Last updated on October 20th, 2023 at 08:07 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.
Georgia is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a plethora of activities like camping and hunting. Naturally, these activities necessitate the use of tools like knives. Over the years, Georgia has refined its knife laws, making them more straightforward. This article delves into the intricacies of Georgia’s knife laws, ensuring you stay on the right side of the law during your outdoor adventures.
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 Georgia Have Statewide Preemption?
Georgia has implemented statewide law preemption, ensuring uniform knife laws across the state. Unlike some states where local laws may vary, Georgia disallows municipalities from enacting restrictive knife laws of their own. This was achieved through the Georgia Knife Law Reform Bill, endorsed by Governor Nathan Deal in 2017. This reform aimed at eradicating confusion and promoting public safety by eliminating legal inconsistencies across different jurisdictions.
Noteworthy Georgia Knife-Related Definitions
As we delve into Georgia’s knife laws, understanding the legal definition of a knife is crucial.
Knife: In Georgia, a knife is defined as a cutting instrument designed for offense and defense, with a blade longer than 12 inches attached to a handle.
Note: This definition does not encompass knives intended for kitchen, service tasks, or agricultural activities, as they are not designed for offense or defense.
Weapon: A weapon in Georgia encompasses knives, as defined above, and handguns.
Legal Knives in Georgia
There are no restrictions on knife ownership in Georgia. You can legally own various types of knives including:
- Balisong or butterfly knives
- Bowie knives
- Folding knives
- Pocket knives
- Throwing knives
- Disguised knives like lipstick, cane, or belt knives
- Stilettos, switchblades, push knives, dirks, and daggers
- Ballistic knives
- Undetectable knives (those that go unnoticed by a metal detector)
What Knives are Illegal in Georgia?
Georgia knife laws do not prohibit ownership of any knives. As long as you keep your knives within your property, you do not have to worry about the type or blade length of your knives.
There are restrictions when you decide to carry your knives out in public. Keep reading to learn about Georgia knife carry laws.
Georgia Knife Carry Laws
In Georgia, the law regarding open carry and concealed carry of knives is as follows:
- Open carry of any knife with a blade shorter than 12 inches is allowed. For open carry of a knife with a blade exceeding 12 inches, a weapons permit is required.
- Concealment is not an issue in Georgia, meaning you can conceal carry any knife, but a weapons permit is required for knives with blades exceeding 12 inches.
These laws do not apply to active or retired peace officers with valid weapon carry certifications, military personnel, and any person employed by the state of Georgia who is on official duty.
Georgia Knife Length Laws
The 2017 reform saw the permissible knife blade length for carrying outside your home or property increase from 5 inches to 12 inches. Carrying a knife with a blade longer than 12 inches outside your property requires a weapons permit.
Georgia Knife Laws by Demographic
Age and criminal history may affect your rights regarding knife ownership and carry in Georgia.
- You must be 18 years or older to buy, own, or carry a knife designed for offense or defense in Georgia.
- Selling, purchasing, or transferring such a knife to persons under the age of 18 is illegal.
- Minors can purchase a knife with the approval or accompaniment of a parent.
Restrictions for Felons
Georgia law restricts convicted felons and first offenders from carrying firearms unless their rights have been reinstated by the state. Once a felon’s rights are reinstated or they are pardoned, they can own and carry a weapon in Georgia, subject to the regular restrictions on carrying knives.
Georgia Knife Law FAQs
How Old Do You Have to Be to Carry a Knife in Georgia?
According to the law, individuals must be 18 years or older to buy, own, or carry a knife designed for offense or defense.
Can a Felon Carry a Knife in Georgia?
Felons and first offenders cannot carry firearms unless their rights are restored by the state. Upon restoration of rights or pardon, they can own and carry a weapon in Georgia.
Are switchblades legal in Georgia?
Yes, switchblades are legal. However, carrying a switchblade with a blade length over 12 inches outside of your property requires a state-issued weapons license.
If you find a switchblade that big let me know…
Are butterfly knives illegal in Georgia?
Butterfly knives are legal in Georgia. Carrying one with a blade length over 12 inches outside your property requires a state-issued weapons license.
Are OTF (Out The Front) knives legal in Georgia?
OTF knives are legal in Georgia. Carrying an OTF knife with a blade length over 12 inches outside your property requires a state-issued weapons license.
Are gravity knives legal in Georgia?
Gravity knives are legal in Georgia. Georgia law does not prohibit the ownership of any type of knife. However, remember that carrying a gravity knife with a blade length over 12 inches outside of your property requires a state-issued weapons license.
Georgia State Knife Law References
Official Sources for Georgia’s Knife Laws
- Georgia Code sections:
Significant Court Cases
|Steplight v. Georgia||Samuel Steplight was convicted for felony murder and possession of a knife during a crime related to a 2010 murder.|
|Bickley v. State||A case where the defendant threatened and assaulted a woman with a knife in 1993.|
|Steele v. Georgia||Donald Steele was convicted for felony murder and aggravated assault related to a stabbing death.|
Timeline of Major Changes in Georgia’s Knife Law
- Georgia made significant changes to its knife laws, becoming more lenient towards the carrying of simple knives.
- A law enacted on July 1, 2012, allowed knife owners to openly or concealed carry any knife with a blade length of 12 inches or less.
- Georgia State Senator Bill Heath introduced the Georgia Knife Law Reform bill, SB 405, which aimed to increase the legal carry length of a knife blade from 5.5 inches to 12 inches.
- The Georgia Knife Law Reform Bill, SB 49, was signed into law, increasing the legal carry length of a knife blade from 5 inches to 12 inches.
- Georgia HB 903, the Second Amendment Restoration and Protection Act, was introduced to eliminate the existing 12-inch limit on blade length.