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

Last updated on October 21st, 2023 at 01:18 am

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.

Navigating through Mississippi knife laws can be a bit of a maze. Nonetheless, it is crucial for anyone who owns, carries, or uses knives in the state of Mississippi to grasp these laws to avoid potential legal ramifications.

In this blog post, I aim to provide a comprehensive overview of Mississippi knife laws, discussing various topics including carrying knives in public places, possession of knives by minors, and the use of force with a knife in self-defense scenarios within the state.

Equipping yourself with the knowledge provided here will ensure your comprehension of Mississippi knife laws is current and precise.

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Overview of Mississippi Knife Laws

Knives are versatile tools, indispensable for hunting, fishing, and daily chores like cutting rope or opening packages. However, before deciding to carry one, understanding the laws governing knives in Mississippi is essential.

Definition of a Knife

In Mississippi, a knife is broadly defined, encompassing a range of tools with sharpened metal blades like pocket knives and switchblades. More specific tools such as machetes, swords, and daggers aren’t categorized separately but are considered under the broader term of knives.

Does Mississippi Have A Statewide Preemption?

Mississippi indeed has statewide preemption for knife laws, meaning the state laws override any local or municipal laws concerning knives. Under Mississippi law, local governments are prohibited from enacting or enforcing any ordinance that restricts the possession, sale, transfer, or transportation of knives beyond what the state law stipulates​1​.

This preemption ensures uniformity in knife laws across the state, so you won’t encounter varying laws when moving between municipalities within Mississippi. However, there may be local laws regarding carrying knives in specific places such as government buildings, schools, and other public establishments.

Types of Knives Allowed in Mississippi

In Mississippi, individuals over 18 years old are generally permitted to openly carry any type of knife. Folding blades like Swiss Army-style multi-tools are also allowed. Mississippi law does have certain restrictions regarding the concealed carry of some knives like bowie knives, dirks, butcher knives, and switchblade knives.

Prohibited Knives in Mississippi

Mississippi doesn’t prohibit the ownership of any specific type of knife, although there are restrictions on carrying certain knives concealed. It is also illegal for minors to possess or carry bowie knives, butcher knives, switchblade knives, or dirks, and for anyone to provide such a knife to a minor or intoxicated person.

Carrying Knives in Public Places

Openly carrying a knife is generally permitted in Mississippi. However, there are restrictions on carrying certain types of knives, like switchblades, concealed. Moreover, carrying knives on educational property is prohibited, and violators may face penalties including fines or imprisonment.

Possession of Knives by Minors in Mississippi

Minors are generally prohibited from possessing or carrying deadly weapons, with exceptions for certain knives like pocket knives with blades measuring less than three inches long provided they have permission from a parent or guardian.

Self-Defense With A Knife In Mississippi

Using a knife in self-defense is legal if the person reasonably believes they are in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm, as long as the use of deadly force is considered necessary and reasonable under the circumstances.

FAQs in Relation to Mississippi Knife Law

Are switchblades illegal in Mississippi?

Switchblades are not illegal in Mississippi. The state does not place any restrictions on the ownership, carry, or transfer of these types of knives.

Are butterfly knives illegal in Mississippi?

Butterfly knives, also known as balisongs, are legal in Mississippi. Similar to switchblades, there are no laws against their ownership, carry, or transfer in the state.

Are OTF knives legal in Mississippi?

OTF (Out The Front) knives, which are a type of switchblade, are legal in Mississippi. There are no specific restrictions on their possession, carry, or transfer.

Are automatic knives legal in Mississippi?

Automatic knives are legal in Mississippi. The state does not impose restrictions on the possession, carry, or transfer of these knives.

Are gravity knives legal in Mississippi?

Gravity knives are legal in Mississippi. The state law does not prohibit the ownership, carry, or transfer of these types of knives.

Does Mississippi have knife length laws?

Mississippi does not have laws that limit the length of a knife that can be carried. However, it’s always best to double-check the most current laws to ensure accuracy as laws can change.

Mississippi State Knife Law References

Official Sources for Mississippi’s Knife Laws

  • Mississippi Code Section 97-37-1: This section outlines the legality of carrying certain types of knives, such as Bowie, dirk, butcher, and switchblade knives, especially in a concealed manner.

Significant Court Cases

Case TitleSummary
Wright v. MississippiSenque Wright was convicted of possessing a dirk knife as a convicted felon and sentenced to ten years in custody.
Summerall v. StateSenque Wright was convicted of possessing a dirk knife as a convicted felon, sentenced to ten years in custody.

Timeline of Major Changes in Mississippi’s Knife Laws

  • 2015:
    • HB 552: A knife preemption bill introduced to make state law prevail over any city or county ordinances regarding knife regulations, but it failed to move out of the committee.
  • 2016:
    • HB 1294: Proposed for statewide knife preemption to prevent local bodies from enacting restrictive knife regulations. This bill aimed to standardize knife laws across the state.
  • 2018:
  • 2019:
    • February 2: HB 950 introduced to remove certain types of knives (Bowie, dirk, butcher, and switchblade) from the deadly weapons statutes, representing a legislative effort to relax restrictions on knife ownership and carrying.


In conclusion, it is important to understand the laws regarding knives in Mississippi before carrying or using one.

While there are certain exceptions that allow minors and adults to carry a knife, it is still illegal to do so in most public places. It is also important to remember that if you use a knife in self-defense, you must be able to prove that your actions were necessary and reasonable under the circumstances.

By understanding Mississippi knife law and following all applicable regulations, you can help ensure your safety as well as the safety of those around you.

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