The roots of the “Old West” carry deep in the heart of laws developed by the State of Colorado with a clear inclusion of knives that would be used for the purpose of hunting and fishing as well as general use or self-defense knives.  The development of wide application within knife laws also causes for some complication in the full understanding of what type of knives one can carry either open or concealed within the state of Colorado.  Let’s slice further into the details of what Colorado considers to be either permissible or banned in the land of the “Old West.”

Knives that are Legal to Own in Colorado

The simplest understanding of Colorado knife laws in being able to fall into accordance with regulation is to follow the measurement rule of 3.5 inches.  If you have a knife with a blade length of less than 3.5 inches, you are in the clear; however, if your blade length is greater than 3.5 inches, you cannot legally conceal the knife.  The tricky part within this law is where exclusions apply.  In the 2016 Colorado Parks and Wildlife Fact Sheet, it was recognized that Colorado residents and visitors participated in over 222 Million statewide outdoor activity days, including tent camping, fishing, and hunting.  During these events that millions of individuals partake upon, it is often critical for the carrying of a knife that is greater than 3.5 inches in length.  This is where exceptions to the rule come into play for the State of Colorado.

When being used for the purpose of fishing and hunting, any length of the knife is legal to carry in the state of Colorado.  So when a fisherman is looking to be able to fillet their freshly caught trout on an open stream high in the Rocky Mountains, they can be assured that it is legal to carry a knife with a blade longer than 3.5 inches to get the job done properly.  Likewise, a hunter that is either protecting him or herself or is looking to be able to properly break down a big game kill after a successful hunt will have peace of mind in carrying a knife that will be sufficient during the hunt.  In the respect to hunting and fishing, Colorado has helped to keep true to the needs of the “Old West,” but has relinquished some knife ownership abilities on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Knives that are Illegal to Own in Colorado

As developed in Colorado State Law 18-12-102, it is illegal for a person to possess a “Gravity knife” that has been designed with a blade-release held from either the handle or sheath with a force of either gravity or centrifugal force.  In addition to a “Gravity knife,” it is also illegal in the state of Colorado to possess a “Switchblade knife” that would open automatically based on applied hand pressure or the release through a button or spring in the knife’s handle.  These two types of knives have been deemed by the State of Colorado to be “dangerous weapon” and therefore unlawful to have in possession at any given time.

To stay within the laws of Colorado, it is best to stay within measurement guidelines of 3.5 inches unless used for the purpose of hunting and fishing, in which the rules expand to fit what is needed by the individual carrying the knife.

This information that is presented as a brief description of the laws and not as any kind of legal advice. aStraightArrow will not and cannot be a legal service provider. The use of the site does not create any sort of client/lawyer relationship. The knife laws are interpreted differently by prosecuting attorneys, enforcement officers, and judges. aStraightArrow suggests you consult legal counsel for further guidance.