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  1. #1
    DigitalRX is offline Junior Member DigitalRX is on a distinguished road
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    Illinois Knife Laws

    Hi, I have a question concerning Knife laws in Illinois. I currently own a Ka-Bar straight bladed knife. It has a blade length of 7 inches and an overall length of about 12 inches (Standard USMC Ka-Bar). I am 19 years old.

    As a person who loves the outdoors, I often find myself needing a knife for many situations from cutting fishing line, to preparing kindling for fires. I know this knife is a little overboard, but it is what I have and my budget is limited. I have been in Boy Scouts since I was old enough, and am well versed in proper use of knives. I do not hold any false views on thinking the knives I use are for protection or view myself skilled in using them as such.

    My question is: Is it legal to carry this knife as long as it's in its sheath, and visible? I recently retired my old knife because it has seen better days, and I was wondering if it would be better just to go and buy something new to avoid any issues, or if it would be o.k to carry what I have.

    Any help would be appreciated as I am going hiking this weekend, and dread being without such a useful tool as my knife.

    I asked my brother who is a Sargent in the USMC, and he vaguely remembers an officer once telling him there is no length limit in Illinois as long as the knife is visible, but I wanted to double check and the things I found online, are less than helpful.

    I do not live in Chicago if that is any help.

  2. #2
    TX-LEO's Avatar
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    Sounds like over 3" gets you into trouble after doing a simple google search for Illinois knife laws.

    Why dont you stop at your local POLICE STATION and ask?
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  3. #3
    DigitalRX is offline Junior Member DigitalRX is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by TX-LEO View Post
    Sounds like over 3" gets you into trouble after doing a simple google search for Illinois knife laws.

    Why dont you stop at your local POLICE STATION and ask?
    I was debating doing that, but wasn't sure if it would be a hassle for them or not.

    And yea, I saw that on google as well, but I can't begin to interpret most of the laws so I figured I would come and ask people who enforce the laws or have to make decisions on them.

    Thanks for your advice.

  4. #4
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    Most of us here are from all over the world, and although we would like to assist you, unless a LEO from Ill. happens by this thread, you likely won't get your question answered in time.

    Your local PD should be able to assist you much more rapidly.

    Don't call 9-1-1. Most all agencies have an Administrative line that you can call and sometimes speak with either a desk Sgt. or an Officer of the Day.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalRX View Post
    I was debating doing that, but wasn't sure if it would be a hassle for them or not.

    And yea, I saw that on google as well, but I can't begin to interpret most of the laws so I figured I would come and ask people who enforce the laws or have to make decisions on them.

    Thanks for your advice.
    link to the criminal code section?

  6. #6
    DigitalRX is offline Junior Member DigitalRX is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel View Post
    link to the criminal code section?
    h t t p ://pweb.netcom.com/~brlevine/il.txt

    That's what I found on it. I've also been doing more reading and some people say as long as it's for hunting or fishing or the sorts.. but I'm going to take everyones advice and drive to the police station today and ask them.

  7. #7
    ispcapt is offline Senior Member ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute
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    For IL statutes 24-1 (Unlawful Use of a Weapon) the blade length is not a factor nor mentioned in the statute. What the UUW statute addresses is "carries or possesses with the intent to use" regardless of blade length.
    However, if a person for some reason finds themselves charged with armed violence then the penalty can be increased as an "aggravated offense" if the person is carrying a knife with a blade over 3", along with other named weapons.

    (720 ILCS 5/33A‑1)
    (1) "Armed with a dangerous weapon". A person is considered armed with a dangerous weapon for purposes of this Article, when he or she carries on or about his or her person or is otherwise armed with a Category I, Category II, or Category III weapon.
    (2) A Category I weapon is a handgun, sawed‑off shotgun, sawed‑off rifle, any other firearm small enough to be concealed upon the person, semiautomatic firearm, or machine gun. A Category II weapon is any other rifle, shotgun, spring gun, other firearm, stun gun or taser as defined in paragraph (a) of Section 24‑1 of this Code, knife with a blade of at least 3 inches in length, dagger, dirk, switchblade knife, stiletto, axe, hatchet, or other deadly or dangerous weapon or instrument of like character. As used in this subsection (b) "semiautomatic firearm" means a repeating firearm that utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round and that requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.
    (3) A Category III weapon is a bludgeon, black‑jack, slungshot, sand‑bag, sand‑club, metal knuckles, billy, or other dangerous weapon of like character.


