The Keating Firm has been purchased by Kisling, Nestico & Redick, a personal injury law firm serving all of Ohio. Visit Site >
top of page
  • Writer's pictureBrad Keating

Are Butterfly Knives Illegal in Ohio?

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

Ohio is regarded to be one of the best deer hunting locations in the United States. Knives have always been necessary equipment when discovering the surroundings of nature, but as times change, most people prefer to take knives regardless of the environment.

For this purpose, everyone needs to learn knife laws as each state introduces various and different classifications, and the fines can begin from heavy penalties to criminal proceedings.

Ohio state law on deadly weapons is relatively flexible with some of its articles. Generally, it is legal to possess any knife. However, when it comes to concealed carrying, the distinctions in the law become confused.

Butterfly Knife Ohio Laws

Definition of Deadly Weapon

In the chapter of the Ohio revised code, a deadly weapon may be described as any tool, device, or item capable of causing death and designed or specially adapted for uses such as self-defense or used as a weapon.

Thus, Ohio law states that almost any knife would be considered a deadly weapon.

However, anyone who wants to stay within Ohio state law, he must first accept that he can not possess any lethal weapon or dangerous ordnance in secret. He may own these tools, and he can openly carry them.

Ohio Knife Open Carry Laws

Carrying a knife in public in Ohio is reasonably loose. Anyone can own any knife and use it openly and freely. The purchase or other transaction forms are regulated, and the concealed carry laws are significantly restrictive.

Ohio Concealed Knife Laws

Ohio's regulations and laws on sales, including knives, are less specific than some other cities. That is because, aside from ballistic knives and automatic knives, none of them are mentioned in the legislation.

Instead, the regulations on knives are assessed based on whether or not a knife may be considered a lethal weapon or dangerous ordnance, as already described.

The truth remains that Ohio's knife laws are inadequately weak in identifying the difference between a fatal weapon and a regular pocket knife.

Limits on Carrying

Ohio knife laws do not prohibit the concealed carry of any specific knife except for what it considers a “dangerous ordnance” that involves ballistic knives.

Regarding carrying a concealed deadly weapon, the Ohio state must prove that the device could cause death and that it was either created or adapted for use as a weapon. Some knives are regarded and used as dangerous weapons, and therefore illegal to conceal carry including:

Dirks, daggers, or other stabbing knives


Balisong, or butterfly knives

Gravity knife


Folding Knife

Folding blade knives are convenient because they can be customized with new applications. It is legal to have and carry folding knives freely in public or in the vehicle.

According to Ohio knife law, concealed carry of folding knives may consider it a deadly weapon and may lead to an arrest or result in charges.

Automatic Knife Laws

Automatic knives are arguably the most effective type of blade in emergency cases due to their efficiency and execution. They are legal for open carry. Concealed carry is not allowed as these critical tools are supposed to be deadly weapons.

The Bottom Line

Ohio law authorizes the ownership and open carry of any knife. Conceal carry laws in Ohio do not define any blade, other than ballistic knives. Instead, it makes it illegal to conceal carry any deadly weapon.

The court declared everything to be a deadly weapon from a pocket knife to a steak knife. The question remains as to whether the tool is fatal or is changed too be a lethal weapon or is being carried like one.

If you or someone you know has been injured by one of these weapons, contact one of the Columbus personal injury attorneys at The Keating Firm LTD.

If you want to know whether brass knuckles are illegal in Ohio or if switchblades are illegal in Ohio, The Keating Firm LTD. can give you all of the answers.

Disclaimer: The details included in this blog is offered for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as lawful guidance in any way. No recipients of material from this blog, clients or otherwise, should or should not act on the basis of any material consisted in the blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional guidance on the particular facts and situations at issue from an attorney accredited in the recipient's state.


bottom of page