(NEXSTAR) – When it comes to utility, knives can be used for a variety of things. But is it legal to carry a knife in West Virginia?
Many states in the U.S. have certain restrictions on carrying knives, some of which concern the length of the blade, or where and how they can be carried.
What do West Virginia restrictions on carrying knives look like?
State law suggests there are no specific restrictions for anyone age 21 and older when it comes to carrying knives, whether they are concealed or otherwise. Likewise, there are no restrictions on the types of knives that can be owned, sold, or displayed.
That being said, certain restrictions exist for West Virginians under the age of 21. In general, it is a misdemeanor for anyone who is at least 18 but is not yet 21 to carry concealed knives that qualify as “deadly weapons.” Anyone in this age group may openly carry a deadly weapon and/or apply for a “provisional license,” allowing concealed carry if granted.
Knives in the deadly weapons class are not allowed to be owned or carried by minors under 18 unless they are emancipated.
However, there are other general restrictions to consider. For example, it is illegal for anyone to knowingly sell, lend, or transfer a deadly weapon to a person prohibited from possessing a deadly weapon. It’s also illegal to display and offer to sell to passersby on any street, road, or alley, any deadly weapon.
Additionally, knives that are considered “deadly weapons” are prohibited from being brought into schools and court facilities. This also applies to school buses and school grounds.
The tricky part comes from determining what falls under the category of a deadly weapon. While any knife could be considered a deadly weapon if it’s used to cause harm to someone, not all knives are automatically considered deadly weapons.
Chapter 61, Article 7 of the West Virginia code explains the types of knives that constitute deadly weapons include daggers, dirks, poniards, stilettos, switchblade knives, or anything with a blade longer than 3.5 inches.
Small pocket knives, hunting and fishing knives used for recreational purposes, as well as kitchen or household knives aren’t considered a “deadly weapon” under West Virginia law unless they are “knowingly used or intended to be used to produce serious bodily injury or death.”
Anyone who violates the specific knife restrictions would be committing a misdemeanor and can face up to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for their first offense. A subsequent offense would be considered a felony and would carry a penalty of up to $5,000 and up to five years in a state correctional facility.
In other words, so long as they are 21 or older, West Virginians are generally not restricted from carrying knives, so long as they aren’t bringing them onto school grounds or into courthouses.
Not all states have that freedom. For example, Illinois law restricts certain blades, like switchblades or automatic blades, from being owned, manufactured, or sold, but other knives are legal to conceal carry, so long as the blade does not exceed three inches.