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

Georgia is one of the most popular destinations for people who enjoy outdoor activities like camping and hunting. So naturally, a lot of these outdoor activities require tools like knives. Fortunately, Georgia has rewritten and simplified its knife laws over the years, making them easier to understand. This article has everything you need to know about Georgia knife laws.

Does Georgia Have Statewide Preemption?

Georgia has statewide law preemption meaning that the above knife laws apply across the board. Unlike other states where local towns can have stricter knife laws, this is prohibited in Georgia. Local towns and cities are prohibited from creating other restrictive knife laws.

This change came about in 2017 with the Georgia Knife Law Reform Bill signed by Governor Nathan Deal. The idea was to simplify the law for residents and non-residents in the state. Before, people got in trouble because a knife would be legal in one town and illegal in the next. Another goal was to keep all citizens in Georgia safe.

Noteworthy Georgia Knife-Related Definitions

As you read this post, the definitions shared below are important things to keep in mind.

Knife: According to Georgia law, a knife is an instrument designed for the purpose of offense and defense with a blade longer than 12 inches attached to a handle.

The above definition does not apply to knives made for the kitchen, service tasks, or agricultural activities. This is because these knives are not designed for the purpose of offense or defense as stated by the law.

Weapon: A weapon in Georgia is a knife or a handgun. Here, a knife is anything that meets the criteria of the definition given above.

Legal Knives in Georgia

Georgia has no limit on knife possession or ownership. This means you can own any of the following knives:

  • 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, for example, those that go unnoticed by a metal detector
  • Swords
  • Karambits

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 this section, it is important to know that Georgia’s constitution gives people the right to keep and bear arms. However, the same constitution gives legislators the right to prescribe how the people can bear arms, hence, carry laws.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • You can carry any knife with a blade length of 12 inches or less, open or concealed. This includes fixed blades, OTF knives, pocket knives, butterfly knives, etc.
  • You must have a state-issued weapons license to carry a knife with a blade longer than 12 inches outside your home, property, or car. You can open or conceal carry a knife longer than 12 inches if you have a weapons license.
  • You can carry a knife with a blade of two inches on school grounds. Anything longer is considered a weapon, and you can be charged with a felony. This applies to all educational institutions from kindergarten to university, leased or owned by the institution. This rule also applies to all school safety zones, buildings, or grounds where there is a school function. Under this section of the law, a weapon has a different definition. The law says that a weapon is any pistol, revolver, missile, any knife with a blade longer than two inches like ballistic knives, bowie knives, switchblades, dirks, balisongs, etc. This definition is exclusive to classroom equipment used under the supervision of a teacher.
  • It is illegal to carry a knife or a weapon under the general definition to a courthouse, government building, correctional facility, mental health institution, nuclear power, or polling activity facilities. This law also applies to churches and places of worship. However, some may allow it for people with a weapons license.

Exceptions

The above Georgia knife carry laws do not apply to peace officers retired or otherwise who have valid certification to carry their weapons.

Other people exempt from these laws are military personnel and any other person employed by the government or state of Georgia who are on active official duty.

Georgia Knife Length Laws

In previous years the maximum knife blade length in Georgia was five inches. However, this changed in 2017, when the length was increased to 12 inches. This law has remained unchanged until today.

Carrying any knife with a blade longer than 12 inches is illegal without a weapons permit.

On school grounds, carrying or possessing a knife with a blade longer than two inches is illegal.

In addition, carrying any knife with a longer blade is a felony. This law applies to all school institutions, including early, middle, elementary, and university schools.

Georgia Knife Laws by Demographic

Now that you have a general view of Georgia knife carry laws, it is equally important to know if there are age or criminal history restrictions.

Let’s find out.

How Old do You Have to be to Carry a Knife in Georgia?

According to the law, it is illegal to sell, purchase, or transfer any knife (designed for the purpose of offense or defense) or weapon to persons under the age of 18. This means that anyone younger than 18 years cannot own or carry a knife.

How Old do You Have to be to Buy a Knife in Georgia?

You have to be above 18 years to buy a knife in Georgia. Any minor buying a knife will be charged with a misdemeanor. A minor can be allowed to purchase a knife with the approval or when accompanied by a parent.

Can a Felon Carry a Knife in Georgia?

According to the law, convicted felons and first offenders cannot carry firearms unless the state restores their rights. Georgia knife laws also state that anyone who is not prohibited by law from owning a handgun or long gun can carry a weapon or long gun freely within their property.

Remember, a weapon is a knife or handgun. So, what does this mean?

It means that once your rights are reinstated or you are pardoned for your crime in Georgia, you can own and carry a weapon.

All other restrictions on carrying knives will still apply, so be mindful to stay within the law.

Georgia Concealed Carry Knife Laws

An important part of carrying laws is how you can carry your weapons, hereby termed as open or concealed carry.

Can You Open Carry a Knife in Georgia?

You can open carry any knife shorter than 12 inches in Georgia. To open carry any knife with a blade exceeding 12 inches will require a weapons permit.

Can You Conceal Carry a Knife in Georgia?

You can conceal carry any knife with a blade shorter or longer than 12 inches in Georgia. Remember, you need to apply for a weapon’s permit to open or conceal carry knives with longer blades.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, understanding Georgia’s knife laws doesn’t seem overly complicated. With that being said, I’m just a normal dude, and working my way through all of the legal jargon was a grind.

So, while I did my best, always check your state website for the most up-to-date information!