Your 5 Inch Pocket Knife Could Land You 3-5…



I carry a knife with me everywhere I go…. Minus the airport. ( I only needed one thorough pat down to never make that mistake again…)

To me it is a utility tool and not a weapon (unless I need it to be).

I use my knife daily for dozens of different tasks and carry one or more with me any time I travel.

I have driven across multiple states  in a day and never realized that I was possibly committing a new felony in every city and every state that I passed through…

Until I read this article from Todd over at

Is that bulge in your pocket an illegal knife, or are you just excited to read this article?


That’s right, in case you’ve just returned as a 30 year castaway on a remote, deserted island, there are laws that govern the length of your blade and whether you need a permission slip from the State to carry (open or concealed).

Welcome to Nanny State America! If you live here in these united States, pleading ignorance for carrying weapons (knife or gun) is not going to get you off the hook with our ever ‘watchful’ enforcers.

If you’re like most law-abiding people, you’re probably committing a-felony-a-day without even knowing it. To understand and stay within the law, you’d need to either go back to your island paradise or spend 8.31 hours per day for the next 2.7 years buried in law books.

There are 50 states, 57 according to the POTUS, that have different rules about possessing and owning weapons.

If you frequent cross state lines, you’d need to spend time researching all the state laws for travel route. Plus, you need to know how to interpret legalese.

Lets say you want to go visit your aging grandmother in Buffalo, New York. You leave Georgia and drive through several states and stop for fuel, beef jerky, and a room at Motel 6. You possess a Georgia Firearms License enabling you to legally carry your Bowie knife concealed (Crocodile Dundee style). It was a gift from your kids. So you carry it. (Just play along, okay)

How can you check to see if your able to legally carrying your knife (or any knife) in NY? Just do it and hope you don’t find out the hard way?

Here’s a better way.

The good folks over at contacted me to share their updated knife law resource. It’s different from other knife law sites I’ve seen. KnifeUp was written in 2013, includes legislature and case law, and translates lawyer-speak into plain, common man English.

Check out your state’s knife laws here. You might learn something and prevent you from committing that felony-a-day… when it comes to carrying knives, at least. NOTE: If you live in one of the other 7 states BHO is ruling over, you won’t be able find your state on the map over at KnifeUp! Call your White House for assistance in this matter.

One thing I learned about my state is…

Before July 1, 2012, different Georgia cities might have different rules regarding knives you could legally carry in their jurisdiction. Now, the state lawmakers passed a statewide knife law preemption effectively nullified local knife laws.

What this means is that you can travel from city to city without worrying whether a knife that is legal in your city is legal in the next town over. For example, it was legal to carry a 4 inch pocket knife in Columbus but, if you drove into Atlanta, you would be breaking Atlanta city law. – source:

For Georgia residents, our knife laws are unrestrictive compared to some states.

What this law states is that you can own any knife you would like as long as you keep it inside your property. You can carry, open or concealed, any knife that is less than 5 inches. This includes butterfly knives, switchblades, and any other type of knife that is commonly banned in other states. – source:

becker bk-2

My Becker BK-2 bushcraft blade is 1/4 inch over 5 inches requiring a State permission slip to legally carry off my property.

When Dirt Road Girl and I travel to other states, I always check to see if the states we visit recognizes and are reciprocal to our Georgia Firearm’s License. I’ve never really checked into knife laws for other states. With KnifeUp, I can. I’ve added their link to our Blogroll and Resources page under “Firearms/Shooting/Marksmanship” for future reference.

But wait! There’s more!

Even if you don’t care what your state knife laws are, but love knives, KnifeUp offers more resources than law-talk. I’ve spent some time rummaging through KnifeUp’s site and it’s loaded with other great information for knife aficionados and preppers.

They do reviews on sharp stuff (pocket knives, multi-tools, etc.). Find reviews here. The “Misc” tab is loaded with value-adding info on prepping, lists, and DiY stuff. You’ll enjoy their comparison of 3 machetes. Spoiler alert, the Gerber Bear Grylls machete didn’t win.

If you get some time to check them out, let me know what you think.

Click here to view the original article on Survival Sherpa

Read more with these related articles from our site:

Kabar BK&T Machax Knife Review

My EDC Pocket Knife

Ontario RTAK II Knife Review

Continue Reading


  1. Robert Williams

    August 19, 2013 at 5:32 AM

    Useful info, thanks!!

  2. Esteban Cafe

    August 19, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    I checked a number of your states. I noticed that the ‘smarter’ states didn’t bother with differentiating knives rather, they differentiated people by two categories roughly defined as “Citizens in good standing” and “Felons”.

    For example, the first group could have ANY type of knife in the state of Utah, while the second group could NOT have any type of knife. Differentiation by a person’s legal status seems a brighter way than trying to legislate access to the blinding array of knives.

