Tennessee Knife Laws – What Knives are Illegal & Legal in 2023?

tennessee knife laws

Have you ever wondered if you can carry a knife in Tennessee without getting into hot water? Tennessee’s knife laws might just surprise you. 

Unlike many states with strict regulations, Tennessee takes a more permissive stance on both open and concealed knife carry. It is not prohibited to carry knives with blades of any length. In a nutshell, you’ve got more freedom here. Want to delve deeper into the specifics? 

Read on to learn all about Tennessee’s knife laws, including what types of knives are allowed, where you can carry them, and any restrictions you need to be aware of in this blog.

What Knives are Illegal & Legal in Tennessee 2023:

Here’s a table with the major knife legality information in this state of the USA. All popular knives are covered in this table so that you can easily identify them.

Knife TypeLegality in Tennessee (as of 2023)
SwitchbladesGenerally illegal
Ballistic KnivesGenerally illegal
Knuckles/Knuckle KnivesGenerally illegal
Gravity KnivesGenerally illegal
Bowie KnivesGenerally legal
Throwing Stars/DartsGenerally legal
Balisong (Butterfly) KnivesGenerally legal

Tennessee Knife Laws For Minors & Adults:

Talking about Tennessee knife laws age, In Tennessee, the knife laws for adults are relatively permissive similar to the Utah knife laws. There are no specific restrictions on knife types, lengths, or open carry. Adults can generally carry knives openly or concealed. 

However, carrying a knife on school grounds, from kindergarten to university, is prohibited. For minors (those under 18 years of age), the rules are more stringent. 

Moreover, Minors are prohibited from possessing certain knives, including switchblades, and can only carry knives with four inches or fewer blade lengths. Additionally, minors are also not allowed to carry knives on school grounds. 

Tennessee Sword Laws:

  • Tennessee law does not specifically address swords.
  • The legality of carrying a sword in Tennessee is generally unregulated but still, you can carry such weapons.

Other Weapon Laws:

  • Firearms: Tennessee has relatively permissive firearm laws for adults, including open carry and concealed carry with a permit.
  • Knives: No specific restrictions on the type of knives, blade length, or open carry, but carrying on school grounds is prohibited.
  • Firearms for Felons: Federal restrictions on felons possessing firearms apply.
  • Self-Defense: Tennessee allows the use of force, including deadly force, in self-defense situations, known as the “stand your ground” law.

Can a Felon Carry a Knife in Tennessee?

Yes, felons in Tennessee may face limitations on carrying knives due to federal restrictions on felons possessing weapons, including knives that may be classified as such. These rules are set after Washington DC knife laws which regulate the safety of the whole USA.

The limitations can vary based on the nature of the felony conviction and any associated restrictions imposed during parole or probation. It’s crucial for felons to consult with legal authorities to understand their limitations and what they can carry.

Tennessee Concealed Knife Laws:

In Tennessee, concealed carry of knives is generally allowed, and there are no specific restrictions regarding blade length. However, carrying a knife with unlawful intent or using it as a weapon may lead to legal consequences. 

Additionally, knives, like other weapons, are prohibited on school grounds from kindergarten to university. It’s important to be aware of local ordinances that may impose additional restrictions. 

While state law preempts local regulations on knives, understanding the specific circumstances in which concealed carry is allowed and adhering to the law is essential to avoid any legal issues.

Various Legal Statuses & What Do They Mean in Tennessee?

Relevant StatutesProvisions
39-17-1301. DefinitionsDefines “knife” and “switchblade.”
39-17-1302. Prohibited weaponsNo specific knives are listed as prohibited.
39-17-1307. Carrying or possession of weaponsNo knife restrictions were mentioned.
39-17-1309. Carrying or possession of weapons; school buildings and groundsKnives are prohibited on school grounds.
39-17-1310. Carrying or possession of weapons; school buildings and grounds; affirmative defensesDiscussion regarding school grounds.
39-17-1314. Local regulation of firearms, ammunition, or components preempted; exceptions; legislative intent; private rights of actionState law preempts local knife regulations.
39-17-1364. Purchase and shipment of weapons to residenceNo specific knife restrictions.

