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Georgia knife laws were rewritten in 2012 and, because of that, older articles on the internet are out of date.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 I know this is about knives but does a sword cane go under different rules?

    1. Under Georgia law a sword cane would be considered a knife.

  2. I’m a 13 year old, and I am looking to buy the SOG SEAL pup for defense, because of my age, would I still be able to carry this around places?

    1. While I’m not sure on the restrictions regarding your age, I’m a little concerned about the age, speaking from experience, when I was 13, I didn’t make very good decisions. I am concerned that you might be more likely to jump to the weapon as a first option, rather than a last. You might want to discuss this with your parents and at least make sure it’s legal and they can teach you when it is the right time to pull that knife for defensive purposes

  3. I’m 13 and I’m wondering if I’m aloud to carry my 3 inch smith and Wesson black ops knife to public places like movie theater and store and other places besides school?

    1. Based on Georgia law you carrying a 3 inch blade would not be illegal as only possession of handguns by minors is mentioned in Georgia law. There is no mention of possession of knives.

    2. Possession by a minor of any knife (no length specified) designed for offense and defense is illegal….period….a knife called “black ops” is a bad idea. He can carry an 11″ fillet knife or hunting knife anywhere he pleases. For a knife to be classified “weapon”, it must be greater than 5″ AND be designed for offense and defense. Georgia law specifically states an injunction against providing those under 18yrs of age with a knife designed for offense and defense, or with brass knuckles. These replies have been a fountain of misinformation. My suggestion is not to advise others unless you know what you are talking about.

    3. Look at Georgia’s definition of knife:
      “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.”

      O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-125.1

      So since the blade is under 5 inches it is not considered a knife under Georgia law so 16-11-101 would not apply as the knife is not defined as a knife.

  4. So if I have a balisong it is leagsl to carry or do I have to keep it inside my property

    1. As long as the blade is less then 5 inches you can carry it if you don’t have a CWP. If you have a permit your blade can be longer then 5 inches. Also must abide by where you cannot legally carry a knife.

    2. It is NOT a CWP….it is a license for carrying anything classified as a weapon openly or concealed….drop the “c”, as you are only confusing folk.

    3. You are right I should not have used CWP. It had been mentioned earlier somewhere and that is what I reverted to when typing.

      I made the assumption that anyone reading would know I was referring to a weapon carry license.

  5. Is it legal to order switchblades on line from an out of state dealer and have them sent to you in Georgia if the blade is less than 5 inches ?

    1. You can do it but ANY commerce across state lines of a switchblade or gravity knife is STILL against FEDERAL law.

  6. Would i be able to throw my glock 6.5 inch knife into my survival pack and i am 17 by the way and that be okay cause i forgot to check rules when buying knives and sure my dad won’t let me buy another one

  7. I’m a graduate student at GSU. I was just stopped by an officer about my pocket knife. The blade is not that long but I’m not sure of exact length; definitely less than 5 inches though.
    It was in my pocket with only the clip exposed. He let me keep it but said next time he would have to take it because it is considered a weapon and only knives under 2 inches were allowed. Never in 15 years of carrying a pocket knife have I been stopped. I found it insane. I was also on campus and am wondering if there might be different rules. Thanks in advance for any advice!

  8. So, your saying that I can carry a switchblade, butterfly knife,pocket knife ect. ect. But as long as the blade length is below 5″ correct? [Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven!]

  9. i have searched high and low with no result. May i purchase and own/carry A benchmade infidel OTF in either size in GA?

  10. I am building a knife shop website. I will have many kinds of knives on the site. Are there any restrictions on what kind of knives I can ship to certain states? I have heard it may be illegal to ship a simple lock back folder to New York City.
    I would like to sell automatic knives on a limited basis. I know there is federal law prohibiting shipping over state lines, but is it legal to ship them within the state of my business. I am in Georgia where we have very good knife laws, but I have not yet found an accurate answer to this question.

  11. Don’t understand why there’s banned knifes, its not the knife that breaks the law, its the person behind it. Knifes that flick open (switch blade or assisted) are scary to some people, but that it ruins it for the people who just enjoy them. I say all knifes should be unbanned.. But ower of the blade shouldn’t have any atent of harm. Knifes are tools, that can be used as a weapon, that shouldn’t make it a WEAPON. I believe any knife, as long as its in your pocket, should be totally legal in all states.

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