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Georgia knife laws were rewritten in 2012 and, because of that, older articles on the internet are out of date.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.

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47 comments on “Georgia Knife Laws
  1. Dennis Zachary says:

    What is the age limit for buying a knife in our state

  2. randy says:

    18 or up

  3. Jeff says:

    By 5 inches does that mean the entire knife or just the blade?

  4. AJ says:

    According to Walmart, you have to be 16 to buy a pocket knife. (Yes, I’ve been ID’d before for this) I would assume that 5 inches refers to blade length.

  5. Rick says:

    @AJ I hope you know the definition of “ASSUME”, lol. I am not familiar with the GA Weps Permit requirements/procedures except that it will cost you $30. IMHO, it may be a good idea to get one just to be on the safe side; having that permit may save you a LOT of aggravation and a TON of money. Being thrown in the slammer by an overzealous peace officer is not the kind of fun I would like to be party to. I’ve been considering getting one, so guess I’ll find out.

  6. Clayton says:

    Does the 5 Inch mean only a single blade knife or would a double bladed knife be Legal as long as neither blades are over 5 inches?

  7. Jesse says:

    To answer the question about length of knife.
    The length of a knife, does refer to the length of the blade itself excluding the handle. When “weapon” is defined, “knife” it defines a knife as a weapon when a “blade” longer than 5″ is fastened to a handle.
    I am interested as to why only “knives” and “guns” are included. There are many other “weapons” which do not have a blade or fire bolustically.

  8. Ben says:

    How old do you have to be to legally carry a knife

  9. Joel says:

    Minimum age for weapons permit in Georgia is 21. And, don’t be fooled by the $30 cost. You will have to be fingerprinted by local authority, and that can be another $35-$40, depending on locale.

  10. Quinn says:

    Does this include machetes?

  11. katsin says:

    What About Laws Concerning School Zones? And This Is 100% Fact?

  12. Brendan W. says:

    Are Stilettos legal in GA? I live in Atlanta, and I was looking to buy one. 9 inch blade.

  13. John H. says:

    I’m looking at buying my Godchildren (16 and 17 yr old boys) a lock blade pocketknife (2.91″ blade). Will they be able to legally carry these? I know not at school but on the weekends and running around. I live in Oklahoma and do not want to get them these if they are unable to carry, thanks…

  14. shane says:

    I have a Gerber torch II can i walk around with this knife in pocket and not have to worry about it getting me into trouble?

  15. Jacob says:

    I have a buck 105 and the blade is just under 5 inches. im 14 and carry my buck almost every where i go but i want to make sure it is legal for me to carry it in the state of Georgia.. i figured it was since the blade is under 5″ but since im under 21 i want to make sure the law still applys to me.

  16. Sean says:

    I am under 18, yet would like to carry a knife. Could I carry a knife with a blade shorter than 5 inches legally in Georgia?

  17. Chris says:

    Ok to clear up the air for all of those asking about ages, if you are under the age of 15 it is ILLEGAL for you to carry a knife of any length, above the age of 15 you are allowed to carry a knife, as long as the blade by itself does not meet or exceed the length of 5 inches (this means even if it is EXACTLY 5 inches you’re not allowed to carry it, wording sucks sometimes), people 21 and up are allowed to carry a knife that is 5 inches or longer only if they have a weapons carry permit (there is no limit to how much longer so you may carry swords, machetes, etc. THAT I AM AWARE OF). If you have any questions your best bet is to just speak with a local police officer, if you are straight forward and honest most of the time they will gladly answer your questions with no negative repercussions. This information is coming from someone who has carried a buck 119 special (which is 6 inches in blade length) for 7 years now along with several other knives, including hidden shoulder mount knives. if you have any questions about legality or the difference between new vs past laws feel free to email me @

  18. nikolas says:

    on what age you can carry pepper spray in georgia

  19. Atlien says:

    Consult your specific city rules as well. As an Atlanta Resident, there are very different rules from the rest of the state. Basically, you’re S.O.L if you’re caught carrying a blade.

  20. Scott says:

    Georgia Weapons Carry permits are relatively simple and painless. In my county I went to the Probate Court, filled out a 2 page questionaire about criminal history and such. Gave them $75 and literally, 7 calendar days later I had the permit. Quick, reasonable and painless.

    The permit allows you to carry ANY other wise legal weapon and as many of them as you would like.

  21. Mark says:

    Here’s a link to Atlanta Municipal Code regarding knives and blades. It’s extremely restrictive, and you want to be VERY careful what you carry within ATL city limits – basically ANY blade 3 inches or more, and LOCKING blades 2 inches or more (even if on a multi-tool) are considered illegal weapons. My question would be whether having a Georgia Weapons License allows carry of a knife within Atlanta (does GA state law supersede ATL municipal code)?

  22. Brad says:

    @Mark, according to this article, the new state law over rules Atlanta’s city laws. Unless I’m reading this wrong.

  23. Lightbringer says:

    So…a cane sword/blade/knife, you would need to have a permit to carry? And, is a carry, weapons license inclusive for all weapons, guns and knives, belt buckel knives, canes,etc.?

