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Are Brass Knuckles Illegal?

Whether you are an avid weapon collector and are interested in brass knuckles as a novelty item, or you are shopping for self-defense items, it's important to know what weapons you can and can't own in your area. While most countries have outlawed brass knuckles completely, the U.S. has left the matter to the discretion of the individual states, and oh, how they vary. Each state has a different idea of what they consider a weapon to be, different degrees of weapon law violation, and different penalties for those violations.

In order to help clear up the confusion, we've gathered information on legislation regarding brass knuckles for all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Find your state to see what rules and regulations exist. You may have seen brass knuckles for sale in an area that you know they are off limits.
Confused? Sometimes, brass knuckles are sold as various fashion accessories, not weapons. While this may seem like a somewhat dubious way to get around legislation, some states allow metal knuckles to be sold as paperweights, belt buckles, jewelry, and other legal items - made strictly for novelty.
Even Beyonce has been seen in some brass knuckle heeled boots. Some states, though, have caught up to this trend and they aren't buying it - and they aren't letting you either! Read your state's laws carefully to see if they include wording that bans knuckles in any form.


Before we delve right in, you should first familiarize with some legal terms. The government tends to like to make things as cloudy as possible, so some clarification can be very useful. While each state has their own exact definition for these terms, most of them get at the same idea. Here's a few terms that you will see a lot in state weapon laws, and whose meaning makes all the difference:


"Knuckles": First and foremost, it is important to note that you will not often get away on a technicality regarding the material your knuckles are made from. Many states use the term "metal knuckles" or "metallic knuckles", but many specifically list a variety of other materials they could be made of, including hard plastic, resin, and wood. Some say knuckles made of any hard material. If your state only says "metal knuckles" in their legislation, your plastic or wood knuckles may be okay, but you'll want to check with a legal expert to verify.