Louisiana has a ban on carrying illegal switchblades and automatic knives. Fixed blade knives are generally unregulated, being free of prohibitions and restrictions.
Switchblades and other prohibited knives are addressed directly in LSA-R.S. 14:95 § 95. The relevant paragraph makes it clear that any knife which uses a pushbutton mechanism or other form of mechanical contrivance to deploy its blade from its handle is forbidden. The ban extends to selling, owning, carrying, buying, or using such knives.
A new paragraph was added to the relevant statutes in 2012 in order to keep pace with the evolution of knife technology. This section is worded to specifically exclude the new sorts of “assisted action” knives from the existing ban on switchblades. It states specifically that knives which can be opened one-handed using pressure applied to the blade (or to a projection extending from the blade) are excluded from the ban. Knives which open via inertia (e.g. “flick knives”) are also excluded from the ban so long as they feature a detent or similar device to hold the blade in the closed position until a certain level of opening force is applied.
There’s one further exemption from Louisiana’s switchblade ban, and this applies to “rescue knives.” These are defined in great detail; they are specifically folding knives that are designed to be operated with one hand and used to sever seat belts or similar restraints in the event of an emergency. Rescue knife blades are restricted to being less than five inches in length. Multi-bladed styles are allowed so long as at least one of the blades meets the design requirements described above. The ownership, carrying, and use of rescue knives is only legal for law enforcement personnel. Explicit language in the statute does make it clear that law enforcement officers can carry these knives on or off duty. Merchants are allowed to possess rescue knives only as stock and can only offer them for sale to law enforcement officers. Officers must have a proper commission in good standing and be employed full time in order to own a rescue knife.
Louisiana Preemption Laws:
Louisiana does not have any preemption laws which might apply to knives. That is, the state does not impose any blanket laws that would override local or municipal regulations addressing the subject.
City Knife Ordinances
Baton Rouge: The city has a general ban on firearms and other dangerous weapons in places where alcohol is sold. Knives are included in the ban.
New Orleans: Carrying knives is prohibited in some public buildings.
Louisiana sets no special restrictions on the possession or use of knives by minors.
Knives are considered to be dangerous weapons according to § 14:95.(5)(a). This statute forbids the possession of such weapons on school buses and on school property during school hours.
As noted above, rescue knives cannot have blades longer than five inches.
Knives can be freely carried in concealment in Louisiana.
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.