Mississippi is a great state for knife owners with a couple of highly disappointing restrictions. You can own any kind of knife you want in the state, and among these knives you can carry concealed any of them without a permit.
The bad news is that common types of knives, specifically Bowie knives, dirks, switchblades and butcher knives cannot be carried concealed at all, though you may carry them openly with no restrictions.
Additionally, there is no statewide preemption of local knife laws in the state of Mississippi, so you’ll need to pay attention to any county and city laws that might wind up being stricter than the state laws.
Mississippi is yet another state with long-winded, wordy statutes though they are written in such a way that they are easy to understand and interpret.
We will still go through the most relevant parts of the statutes below and we have included all the knife related statutes at the end of this article for your perusal.
What You Need to Know
- What Kind of Knives Can I Own?: Any kind of knife.
- Can I Carry a Knife Concealed Without a Permit?: Yes, except a Bowie knife, dirk, switchblade or butcher knife.
- Can I Carry a Knife Concealed With a Permit?: Yes, except a Bowie knife, dirk, switchblade or butcher knife.
- Can I Carry a Knife Openly?: Yes, any kind of knife.
There is no restriction on ownership of any kind of knife in the state of Mississippi. Any kind of knife, any kind of action, and any length is okay.
Do note that there is a wide prohibition on any minor owning any kind of prohibited weapon named in the statutes below, and any parent who knowingly allows their child to carry such is guilty of a misdemeanor that packs a $1,000 fine or up to six months in jail. This also means you cannot gift a minor a prohibited weapon.
The prohibited types of knife- Bowie knives, dirk knives, butcher knives and switchblade knives- are not explicitly defined in the state statutes and so are assumed to have the common meaning.
Nonetheless, take care when selecting a knife that resembles or has the essential features of any of the above knives because the person who makes the call on what the knife is or is not as likely to be an arresting officer, judge or jury.
Concealed Carry, No Permit
You may carry concealed any kind of legal knife you want without a concealed weapons permit in the state of Mississippi. Knives that are expressly forbidden from concealed carry are Bowie knives, dirk knives, butcher knives and switchblade knives.
The only exception for this statute is if someone is carrying it within the confines of their own home, place of business, in a motor vehicle or any real property that they own.
Concealed Carry, With Permit
Concealed carry of knives with a permit does not grant you any additional permissions in the state of Mississippi, and that means that Bowie knives, butcher knives, dirk knives and switchblades are still off-limits.
Open carry of all kinds of knives is completely legal in Mississippi, and this is the only way that you may carry the restricted classes of knife named above out in public, meaning when you are not on your property, in your vehicle or at your business.
As per the usual in most states, schools, school grounds and school structures are completely off-limits for the carry of knives.
In what might be an interesting and unfortunate oversight the statutes enumerate that it is legal to keep a firearm in your vehicle and securely encased while visiting the school while you are not a student, but the statute specifically mentions firearms and only firearms; not knives! It seems highly implausible but the law says what it says…
Mississippi is a pretty good state for knife owners, but the only thing you really need to know is that you may not carry concealed any of the restricted types of knives unless you are at your home or business or in your vehicle.
You are allowed to open carry the restricted knives, however, though you must stay on top of local laws because Mississippi lacks a preemption statute.
Important Mississippi State Statutes
45-9-101. License to carry stun gun, concealed pistol or revolver; license fees; exemptions; no license required to carry pistol or revolver in purse, briefcase, fully enclosed case, etc.
(a) Except as otherwise provided, the Department of Public Safety is authorized to issue licenses to carry stun guns, concealed pistols or revolvers to persons qualified as provided in this section. Such licenses shall be valid throughout the state for a period of five (5) years from the date of issuance. Any person possessing a valid license issued pursuant to this section may carry a stun gun, concealed pistol or concealed revolver.
(b) The licensee must carry the license, together with valid identification, at all times in which the licensee is carrying a stun gun, concealed pistol or revolver and must display both the license and proper identification upon demand by a law enforcement officer. A violation of the provisions of this paragraph (b) shall constitute a noncriminal violation with a penalty of Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) and shall be enforceable by summons.
