Are Butterfly Knives Illegal In Colorado? A Detailed Guide

Butterfly knives, also known as balisongs, are unique pocket knives that have handles which counter-rotate around the tang of the blade when opened, giving them a butterfly-like appearance. Their flashy opening and closing maneuvers have made butterfly knives iconic in movies, video games, and pop culture. But are butterfly knives legal to own and carry in Colorado? Let’s take a deep dive into the law.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: butterfly knives are legal to own in Colorado but illegal to carry concealed. Certain localities in Colorado may have additional restrictions on butterfly knives.

Definition and Description of Butterfly Knives

Butterfly knives, also known as balisongs, are folding knives that have a unique pivot mechanism. This mechanism allows the blade to be concealed within the handles when closed and then quickly flipped open with a single hand motion.

The distinctive feature of butterfly knives is their two handles that swing freely around the pivot point, making them both functional tools and eye-catching collectibles.

Unique Pivot Mechanism

The pivot mechanism of a butterfly knife is what sets it apart from other types of folding knives. Unlike traditional folding knives that have a hinge at one end, butterfly knives have a pivot point in the center of the handles.

This allows the blade to be flipped open and closed smoothly and quickly. The handles of the butterfly knife are designed to rotate around the pivot point, making it easy to perform intricate flipping and spinning tricks.

Origins and History

The origins of butterfly knives can be traced back to the Philippines, where they were originally used as utility tools by farmers. Over time, they gained popularity as weapons and eventually became associated with martial arts and self-defense training.

The unique design and flipping techniques of butterfly knives caught the attention of enthusiasts around the world, leading to their widespread use in both practical and recreational settings.

Parts of a Butterfly Knife

A typical butterfly knife consists of several key parts:

  • Blade: The sharp cutting edge of the knife.
  • Handles: Two symmetrical handles that rotate around the pivot point.
  • Pivot Point: The central point where the handles are connected and allow the knife to open and close.
  • Spring Latch: A latch or latch mechanism that keeps the knife securely closed when not in use.
  • Tang Pins: Pins that connect the handles to the blade and allow it to rotate smoothly.

These parts work together to create the unique functionality and aesthetic appeal of butterfly knives.

Butterfly Knife Laws in Colorado

State Laws on Butterfly Knives

When it comes to butterfly knives, also known as balisongs, the legality can vary from state to state. In Colorado, the laws regarding butterfly knives are quite clear. These knives, which are defined as a type of switchblade, are illegal to possess, sell, or distribute within the state.

The Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) define switchblades as knives with blades that open automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle. This definition includes butterfly knives, as they have a unique mechanism that allows the blade to swing open with a flick of the wrist.

It is important to note that the possession of a butterfly knife in Colorado is not only illegal, but it can also result in criminal charges. Violators can face penalties such as fines, probation, and even imprisonment, depending on the circumstances.

Exceptions and Local Laws

While butterfly knives are generally illegal in Colorado, there are a few exceptions to this rule. One exception is for individuals who use butterfly knives as part of their job, such as law enforcement officers, members of the military, or individuals who work in certain professions that require the use of such knives.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that some local jurisdictions within Colorado may have their own specific laws regarding butterfly knives. It is important to check with local law enforcement or legal experts to ensure compliance with any local regulations.

To stay updated on the latest laws and regulations pertaining to butterfly knives in Colorado, it is always a good idea to consult official sources such as the Colorado State Legislature’s website or seek legal advice from a licensed attorney.

Remember, the information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Laws can change over time, so it is crucial to stay informed and comply with the current regulations in your area.

Purchasing and Owning Butterfly Knives in Colorado

Butterfly knives, also known as balisongs, are popular among knife enthusiasts and collectors. However, before purchasing and owning a butterfly knife in Colorado, it is important to understand the legalities surrounding these knives.

Where to Buy Butterfly Knives

Butterfly knives can be purchased from various sources in Colorado. One option is to visit local knife stores or specialty shops that sell a wide range of knives. These stores often have knowledgeable staff who can provide guidance and answer any questions you may have regarding the purchase.

