the trigger whether the person knows or has reason to know the length of the barrel or that the firearm is designed or capable of discharging automatically.
(b) Criminal carrying of a weapon as defined in:
(1) Subsections (a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3) or (a)(4) is a class A nonperson misdemeanor; and
(2) subsection (a)(5) is a severity level 9, nonperson felony.
12-16,134. Knives and knife making components; regulation by municipality, limitations.
(a) A municipality shall not enact or enforce any ordinance, resolution, regulation or tax relating to the transportation, possession, carrying, sale, transfer, purchase, gift, devise, licensing, registration or use of a knife or knife making components.
(b) A municipality shall not enact or enforce any ordinance, resolution or regulation relating to the manufacture of a knife that is more restrictive than any such ordinance, resolution or regulation relating to the manufacture of any other commercial goods.
(c) Any ordinance, resolution or regulation prohibited by either subsection (a) or (b) that was adopted prior to July 1, 2014, shall be null and void.
(d) No action shall be commenced or prosecuted against any individual for a violation of any ordinance, resolution or regulation that is prohibited by either subsection (a) or (b) and which was adopted prior to July 1, 2014, if such violation occurred on or after July 1, 2013.
(e) As used in this section:
(1) ”Knife” means a cutting instrument and includes a sharpened or pointed blade.
(2) ”Municipality” has the same meaning as defined in K.S.A. 75-6102, and amendments thereto, but shall not include unified school districts, jails, as defined in K.S.A. 38-2302, and amendments thereto, or juvenile correctional facilities, as defined in K.S.A. 38-2302, and amendments thereto.