Georgia knife laws were rewritten in 2012 and, because of that, older articles on the internet are out of date.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 12 inches without a permit.
- For knives greater than 12 inches, you need a weapons permit, after which there are no restrictions.
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 not longer than 12 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 12 inches, you must have a weapons license. To see a copy of the weapons license application click HERE.
The Question of Knuckles
While not directly related to knives, some knives have knuckles and Georgia does have a law pertaining to brass knuckle carrying.
(a) A person commits the offens e of carrying a concealed weapon when such person knowingly has or carries about his or her person, unless in an open manner and fully exposed to view, any bludgeon, metal knuckles, firearm, knife designed for the purpose of offense and defense, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character outside of his or her home or place of business, except as permitted under this Code section.
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 on 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 12 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.
None of the information in this article should be considered a final authority, and laws/statutes may have changed since this article was updated (in 2018). Please contact legal counsel in the State of Georgia for official advice.