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)

Peter Stec
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    1. Yes, as the law says… Not on school grounds and not in order to commit a crime…

  1. I’m 13 and I was wondering if it’s is legal for me to carry my 4.5 in fixed blade?

  2. I live in Simpsonville and am above eighteen years of age, would I, in theory, be able to open carry a katana and wakizashi?

    1. Hey winston,
      I believe those two weapons are more considered swords than knives, so im not sure how the laws apply to them. Whilst i cannot find nything online saying yes or know, a local knife shop has previously told me that it would be illegal without a special license from specially approved events, such as fairs and such. Can’t give a concrete answer though.

  3. is it legal to draw a knife if you feel threatened of the attacker causes you to feel as if you might occur bodily harm or injury

    1. As far as I know, yes. However, if you actually attack someone with the knife because you feel threatened, you should be fine but you will likely have to go through a legal battle.

      I personally recommend that you only pull the knife once you are positive that you are threatened as pulling the knife before then might make the attacker feel threatened themselves and attack you prematurely.

  4. I still didn’t get an answer about buying a knife at 16 years old? Can I sell a knife to a 16 year old?

    1. Hey Cathy;
      We often rely on our loyal site visitors to give direction to fellow visitors. Keep in mind that no answer you receive from (or any other authority or niche website) is considered legal advice, but we can offer some direction. I spent about 45 min. just now researching your question about selling a knife to a minor. I got bogged down in hundreds of pages of legislation and didn’t find the answer clearly. I can tell you that you may contact your legislator in S. Carolina at:
      Also, any lawyer or para-legal in S. Carolina can give you official advice on your issue. I’m sorry I can’t give you “official” information on our site (that is according to U.S. internet laws) but I hope to offer you some direction towards finding an answer.
      P.S. Some state statutes are easy to find while others (like my search for sale of knives to someone 16 years of age in S. Carolina) are not so much!

    2. There are no legal restrictions on buying and/or selling knives. A 50-year-old can sell a knife to a 12-year-old and it would be legal. You do not legally need parental consent either. Basically, you can buy/sell as many knives as you want from/to whoever you want. South Carolina state law is very lax on knives, although if you live in a large city like Charleston or Greenville I would personally recommend reading up on your city’s law on what knives are permitted.

    3. No you can’t sell a knife to a minor in sc. Even with a parent present you still cant. 18 years of age for any knife, sissors, hobby blades. Is it enforced? Not really so much though. Can a person under 18 have a knife? Yes, same rules as everyone else. You commit a crime with it you and your parents even may be subjected to charges!

  5. The police in sc will always state u shouldnt but u wont get into trouble just dont argue get your warning or ticket n move on. Cops say it because it poses risk for them. Cops in general think civilains should never have an instrument of defense. I carry 2 machhettes in my car. Usually though if u have a cwp they dont mess with u concerning knives since gun beats knife. County laws is scary. Even police that do know the law say be careful in certain areas.

  6. Carry a 3 inch or less blade and you’re fine both legally and for self-defense: you don’t need a 12 inch Bowie to defend yourself…. overkill. And Learn self defense skills!

  7. So you can carry any type knife in South Carolina as long as you fully understand and know for sure every (county, city, town, cross road) restrictions. So your home are personal property may (Just may) be safe. Think I will just stay with my hands o’yes and gun.

  8. Is it legal to Cary a fixed blade karambit in South Carolina as long as it’s under 3 inches

  9. If you want to know the answer to a legal question don’t ask a police officer. Most are more concerned with “looking right” rather than BEING right. And you’re the one that will pay the price for their hubris. It’s not an indictment on all police, but the phrase “I don’t know” ,apparently, isn’t taught at the academy. An FSU/USC study gave 5 police officers a legal quandary. They collectively agreed to one unanimous response. But when separated,and each given another question of legality, there were 4 different responses to the same item, out of 5 officers. Lawyers aren’t even tasked with knowing all the laws of whatever discipline they practice. Attorneys are taught how to argue and learn how to make deals. Paralegals probably know the actual wording of the laws better than their bosses bc they’re often times the ones doing the research and are up to date about any law changes that occur. The reason knives were omitted from the list of weapons is bc they’re categorized as tools. When I use a hammer to put a nail into a wall, it’s a tool. If I use a hammer to split someone’s head open, it’s a weapon. Same applicable rationale applies. How and where I was carrying said hammer, is a moot point. Good Luck.

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