Colorado Knife Laws

Colorado Knife Laws

Knife laws in Colorado are straight forwarded and strict a little bit easy to understand and less tricky. There are some knives totally banned in Colorado.

Concealed knife laws and blade sizes are some important factors in Colorado for the knife laws.

And after the updated version of the knife laws, there some changes have been shown up. To make them all clear to you, this article may help you.

C.R.S. Const. Art. No. 2, 13: “The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.”


Knives that are Illegal in Colorado

Gravity knives, switchblades, and ballistic knives were illegal to possess in the knife laws of Colorado 2016 and the code was C.R.S. 18-12-102.

Universal Citation: CO Rev Stat § 18-12-102 (2016)

“(1) As used in this section, the term “dangerous weapon” means a firearm silencer, machine gun, short shotgun, short rifle, or ballistic knife.

(2) As used in this section, the term “illegal weapon” means a blackjack, gas gun, metallic knuckles, gravity knife, or switchblade knife.

(3) A person who knowingly possesses a dangerous weapon commits a class 5 felony. Each subsequent violation of this subsection (3) by the same person shall be a class 4 felony.

(4) A person who knowingly possesses an illegal weapon commits a class 1 misdemeanor.”

Here ballistic knives are included in the “dangerous weapons” and gravity knives or switchblades are included in the “illegal weapons”.

Possessing this dangerous weapon or ballistic knives knowingly is a class 5 felony. And possessing these illegal weapons such as gravity knives and switchblades knowingly is a class 1 misdemeanor.


Revised Law:

From the newly updated law of August 9th, 2017, with the code C.R.S. 18-12-101, gravity knives or automatic knives are no more illegal or dangerous to possess in Colorado.

But still, “Ballistic knives” are illegal and mentioned as the dangerous weapon in the section. So, the ballistic knives are totally banned in Colorado now.

“(a.3) Ballistic knife” means any knife that has a blade which is forcefully projected from the handle by means of a spring-loaded device or explosive charge.”


What will happen if you still possess one?

If you possess this dangerous or deadly weapon, “ballistic knife”, it will be a felony offense and you will be punished by,

  1. a year (1 year) or more years in jail and/or,
  2. a fine of $1,000-$100,000.


Concealing knives & Length of the Blade is Important in Colorado

Concealed-Carry Laws:

If you are there for fishing and hunting then all fishing and hunting knives are legal in Colorado with no fixed length of blade size.

It will be a class 2 misdemeanor if you conceal a knife knowingly or unlawfully.

Code 18-12-105 says,                                 

“(1) A person commits a class 2 misdemeanor if such person knowingly and unlawfully:

(a) Carries a knife concealed on or about his or her person”


Blade Sizes:

“3.5 inches” is the number you should remember always.

If the size of the blades of knives is over 3.5 inches, those knives are illegal. You cannot carry a knife including a dagger, dirk, stiletto or other dangerous knives concealed over 3.5 inches blade-sized. It will be illegal.

C.R.S. 18-12-101 says,

“ ‘Knife’ means any dagger, dirk, knife, or stiletto with a blade over three and one-half inches in length, or any other dangerous instrument capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds, but does not include a hunting or fishing knife carried for sports use. The issue that a knife is hunting or fishing knife must be raised as an affirmative defense.”

Knives less than 3.5 inches are not considered as dangerous ones and you can carry them openly or conceal easily.


Exceptions: In this statement, all fishing and hunting knives more than 3.5 inches blade size can be carried concealed. These are not illegal.

A Bowie knife, machete or sword, and hunting knives can be carried openly with any size of blades.


Legal Defenses if you are charged

You can still carry an illegal or dangerous weapon if you are included one of these below,

  • If you are a member of the armed forces of the States.
  • If you have a valid permit or license for the possession of that dangerous or illegal knife.
  • If you had no idea you possessed an illegal one.
  • If the knife you are possessing does not work or has the quality of being dangerous or deadly even if it shows as one.

You can defend yourself when charged if you can prove one of them.


Knives that are Legal in Colorado

Other than the restrictions, most of the knives are legal in Colorado. These are,

  1. All sorts of pocket knives/ Folding knives
  2. Butterfly knives
  3. Bowie knives
  4. Machete
  5. Swords
  6. Dirks, Daggers, and Stilettos
  7. Pen knives, cane knives, lipstick knives or other disguised knives.
  8. Undetectable knives.


All educational institutions are highly restricted for any deadly weapons

Dangerous or deadly weapons or knives are illegal to carry in any school campus, ground or buildings in Colorado. From kindergarten to schools even university areas are restricted to possess one.

Code 18-12-105.5 explains the illegality of carrying knives or deadly weapons in these places. (Source:

And it will be a class 6 felony when someone knowingly or unlawfully brings one.

“A person commits a class 6 felony if such person knowingly and unlawfully and without legal authority carries, brings, or has in such person’s possession a deadly weapon as defined in (1) section 18-1-901(3)(e) in or on the real estate and all improvements erected thereon of any public or private elementary, middle, junior high, high, or vocational school or any public or private college, university, or seminary,…”


Exceptions: Some authorized persons can still carry or possess these dangerous weapons on the school premises.

  • On the purpose of presenting a public exhibition and that is authorized
  • For an individual employee to carry if he/she is under their duties
  • On the purpose of in any authorized extracurricular activities or athlete team that requires showing any of the dangerous weapons or knives.


Code 18-12-105.5 explains this too.

“except for the purpose of presenting an authorized public demonstration or exhibition pursuant to instruction in conjunction with an organized school or class, for the purpose of carrying out the necessary duties and functions of an employee of an educational institution that require the use of a deadly weapon, or for the purpose of participation in an authorized extracurricular activity or on an athletic team.”

Sum up to the knife laws in Colorado

In Colorado, concealing a knife over 3.5 inches is a crime. Otherwise, you can carry any knives (except ballistic knife) openly. And about hunting and fishing, there are no restrictions.

Till 2017, gravity knives, ballistic knives, and switchblades were banned but now only ballistic knives are illegal there. The law is now updated. So, don’t get confused.






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