I have a knife that folds open. Its blade is about 3-4 inches long. It looks kind of like this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002HR5G30?ref_=cm_cd_al_qh_dp_t

I was looking at New Jersey state laws regarding weapons. I would like to know if I could carry it. I do sometimes go into more dangerous towns in New Jersey or I´ll go in the woods or something. Here is what New Jersey law is for knives:

e. Certain weapons. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any gravity knife, switchblade knife, dagger, dirk, stiletto, billy, blackjack, metal knuckle, sandclub, slingshot, cestus or similar leather band studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood, ballistic knife, without any explainable lawful purpose, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

Would this count as a stilleto? I know it is not a switchblade or gravity knife.

  • 3
    State and municipal laws on knives are quite volatile, and enforcement of them even more so. This would probably best be addressed by (frequently) checking a "knife rights" advocacy group that closely tracks these things. One example: knifeup.com/knife-laws
    – feetwet
    Aug 14, 2015 at 3:05
  • It is not a stiletto en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stiletto
    – Dale M
    Aug 14, 2015 at 4:08
  • New Jersey law terrifies me. I can't carry a gun so I figure a simple knife would be better than nothing. Aug 15, 2015 at 15:27

2 Answers 2


However, because New Jersey law allows for the possession of a dangerous knife, by those who have a legal purpose for owning them, any knife may be considered legal if owned for a “lawful purpose”. https://knifeup.com/new-jersey-knife-laws/

Might want to read the entire article, but it sounds to me like there are a lot of grey areas. Perhaps asking a local attorney might be best?

Still though, sounds to me like you can own and carry just about any knife as long as you can justify it's use. Also a hunting/fishing licence might offer a paper thin level of legal defense.


tl;dr: It's probably legal, but be careful.

You already quoted the relevant section of the New Jersey Statues (namely New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 2C § 39-3) in your question.

You can see that the section starts with "Certain weapons", then proceeds to list specific weapons. While many of the weapons listed are indeed knives, they are specific types of knives, specifically knives that are explicitly made to be used as weapons (and not as tools). In other words: Whether a knife is covered by this section depends on the exact type of knife.

The knife you described and linked to seems to be either a slipjoint knife (where the blade is held open by a spring that can be overcome by pushing) or a lock-blade_knife (where the knife is held open by a lock that has to be released). I do not think it qualifies as a "stiletto" either - a stiletto is a knife specifically designed for thrusting, which this does not seem to be.

Neither of these types is listed in the section, so they should be legal to carry (though note I am not a lawyer). Additionally, the section lists "explainable lawful purpose" as an exception, so even if your knife falls into one of the listed categories, it would be legal if you have an "explainable lawful purpose" (though the law does not say what that might be).

However: The law is pretty vague (for example, it does not define the categories it uses, like "stiletto" and "dagger"), and it seems in practice that the law is enforced unevenly. This article on attorneys.com mentions a case where someone was fined $800 for carrying a pocket knife. So be careful, and maybe ask local police for advice.

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