Man showing fist with brass knuckles

Are Brass Knuckles Legal?

It’s not all that difficult—if you want to avoid possibly going to jail, all you need to do is avoid breaking the law.

Of course, considering how many thousands of different laws are on the books, it can sometimes be difficult to know whether or not you’re actually breaking one of these many laws. Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is no defense, which means you could find yourself getting arrested and needing to hire a bail bond company for something you didn’t even know was illegal.

One such case where you might not know you’re breaking the law concerns brass knuckles. Although they are readily available for sale online and in many shops in certain parts of the country, brass knuckles aren’t actually legal in every state. This means that if you live in or happen to be visiting one of the states where they are illegal, you could find yourself facing charges for possession of a dangerous weapon should you be found carrying brass knuckles anywhere on your person.

Worse, there’s also a chance the charges could be even worse as you could also be facing a concealed weapons charge in addition to the simple possession. All of this means that it’s important that you are fully aware of all relevant laws, as again, this is obviously the best way to prevent possible jail time.

Brass Knuckle Laws by State

Brass knuckle laws are not regulated at the federal level, but this hasn’t stopped states like California, Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Vermont from banning their sale or possession. There are a number of states that have laws banning only hard metallic ‘knuckles.’ Still, some states ban any type of hardened knuckle, which includes those made out of brass, steel, acrylic and other hard materials.

On the other hand, New York, California and several other states have laws that extend to any item that looks like brass knuckles—even those made from plastic and other softer materials. In addition, South Carolina and some other states have passed laws that make possession of this type of weapon illegal if it used with the intent to commit a crime.

Of course, just because a state doesn’t have laws specifically outlawing the possession of brass knuckles doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone can carry them around. The reason is that the majority of states still classify them as a dangerous weapon. This means that sale and possession is limited to people who are 18 and older.

Do You Really Need Those Brass Knuckles?

Ultimately, the question has to be asked—why do you want to carry around brass knuckles in the first place? If it’s simply a fashion thing and you think they look cool hanging around your neck, there’s no problem. As long as they’re not illegal in your state, you might be ok. However, the point we’re trying to get at here is simple—brass weapons are a weapon.

As a weapon, if you ever get into a situation where you use your brass knuckles for the purpose they were originally designed for, i.e. punch someone with them, you could easily end up being facing serious charges in terms of assault with a deadly weapon.

Avoiding Concealed Weapons Charges
The biggest issue with brass knuckles being classified as a dangerous weapon relates to concealed weapons laws. Every state has laws prohibiting a person from carrying a concealed weapon, although in some states you can apply for a concealed weapons permit that gives you the right to do so.

The fact that most states classify brass knuckles as a weapon means that simply having them in your pocket or backpack could see you facing a concealed weapons charge. This is true even if it’s not technically illegal to possess brass knuckles in your state.

Some people have attempted to get past these concealed weapons problems by wearing the brass knuckles on a chain around their neck. However, this is by no means foolproof and is no guarantee that you won’t still face charges. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to make sure you’re fully aware of the law. By taking this simple step, you can go a long way towards avoiding charges and having to rely on a bail bonds company to get you out of jail.

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