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Georgia knife laws were rewritten in 2012 and, because of that, older articles on the internet are out of date.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

    1. 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.

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

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

    2. 5 inch blade, measured from the tip all the way to the start of the handle, including any unsharpened portion of the blade.

    1. Yes, assuming you are not a felon, you can be in possession of any weapon in your car, home or place of business.

    2. Not true about place of business. Many workplaces prohibit weapons. Like where i work they dont allow it but seeing that its been held up around 4 times this year they can go to hell before i have to walk in there un armed.

    3. The fact that your place of business may prohibit it doesn’t make it illegal. It may get you fired, it won’t get you arrested, unless you are asked to leave the property and refuse, then you could be arrested for criminal trespass.

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

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

    2. Because the “W” stands for WEAPON…..And a knife is a weapon.

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

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

    2. Not quite, if you enter a controlled access government building, it is illegal. If there are no controls then you can carry there.

    3. Be smart enough, and Mature enough not to ever take one into a Courthouse, church, School, or other government building….That’s common sense.

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

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

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

  6. 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

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

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

  8. 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?

    1. School rules are not the same as state laws. Your school will almost certainly get bent out of shape if you bring your knife — concealed in your bookbag or not.

    2. Don’t take any edged weapon to school. Don’t be a fool and risk expulsion if not suspension. In Florida it was expulsion from Any school (you require home schooling or a Juvenile delinquency dictated school (for bad kids).

    3. As long as its not on govt property like schools, court houses, police stations.

    1. No, unless it’s over 5″, or all sizes in government buildings and most schools. A small pocket knife away from school and around the house is fine.

  9. I’m 13 is it legal for me to carry a pocket knife as an edc out of school

    1. If you are asking about Georgia law, you are allowed to carry a Swiss Army type knife. Keep in mind the fact that laws are fluid, so you need to stay abreast of any changes. Remember, too, that various places are considered either “weapon free” zones or simply places that do not allow potentially harmful items to be brought on the premises.

    2. This changed in 2012 after the revision of Ga weapons laws, in regards to cities and towns. Now all cities in Georgia must have the same weapons and/or concealed weapons laws. You can now drive from Columbus to Atlanta and not worry about any fluctuations. But, as you mentioned, their are still restricted weapons carry locations like federal bldgs, schools, etc…

    3. There seems to be a slight misunderstanding. When I said that laws are fluid, I was referring to the fluidity of all laws (what is law today may be changed by the lawmakers tomorrow,) not to the fluidity (or lack thereof) of laws between geographical locations.

    4. The only areass that can have that is govt property. No business or public area can take away your right to carry a weapon.

    5. Actually, a private business can ask you to leave their property if you have a weapon, permit or not. If you leave, no issues. If you do not and they call the police, with your permit it is a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor weapon charge puts your carry permit at risk of suspension.

    6. If you refuse to leave, it isn’t a misdemeanor weapons charge. It’s a misdemeanor trespass charge because you didn’t leave when asked from private property. It may get you a fine, but it shouldn’t put your Georgia Weapons License in jeapordy.

    7. Shut up, you dont know what youre talking about. You obviously didnt read this article or youre too inept to understand it.

    8. Punk ass little boy, I have my carry license. I understand it quite well.

    9. He asked if its okay to carry a pocket knife out of school. 99% of poket knives are any where from 2.5 to 4inches so its legal for him to carry it where every he wants in georgia as long as its not on ogvt property, and bitch im 18 so shut yo ass up. Just another thing you have no clue what youre talking about. Inless you think the boy scouts and cub scouts are breaking a bunch of laws, because you can carry knives from like the age of 8.

    10. You should talk that way face to face, people always very brave when hiding at home. Any private property owner, and this includes rentals, can forbid weapons on the property….it is their RIGHT. And you are wrong as to 5″ being only yardstick of knife carry by a minor.

  10. Okay, so by weapons permit, do they mean any handgun license recognized by the state? As in, could I, an Indiana resident with a personal protection handgun license, carry any knife I wanted in Georgia?

    1. Yes, guns and knives are governed together, under same law, as “weapons” in Ga. You would need to check one of the many online sites that show how each state aligns with other states regarding conceal carry. If Georgia recognizes Indiana weapons laws you’re good, but you need to check each state you travel through as well. BTW, Georgia only issues concealed carry weapon permits which govern > 5″ knives.

  11. we need to change the law because making a person get a weapons permit to carry a knife is outrageous

    1. That’s only for blades over 5″ and if it’s concealed on your person, or visible on your person. For example: A traditional Ka-bar knife (7″ blade) could be carried in your car or home without a permit but if you want to carry it into a grocery store you’d need a CW permit. And… Conceal weapons/carry permits are very cheap and easy to acquire in Ga. if you aren’t a felon of course.

    2. But if youre 20 or younger(like me) and work at a place thats been held up at gun point many times before. You can only carry 5in or less. My self defence knife i own is almosy 6in. This is one of the many laws that piss me off. If i have the possibility of being drafted and dying for my country there should be no law that inhibits 18-20 yr old males from any other privlages/rights other adults have

    3. There is no need for a self defense blade to be 6 inches long, that is ridiculous. Anything with a 3-4 inch blade is all you need for self defense. You can complain about the draft when there is actually a chance of it being implemented until then shut up and go back to school to work on your spelling and grammar.

    4. I love Rambos….you bring your 3″-4″ knife up against my 7″ and we shall see how you fare….

    5. It all depends on how well your opponent is trained. Plus, if you have a 7″ knife, I think we would be friends anyway!

    6. I disagree. I think any person should be free to carry a knife regardless of age.

    7. Now at the tender age of 65, I look back at my grammar school days in the mid to late 50’s. Every boy in my little community school had a pocket knife. It was the norm for “country boys”. We cut ourselves, but nobody I knew ever cut anybody else.
      Same deal in high school. Everybody carried a “concealed” pocket knife, and most of the farm kids like myself carried rifles, and, or shotguns in our vehicles, especially during hunting season.
      Now SWAT would be brought into play.

    8. I fondly remember those good old days goatman62, and I remember the federally forced school desegregation, and the thefts and break ins to vehicles that followed, it seemed to be unheard of before then,.

    9. As with everything the government does, or tries to do. The Civil Rights Act was necessary to address certain real inequities, but it was allowed to run amok functioning without any rhyme or reason, and in a large part, actually harmed those it was meant to help, and in turn, the country at large.

    10. Exactly I have a 12 inch Camillus knife and I’m only 14 so I can’t carry it then I have a bowl that is 5 1/2 inch and I can’t carry that

    11. If you study HOW TO use a knife in a fight (videos or YouTube), You should be alright with a 5″long blade knife….preferably a double edge knife.

    12. Right, but if you have permission from the store you work at to carry, it’s the same as carrying on private property, so you could have anything you wanted and be fine.

    1. As i posted above, it is illegal for a minor to possess ANY knife which is designed for offense and defense, no matter the length. If you are a minor, avoid any knife which appears tacti-cool, with spiked pommel, double guards and sharpened upper edge or any knife marketed as a weapon, even a sorry piece of flea market junk. Make sure it looks innocuous and lacks obvious offense/defense design elements…

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