Vermont State Knife Laws

Vermont is one of the more reasonable states in New England when it comes to the ownership and carry of knives, with very few overarching restrictions on type, length or any other essential characteristics.

What is notable is that Vermont is serious about punishing violations of the law, with surprisingly harsh prison terms, and monetary penalties being handed down to violators.

Vermont flag

You may concealed carry or openly carry any knife you want except a switchblade with a blade measuring 3 inches or longer, and any knife with an integrated knuckle duster type handguard.

Unfortunately, due to the way Vermont interprets the definition of switchblade, this prohibition on automatics probably applies to assisted-opening knives also which is a bummer.

The good news is that Vermont is very taciturn with its laws, and the majority of the relevant statutes are short, easy to interpret and easily understood for almost anyone.

We will share with you the most relevant statutes below and include the exact text of those statutes at the end of this article.

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 switchblade with a blade measuring 3” or longer or any knife with an integrated knuckleduster handguard.
  • Can I Carry a Knife Concealed With a Permit?: Yes, except a switchblade with a blade measuring 3” or longer or any knife with an integrated knuckleduster handguard.
  • Can I Carry a Knife Openly?: Yes, except a switchblade with a blade measuring 3” or longer or any knife with an integrated knuckleduster handguard.

General Ownership

You may own any kind of knife you desire in Vermont including switchblades which are sometimes erroneously reported as being banned outright, though any switchblade that has a blade measuring 3 inches or longer is illegal.

Unfortunately, since Vermont has not taken the time to define what a switchblade is and is not in the statutes it is possible that it will be broadly interpreted and might affect assisted-opening knives in kind.

You should not own or have in your possession any switchblade or assisted-opening knife with a blade measuring 3 inches or longer.

Additionally, brass knuckles and similar weapons are not banned from ownership or possession, but are banned from possession if one has the intent to use them on another person. This might apply to knives of all vintages that have integrated knuckleduster type handguards, or large D-type handguards that could be used for striking.

Also one may not sell, transfer, or otherwise furnish to a person under the age of 16 any dangerous weapon, of which knives would certainly be included.

Vermont additionally lacks any preemption statute, and though the state is generally quite permissive when it comes to knives and the carry thereof of you will have to be cautious as you go from town to town because local laws could very well be more restrictive than the states laws and you’ll have to abide by them.

Concealed Carry, No Permit

You may carry any kind of knife you want concealed in Vermont so long as it is not a switchblade with a blade measuring 3 inches or longer, including assisted-opening knives with the same measurements (most likely) or any knife that features an integrated knuckleduster handguard of the type described above, though this is uncertain.

To my knowledge, there has not been any test case in the courts concerning someone carrying such a knife, but it definitely would not do to be the first man in the hot seat on such a matter.

Concealed Carry, With Permit

Vermont makes no distinction when it comes to the concealed carry of knives with a permit as opposed to without a permit.

Open Carry

You may open carry any otherwise legal knife in Vermont with no restrictions.

Prohibited Places

You may not carry your knife on the grounds of any school, into any school structure, aboard any school vehicle, into a courthouse or a courtroom.

It is worth noting that Vermont does not make any distinction between public and private schools in the statutes so it is likely that the term is all-inclusive.

Assessment

Vermont is a pretty solid state among the typically restrictive New England region when it comes to the ownership and carry of knives.

The only major restrictions are on switchblades, which are banned from possession if they have a blade measuring 3 inches or longer, and very likely a similar ban on any knife with an integrated knuckleduster type handguard owing to a general restriction on brass knuckles.

The state unfortunately lacks any preemption laws, which means you will have to pay attention to the local laws in the area you are staying or traveling. But so long as you can abide by these few restrictions and don’t have to contend with heinous local laws you won’t have too many problems in Vermont.

