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Georgia knife laws were rewritten in 2012 and, because of that, older articles on the internet are out of date.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

  2. 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?

  3. 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….

  4. @ 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.

  5. 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.

    1. You are fine in Georgia. Don’t travel with it.

  6. 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.

    1. It doesnt matter what city hes in with these new laws.

  7. 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.

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

    1. Yes, you can own anything; just can’t carry outside your home or vehicle. Sounds like a Ka-bar.

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

    1. Yes, but he must be permitted if the blade is > 5″ and the pen acts as a handle or grip.

    1. If it has a blade, capable of being sharpened, and affixed to a handle then, Yes.

      A cop would just consider it a “dull” knife/weapon.

      At your age it would be illegal outside your car or home.

    2. If youre carring that around im pretty sure youre weeaboo trash and deserve to be in jail anyways

  10. 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?

  11. 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?

    1. Yes, as long as the blade portion of the throwing knives is only 4 1/4″. Sometimes the handle portion of throwing knives are indiscernible so I’d be sure of the blade length.

  12. 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.

    1. The blade cannot exceed 2″ inches in length if you are on a campus. No box cutters either.

    2. Depends on campus because its technically private property so they can dictate those rules however they want

  13. 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.

    1. I have a cold steel espada large and I’m thinking I need to get a weaps permit, how long is the blade on the bokken? The espada is 5.5″.

    2. Only if you are carrying it concealed or on your person outside of your home or car.

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