  24. Michael says:

    I’m 12 can I carry a pocket knife in georgia ?

  25. Richard McCullough says:

    i have a alabama ccw permitis this the same as georgias permit for knives as well

  26. John says:

    The way the laws are written, it makes things in Atlanta a bit “interesting”. If you have a weapons license, you can carry a knife 5″ or greater in Atlanta because it is covered by the weapons license and preempted by state law. You can also carry any knife less than 3.5″ because Atlanta is fine with that. But you cannot carry anything between 3.5″ and 5″! The state does not consider a knife less than 5″ to be a weapon. Therefore, it’s not covered under the weapons permit.

    So just be careful, there. For instance, I would really like to carry a BRS Alpha Beast. But it’s in “no-man’s land” because it only has a 4.5″ blade. It isn’t a weapon according to GA even though it is a balisong (butterfly) knife, and isn’t covered by my weapon’s license. Sucks.

  27. The chief says:

    Just stay home!

  28. Janus says:


    Please read the preemption law. SB432 made all knife laws stricter than the state law, null and void, except for local laws governing knives at courthouses and government buildings.

    So, if the state is silent on blades less than 5″, it is lawful, period.

  29. heath says:

    Do not ask a peace officer/police officer, as many do not know the laws. I have quite a few that are friends and only after directing them here did they know about the changes. However, keep on top of changes, especially close to election times.

  30. charles says:

    i had the local clerk in Brunswick Ga call and ask a friend with the FBI about swords,and they told her it was fine with a permit, i did get asked to leave a local target with my katana on my back. they were quite rude with my children there!

  31. Austin M says:

    Quick question: I carry three throwing knives all 8 inches and they are all solid steel no handle but the sharpened blades on one side are only 3 inches after that it’s just flat metal is it ok to carry or would indeed a permit?

  32. Beetz Mee says:

    Question here, you are not allowed to carry a firearm in an establishment that derives 51% or more of it’s income from liquor/beer/wine/anything alcohol related (how anyone knows what percentage from the outside looking in is beyond me so, I just holster it away until I am through with said establishment as in , put the damn thing under a seat, glovebox, etc….and yes, I do have a CCWL).

    So, do knives attach under this same law? Is it illegal to carry any knife within said establishments? My guess is, yes. It is considered a weapon and so the laws of CCW attach? Or, can one carry a knife of some length into said establishments?

    Inquiring minds want to know….

  33. Leon says:

    @ nikolas says:
    July 12, 2013 at 4:20 am

    on what age you can carry pepper spray in georgia?

    ^Defense sprays should only be purchased by those 18 years of age or older.

  34. Andy says:

    I just purchased a switchblade at a gun show. I call it a switchblade because it is assisted and swings open from the side with a push button. It has a 3-1/4″ blade. It looks like an ordinary pocket knife with a pocket clip on it. From what I’ve read here, this knife is legal to carry in Georgia, but I would feel a lot better if some knowledgeable person would confirm that. I don’t want to get arrested. That would be UnCool.

  35. heath says:

    Andy, it is legal long as you are not in Atlanta, Savannah or Valdosta. But be safe, get a weapons permit. Certain law enforcement agents do not keep up with any law at all.

  36. ROOSEVELT says:

    If a person is under the age of 15 could they legally carry a 7inch blade knife on their property? I’d really appreciate a quick answer.

  37. ROOSEVELT says:

    Also in Cuthbert

  38. Sum Yung Ho says:

    Can someone under the age of 15 own a 7inch blade usmc knife in Cuthbert,GA ?

  39. tommy says:

    hey I know a man with a pen that’s also a knife I was wondering if that’s legal in GA.

  40. Aaron Donnelly says:

    Would a blunt weapon be considered a knife? I.E. a Bokken or And Iaido Practice blade? I am under the arbitrary 21 years of age, and wish to carry this
    is it restricted?

  41. Shane Novy says:

    If you are under twenty-one, you can carry a knife BUT the Blade must be five inches long or shorter…. When you turn twenty-one and get a Weapons Carry Permit you can carry a knife any length over five inches. By the way, Weapons Carry Permits cost about $70 plus finger print costs.

    The new law is the same in EVERY Village, Town or City. It is a state wide law that nullifies any ordinances of a local level.

    Any questions?

  42. Joey says:

    Ok so it says ‘openly carry’… So that means me, a 15yo, can walk around with 3-pack, 4 1/4in each throwing knives attached to my belt where everyone & their mother can see it?

  43. Kate says:

    I’m 18 and go to UGA. I don’t want to have to get a permit, but I want to be able to carry a concealed knife (less than 5 inches of course). Does anyone know if campus knife/gun laws overrule state laws on this matter? I think it’s kind of stupid that I have to walk around campus with only some pepper spray to keep me safe.

  44. Julien says:

    Aaron Donnelly, I’m 24. I carry a polypropylene bokken from Cold Steel and have no weapons permit or even identification. I am stopped regularly but there has never been anything they can do about it.

  45. Jase says:

    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!

  46. Collin says:

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

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