Massachusetts/Boston Knife Laws?


December 28, 2002, 01:46 PM
My 3yo son is having heart surgery in a couple of weeks in Boston, and I was wondering about the knife laws there. Is it legal for me to carry my Swiss Army Knife? How about a 3" Spyderco-style folder?


If you enjoyed reading about "Massachusetts/Boston Knife Laws?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
December 28, 2002, 02:02 PM
I would check with for general info.
For the latest update use their link to Mass. fine tune for Boston.
Its worth it to perhaps print this info, and call ahead...this way you can cite statutes if need/ask questions. Sometimes they don't know whats on the books.

Thoughts and prayers on 3 y/o 's surgery

nasty habit
December 28, 2002, 03:15 PM
Try this

December 29, 2002, 11:41 AM
First of all, best wishes for a speedy recovery to your boy. Boston probably has the best doctors in the world for that sort of stuff.

Speaking as a MAss. LEO, I can assure you that your Swiss Army Knife is OK, as is the Spyderco.

As long as it doesn't have a double edge (think: dagger) and isn't so long (like a cutlass or broadsword) that it is noticeable and upsetting to my neighbors, you should be all right.

MA laws prohibit things like "dirk knives" (that's what the statute calls double-edged blades) and switchblades. (Although, the local police supply store sells the SOG Flash.) The length really isn't an issue-unless you're walking down the street swinging it around.

Good luck.

January 3, 2003, 05:58 PM
I was wondering, how is the "Flash" not a switchblade? It opens with the assistance of a spring, right?

Jim March
January 4, 2003, 12:00 AM
Bernie Levine's info is not always accurate. He has a bias against self defense with a blade, and is in fact on record as saying that anybody carrying a "dagger" for self defense should be sent up on a 5150 (involuntary mental health commitment).

His info on California knife law was wrong for years. He ignored me and others until Jason (Medusaoblongata) on Bladeforums finally wrote a detailed point-by-point critique and threatened to publicly post it unless he cleaned up his California page.

(Jason was one of the people who went with me to Sacramento on the SB274 hearings in late 2001 and helped make sure that bit of tripe didn't ban all folders that could be snapped open. Nadja Adolf was also present and like Jason, testified very well.)

Bernie's failures regarding Calif knife law was a major reason I did my Calif knife law page at

Take Bernie's knife law pages with a healthy pinch o' salt :scrutiny:.

Mind you, I don't *know* if his info on MA is bad...

Jim March
January 4, 2003, 12:04 AM
Oh, on the Flash (and similar such as the Kershaw Ken Onions) they do not fall under the FEDERAL switchblade rules because the opening stroke begins manually.

Most states with switchblade laws follow the Federal rules. NOT ALL - California doesn't. If the state has no basic definition of "switchblade" then it's easier...they follow the Feds.

If they have their own definition of "switchblade", then you've got to study the hell out of it.

January 20, 2003, 03:08 PM
I used to instruct the defensive knife course at S+W to LE and civilians.

Ma. statute is 269-10b [dangerous weapons statutes].

no blade length restriction, dirks, daggers, double edged are all illegal.

After 9-11 Boston instituted a 2 1/2" blade restriction inside the city limits. Course this made perfect sense as the terrorists used box cutters and razor blades which would be under that lengths restriction in the city.

Go figure. I carry in Boston all day with two folders that are 3-4 inches long. No one notices or asks to see them for length violations inside the city limits.



January 20, 2003, 11:16 PM
A search on for MA laws on knives revealed the following -
(b) Whoever, except as provided by law, carries on his person, or carries on his person or under his control in a vehicle, any stiletto, dagger or a device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position, any ballistic knife, or any knife with a detachable blade capable of being propelled by any mechanism, dirk knife, any knife having a double-edged blade, or a switch knife, or any knife having an automatic spring release device by which the blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches, or a slung shot, blowgun, blackjack, metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles, nunchaku, zoobow, also known as klackers or kung fu sticks, or any similar weapon consisting of two sticks of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather, a shuriken or any similar pointed starlike object intended to injure a person when thrown, or any armband, made with leather which has metallic spikes, points or studs or any similar device made from any other substance or a cestus or similar material weighted with metal or other substance and worn on the hand, or a manrikigusari or similar length of chain having weighted ends; or whoever, when arrested upon a warrant for an alleged crime, or when arrested while committing a breach or disturbance of the public peace, is armed with or has on his person, or has on his person or under his control in a vehicle, a billy or other dangerous weapon other than those herein mentioned and those mentioned in paragraph (a), shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two and one-half years nor more than five years in the state prison, or for not less than six months nor more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction, except that, if the court finds that the defendant has not been previously convicted of a felony, he may be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars or by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction.

As to the switchblade question, the federal regs defines a knife to be a switchblade when the blade is opened by pressure on some part of the handle. Since the blade must be opened manually part of the way the new generation of assisted openers do not meet the definition of a switchblade.

January 25, 2003, 09:19 AM
Follow Brownie's Lead, He is one of the best! SPG:banghead:

Kentucky Rifle
January 25, 2003, 12:34 PM
Most importantly ~Best of luck for a speedy recovery for your little fella.

Secondly, I would have never even thought about this "knife thing". In Kentucky, people have been carrying pocket knives for as long as I can remember. I must have been given my first pocket knife before the age of five...because that's when I started first grade and I remember proudly taking my pocket knife to school. Of course, that was long ago.:mad: I think it's sad that you even have to check the legality of carrying such a small knife.


If you enjoyed reading about "Massachusetts/Boston Knife Laws?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!