Important Vermont State Statutes

4001. Slung shot, blackjack, brass knuckles-Use or possession

A person who uses a slung shot, blackjack, brass knuckles or similar weapon against another person, or attempts so to do, or who possesses a slung shot, blackjack, brass knuckles, or similar weapon, with intent so to use it, shall be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both. The provisions of this section do not apply to a law enforcement officer as to the possession and use of a blackjack, billy club, or night stick.

4003. Carrying dangerous weapons

A person who carries a dangerous or deadly weapon with the intent to injure another shall be imprisoned for not more than two years or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both. It shall be a felony punishable by not more than 10 years of imprisonment or a fine of $25,000.00, or both, if the person intends to injure multiple persons.

4005. While committing a crime

Except as otherwise provided in 18 V.S.A. § 4253, a person who carries a dangerous or deadly weapon, openly or concealed, while committing a felony shall be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than $500.00, or both.

4007. Furnishing firearms to children

A person, firm, or corporation, other than a parent or guardian, who sells or furnishes to a minor under the age of 16 years a firearm or other dangerous weapon or ammunition for firearms shall be fined not more than $50.00 nor less than $10.00. This section shall not apply to an instructor or teacher who furnishes firearms to pupils for instruction and drill.

40013. Zip guns; switchblade knives

A person who possesses, sells, or offers for sale a weapon commonly known as a “zip” gun, or a weapon commonly known as a switchblade knife, the blade of which is three inches or more in length, shall be imprisoned not more than 90 days or fined not more than $100.00, or both.

4004. Possession of dangerous or deadly weapon in a school bus or school building or on school property

(a) No person shall knowingly possess a firearm or a dangerous or deadly weapon while within a school building or on a school bus. A person who violates this section shall, for the first offense, be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both, and for a second or subsequent offense shall be imprisoned for not more than three years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(b) No person shall knowingly possess a firearm or a dangerous or deadly weapon on any school property with the intent to injure another person. A person who violates this section shall, for the first offense, be imprisoned for not more than three years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both, and for a second or subsequent offense shall be imprisoned for not more than five years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(c) This section shall not apply to:

(1) A law enforcement officer while engaged in law enforcement duties.

(2) Possession and use of firearms or dangerous or deadly weapons if the board of school directors, or the superintendent or principal if delegated authority to do so by the board, authorizes possession or use for specific occasions or for instructional or other specific purposes.

(d) As used in this section:

(1) “School property” means any property owned by a school, including motor vehicles.

(2) “Owned by the school” means owned, leased, controlled, or subcontracted by the school.

(3) “Dangerous or deadly weapon” shall have the same meaning as in section 4016 of this title.

(4) “Firearm” shall have the same meaning as in section 4016 of this title.

(5) “Law enforcement officer” shall have the same meaning as in section 4016 of this title.

(e) The provisions of this section shall not limit or restrict any prosecution for any other offense, including simple assault or aggravated assault.

4016. Weapons in court

(a) As used in this section:

(1) “Courthouse” means a building or any portion of a building designated by the Supreme Court of Vermont as a courthouse.

(2) “Dangerous or deadly weapon” means any firearm, or other weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, whether animate or inanimate, that in the manner it is used or is intended to be used is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.

(3) “Firearm” means any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, that will expel a projectile by the action of an explosive and includes any weapon commonly referred to as a pistol, revolver, rifle, gun, machine gun, or shotgun.

(4) “Law enforcement officer” means a person certified by the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council as having satisfactorily completed the approved training programs required to meet the minimum training standards applicable to that person pursuant to 20 V.S.A. § 2358.

(5) “Secured building” means a building with controlled points of public access, metal screening devices at each point of public access, and locked compartments, accessible only to security personnel, for storage of checked firearms.

(b) A person who, while within a courthouse and without authorization from the court,

(1) carries or has in his or her possession a firearm; or

(2) knowingly carries or has in his or her possession a dangerous or deadly weapon, other than a firearm, shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $500.00, or both.

(c) Notice of the provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each courthouse.

(d) No dangerous or deadly weapon shall be allowed in a courthouse that has been certified by the Court Administrator to be a secured building.


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