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Georgia knife laws were rewritten in 2012 and, because of that, older articles on the internet are out of date.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


  1. 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?

  2. 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 @

    1. You can carry a knife no matter what age dumbass. So youre saying the boy scouts are breaking the law? Stfu.

  3. 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.

  4. 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)?

    1. Atlanta cant dictate any laws about weapons carring. Thats one of the updates with this state law

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

  6. 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.?

    1. As long as its not on govt property and 5inches or under

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

  8. 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.

    1. Thats not true. As long as its under 5″ no one can bother you period. Not the state trooper. Not an atlanta cop. Not some bumble fuck no where cop.

    1. Yeah. Because then if you get held up while youre out youre fucked. Shut up.

  9. John,

    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.

  10. 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.

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