    Additionally, while the statutes don't mention knives specifically, there's always the catch-all statute of Disorderly Conduct. So while the act of carrying a KBar isn't specifically prohibited by statute a Disorderly Conduct charge could possibly result if someone "Does any act in such unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace;" So openly carrying a 7" KBar to the movies might be viewed as "unreasonable" as you won't be cutting trees, making kindling, cleaning fish, or gutting a deer at the movies. If your defense for carrying the KBar to the movies is to protect yourself then refer back to 24-1 where carrying is intended to be used against another.
    Last edited by ispcapt; 05-31-08 at 04:20 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ispcapt View Post
    ... (3) A Category III weapon is a bludgeon, black‑jack, slungshot, sand‑bag, sand‑club, metal knuckles, billy, or other dangerous weapon of like character.


    Additionally, while the statutes don't mention knives specifically, there's always the catch-all statute of Disorderly Conduct. So while the act of carrying a KBar isn't specifically prohibited by statute a Disorderly Conduct charge could possibly result if someone "Does any act in such unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace;" So openly carrying a 7" KBar to the movies might be viewed as "unreasonable" as you won't be cutting trees, making kindling, cleaning fish, or gutting a deer at the movies. If your defense for carrying the KBar to the movies is to protect yourself then refer back to 24-1 where carrying is intended to be used against another.
    So you could use the same analogy if he carried a sandbag rather than a Kbar... who carries a sandbag to the movie theater?:confused:

    I'd be locking those guys with slung-shots up, though...:D
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  9. #9
    ispcapt is offline Senior Member ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute ispcapt has a reputation beyond repute
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creeker View Post
    So you could use the same analogy if he carried a sandbag rather than a Kbar... who carries a sandbag to the movie theater?:confused:
    I'd be locking those guys with slung-shots up, though...:D
    Both "sandbag" and "slung-shots" are old terms used from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. A "sandbag" is not the sandbag you are thinking that weigh 30#+ and used to stop flooding. A "sandbag" is something more like a sock filled with sand, rocks, gravel, or some other type heavy materials. Same with a "slung-shot". They are improvised blackjacks which years ago the term "blackjack" was a trade name and not the generic name it has become today.
    183 FBINA

  10. #10
    DigitalRX is offline Junior Member DigitalRX is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by ispcapt View Post
    For IL statutes 24-1 (Unlawful Use of a Weapon) the blade length is not a factor nor mentioned in the statute. What the UUW statute addresses is "carries or possesses with the intent to use" regardless of blade length.
    However, if a person for some reason finds themselves charged with armed violence then the penalty can be increased as an "aggravated offense" if the person is carrying a knife with a blade over 3", along with other named weapons.

    (720 ILCS 5/33A‑1)
    (1) "Armed with a dangerous weapon". A person is considered armed with a dangerous weapon for purposes of this Article, when he or she carries on or about his or her person or is otherwise armed with a Category I, Category II, or Category III weapon.
    (2) A Category I weapon is a handgun, sawed‑off shotgun, sawed‑off rifle, any other firearm small enough to be concealed upon the person, semiautomatic firearm, or machine gun. A Category II weapon is any other rifle, shotgun, spring gun, other firearm, stun gun or taser as defined in paragraph (a) of Section 24‑1 of this Code, knife with a blade of at least 3 inches in length, dagger, dirk, switchblade knife, stiletto, axe, hatchet, or other deadly or dangerous weapon or instrument of like character. As used in this subsection (b) "semiautomatic firearm" means a repeating firearm that utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round and that requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.
    (3) A Category III weapon is a bludgeon, black‑jack, slungshot, sand‑bag, sand‑club, metal knuckles, billy, or other dangerous weapon of like character.


    Additionally, while the statutes don't mention knives specifically, there's always the catch-all statute of Disorderly Conduct. So while the act of carrying a KBar isn't specifically prohibited by statute a Disorderly Conduct charge could possibly result if someone "Does any act in such unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace;" So openly carrying a 7" KBar to the movies might be viewed as "unreasonable" as you won't be cutting trees, making kindling, cleaning fish, or gutting a deer at the movies. If your defense for carrying the KBar to the movies is to protect yourself then refer back to 24-1 where carrying is intended to be used against another.
    Alright, that makes sense.. I talked to the officers at the local police station, and they said if I'm using it for camping or fishing etc, that it isn't a problem, though I may get asked why I have it by a park ranger or the such.

    I appreciate the help that everyone has given on this.
    Last edited by DigitalRX; 06-01-08 at 12:26 PM.

  11. #11
    Creeker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ispcapt View Post
    Both "sandbag" and "slung-shots" are old terms used from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. A "sandbag" is not the sandbag you are thinking that weigh 30#+ and used to stop flooding. A "sandbag" is something more like a sock filled with sand, rocks, gravel, or some other type heavy materials. Same with a "slung-shot". They are improvised blackjacks which years ago the term "blackjack" was a trade name and not the generic name it has become today.
    I knew that the sandbag was probably a reference to a sap of some type, but had never heard of a "slung-shot".;)
    My Inalienable Rights were given to me by God and NOT by the Government.


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