Restrictions on Carry in Specific Locations/Circumstances: 

Knives may not be possessed on school grounds, including public and private school grounds from kindergarten to university.

Other State Laws – Do They Have Anything Common with Tennessee Knife Laws?

1. Florida Knife Laws

Florida knife laws of 2023 allow concealed carry for most knives, except balisongs (butterfly knives) and switchblades. Open carry is generally permitted for common knives, but using a knife as a weapon can lead to legal consequences. 

No specific blade length limits exist, but weapons, including knives, are prohibited on school property. Minors may face additional restrictions, and state law preempts local knife regulations.

2. Ohio Knife Laws

Ohio permits concealed carry for most knives, except switchblades and gravity knives. Open carry is generally allowed, and there are no specific blade length restrictions. Carrying weapons, including knives, on school property is prohibited. 

Plus, Minors may have knife restrictions, and Ohio’s laws preempt local regulations. Staying current with state laws is crucial, as regulations can change, and local ordinances may also apply.

3. North Carolina Knife Laws

In North Carolina, concealed carry of most knives is legal, with restrictions on balisongs and switchblades. Open carry is generally allowed, although carrying a knife with harmful intent is prohibited. Blade length restrictions are not specified. 

Moreover, Possession of weapons, including knives, on school grounds is illegal, and minors may face limitations. Just like South Carolina knife laws, North Carolina law takes precedence over local regulations.

4. Kentucky Knife Laws

In Kentucky, there is no specific legal age mentioned for carrying knives. Knife possession laws are generally focused on the type and intent of use rather than age restrictions.

Moreover, Kentucky does not have specific restrictions on blade lengths or types of knives, making it relatively permissive in terms of knife ownership and carry. However, individuals should be aware of local ordinances that might impose additional regulations.

5. Georgia Knife Laws

In Georgia, there is no specific legal age mentioned for carrying knives. Plus, Knife possession laws do not typically set age limits but focus more on the type of knife and its intended use.

In addition, Georgia law does not have specific restrictions on blade lengths or knife types. The state generally allows for the ownership and carrying of most types of knives. However, individuals should be aware of local regulations that may vary.

Are Brass Knuckles Legal in Tennessee?

Brass knuckles, also known as metal knuckles or knuckle dusters, are illegal in Tennessee. Possession, sale, or use of brass knuckles is prohibited under Tennessee law, as they are considered dangerous weapons and classified as prohibited offensive weapons.

In Conclusion:

Tennessee’s knife laws grant adults the flexibility to openly or concealed carry knives with no specified blade length or type restrictions. However, using a knife with unlawful intent or as a weapon can result in legal consequences. Possessing knives on school property is strictly prohibited.

Minors have stricter rules, with limitations on carrying specific knife types and blade lengths. It’s essential to stay informed about local ordinances, as state law takes precedence through preemption. 

In summary, while Tennessee’s knife laws are generally lenient for adults, individuals must use caution regarding intent and location. Minors face additional constraints, and compliance with the law is paramount to avoid legal issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can a 16-year-old carry a knife in Tennessee?

There are no restrictions on the types of knives that may be possessed or carried in Tennessee. In school buildings and grounds, there is a location-based restriction. Knives, public or private, K through university, are prohibited on school grounds.

Can you carry a handgun in a bar in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, firearms can be possessed within the confines of licensed establishments where liquor, wine, beer, or other alcoholic beverages are served for consumption on-premises.

Can you carry an AR-15 in public in Tennessee?

Generally, public carry of loaded long guns is prohibited, except in designated areas and during hunting activities. It is not prohibited to carry an unloaded long gun without a permit.

Is Tennessee a good place to live?

Tennessee’s population has grown at an impressive rate over the last 20 years. In Tennessee, people have been attracted by the low tax rates, low cost of living, and high quality of life. Although it is not a perfect place, Tennessee is about as good as it gets for the price.


Rafay Malik

Rafay Malik is a knife expert and writer who is very passionate about writing on knives, and also he is always trying to transform his knowledge to other people who love to explore knives. With years of experience in the field, he has developed a deep understanding of knives, and he is still exploring other types of knives.

Leave a Comment