With the consent of the Virginia legislature, Kentucky County spun off from that state, formed its own state, and ratified the Constitution on June 1st, 1792. I’ve only been to Kentucky once, but it made a lasting and positive impression.
I spent part of a week at Rockcastle Shooting Center (shout-out time here) where I got to spend a whole afternoon shooting a mountain of .338 Lapua at steel gongs more than a half-mile distant. But enough about me.
Kentucky knife laws are fairly simple on the books, and fairly vague in their actual enforcement. You can own any kind of blade you want (really) and you can openly carry any of them. You can CCW any of them if you’ve got a Kentucky CCW permit (or recognized foreign CCW permit) and you’re allowed to CCW any ‘ordinary pocketknife or hunting knife’ without a permit.
Kentucky Revised Statutes sec. 527.020 prohibits the concealed carry of ‘deadly weapons’ and KRS 500.080 specifically excludes ordinary pocketknives or hunting knives from that category.
What exactly is an ‘ordinary hunting knife or pocketknife?’ I guess that’s where the lawyers would have to come in, if you found yourself charged with a violation of this very vague statute. My survey of knife discussion boards didn’t reveal many instances of folding knives or hunting knives getting people in trouble, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t or couldn’t happen.
Kentucky also lacks knife law pre-emption, so local jurisdictions are free to enact whatever silly knife laws they like. My short search, once again, only found a handful of local knife laws, but their mere existence is a huge headache for those who wish to comply with the law. A statewide knife pre-emption bill died in the Kentucky legislature in 2013; hopefully it will be revived and pass next year.
The good news is that Kentucky is rather generous in its recognition of other states’ CCW permits. This map shows a pleasant sea of gray-green ‘recognize’ states. Hooray! Sadly, my own CCW states are not among them. Boo!
I apologize that I can’t nail it down with any more precision than this. Automatics and push daggers are almost certainly outside the bounds of what you can conceal without a permit, but I couldn’t hazard a guess where the actual boundaries are. If you don’t have a recognized CCW, it can’t hurt to to check the local Kentucky rules and carry a modest sized drop-point folder just to play it safe.