Impermissible Carry

Knives are such multipurpose objects that we can often fail to realize they could be illegal or impermissible carry in certain places. The increasing rates of knife crimes in the US cause heightened suspicions of the innocent pocketknife clipped to your pocket or in your EDC bag.

There are places where having a knife could lead to theft, a stabbing incident, or a worst-case scenario, murder. For example, rehabilitation centers have desperate people that could be waiting for opportunities to strike. Not that I’ve been known to frequent rehab centers but carrying a pocketknife there would just seem to be inviting trouble. Alternatively, while personal disagreements are common situations, a pocketknife could easily decide the fate of a disagreement.

We must recognize when and where carrying a knife is unwise or impermissible carry, otherwise we risk having our prized carry knife confiscated or even worse finding ourselves in legal trouble. There are many places where it is not only a bad idea to carry a knife, but where it is outwrite prohibited, such as air travel, public transportation, galleries and museums, government buildings, rehab centers, and financial institutions.

While this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, this post lists some of the potential areas where security personnel will certainly confiscate your knife without blinking twice.

Potential Areas Where Knives Could be Impermissible Carry

1) Airports

According to the most recent guidance by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) pocketknives in stowed luggage are allowed, but not allowed on your person or in carry-on luggage.

The knife you carry to the airport is either destroyed, sold, or donated by the airports, so it’s pointless to take one with you. If you mistakenly take a knife with you, you can mail it back home to yourself or you could hand it off to a friend or family if they escorted you there. Best advice: If you need a pocketknife at your destination, purchase one when you arrive.

2) Trains and Buses

The policy on carrying knives on public transportation vary by locality. There are lower chances of thorough scrutiny than at an airport, but you could still get in serious trouble. Some trains allow a knife in checked luggage only but prohibit it from the train’s carry-on bag. Know the rules of your mode of transportation before carrying.

3) Art Galleries and Museums

Museums house some of the most treasured and valued pieces of work in the world hence the very huge “No guns or knives allowed” signs posted everyone. At their entrance, metal detectors and in turn knife confiscation occurs, so you wouldn’t be allowed to get them back.

Knives possess a severe threat to any form of canvas or clothing art. You could enter with a hidden knife to a local art gallery without a security team, but as soon as you pull it out for whatever reason, you will make yourself a target.

Giant museums with some of the most famous works of art have numerous security checkpoints. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is an excellent example of how precious canvas can be and how a simple pocketknife would get you barred from the premises.

4) Government Institutions

Possession of weapons is highly illegal on any government institution as defined by 18 U.S. Code § 930 – Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in Federal facilities. Generally, that means a blade length of greater than 2 ½ inches.

If you were to successfully sneak in a knife anywhere in a landmarked government institution, you risk criminal charges. Some examples of government institutions consist of jails, courts, and other government offices. Further, it could be illegal to carry knives landmarked as federal land, Indian lands, or other territorial lands of the government. Federal land is any land secluded by the government for purposes that fully serve the government. Such land consists of national parks, public land, and military properties.

5) Assembly Houses

Though technically classified under government institutions, the government’s key buildings should be considered as out-of-bounds for any form of weapons, especially knives. For instance, it is common knowledge that the security detail is very thorough at facilities like the White House and congressional buildings, so a simple pocketknife would never make it past the metal detectors. It would be ignorant of anyone to carry even a small knife to such institutions and expect a warm welcome.

6) Rehab Centers

Different rehabilitation centers enforce other laws to protect their clients and workers. The most constant practice is the confiscation of weapons, including pocketknives. People receiving help from rehab centers are mentally ill and could be potentially dangerous to themselves and others. There could be no telling the amount of danger that could occur when people in rehabilitation centers encounter knives or other weapons. If you visit a loved one and carry a knife, the security staff will likely take it away, but hopefully it would be returned on your way out.

7) Banks

Knives could be considered as weapons inside a bank. Bank robbers target banks due to access to cash and the number of precious belongings stored for safekeeping. The security team stays vigilant to see who might be intending to cause harm or could pose threats to bank clients or workers. However, the banks’ policies are not always thorough about knife carry but it should not be a problem if you keep yours safely hidden.


I didn’t address schools or nightclubs in this article. I have firsthand experience having a knife confiscated at a club when I forgot I was carrying a Mini Griptilian with me. I really miss that Mini Grip so let that be a cautionary tale of impermissible carry.

There are so many places where it would be irresponsible or illegal to carry knives. State laws also vary widely. For instance, carry knives almost anywhere in Texas is just fine and probably encouraged, but good luck carrying a pocketknife in New York City with a pocket clip showing. You will certainly find yourself receiving unwanted attention by the police. Please be aware of knife laws in your own jurisdiction.