    • John Kimball

      April 22, 2018 at 11:19 AM

      This seems to make sense … until the definition of “Felons” becomes just a little more strict. As in, break just one Draconian rule, become convicted, Then they can confiscate everything you own.

  3. B . Roberts

    August 19, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    In NYC and metro, it is 3.5 inches and that is defined as “sharpened surface” so measure the entire length, including the curve with a flexible tape, since it will exceed the linear extension — do not measure with a ruler or yardstick! And they do and will jail you for a tenth of an inch so measure VERY carefully. Rub wallboard paste or grease on it as if it is used in the trades. Never wear it so it shows or brandish it. Of course, we have Nanny Bloomberg dictating this. What could be worse? A 20 ounce soda or too much salt on your food!

  4. Silas Longshot

    August 19, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Yep, knife laws are just as convoluted, crazy and haphazard as gun laws. Look before you leap.

    • William

      September 6, 2013 at 7:39 PM

      yes and the knife laws are just as illegal as the gun laws.. the 2nd Amendment says “he right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” and any law that restricts that right or requires registration or a permission slip is a violation of our rights as protected under the 2nd Amendment. Laws meting out punishment for using weapons in a crime are constitutional, laws restricting ownership or the right to carry are not.

  5. Harold

    August 19, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    If anyone can screw up any law it the Fascist State of California. I haven’t checked the links yet, but it is my understanding that our knife laws are so vague that the cops can roust you for any knife if they want to. I do know that it is illegal to have or make a knife that looks kike something else such as a pen. Harbor Freight sells a knife with a blade that is about 1 inch long and looks like a key. It is clearly illegal under the law, but the reality is that if a guy is holding a hammer over your head and you get in his face it just gives him more ammo to beat you up with.

  6. Spencer J. "Pick" Lyman

    August 19, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    In VA a folding knife can’t have a blade longer than Three Inches!

  7. Brad S

    August 19, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Here in Rogue Island, aka Rhode Island, any knife blade has to be “less than three inches”, not sure if that refers to just the sharpened surface, so we’re even worse than NYC in that aspect.

    • Todd

      February 18, 2014 at 7:31 PM

      Actually, Rhode Island law is even worse than you explained. The three inch length isn’t even just sharp edge, it is defined as anything above the end of the handle! Most drop point hunting knives have about a half inch of the tang showing between the end of the blade and the bolsters, and this counts for that 3 inch limit!

  8. Mark Field

    August 19, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Very nice article. Good to know. As for our POTUS. Everyone seems to be making the same mistake about his comment about the number of states there are. If you pay attention to the video, he says he visited one state and he has 57 MORE to visit. Then he says well he’s not welcome in Alaska (ha ha) & he mumbles something about Hawaii. So anyway, one state visited and 57 to go means be thought there were 58 states, not 57. I think one of Obama’s ‘minions’ tried to explain it away by saying he was inuding U.S. Territories but there are only 6 so the total would still be only 56. If it had been a Republican who made such an idiotic statement, the media would STILL be making a big deal out of it but since it was their ‘Favorite Son’ Obama gets another pass. So very predictable.

  9. JJM

    August 20, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Almost all Hunting and Survival knives have some resemblance to some version of Bowie Knives. So how in the h@!! can I determine if I own, carry or transport a legal knife????
    Wikipedia “Ironically, in modern-day Texas, the state Jim Bowie died defending, the carrying of a Bowie knife “on or about one’s person” is specifically prohibited under state law.[30] This prohibition does not apply to a person carrying the Bowie knife on one’s own property, nor to any person carrying a Bowie knife inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft owned by that person or under that person’s control.[30]”

  10. Bob

    August 21, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    In my state, MS basically anything carried externally that is clearly a knife/bladed implement is legal so long as you don’t cross onto various state disapproved properties … keep that map handy folks! (rolls eyes) If it’s a concealed weapon it has to be under 3.5″ iirc and there are various nuances concerning dirks, switchblade/single button release, etc. It’s not bad but it’s no New Hampshire where there are no laws governing the size/kind of bladed instrument one can carry and it allows convicted felons to carry any blade with no restriction.

  11. Jesse

    August 21, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    VT welcomes you. State law preempts local laws knives are like guns Only switchblades are regulated to under 3 inches but the cops don’t care.

  12. charles

    August 21, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    I live in Maine but drive to pennsylvania to hunt white taile deer im 54 years of age ive carried a knife since i was a cub scout and the knife ive carried on my belt for the last 30 years is a folding Buck knife # 110 given to me by my older sister who passed years ago from lukemia. The drive takes me through new hampshire the (live free or die state) Then through Massachusetts The ( Mass hole state) as we Mainers call it, no offence it is what it is, I think they are used to it. Then through New Yorks southern tier then into Pennsylvanias Potter County were i hunt. I am not going to check the knife laws because it is all bull shit and i no longer give a shit, I have never been arrested and have no traffic violations and dont intend to have any, I resent these young punk cops that should have been screened for controll freak issues, Ever since 911 (which i totaly beleave was an inside job, one building fell and wasnt hit by a plane) Our right have been stomped on and the police have become more aggressive and downright murderouse. I will continue to whare my Buck Knife #110 as i have always done screw these pollititions who have forgotten whom they work for, US AMERICAN CITIZENS.


