April 20, 2007
LAWS ON ILLEGAL KNIVES
By: Veronica Rose, Principal Analyst
You want to know about the laws governing knives in Connecticut. You also specifically want to know about the provisions that apply to the sale of antique knives at flea markets or other venues.
State law defines certain knives as dangerous weapons and, with minor exceptions, makes it illegal to carry them on one's person or in a vehicle. The law does not prohibit mere possession of these weapons (i.e., possession in one's residence, according to the state Supreme Court). And it does not address sales and purchases.
Under the law, dangerous weapons are (1) dirk knives, (2) switch knives, (3) stilettos, (4) any knife that has an automatic spring release device that releases a blade from the handle longer than one and one-half inches, and (5) any knife that has a blade with an edged portion four inches or longer.
Illegally carrying a dangerous weapon on one's person is punishable by a fine of up to $500, imprisonment for up to three years, or both (CGS § 53-206(a)). Illegally carrying it in a vehicle is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both (CGS § 29-38).
The law does not contain any provisions specifically addressing antique knives.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE BAN ON CARRYING DANGEROUS WEAPONS
Peace officers pursuing their official duties may carry any of the knives, and the following people may carry knives with a four-inch or longer, edged blade in the circumstances specified:
1. armed forces members, including guard members and reservists, while on or going to and from duty;
2. members of military organizations when on parade or going to or coming from a place of assembly;
3. anyone transporting them as merchandise or for display at an authorized gun or knife show;
4. anyone transporting them concealed while lawfully removing their household effects from one place or residence to another;
5. anyone transporting them from his or her residence or business place for repairs or retrieving them after they have been repaired;
6. hunting, fishing, or trapping licensees for lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping; and
7. anyone participating in an authorized historic reenactment (CGS § 53-206(b)).
POSSESSION OF DANGEROUS WEAPONS
The state Supreme Court has ruled that the prohibition on carrying dangerous weapons contains an implicit exception for carrying a weapon in a residence or abode (State v. Sealy, 546 A2d 271, 208 Conn. 689 (1988)).