Are Ballistic Knives Legal in the United States?

Pop Quiz

Knife Laws of the US book
This pop quiz was written by Evan Nappen as part of an excerpt of his essential book, “Knife Laws of the U.S.”

Which of the following weapons is legally impossible for an average law-abiding citizen to lawfully acquire in interstate commerce under federal law?

1. Live hand grenade
2. Suppressed (silenced) .22 pistol
3. Short-barrel (sawed off) shotgun
4. An UZI submachine gun
5. Browning .50 M2 machine gun
6. Howitzer
7. Ballistic knife


You guessed it! A ballistic knife is utterly impossible for an average law-abiding citizen to acquire in interstate commerce. All of the other items listed are heavily regulated by federal law, but are technically obtainable with the proper paperwork, investigation and approval by the federal government.

Federal law prohibits a ballistic knife under 15 U.S.C. § 1245 as follows:
(a) Prohibition and penalties for possession, manufacture, sale, or importation. Whoever in or affecting interstate commerce, within any territory or possession of the United, States, within Indian country (as defined in section 1151 of title 18), or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States (as defined in section 7 of title 18), knowingly possesses, manufactures, sells, or imports a ballistic knife shall be fined as provided in title 18, or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

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