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Thread: Tennessee knife laws

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Tennessee knife laws

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    I might be moving to tennessee soon, so I wanted to know about their knife laws.
    I did a little bit of research, and from what I read (correct me if I'm wrong), you can carry a folding or fixed blade knife with a blade up to four inches in length, concealed or openly.
    It also says that you can not carry an automatic knife or a gravity knife, which brings me to my question; how does the state of tennessee define 'gravity knife'?
    Does it mean any knife that can be flicked open with the wrist, when given enough force, or does it mean a true gravity knife?

  2. #2

    I live in Nashville and I train with a lot of LEO and Corrections officers and our chief Instructor trains the Police Academy here

    I'll ask around. In the past the answer I have always gotten is that it isn't cut and dry here. A Screw Driver can be a concealed weapon.

    I carry an Emerson Folding Karambit or Applegate Covert. Depending upon how they are adjusted they can be opened with "Gravity"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    I believe you are correct. The statute (TN Code 39-17-1307) says "knife with a blade length exceeding four inches" right in the first line. However, also noted that there excepts provided in TN Code 39-17-1308 that indicate it is not illegal to have a larger knife when on your own property (home or business) or if you have the knife "Incident to lawful hunting, trapping, fishing, camping, sport shooting or other lawful activity."

    According to TN Code 39-17-1302, mere possession of a switchblade is illegal, save for collection purposes (i.e "solely as a curio, ornament or keepsake").

    "gravity knife" is not actually in the law, just that switchblade is defined as:
    (17) “Switchblade knife” means any knife that has a blade which opens automatically by:
    (A) Hand pressure applied to a button or other device in the handle; or
    (B) Operation of gravity or inertia
    Emphasis added.

    In my experience with case law in many states, the ONLY state in the US to my knowledge that applies the label gravity knife or other "inertia" related language to a conventional single-pivot folder is NY. No other state to that I know of has made such a stupid ruling. At most, it is applied to butterfly knives and knives like this:

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Fairview, TN
    I don't know I've carried axis/nitrous assisted benchmades for 4 years.....So far anything 4 inches and under I've been fine. No ones really given me crap, like half the people in TN carry knives. It's quite common.

  5. #5
    This part-" (B) Operation of gravity or inertia " scares me, but I did come out of NY law enforcement. Even if rarely enforced in the "NY" way, the wording would seem to allow for any folder ( locking or not) that could be flicked open to be a swicthblade.....

  6. #6
    its a shame more people don't carry knives, regardless of location. Then we wouldn't have to hear " I can never get these darn things open!" so often.

  7. #7
    very true. I like to flip balisongs, so that screws me.

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