Are Brass Knuckles Illegal?

October 06, 2017

Are Brass Knuckles Illegal?

Almost everyone knows what brass knuckles are, and they’re also called “knuckle dusters” and “knucks”. They’re hardened ‘knuckles’ that go over your own fingers like a set of rings that is welded together. They’re designed to inflict more damage when you hit someone with your hand, and they’re often considered a deadly weapon. Many people ask the question “are brass knuckles illegal”? There are many conflicting articles out there, but the fact is that it depends on where you are. Brass knuckles are illegal in some states, but they’re legal in others. In this article, we’re going to take a more in depth look of the legality of brass knuckles.


Different States, Different Laws

Different states have different laws about the legality of brass knuckles. They are completely illegal in some states for example, you cannot sell, possess or use brass knuckles in Illinois, Vermont, California or Michigan. You can also not possess devices that look like brass knuckles such as plastic knuckles. There are other states, such as South Carolina which only have brass knuckles labeled illegal if they are used with an intent to commit a crime.

Certain states will only ban metallic knuckles, but there are other states that will ban hardened knuckles of any kind no matter what type of material is used to make them. You will not often get away with a technicality just because the knuckles you buy aren’t brass. Many states have it written as “metallic knuckles” or just “metal knuckles”. Remember that plastic knuckles are being taken into account now too. In most cases, possession of brass knuckles is only a misdemeanor. However, using them is considered a violent crime which is often followed by felony charges. There are countries outside of the US where possession, trading or buying them is against the law completely.


Companies Skirting the Law

Just because there are companies selling brass knuckles in areas where they’re illegal or a grey line, doesn’t mean you aren’t held responsible for buying them. You have to know the laws of your area before purchasing any weapon, and brass knuckles are no different. Some companies will try to suggest they’re pieces of art, and therefore sell them as a piece of jewelry such as a necklace. However, just because companies are selling them as jewelry does not mean you won’t get charged for them as a deadly weapon if you use possess or use them.


What about Permits?

In some states you are able to get a permit to carry brass knuckles, but there are often restrictions. One of the most common restrictions is age. In some states, such as Georgie, concealed weapons are legal to carry with a permit. Brass knuckles fall under that category. No matter where brass knuckles are considered legal, they almost always need a concealed carry license. Though, in laws where you can get a permit to carry brass knuckles there are still laws on how they may be used. Assaulting a person with them intentionally is illegal, and serious legal consequences will follow. If it is self-defense, then you are usually free to use your brass knuckles.

Keep in mind that every state has their own definition of ‘concealed’. For some states it is defined as the weapon being on your person but completely hidden from sight. Other states consider it concealed if even part of the weapon isn’t in view. If you have a concealed carry permit in a state that allows for brass knuckles, then having it in your car, such as in the glove box, is usually legal. However, having it out in the open may not be under the law. There are certain areas that concealed weapons permits are invalid as well, such as in airports, court houses and school zones.


Where It’s Legal

Here is a breakdown of where brass knuckles are legal. However, keep in mind that laws change and it’s always best to double check the laws in your area before purchasing and keep up to date with them as long as you have your brass knuckles. Without restriction, you’ll find they’re legal in South Carolina and Georgia. This means you don’t need a carry permit. However, there are still places that you will not be able to carry them. In South D’Amato, Indiana, Louisiana, Arizona, Idaho, Ohio, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Iowa, Utah, Michigan, and Montana, the law is unclear. This means that you are taking on the risk when you’re buying and carrying brass knuckles. It is up to the courts to determine if your brass knuckles qualify as a weapon on a case by case basis.

South Dakota, Arizona, Indiana, and Louisiana have relaxed regulations, though. Therefore possession they usually will not come with serious consequences. However, using them can still result in a felony charge. There are stats that have restrictions on selling and carrying such as Oklahoma, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. It is completely illegal to own brass knuckles in District of Columbia, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont, New York, and Colorado. The greatest restrictions are in Minnesota, Illinois, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Texas, Washington, Nevada, California and Arkansas. In California and Florid they are completely illegal. If you’re wondering if brass knuckles are legal in your state still or what the consequences are of carrying, possession, using or selling is, then check current laws with your particular questions.


Some Final Safety Tips

You should use extreme caution when handling brass knuckles even if they aren’t illegal in your state. Always follow your state’s brass knuckle laws. If you carry them outside of your home state, you’ll want to check local state regulations governing brass knuckles. Never forget that brass knuckles are a dangerous weapon, and they can hurt others on accident as well as on purpose. You can be held liable if someone is hurt or for property damage resulting of the use of your brass knuckles. Keep them out of reach of children, and never use them under the influence of drugs or alcohol.




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