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Colorado’s Evolving Knife Legislation: What’s New?

Colorado’s knife legislation has undergone significant changes in recent years, reflecting the evolving attitudes towards knife ownership and use in the state. These changes have sparked debates among lawmakers, law enforcement agencies, and the general public. Understanding the current state of knife legislation in Colorado is crucial for residents and visitors alike to ensure compliance with the law and avoid any legal complications.

The Definition of a Knife in Colorado

Before delving into the specifics of Colorado’s knife legislation, it is important to establish a clear definition of what constitutes a knife in the state. According to Colorado law, a knife is defined as any bladed instrument that is capable of inflicting bodily harm or injury. This definition encompasses a wide range of bladed tools, including pocket knives, hunting knives, and even certain types of utility knives.

It is worth noting that certain bladed instruments, such as kitchen knives and scissors, are generally exempt from the definition of a knife under Colorado law. However, the context in which these instruments are used can still impact their legality. For example, using a kitchen knife as a weapon in a criminal act would still be considered a violation of the law.

Open Carry Laws for Knives in Colorado

Colorado allows individuals to openly carry knives in most public places, provided that the blade length does not exceed a certain limit. The current blade length limit for open carry in Colorado is 3.5 inches. This means that individuals can openly carry knives with blades measuring 3.5 inches or less without violating the law.

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It is important to note that the blade length limit applies to the entire length of the blade, including any exposed portion when the knife is in a closed position. Therefore, individuals should exercise caution when carrying folding knives with blades that are close to the 3.5-inch limit, as the exposed portion of the blade when closed could potentially exceed the legal limit.

Concealed Carry Laws for Knives in Colorado

While open carry of knives is generally permitted in Colorado, the laws regarding concealed carry of knives are more restrictive. Colorado law prohibits the concealed carry of knives with blades exceeding 3.5 inches in length. This means that individuals cannot conceal knives with blades longer than 3.5 inches on their person or in their vehicles.

It is important to note that the concealed carry laws for knives in Colorado do not apply to individuals who hold a valid concealed carry permit for firearms. These individuals are allowed to carry knives with blades longer than 3.5 inches, as long as they are in compliance with the regulations outlined in their concealed carry permit.

Restrictions on Certain Types of Knives

In addition to the blade length limits for open and concealed carry, Colorado law also imposes restrictions on certain types of knives. These restrictions are primarily aimed at knives that are considered dangerous or have a higher potential for misuse.

One example of a restricted knife type in Colorado is the switchblade knife. Colorado law prohibits the possession, sale, and transfer of switchblade knives. A switchblade knife is defined as a knife with a blade that opens automatically by pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife.

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Another restricted knife type in Colorado is the ballistic knife. A ballistic knife is a knife with a detachable blade that can be propelled by a spring, elastic, or other mechanical device. Possession, sale, and transfer of ballistic knives are also prohibited under Colorado law.

Penalties for Violating Knife Laws in Colorado

Violating knife laws in Colorado can result in various penalties, depending on the nature and severity of the offense. The penalties for knife law violations can range from fines to imprisonment, and in some cases, both.

For individuals found in violation of the blade length limits for open carry or concealed carry, the penalties can include fines and potential confiscation of the knife. Repeat offenses may result in more severe penalties, including higher fines and longer periods of imprisonment.

Individuals found in possession of restricted knife types, such as switchblade knives or ballistic knives, can face more serious consequences. Possession of a switchblade knife or a ballistic knife is considered a misdemeanor offense in Colorado, punishable by fines and potential imprisonment.


Colorado’s knife legislation has evolved over the years to reflect changing attitudes towards knife ownership and use. Understanding the current laws and regulations surrounding knives in Colorado is essential for residents and visitors to avoid legal complications. It is important to be aware of the blade length limits for open and concealed carry, as well as the restrictions on certain types of knives. Violating knife laws in Colorado can result in penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment, depending on the nature of the offense. By staying informed and adhering to the law, individuals can ensure their own safety and compliance with Colorado’s evolving knife legislation.

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