Another option is to purchase butterfly knives online. There are numerous online retailers that offer a wide selection of butterfly knives with different blade styles and handle materials. It is important to ensure that the online retailer complies with Colorado’s laws and regulations regarding the sale and shipping of butterfly knives.

When purchasing a butterfly knife, it is essential to consider the quality and reputation of the manufacturer. Look for reputable brands that produce high-quality knives with reliable locking mechanisms to ensure safety and durability.

Secure Storage Recommendations

Once you have purchased a butterfly knife, it is crucial to store it securely to prevent unauthorized access and accidents. A lockable storage case or a dedicated knife display stand can be used to securely store and display your butterfly knife collection.

This will not only protect your investment but also ensure the safety of those around you.

It is also important to keep your butterfly knife out of the reach of children and individuals who are not trained in handling knives. Educating yourself and others about proper knife safety techniques can help prevent accidents and injuries.

Age Restrictions

In Colorado, there are age restrictions when it comes to purchasing and owning butterfly knives. According to Colorado state law, individuals must be at least 18 years old to purchase and possess a butterfly knife.

It is important to note that laws and regulations regarding butterfly knives can vary from state to state. Therefore, it is always advisable to familiarize yourself with the specific laws in your jurisdiction before purchasing and owning a butterfly knife.

For more information on the legalities and regulations surrounding butterfly knives in Colorado, you can visit the official website of the Colorado State Legislature at

Carrying and Using Butterfly Knives in Colorado

Colorado, like many other states, has specific laws and regulations regarding the carrying and use of butterfly knives. It is important to understand these laws to ensure compliance and avoid any legal troubles.

In this guide, we will explore the rules surrounding butterfly knives in Colorado, including concealed carry restrictions, open carry considerations, and the use of butterfly knives for self-defense.

Concealed Carry Restrictions

Colorado law prohibits the concealed carry of certain weapons, including butterfly knives, without a valid permit. This means that carrying a butterfly knife concealed on your person, such as in a pocket or purse, is generally illegal unless you have obtained the necessary permit.

It is important to note that the specific requirements for obtaining a concealed carry permit may vary depending on the county you reside in, so it is advisable to check with your local law enforcement agency for the most up-to-date information.

Furthermore, it is crucial to understand that even with a valid concealed carry permit, there are certain places where carrying a butterfly knife, or any other weapon, is strictly prohibited. These locations typically include government buildings, schools, airports, and other areas designated as “gun-free zones.”

Violating these restrictions can result in serious legal consequences, so it is essential to be aware of the specific regulations in your area.

Open Carry Considerations

Unlike concealed carry, open carry of butterfly knives is generally legal in Colorado. However, it is important to exercise caution and be aware of local ordinances that may restrict or regulate the open carry of weapons.

Some municipalities may have specific rules regarding the length of the blade or the manner in which the knife is carried. To avoid any potential legal issues, it is recommended to research and understand the local laws and regulations before openly carrying a butterfly knife in public.

Use of Butterfly Knives for Self-Defense

While butterfly knives can be used for self-defense purposes, it is important to note that the use of any weapon, including butterfly knives, is subject to certain legal considerations in Colorado. The state follows the principle of “use of force” laws, which means that self-defense is justifiable if you reasonably believe that you are in immediate danger of being harmed and that the use of force is necessary to protect yourself.

However, it is crucial to remember that the use of excessive force or deadly force is generally not justified unless you are facing a threat of serious bodily injury or death. The circumstances surrounding a self-defense situation can greatly influence the legal outcome, so it is advisable to consult with a legal professional if you find yourself in such a situation.

For more detailed and specific information on butterfly knife laws in Colorado, it is recommended to visit the official website of the Colorado State Legislature ( or consult with a local attorney who specializes in criminal defense or weapons laws.


In summary, butterfly knives are legal to own and use on private property in Colorado but cannot be carried concealed in public due to state laws. While they have a unique and intriguing design, butterfly knives remain classified as dangerous weapons under Colorado criminal code. Understanding the nuances of state law and local regulations is key to legally owning butterfly knives in Colorado.

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