Georgia Knife Laws

Georgia knife laws were rewritten in 2012 and, because of that, older articles on the internet are out of date. The new law is much simpler but that does not mean it is not confusing. This article will give you an understanding of the law in plain English.

What is Legal to Own in Georgia

  • Balisong knives, often called butterfly knives, are legal.
  • Bowie knives and other large knives are legal.
  • Throwing stars and throwing knives are legal.
  • Disguised knives such as cane knives, belt knives, and lipstick knives are legal.
  • Push knives, stilettos, switchblades, dirks, and daggers are legal.
  • Spring powered ballistic knives are legal.
  • Knives that are undetectable with a metal detector are legal.

In Georgia, there are no limits on the possession of knives. You can own any knife you want. There are only limits on carry knives.

Limits on Carry

  • It is illegal to carry, open or concealed, a knife that is larger than 5 inches without a permit.
  • For knives greater than 5 inches, you need a weapons permit.

Georgia Law on Possession and Carry of Knives

O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126  (2012)

§ 16-11-126.  Having or carrying handguns, long guns, or other weapons; license requirement; exceptions for homes, motor vehicles, and other locations and conditions; penalties for violations

(a) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or long gun on his or her property or inside his or her home, motor vehicle, or place of business without a valid weapons carry license.

(h) (1) No person shall carry a weapon without a valid weapons carry license unless [exemptions only apply to guns].

“Weapon” means a knife or handgun. “Knife” means a cutting instrument designed for the purpose of offense and defense consisting of a blade that is greater than five inches in length which is fastened to a handle.

What this law states is that you can own any knife you would like as long as you keep it inside your property. You can carry, open or concealed, any knife that is less than 5 inches. This includes butterfly knives, switchblades, and any other type of knife that is commonly banned in other states.

To carry a knife that is larger than 5 inches, you must have a weapons license. A weapons license costs $30 and is only available to people over the age of 21.

Georgia Knife Law Preemption

O.C.G.A. § 16-11-136  (2012)

§ 16-11-136.  Restrictions on possession, manufacture, sale, or transfer of knives

Except for restrictions in courthouses and government buildings, no county, municipality, or consolidated government shall, by rule or ordinance, constrain the possession, manufacture, sale, or transfer of a knife more restrictively than the provisions of this part.

Starting in July 1st, 2012, local knife laws are no longer in effect. What this means is that you can travel from city to city without worrying whether a knife that is legal in your city is legal in the next town over. For example, it was legal to a 4 inch pocket knife in Columbus but, if you drove into Atlanta, you would be breaking Atlanta city law. Preemptive knife laws simplify the legal system a lot and a few other states, like Arizona, have preemptive knife laws as well.

Conclusion on Georgia Knife Law

Since July 1st, 2012, Georgia is a very knife friendly state. You can own basically any knife you want and you can carry, open or concealed, a knife up to 5 inches in length. And, if you would like to carry a larger knife, all you need to do is get a weapons license.

Have any questions? Ask them in the comment box below. I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, ask an attorney. We are also looking for an attorney in Georgia who would be willing to do a short interview about knife laws.

  • Jase

    So if a friend game me some pretty huge swords and knives he no longer wanted and told me to sell em or whatever if there were some i didn’t want. Does that mean I have to have a permit to take them to the local pawn shop? I get it is legal to possess them in my home. But do I kneed a permit to carry them in my car to the pawn shop to sell them? Thanks!

    • Chris Livingston

      No, if its in your car you’re good. A car is considered an extension of your home in Georgia, so you can have anything in it including guns without a permit.

  • Collin

    When you say any knife 5inches or less is that a 5ince blade or the overall length of the knife

    • Samuel Darenger

      It has to be overall 10 inches blade 5 inches. I hope that helps…

    • ChrisP

      5 inch blade, measured from the tip all the way to the start of the handle, including any unsharpened portion of the blade.

  • David McInnis

    Can I legally carry a hunting bowie knife in my car for protection ?

  • Stephanie

    Just filed for my CWL in Georgia yesterday. My question is does this license cover me for both Guns and Knives?

    • Kevan

      Yes it does.
      I always conceal carry with GA Conceal Carry License everywhere I am legally able to enter with the License, Gun+Knife.

  • Ray S

    “Knives that are undetectable with a metal detector are legal.” That is awesome.

    • Chris Livingston

      While they are legal if you are caught with one in a courthouse or government building you would be in big trouble.

  • Tyler Cochran

    So if it is right at the line of 5inches it is illegal without a carry permit is that correct

    • Tyler Cochran

      As in it is right at 5 inches so I would have to have a carry permit for it correct ??

    • Elaine H (Mamaknock Redoubt)

      Law reads “blade that is greater than five inches in length which is fastened to a handle”, so 5″ blade would be legal..

  • Shawn Eric Enders

    So an knive that has an 4in blade and handle that’s is 4in thats an total of 8in you don’t need an permit

  • matthew

    so if i have a totaal length 5 inch or is it the blade

    • Elaine H (Mamaknock Redoubt)

      It is the length of the blade. Up to 5″. Doesn’t include the “handle” part.

  • John Edwards

    Can I carry a longer-than-5″ blade in the woods while hunting without a weapons permit?

  • Michael Parrish

    I’m 16 and I (had) a knife with a 3 1/2 inch blade, so if its concealed in my bookbag, its legal for?