South Carolina Knife Laws

scSouth Carolina has one of the least restrictive weapons laws when it comes to owning and carrying knives. The laws specifically mentioning knives is practically non-existent, and difficult to find. This article shows you the law and explains what it means in plain English.

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a switchblade
  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly, knife
  • It is legal to own a Bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a stiletto
  • It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as in a lipstick or belt buckle

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is legal to own any type of knife in South Carolina.

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is legal to conceal carry dirk
  • It is legal to conceal carry a switchblade knife
  • It is legal to conceal carry a Balisong, or butterfly knife
  • It is legal to conceal carry a Bowie knife
  • It is legal to conceal carry a stiletto

South Carolina law explicitly excludes “dirks” and “knives” from the conceal carry statute, unless they are used with the intent to commit a crime or in the furtherance of a crime. The conceal carry statute however, does cover, “any other type of weapon, device, or object which may be used to inflict bodily injury or death”. Thus, while it may begin legal to carry a dirk or knife concealed, if the carrier were found carrying concealed under certain circumstances, it might become illegal.

What the Law States

§ 16-23-460. Carrying concealed weapons; forfeiture of weapons.

(A) A person carrying a deadly weapon usually used for the infliction of personal injury concealed about his person is guilty of a misdemeanor, must forfeit to the county, or, if convicted in a municipal court, to the municipality, the concealed weapon, and must be fined not less than two hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not less than thirty days nor more than ninety days…..

…..(C) The provisions of this section also do not apply to rifles, shotguns, dirks, slingshots, metal knuckles, knives, or razors unless they are used with the intent to commit a crime or in furtherance of a crime.

Definition of Weapon

In 2008, the South Carolina legislature amended its definition of “weapon”, deleting “a knife with a blade over two inches long” from it. The definition now reads:

“weapon” means firearm (rifle, shotgun, pistol, or similar device that propels a projectile through the energy of an explosive), a blackjack, a metal pipe or pole, or any other type of device, or object which may be used to inflict bodily injury or death.

By deleting the phrase “knife with a blade over two inches long”, the legislature did not quite make it legal to carry a knife concealed, as the conceal carry statute specifically excludes knives as a weapon covered by it, unless the carrier uses the knife to commit a crime or in the furtherance of a crime.

Conclusion on South Carolina Knife Laws

It is legal to own or open carry any kind of knife in South Carolina. It is legal to conceal carry any type of knife, so long as you do not use the knife to commit or aid in the commission of a crime.


  • S.C. Code Ann. § 16-23-460 (2012)
  • S.C. Code Ann. § 16-23-405 (2012)
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8 comments on “South Carolina Knife Laws
  1. Scott T. says:

    IS IT then legal to carry a sword of any type?, both in and out of case? on person as say over your shoulder and on your back?

  2. jm says:

    There is a specific size restriction in place for Richland County (Columbia) or there was around 2008. Not certain if the state law change takes priority or not.

  3. Joseph Loveland says:

    I have been trying to find out what the laws of Greenville City, Greenville County, Anderson County are. According to this what I’ve read there is no restrictions, but I’ve had others tell me in Law Enforcement there are restrictions. I’m confused, what is the length of the blade and how is it measured from what point of the blade.
    Any information will be greatly appreciated.


    Joseph Loveland

  4. J. Young says:

    Hello, get you a Ka-Bar TDI carry knife. They are a wonderful protection knife and can be carried easy on the side. I ordered mine from Wal-Mart on their internet store.

    One of these and a back up knife that clips in the inside of pants is all the protection knives one would need. Still get your conceal weapons permit to carry a firearm.

    A knife should be a last resort, best have a firearm and try to back away from any threat and call the local law to handle the problem.

    If attacked and no way out. You will have to go for broke and stand your ground. Cheers

  5. Jamal says:

    In Greenville County you can conceal carry any knife you want to as long as it is 4 inches and under.

  6. Sean says:

    Throwing knives?

  7. Geelo says:

    One thing to note, is I wish every state was like S.C. in regards to the “no knife limit \ carry” laws. It’s the right way to be.
    Any type of knife is legal in S.C. as long as you are not carrying to commit a crime. There are some “local” knife length limit laws in certain counties that “could” be interpreted incorrectly as the main states laws “should” superseded the local ones. The other thing that should be posted here, I know somewhere in the S.C. laws it states that a knife can only be 2 inches (maybe less) if a person in on school grounds. Just be aware of that as well.

  8. Erik B says:

    Since exclusions include knives, shotguns, and metal knuckles. Is it then label to carry brass knuckles?

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