Florida Knife Law – The Complete Guide (In Plain English)

Last updated on October 27th, 2023 at 10:48 pm

This article was created to be a brief synopsis of the law according to my understanding and is not legal advice. Knifeade is not a legal service provider. Using this site does not create a client/lawyer relationship. Because knife laws can be interpreted differently by different people and entities it is recommended that you consult legal counsel for specific information and guidance.

Florida knife law is an important topic to understand if you’re a knife enthusiast living in the state.

The rules and regulations surrounding knives can vary greatly from one region to another, so it’s important that everyone understands what types of knives are allowed or prohibited under Florida law.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the different kinds of legal and illegal blades as well as restrictions on carrying them, age limits for ownership, penalties for breaking these laws, and any exceptions to the existing legislation.

Read on to learn more about Florida knife law!

Our Top Rated “50-State-Legal” Knives

*These knives are listed based on their broad legality across states, but always consult your local laws before making a purchase.

Does Florida Have A Statewide Preemption For Knife Laws?

Florida does not have a statewide preemption that applies to knife laws.

Florida has statewide preemption for firearms and ammunition (as defined by Chapter 790.33) but has never had a statewide preemption related to knives.

Types of Knives Allowed in Florida

Pocket Knives

Pocket knives are common and legal to own and carry in Florida. They typically have a folding blade and are used for everyday tasks such as opening packages, cutting rope, or slicing fruit.

Balisong Knives

Balisong knives, also known as butterfly knives, are legal to own and carry in Florida. They have two handles that rotate around the tang of the knife when opened or closed, and have become popular among collectors due to their intricate design and construction methods.


Switchblades, along with other automatic knives, are legal to own and carry in Florida, whether concealed or openly, without needing a permit.

Prohibited Knives in Florida

The only type of knife that is prohibited in Florida is a ballistic knife. Ballistic knives are designed to propel the blade as a projectile and are illegal to manufacture, sell, own, possess, or use in the state.

Carrying and Concealing Knife Laws in Florida

Open Carry Laws

In the state of Florida, it is legal to openly carry a pocket knife with a blade that does not exceed four inches in length. However, it is important to note that there are certain restrictions on where you can carry your pocket knife. For example, knives are prohibited from being carried on school grounds or at any sporting event or other public gathering.

Some local municipalities may have their own ordinances regarding the open carrying of knives and should be consulted before doing so.

Concealed Carry Laws

As of July 1, 2023, a permit is no longer required to concealed carry any knife in Florida. This change in legislation allows Florida residents to carry concealed knives without a state-issued weapon permit.

Age Restrictions on Knife Ownership in Florida

Individuals must be 21 years of age to carry a concealed knife in Florida, although active-duty military and military veterans discharged under honorable conditions who are under the age of 21 are exempt from this age requirement.

Penalties for Violating Knife Laws in Florida

Violating knife laws in Florida can result in a variety of penalties depending on the specific law that was violated. For example, possessing a ballistic knife is unlawful and individuals caught with a ballistic knife may face criminal charges.

Exceptions to the Knife Laws in Florida

Individuals participating in legal hunting activities such as fishing, camping, trapping, and archery can possess a knife without fear of penalty under most circumstances. The same applies to anyone engaging in other outdoor recreational activities such as hiking or backpacking where having access to a reliable cutting tool is essential for safety reasons.

FAQs in Relation to Florida Knife Law

What size knife can you carry in Florida?

There is no maximum blade length restriction for knives in Florida. Any knife can be carried concealed or openly without a permit, as of July 1, 2023, except for ballistic knives.

What knives are legal in Florida?

All knives, except ballistic knives, are legal to own and possess in Florida. This includes pocket knives, balisong knives, switchblades, automatic knives, and many others.

Is it legal to carry an OTF knife in Florida?

Yes, it’s legal to carry an OTF (Out The Front) knife in Florida, either openly or concealed, without a permit.

Do you need a license to carry a knife in Florida?

No, you do not need a license to carry a knife in Florida as of July 1, 2023, thanks to the passing of HB 543.

Florida State Knife Law References

Official Sources of Florida’s Knife Laws

Significant Court Cases

Case TitleSummary
L.B. v. State of FloridaDefined a common pocket knife and set forth conditions under which it can be carried, especially in schools.
State v. HolleyThe Florida Supreme Court decision distinguished between deadly weapons and utility knives regarding concealed carry laws.
FL v. Danielle RedlickInvolved a defendant charged with the stabbing death of her estranged husband with a kitchen knife, highlighting the gravity of knife-involved incidents.

Timeline of Major Changes in Florida’s Knife Law History

  • 1951: Florida’s attorney general determined that a common pocket knife had a blade four inches long or less.
  • 1997: Case of L.B. v. State of Florida sets forth the definition and carrying conditions of a common pocket knife.
  • 2004: State v. Holley case, which distinguished between deadly weapons and utility knives regarding concealed carry laws.
  • Before 2023: Concealed carry of a knife with a blade measuring 4″ or less was allowed without a license.
  • 2021: An update in Florida knife laws was noted, although the specific change wasn’t detailed.
  • 2023: Passage of HB 543 removed the restriction on blade length for concealed carry without a license.
  • 2023: Harsher sentences imposed for violations involving weapons like knives.
  • Undated: Florida Court bans ballistic or self-propelled knives, prohibiting their manufacture, display, sale, ownership, or possession​


In conclusion, it is important to understand the knife laws in Florida before purchasing or carrying a pocket knife. The state of Florida has specific regulations on the types of knives allowed, age restrictions for ownership and concealed carry, as well as penalties for violations.

Local governments may have their own ordinances that must be taken into consideration when considering Florida knife law. It is important to stay informed about all applicable laws and regulations regarding knives in order to avoid any legal issues.

With the ever-changing laws and regulations concerning knives, it is important for all Floridians to stay informed about their rights.

Doing so will ensure that everyone knows when they can carry a pocketknife or other type of blade without fear of breaking any laws. With knowledge comes power – let’s make sure everyone has the right information to be able to safely use pocketknives!

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