Legal to Carry Openly
- Any kind of knife
Legal to Carry Concealed
- Potentially any knife, restrictions apply see below.
Legal to Carry Concealed with Permit
- Any kind of knife
Wyoming Knife Law Overview
Wyoming is a sparsely populate state that still espouses and admires rugged individualism, so it is little surprise to see that they forbid no particular kind of knife out of hand, either ownership or for carrying openly. What is a little more surprising is their vague and “maybe-maybe not” statutes covering carry of a concealed knife without a permit.
This is another example of poorly written legislation giving good citizens a bad case of cold feet by accident (or perhaps by design); if you don’t want to kiss the ring and obtain a permit, you may run the risk of getting tagged with a weapons charge if you decide to carry a knife concealed.
But Wyoming is far from the worst victim of such inanity, and solid statewide preemption helps make up for this lapse in policymaking. We’ll crack open Wyoming’s state statutes below.
Relevant Wyoming State Statutes Covering Use and Ownership of Knives
Many states take pains to outline and define what a knife is, and what various types of knives are and where they fit into the legal architecture of the state.
Not so with Wyoming! While eminently logical, on the surface, Wyoming’s lack of definitions comes back to haunt it when discussing concealed carry. In Wyoming, knives only fit under the umbrella term of “deadly weapon,” as defined in 6-1-104:
(a) As used in this act, unless otherwise defined:
(i) “Bodily injury” means:
(A) A cut, abrasion, burn or temporary disfigurement;
(B) Physical pain; or
(C) Impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ or mental faculty.
(iii) “Criminal negligence” is defined as the following conduct: A person acts with criminal negligence when, through a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise, he fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the harm he is accused of causing will occur, and the harm results. The risk shall be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation;
(iv) “Deadly weapon” means but is not limited to a firearm, explosive or incendiary material, motorized vehicle, an animal or other device, instrument, material or substance, which in the manner it is used or is intended to be used is reasonably capable of producing death or serious bodily injury;
(x) “Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which:
(A) Creates a substantial risk of death;
(B) Causes severe protracted physical pain;
(C) Causes severe disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of a bodily function;
(D) Causes unconsciousness or a concussion resulting in protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ or mental faculty;
(E) Causes burns of the second or third degree over a significant portion of the body; or
(F) Causes a significant fracture or break of a bone
Wyoming takes the broadest approach possible on defining deadly weapons, which can be purpose defined weapons, or weapons per se.
Anything, used in any way, that may result in substantial injury or death is a deadly weapon. Note that Wyoming case law has borne out that an object so used in the act did not have to necessarily result in serious bodily injury, it only had to be capable of inflicting serious bodily injury to qualify as such under the statutes.
This is highly troubling, since any, and I do mean any, knife is capable of causing severe injuries or death from lacerations or penetrating wounds. Is there any knife that can’t?
Is any knife too small or too dull to evade the constraints of the statute? We cannot be sure. A machete can of course inflict the most gruesome of slashes upon the misfortunate recipient of its strikes, but a surgical scalpel with a blade only 3/4” long can open a person up as easily as a package of beef.
Any knife can inflict lethal injuries used with intent. Ergo, we have to assume that any knife in Wyoming is a deadly weapon. The regulations for carrying a concealed deadly weapon are set out in 6-8-104:
6-8-104. Wearing or carrying concealed weapons; penalties; exceptions; permits.
(a) A person who wears or carries a concealed deadly weapon is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00), imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or both for a first offense, or a felony punishable by a fine of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00), imprisonment for not more than two (2) years, or both, for a second or subsequent offense, unless:
(i) The person is a peace officer;
(ii) The person possesses a permit under this section;
(iii) The person holds a valid permit authorizing him to carry a concealed firearm authorized and issued by a governmental agency or entity in another state that recognizes Wyoming permits and is a valid statewide permit; or
(iv) The person does not possess a permit issued under this section, but otherwise meets the requirements specified in paragraphs (b)(i) through (vi), (viii) and (ix) of this section and possession of the firearm by the person is not otherwise unlawful.
(b) The attorney general is authorized to issue permits to carry a concealed firearm to persons qualified as provided by this subsection. The attorney general shall promulgate rules necessary to carry out this section no later than October 1, 1994. Applications for a permit to carry a concealed firearm shall be made available and distributed by the division of criminal investigation and local law enforcement agencies. The permit shall be valid throughout the state for a period of five (5) years from the date of issuance. The permittee shall carry the permit, together with valid identification at all times when the permittee is carrying a concealed firearm and shall display both the permit and proper identification upon request of any peace officer. The attorney general through the division shall issue a permit to any person who:
(i) Is a resident of the United States and has been a resident of Wyoming for not less than six (6) months prior to filing the application. The Wyoming residency requirements of this paragraph do not apply to any person who holds a valid permit authorizing him to carry a concealed firearm authorized and issued by a governmental agency or entity in another state that recognizes Wyoming permits and is a valid statewide permit;
(ii) Is at least twenty-one (21) years of age;
(iii) Does not suffer from a physical infirmity which prevents the safe handling of a firearm;
(iv) Is not ineligible to possess a firearm pursuant to 18 U.S.C. section 922(g) or W.S. 6-8-102;
(v) Has not been:
(A) Committed to a state or federal facility for the abuse of a controlled substance, within the one (1) year period prior to the date on which application for a permit under this section is submitted;
(B) Convicted of a felony violation of the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act of 1971, W.S. 35-7-1001 through 35-7-1057 or similar laws of any other state or the United States relating to controlled substances and has not been pardoned; or
(C) Convicted of a misdemeanor violation of the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act of 1971, W.S. 35-7-1001 through 35-7-1057 or similar laws of any other state or the United States relating to controlled substances within the one (1) year period prior to the date on which application for a permit under this section is submitted.
