Knives have no love in Michigan law

So I have taken some time to read up on Michigan’s knife laws again. I am quite astonished to find that the laws are pretty terrible. Here’s the short version: If you want to be sure you, as a law abiding citizen of Michigan, stay out of jail then you’ll most likely want to keep your knives at home, buy a gun, and get a Concealed Pistol Permit. If you do carry a knife, and want to stay out of prison, don’t ever use a knife for self-defense unless you are on land you own. Yeah, seriously, that’s what the law says.

Tac-Force TF-428P

Tac-Force TF-428P

So I picked up a knife at a truck stop a few weeks ago and I’ve been carrying it on my belt quite a bit. I like to keep a knife on my person for many reasons. Sometimes you need to cut some thing like shipping tape on a box or opening any sort of plastic packaging needs a good knife. Cutting a rope, or seatbelt in the event of an accident. Self-defense is also another obvious reason a person might carry a knife. You know, the exact same reason people legally carry guns. These are all good and valid reasons to carry a knife. The knife in question is a Tac-Force TF-428 which by law seems to be classified as a stiletto and probably considered a “double-edge folding knife” which is LEGAL to open carry. Pretty much any knife except those banned from Michigan CAN be open carried.

So what does that mean for me? Well, I can legally carry it on my belt, preferably with my shirt tucked in to make it visibly not concealed. I have heard stories of people who open carried a firearm, but because the shirt or jacket covered it up, the officer decided that was concealed and thus illegal due to the person not having a CPL. However, this does not mean I won’t get stopped by police while walking down the street. This knife and pretty much all others appears to be illegal to carry in a vehicle, whether carried openly or concealed.

You can see below, in MCL 750.227 there is no legal way to carry a knife in a vehicle unless you are on your “own property, place of business, or other land possessed by the person”. Where as you may carry a pistol open, concealed, or otherwise in a vehicle if “a license to carry the pistol as provided by law” is obtained. I feel like knives should fall under the CPL licensing or should have their own licensing.

 KnifeUp has a great resource for Michigan knife laws and better understanding.

KnifeUp has a great resource for Michigan knife laws and better understanding.

I’d like to know why I am not allowed to defend myself with a knife if I need it. Why is that illegal? Why is a knife so illegal? Just about anyone without criminal convictions can legally own and open carry a loaded firearm? If some person threatens me or my family’s life with a knife I am not allowed to use a knife in self-defense in Michigan, and if I do, I will surely be arrested under MCL § 750.226. So basically the law states that I should shoot to kill with a pistol, instead of a knife. Not to mention, even if you don’t use it for self-defense, even if your just walking down the street, they could still get you for carrying it with unlawful intent if you hint that self-defense is your reason for carrying. This is a felony charge with up to 5 years in prison and/or $2,500.
MCL § 750.226 – Firearm or dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument; carrying with unlawful intent; violation as felony; penalty.

(1) A person shall not, with intent to use the same unlawfully against the person of another, go armed with a pistol or other firearm, or a pneumatic gun, dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto, or knife having a blade over 3 inches in length, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument.

(2) A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $2,500.00.

MCL § 750.227 Concealed weapons; carrying; penalty.

(1) A person shall not carry a dagger, dirk, stiletto, a double-edged non-folding stabbing instrument of any length, or any other dangerous weapon, except a hunting knife adapted and carried as such, concealed on or about his or her person, or whether concealed or otherwise in any vehicle operated or occupied by the person, except in his or her dwelling house, place of business or on other land possessed by the person.

(2) A person shall not carry a pistol concealed on or about his or her person, or, whether concealed or otherwise, in a vehicle operated or occupied by the person, except in his or her dwelling house, place of business, or on other land possessed by the person, without a license to carry the pistol as provided by law and if licensed, shall not carry the pistol in a place or manner inconsistent with any restrictions upon such license.

(3) A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or by a fine of not more than $2,500.00.

 

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