An out-the-front, or OTF, knife has many legitimate purposes, which is why they’re so popular. When you’re camping or working outdoors, for example, having a reliable blade that’s easy to access and easy to use is essential. However, it’s important to ensure that you can own and carry your knife legally.
If you’re thinking about purchasing an OTF knife, you’ll want to know exactly what’s permitted. Federally, there are few restrictions when it comes to OTF knives. In fact, federal law only regulates the importation of out-the-front knives, their production and their transportation across state lines. If you want to know whether you can buy or carry an OTF knife, you’ll need to look at state law.
Where are OTF Knives Permitted?
Most states in the U.S. allow people to purchase out-the-front knives. To date, only Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington have banned the possession of out-the-front knives and other types of switchblades.
In all other states, it’s legal to own OTF knives, although some states have introduced certain restrictions. In Illinois, for example, you must be over the age of 21 and have a valid FOID card to possess an OTF knife legally. Similarly, in New York, you must have a valid fishing or hunting license in order to own an OTF knife legally.
Can You Carry an OTF Knife?
Even in states when possession of an OTF knife is legal, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can carry it about your person. To determine whether you’re permitted to keep your knife with you, you’ll need to identify what the relevant state laws are in relation to open and concealed carrying.
In Arizona, for example, open carry is permitted but you must be over the age of 21 to conceal carry an OTF knife. In other states, the size of your OTF knife has an impact on whether you can open or conceal carry. In Idaho, for example, open carry is legal but concealed carry is only permitted if the blade is less than 5”. However, if you have a gun permit, you are permitted to conceal carry an OTF knife in Idaho, even if the blade is longer than 5”.
However, some states have banned people from conceal carrying OTF knives. In Florida, for example, you can buy, own and open carry an OTF knife but you can’t conceal carry one, unless you have a gun permit. In Kentucky, it’s illegal to conceal carry an OTF blade, although purchasing, possessing and open carrying an out-the-front knife is legal.
Choosing Your OTF Knife
If you’re planning to purchase an OTF knife, it’s essential to find out exactly what regulations your state has in place. By doing so, you can ensure that you’re able to buy a knife that fits your requirements and doesn’t breach any regulations. Furthermore, the laws in your state may affect which knife you decide to purchase, so it’s a good idea to do your research first.