      August 23, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      It would seem like shooting back is overdue. Talk to your local Sheriff, I believe they can raise a militia if so desired.

  13. Dee Barker

    August 24, 2013 at 5:10 AM

    I work in a Seattle Public School. Very liberal place here in Seattle…ugh. And I have found that in every school, there are at least a few very large knives! Just look in the staff room/kitchen drawer…
    I also ‘carry’ a knife in my vehicles. I keep a long blade bread knife in my vehicle for protection if needed. I can easily explain it away if needed. ( I took it to school for a teacher food-sharing-get-together and forgot to take it in the house, or it was left over from a picnic… perfectly legal and understandable.
    Dee Barker

    • Todd Walker

      August 25, 2013 at 7:17 AM

      @ Dee, I work in public schools too. Different parts of the country have different tolerances for ‘weapons’ even though they are all Weapons Free Zones – or Victim Zones as I call them. As a teacher with handyman skills, I keep a ‘tool box’ full of ‘tools’ in my desk drawer. I also carry a Swiss Army Knife in my pocket at all times for ‘handyman’ tasks and even sharpening pencils. I guess it depends on your location.

      One item I highly recommend for all teachers/staff in these killing zones to keep close by is a can of wasp spray. It shoots 20+ feet and isn’t pleasant in the eyes. I understand it’s not a sidearm or long gun, but it’s better than nothing. I also keep other ‘tools’ in my room in case of emergency.

      Think outside the box (redundancy) for items that fit inside the box you work in. Stay safe!

      • William

        September 6, 2013 at 7:46 PM

        hair spray and a lighter make a great weapon

        • Ed Watts

          April 11, 2018 at 12:17 PM

          Wasp spray and a match or lighter make for a decent improvised flamethrower. Hose the bad guy down for a second or two, and, then, apply the ignitor.

  14. karl

    August 30, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Yes – a box of ordinary handyman’s tools is a cornucopia of improvised weapons.

    Much to be said for “hiding in plain sight”.

  15. archer

    September 4, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    I’ve been looking for a good link to cover the different states laws. Thanks for the help. Nice blog. Keep up the good work. Get the word out.

  16. Ralph Gregorio

    September 8, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    I’m glad I live in a good state such as New Hampshire. You can carry any knife you want, even a switchblade. The only problem I have is I live near the Maine border and they have restrictions that make some of my knives illegal.

  17. howard w moore

    November 5, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    when i was in the army the regs were 3 inches I carried a buck 112 a buck 110 was illegal @ 3.5 that was 30 years ago buck then again
    I was latter ordered never to carry a edged weapon not even a pair of fingernail clipers but that’s another story LOL

  18. levi brett

    November 21, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    is their a law about how big your hunting knife can be in maine?

  19. johnbeeter

    June 20, 2014 at 6:17 AM

    In VA a folding knife can’t have a blade longer than Three Inches!

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  21. Oliver Lee

    December 25, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    Wait… So I am 14 yrs old and I own a decent SOG Tridnet Tanto which is 3.75 in and spring assisted. I live in Washington state. What would be the consequences of bringing one in public or getting caught with one. Also what am I allowed to do or not?

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  23. Vicki S.

    April 11, 2018 at 7:43 AM

    As I review the state list, Maine an Maryland are not listed, why?

  24. Ron

    April 18, 2018 at 8:15 PM

    I think I’ll stay in what some folks call the “backward” state of Ga. As a military vet and soon to be retired I see no need to visit any state that considers my intellegence to be in
    question. Its a sad thing that many “folks” in our “governmental groups”
    think we as law abiding people can not act in a reasonable way or make
    educated choices. BTW thanks for the info. I appreciate the labors you went to to bring us this.

  25. Billy Bird

    May 8, 2018 at 4:58 AM

    Hello my name is Billy, I am new to survival life and I just wanted to thank you for the information and all the comments that were made. It’s hard to believe that people are done that way. Well it is but it isn’t. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a communist country. Pretty sad. Anyway, I just ordered a knife from you, and I’m very excited to get it. And I look forward to getting other stuff from you in the future. It really looks like your items are pretty high quality. I seen an air rifle that I liked really well. Well I better shut up. LOL. Sorry my comment wasn’t that much about what was said. But I just wanted to thank you and everyone else for what was said. I really enjoyed it. You guys take care and God bless.

  26. Hunting Knife

    July 28, 2018 at 11:56 AM

    Hey, dear author, you wrote down that, There are 50 states, 57 according to the POTUS, that have different rules about possessing and owning weapons. I want to know, is there any rule or law in those cities that we can’t take any kind of knife or weapon with us? After all thank you for your useful content.

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