(vi) Does not chronically or habitually use alcoholic liquor and malt beverages to the extent that his normal faculties are impaired. It shall be presumed that an applicant chronically and habitually uses alcoholic beverages to the extent that his normal faculties are impaired if the applicant has been involuntarily committed, within the one (1) year period prior to the date on which application for a permit under this section is submitted, to any residential facility pursuant to the laws of this state or similar laws of any other state as a result of the use of alcohol;
(viii) Is not currently adjudicated to be legally incompetent; and
(ix) Has not been committed to a mental institution.
Note that carrying a concealed deadly weapon (which knives, no matter how you slice it, certainly qualify as) is a chargeable offense. First time is a misdemeanor, second time is a felony.
The only exceptions are being a cop, having a permit or, seemingly meeting the requirements to get the permit in accordance with a(iv). But take care! Don’t get ahead of yourself; subsection (iv) only pertains to firearms.
While there may be permitless concealed carry of firearms allowed, even defacto permitless concealed carry of knives due to laissez-faire enforcement, the statutes don’t say as much! You’ll need a permit to concealed carry your knife, at least you’ll get one if you are smart. Mere possession of any knife is no crime, unless you possess it (or make it, buy it or sell it) with the intent to unlawfully threaten someone’s life. See 6-8-103:
6-8-103. Possession, manufacture or disposition of deadly weapon with unlawful intent; penalties.
A person who knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs or sells a deadly weapon with intent to unlawfully threaten the life or physical well-being of another or to commit assault or inflict bodily injury on another is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than five (5) years, a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), or both.
In Wyoming, schools, LE facilities, prisons, courtrooms, government buildings, school or collegiate sporting events and places that serve alcohol are all forbidden from carrying guns into.
The passage actually says “concealed firearm” in the text. This is also part of 6-8-104, which is a hefty chapter in the law.
6-8-104 Wearing or carrying concealed weapons; penalties; exceptions; permits.
(t) No person authorized to carry a concealed weapon pursuant to paragraphs (a)(ii) through (iv) of this section shall carry a concealed firearm into:
(i) Any facility used primarily for law enforcement operations or administration without the written consent of the chief administrator;
(ii) Any detention facility, prison or jail;
(iii) Any courtroom, except that nothing in this section shall preclude a judge from carrying a concealed weapon or determining who will carry a concealed weapon in the courtroom;
(iv) Any meeting of a governmental entity;
(v) Any meeting of the legislature or a committee thereof;
(vi) Any school, college or professional athletic event not related to firearms, except as provided in W.S. 21-3-132;
(vii) Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic liquor and malt beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to that purpose;
(ix) Any elementary or secondary school facility, except as provided in W.S. 21-3-132;
(x) Any college or university facility without the written consent of the security service of the college or university; or
(xi) Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or regulation or state law.
Now, it is plain as day that it says nothing about knives. But you heard it here first, reader; you’d be a fool to carry any knife into any of the above places without strictly adhering to any exemptions set forth in the headings.
Once again, I am not an attorney, and I am definitely not your attorney. You should seek out a competent practitioner of weapons and self-defense law practicing in the state of Wyoming before you make any decisions to carry a knife that may incur legal consequences for mistakes!
Happily, Wyoming features strongly worded statutes that preempt local municipal efforts to further curtail your right to keep and bear arms, specifically knives. You can see what the State has to say about this in 6-8-401:
6-8-401. Firearm, weapon and ammunition regulation and prohibition by state.
(a) The Wyoming legislature finds that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right. The Wyoming legislature affirms this right as a constitutionally protected right in every part of Wyoming.
(c) The sale, transfer, purchase, delivery, taxation, manufacture, ownership, transportation, storage, use and possession of firearms, weapons and ammunition shall be authorized, regulated and prohibited by the state, and regulation thereof is preempted by the state. Except as authorized by W.S. 15-1-103(a)(xviii) and 21-3-132, no city, town, county, political subdivision or any other entity shall authorize, regulate or prohibit the sale, transfer, purchase, delivery, taxation, manufacture, ownership, transportation, storage, use, carrying or possession of firearms, weapons, accessories, components or ammunition except as specifically provided by this chapter. This section shall not affect zoning or other ordinances which encompass firearms businesses along with other businesses. Zoning and other ordinances which are designed for the purpose of restricting or prohibiting the sale, purchase, transfer or manufacture of firearms or ammunition as a method of regulating firearms or ammunition are in conflict with this section and are prohibited.
Wyoming is certainly a pro-2nd Amendment state, and their frontier spirit of self-reliance is certainly alive and well, but their legislature has not taken pains to clarify and clean up the statutes’ that regulate the carry of knives.
It is certainly permissible to do so, but the auspices of doing so are unclear. As of now I must recommend that anyone wanting to carry a knife without fear of legal mishap is smart to acquire a permit from the State of Wyoming or one from another state that has reciprocity.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.