97-37-1. Deadly weapons; carrying while concealed; use or attempt to use; penalties; “concealed” defined.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in Section 45-9-101, any person who carries, concealed on or about one’s person, any bowie knife, dirk knife, butcher knife, switchblade knife, metallic knuckles, blackjack, slingshot, pistol, revolver, or any rifle with a barrel of less than sixteen (16) inches in length, or any shotgun with a barrel of less than eighteen (18) inches in length, machine gun or any fully automatic firearm or deadly weapon, or any muffler or silencer for any firearm, whether or not it is accompanied by a firearm, or uses or attempts to use against another person any imitation firearm, shall, upon conviction, be punished as follows:
(a) By a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or both, in the discretion of the court, for the first conviction under this section.
(b) By a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), and imprisonment in the county jail for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than six (6) months, for the second conviction under this section.
(c) By confinement in the custody of the Department of Corrections for not less than one (1) year nor more than five (5) years, for the third or subsequent conviction under this section.
(d) By confinement in the custody of the Department of Corrections for not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years for any person previously convicted of any felony who is convicted under this section.
(2) It shall not be a violation of this section for any person over the age of eighteen (18) years to carry a firearm or deadly weapon concealed within the confines of his own home or his place of business, or any real property associated with his home or business or within any motor vehicle.
(3) It shall not be a violation of this section for any person to carry a firearm or deadly weapon concealed if the possessor of the weapon is then engaged in a legitimate weapon-related sports activity or is going to or returning from such activity. For purposes of this subsection, “legitimate weapon-related sports activity” means hunting, fishing, target shooting or any other legal activity which normally involves the use of a firearm or other weapon.
(4) For the purposes of this section, “concealed” means hidden or obscured from common observation and shall not include any weapon listed in subsection (1) of this section, including, but not limited to, a loaded or unloaded pistol carried upon the person in a sheath, belt holster or shoulder holster that is wholly or partially visible, or carried upon the person in a scabbard or case for carrying the weapon that is wholly or partially visible.
97-37-9. Deadly weapons; defenses against indictment for carrying deadly weapon.
Any person indicted or charged for a violation of Section 97-37-1 may show as a defense:
(a) That he was threatened, and had good and sufficient reason to apprehend a serious attack from any enemy, and that he did so apprehend; or
(b) That he was traveling and was not a tramp, or was setting out on a journey and was not a tramp; or
(g) That he was in lawful pursuit of a felon; or
(h) That he was lawfully engaged in legitimate sports;
(j) That at the time he or she was a member of a church or place of worship security program, and was then actually engaged in the performance of his or her duties as such and met the requirements of Section 45-9-171.
97-37-15. Parent or guardian not to permit minor son to have or carry weapon; penalty.
Any parent, guardian or custodian who shall knowingly suffer or permit any child under the age of eighteen (18) years to have or to own, or to carry, any weapon the carrying of which concealed is prohibited by Section 97-37-1, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction, shall be fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), and shall be imprisoned not more than six (6) months in the county jail. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a minor who is exempt from the provisions of Section 97-37-14.
97-37-17. Possession of weapons by students; aiding or encouraging.
(1) The following definitions apply to this section:
(a) “Educational property” shall mean any public or private school building or bus, public or private school campus, grounds, recreational area, athletic field, or other property owned, used or operated by any local school board, school, college or university board of trustees, or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution or during a school-related activity, and shall include the facility and property of the Oakley Youth Development Center, operated by the Department of Human Services; provided, however, that the term “educational property” shall not include any sixteenth section school land or lieu land on which is not located a school building, school campus, recreational area or athletic field.
(b) “Student” shall mean a person enrolled in a public or private school, college or university, or a person who has been suspended or expelled within the last five (5) years from a public or private school, college or university, or a person in the custody of the Oakley Youth Development Center, operated by the Department of Human Services, whether the person is an adult or a minor.
(c) “Switchblade knife” shall mean a knife containing a blade or blades which open automatically by the release of a spring or a similar contrivance.
(d) “Weapon” shall mean any device enumerated in subsection (2) or (4) of this section.
(4) It shall be a misdemeanor for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any BB gun, air rifle, air pistol, bowie knife, dirk, dagger, slingshot, leaded cane, switchblade knife, blackjack, metallic knuckles, razors and razor blades (except solely for personal shaving), and any sharp-pointed or edged instrument except instructional supplies, unaltered nail files and clips and tools used solely for preparation of food, instruction and maintenance on educational property. Any person violating this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or be imprisoned not exceeding six (6) months, or both.
(6) It shall not be a violation of this section for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any gun, rifle, pistol or other firearm of any kind on educational property if:
(a) The person is not a student attending school on any educational property;
(b) The firearm is within a motor vehicle; and
(c) The person does not brandish, exhibit or display the firearm in any careless, angry or threatening manner.
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