Indiana Knife Laws: What You Need to Know

The Essentials

Illegal to Possess, Display, Carry or Sell

  • Ballistic Knives
  • Chinese throwing stars (shuriken)

Legal to Carry Openly or Concealed without a Permit

  • All other knives, including automatic knives
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Indiana Knife Law Overview

Indiana is perhaps a surprisingly pro-knife state, and one with refreshingly easy to follow laws since a much needed overhaul in 2013.

The only kinds of knives you cannot own or carry in Indiana are “Chinese throwing stars” see also shuriken, and ballistic knives, which are knives that actually launch their blades as a projectile.

Since both are fairly poor choices for self-defense, this is not much of a loss, though it does grate the “shall not be infringed” nerve a tad.

You can openly carry, or conceal, without a permit all other kinds of knives, including daggers, automatics, push knives, concealed or disguised knives and everything else under the sun.

Aside from the most exotic types of knives forbidden by make above, the sky is the limit.

Indiana does though have a couple of laws you should know about regarding transferring knives to certain people and carrying knives into certain places. We’ll take a look at the most important one’s below.

Relevant Indiana State Statutes Covering Use and Ownership of Knives

  • Indiana State Constitution Article 1 Section 32
  • Indiana Code Section 35-47-4-1
  • Indiana Code Section 35-47-5
  • Indiana Code Section 35-47-5-2.5a-d
  • Indiana Code Section 35-47-5-12

Let us tackle the two most damning bans first. Indiana Code statutes regarding ballistic knives (or any knife with a detachable blade and throwing stars respectively are found in IC 35-47-5-2 and IC 35-47-5-12. The section on ballistic knives reads:

IC35-47-5-2 Knife with a detachable blade

Sec. 2. It is a Class B misdemeanor for a person to manufacture, possess, display, offer, sell, lend, give away, or purchase any knife with a detachable blade that may be ejected from the handle as a projectile by means of gas, a spring, or any other device contained in the handle of the knife.

So no matter how you want to slice it (heh) spring knives, gas knives and propellant charge ballistic knives are outski. Forgeddaboutit.

Again, anyone telling me what I can and can’t have for arbitrary reasons just makes me want it all the more, but in this case you are giving up something that is not ideal for self-defense no matter how you want to look at it

I am not saying it is okay for any government to do that, but I am saying you’ll be fine without it. Throwing stars are next:

IC 35-47-5-12 “Chinese throwing star” defined; related offenses

Sec. 12. (a) A person who: (1) manufactures; (2) causes to be manufactured; (3) imports into Indiana; (4) keeps for sale; (5) offers or exposes for sale; or (6) gives, lends, or possesses; a Chinese throwing star commits a Class C misdemeanor. (b) As used in this section, “Chinese throwing star” means a throwing-knife, throwing-iron, or other knife-like weapon with blades set at different angles

If you are channeling your inner ninja assassin, leave your shuriken at home, huh? I am not sure why you’d ever pick these for self defense anyway.

If you are mad about the thought of using a thrown blade for self-defense, you lunatic, you can employ throwing knives with none of the hassles or legal risks.

The only other major restrictions on ownership and transference of knives in Indiana pertain to minors, who you should not transfer a knife to, and intoxicated people and people who “habitually” become intoxicated. The latter is covered in IC35-47-4-1.

IC 35-47-4-1 Delivery of deadly weapon to intoxicated persons

Sec. 1. A person who sells, barters, gives, or delivers any deadly weapon to any person at the time in a state of intoxication, knowing him to be in a state of intoxication, or to any person who is in the habit of becoming intoxicated, and knowing him to be a person who is in the habit of becoming intoxicated, commits a Class B misdemeanor

Short and sweet. I know most of our readers are good people who would not set up someone who was not in control of themselves for failure by giving them a dangerous object, but the implications of this go a little farther: what if you have a friend or relative who likes to imbibe regularly?

Not screaming wasted or passed out drunk, but still a regular tippler. You gift them a knife, or let them borrow yours when they are sober.

Later, somewhere way down the line, something unfortunate happens. Will you be liable, or held responsible? It is “only” a misdemeanor but such things are ill-affordable for almost anyone.

Preemption Law

There is absolutely no preemption law in Indiana. That means you’ll have to be double-aware of any local city or county laws regarding knives.

While this can make travel a bear, you should only be really concerned near the larger towns and cities unless you are carrying something exotic.

Still, the law is the law and you must make sure you stay on the right side of it lest you find yourself checking in to the Ol’ Graybar.

No-Go Zones

Per usual, knives may not be carried in any government installation, courtroom, committee board hearing or anything like that. If it is official business, leave your knife at home.

You also cannot, per usual in most states, carry your knife to a school, and Indiana furthermore names specific types of knives you cannot carry to a school, pertinent info highlighted below:

IC 35-47-5-2.5 Possession of a knife on school property

Sec. 2.5. (a) As used in this section, “knife” means an instrument

(1) consists of a sharp edged or sharp pointed blade capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds; and

(2) is intended to be used as a weapon. (b) The term includes a dagger, dirk, poniard, stiletto, switchblade knife, or gravity knife.

(c) A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally possesses a knife on:

(1) school property (as defined in IC 35-31.5-2-285); (2) a school bus (as defined in IC 20-27-2-8); or (3) a special purpose bus (as defined in IC 20-27-2-10); commits a Class B misdemeanor.

However, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the person has a previous unrelated conviction under this section and a Level 6 felony if the offense results in bodily injury to another person.

(d) This section does not apply to a person who possesses a knife:

(2) if the knife is secured in a motor vehicle.

If you need to visit a school for any reason, you also cannot have your knife on a bus, but you can leave it locked in your car without fear of prosecution.

You’ll note that Indiana’s definition of knife as it pertains to carry of a cutting implement in a school is extremely broad and has nothing to do with length, and they take things further by naming specific types of edged weapons that are not “technically” knives.

Don’t take your knife to any school in Indiana, if it was not obvious already.

Bottom Line

Indiana suffers from a lack of preemption law, strict forbiddance of knives of any kind on school vehicles or grounds and a curious hatred of some exotic knives, but is otherwise a knife-friendly and easy going state for knife-toting preppers and civilians.

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