Maryland’s Knife Laws (2021)

Maryland sits right on the border with our nation's beautiful capital city, Washington D.C. bordering also Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Now, if you are a history nut, ‘Harriet Tubman's Underground Railroad National Historical Park,’ is a must-see given its historical importance. 

Whilst there at a foot lengths distance away you have the ‘Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge,’ with more than 20,000 acres of open land for you to indulge and explore across, of which 15,000 are open to seasonal deer hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing. With such a rich wildlife habitat, ‘Blackwater’ is home to our great nation’s symbol, the mighty bald eagle.

Knives have been a long-used accessory when braving the wilderness and going into the unknown. However, in recent times, knives have become a modern accessory carried by civilians going about their daily duties. Many professionals find carrying a knife much more practical for their on-the-job needs as well as providing a certain level of security if ever needed for self-defense.

Concealed carry is favored when going out. The mere fact of having a self-defense tool on your person and being the only one to know that gives you a heightened sense of security in public. This method, though, also drives up the necessity to be in the loop with state laws as they all differ and legality in one could mean prosecution in the other.

“Maryland’s knife laws are a tad cryptic and need to be clearly understood!”

Know your knife-type to better understand the law

Fixed Blade Knives

- Have no moving parts and don’t break
- Strong, lengthy blades offer more versatility
- Rapid deployment
- Hunting, fishing and tactical use

Folding Blade Knives:

- Blades uses a locking mechanism when fully extended
- Convenient and more practical for EDC (Everyday carry)
- Single-handed operation (open and close)
- Used for camping, MPT (Multipurpose tool), box cutting.

Automatic Blade Knives:

- Operated by either a slide switch or button release mechanism
- Blade ejects out of the handle.
- Tough to sharpen and clean.
- Great for chores around the house or garden.

Now let's get down to the nitty-gritty, and find out what the knife laws state about possessing and carrying knives. 

Freedom Vs Restrictions. Knives and Laws.

Fixed blade knives:
Fixed blade knives are the standard go-to for hunting. The absent mechanics of movement give it a sturdier and firmer feel. The blade itself can produce more power given as it is forged right to the handle. 

These knives are must-haves for deep nature enthusiasts, wildlife explorers, and preppers.
The Tsume’ (pictured below) is a finely crafted karambit. It features a 5” saber-tooth steel blade with a curved edge finish. The anti-slip handle will ensure the knife remains firm whatever task you tackle.

Tsume - Anglers ánd Hunters Top Pick. Legal to own. 

(Illegal to carry)

Fixed blade knives are fully legal to possess and own 


It is ILLEGAL to CARRY any type of fixed blade knife such as a dirk or bowie as they are considered “dangerous weapons!!!” 

Folding blade knives are mechanical masterpieces. The smooth and simple mechanism makes these gems golden in certain situations. These are great essentials for EDC (Everyday carry) whether used on the field or hacksawing dogged boxes. 

The locking method of these knives adds to the resilience and toughness of their durability. 

The “Lima,” (pictured below) carries a finely crafted wood/carbon combo masterpiece of a handle. The blade is constructed out of first-class gray steel that is easy to open with one hand. The straight-edge blade stands at just a mere 3.74” making it of average size and a great tool to stash in your back pocket. 

Lima - Wood / Carbon combination stealth warrior! (Open & Conceal carry permitted)

ALL Folding blade knives are categorized as “penknives” and are completely legal to own, possess and carry.

The law DOES NOT clearly define any limitation on:

- Blade Length
- Knife Size
- Open/Closed Blade
- Concealed/Open Carry

It is LEGAL:

- To carry any folding knife that uses an “automatic mechanism” to release the blade!!!


- Conceal carry is ILLEGAL of any folding knife that has a blade which projects or swings into position by force of a spring or centrifugal force!

All manual Penknives can be open-carried anywhere without concern. 


Automatic knives or more commonly known as switchblades or OTF (Out the front) knives are operated by ejection or button release mechanisms. These knives can be deployed and be ready for action instantaneously. The blades can either eject out of the front of the handle or can swing out similarly to a folding knife. These knives are often considered dangerous weapons to carry!

It is LEGAL TO OWN switchblades. 

It is LEGAL TO CARRY them openly if there is no intent to cause harm. Local/municipal ordinance should be verified.

Must learn facts about possession and carry of knives:

- It is legal to own ANY fixed blade, penknife or switchblade knife!
- ONLY penknives are allowed for concealed carry.
- It is ILLEGAL to possess any knife on any school property
- Minors are not allowed to carry a weapon between sunset and sunrise (means STRICTLY NO).
- All of the above are allowed for open carry however they are ALL STRICTLY ILLEGAL FOR CONCEALED CARRY!

The following are ALL considered dangerous weapons:

- Fixed blade knife - Dirk, Bowie
- Throwing Stars
- Switchblades

Maryland’s knife laws are open to interpretation but it’s always safest to carry a penknife or automatic knife for your daily chores.

Any violation could lead to prosecution and either a prison sentence or a fine both of which do not present a favorable outcome.

This information is presented as a brief synopsis of the law and not as legal advice. Tekto Knives is not, and cannot be, a legal service provider. Use of the site does not create a lawyer/client relationship. Laws are interpreted differently by enforcement officers, prosecuting attorneys, and judges. Tekto Knives suggests that you consult legal counsel for guidance.