Legalities concerning concealed knife carry

Sep 27, 1999
I have a CCW permit & I have no fear about carrying a concealed pistol. I know that I will not accidently go to "JAIL" because I am protected by the CCW permit firearms license which is in my name.

My big fear is that I will go to jail by accident for carrying a concealed knife. For lets say concealed weapon , or blade too long & considered for offense or defense.

Every Police officer , Judge , Prosecutor that I have asked gives me a different answer. I live in Georgia. One Prosecutor told me she prosecutes people caught carrying box-cutters for concealed weapon charges. She was not even sure what she was saying. She breaks open the State Statutes. (she did not know the law off the top of her head) She determines that it is not legal. One Judge told me everybody carries a pocketknife don't worry about it. Then the Judge breaks open the State Statutes and determines it is not legal to carry a concealed knife in GA. One Police officer says the blade has to be less than 3" , another says less than 2.5" , another says less than the width of your hand. They always end it with even if your blade is the legal length they can still charge with a concealed weapon charge if they felt like it.

I need to know what is legit & what is not. I do not want to go to jail because it is such a gray area. I need to know that I am legal & protected from going to jail as long as the parameters are followed.

Georgia State Law 16-11-126
(a) A person commits the offense of carrying a concealed weapon when such a person knowingly has or carries about his or on her person , unless in an open manner & fully exposed to view , any bludgeon , metal knuckles , firearm , knife designed for the purpose of offense or defense , or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character outside of his or her home or place of business , except as permitted by this Code section.

(Concealed carry of a pistol is protected under code section 16-11-129.)

But concealed carry of a knife apparently is not protected therefore illegal?

What exactly constitutes a weapon for offense or defense? Is there a blade length criteria? A concealed knife could technically have a 1" blade & you will still be in violation??

[This message has been edited by Harikari (edited 28 September 1999).]
The question to ask yourself is, "Would 12 randomly chosen citizens unanimously agree I'm committing a crime by doing this?"

You might also ask yourself, "Would a DA be likely to want to stand up in front of newspaper reporters and make a fool of himself trying to convince 12 randomly chosen citizens that this is a crime?"

-Cougar Allen :{)
I am a police officer in Tennessee. Our knife laws are different than yours but from reading Georgia's law as you quoted it length is not the issue. It says a knife designed for defensive or offensive purposes. It would probably not look good if you were concealing an Advanced Folding Combat Knife, but a knife marketed and designed for something other than offense or defense would be OK. I am interested to see what the exemptions are that are mentioned in the law. I dont think the box cutter would fly because it wasnt designed as a defensive or offensive weapon. However keep in mind that local ordinances like city and county law can be more prohibitive than state law. It may be illegal to carry a knife with a blade over 2.5" in some cities. I would check that out as well. While I somewhat agree with the jury thing keep in mind that jurys are liable to do anything. But sometimes it is better to be tried by twelve than carried by six. I thought Tennessee's knife laws were bad but Georgia's suck. Anyway I wouldn't sweat it too much but it is something to be aware of.


"16-11-126 G
*** CODE SECTION *** 12/31/98


(a) A person commits the offense of carrying a concealed weapon when
such person knowingly has or carries about his or her person, unless
in an open manner and fully exposed to view, any bludgeon, metal
knuckles, firearm, knife designed for the purpose of offense and
defense, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of
like character outside of his or her home or place of business,
except as permitted under this Code section.

(b) Upon conviction of the offense of carrying a concealed weapon, a
person shall be punished as follows:

(1) For the first offense, he or she shall be guilty of a
misdemeanor; and

(2) For the second offense, and for any subsequent offense, he or
she shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof,
shall be imprisoned for not less than one year and not more than
five years.

(c) This Code section shall not permit, outside of his or her home,
motor vehicle, or place of business, the concealed carrying of a
pistol, revolver, or concealable firearm by any person unless that
person has on his or her person a valid license issued under Code
Section 16-11-129 and the pistol, revolver, or firearm may only be
carried in a shoulder holster, waist belt holster, any other
holster, hipgrip, or any other similar device, in which event the
weapon may be concealed by the person's clothing, or a handbag,
purse, attache case, briefcase, or other closed container. Carrying
on the person in a concealed manner other than as provided in this
subsection shall not be permitted and shall be a violation of this
Code section.

(d) This Code section shall not forbid the transportation of any
firearm by a person who is not among those enumerated as ineligible
for a license under Code Section 16-11-129, provided the firearm is
enclosed in a case, unloaded, and separated from its ammunition.
This Code section shall not forbid any person who is not among those
enumerated as ineligible for a license under Code Section 16-11-129
from transporting a loaded firearm in any private passenger motor
vehicle in an open manner and fully exposed to view or in the glove
compartment, console, or similar compartment of the vehicle;
provided, however, that any person in possession of a valid permit
issued pursuant to Code Section 16-11-129 may carry a handgun in any
location in a motor vehicle.

(e) On and after October 1, 1996, a person licensed to carry a
handgun in any state whose laws recognize and give effect within
such state to a license issued pursuant to this part shall be
authorized to carry a handgun in this state, but only while the
licensee is not a resident of this state; provided, however, that
such licenseholder shall carry the handgun in compliance with the
laws of this state."

(The above is the whole 16-11-126 code. I will have to check the individual city ordinances as well. Maybe I should call the GA. Attorney General to see if I can get an opinion. So many people carry knives without thinking twice about it. If there is no restriction on blade length I would like to carry at least a 4" incher. I need more information regarding concealed carry being legal or not?)
I agree with Shootist 16 when he quotes many of the old Gunsite graduates..."I'd rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6!"

There are those times in life when you have to make a tough judgement call after taking all of the pros and cons into consideration. This, in my opinion is one of those times.

Ask yourself...Is my life worth a misdemeanor??


What is the problem? You have a gun and a permit to carry it! I have nothing, and I am not allowed to carry a concealed fixed blade either. Carry a knife to cut stuff and a gun to protect yourself and you are set in my opinion, but if you really want that back-up then just do what you want. However the way you conduct yourself is important if you are carrying something illegal.
I did find a knife defintion of a "Weapons in school safety zones" code (16-11-127.1) which defines a (knife) "weapon" as any knife having a blade of three inches or more. Does that mean that a 2.5" blade is legal? But even a 1" blade could be construed as a concealed weapon?

"Weapons in school safety zones"

(2) "Weapon" means and includes any pistol, revolver, or any
weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind, or
any dirk, bowie knife, switchblade knife, ballistic knife, any
other knife having a blade of three or more inches, straight-edge
razor, spring stick, metal knucks, blackjack, any bat, club, or
other bludgeon-type weapon, or any flailing instrument consisting
of two or more rigid parts connected in such a manner as to allow
them to swing freely, which may be known as a nun chahka, nun
chuck, nunchaku, shuriken, or fighting chain, or any disc, of
whatever configuration, having at least two points or pointed
blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may
be known as a throwing star or oriental dart, or any weapon of
like kind, and any stun gun or taser as defined in subsection (a)
of Code Section 16-11-106.

(2.5" blade not a weapon?? But is it
considered a concealed weapon??)
Sounds like trouble. What's a blade? Screwdrivers have a "blade" on them, even the finest jewelers screwdrivers have a blade. My Craftsman 4-way pocket screwdriver? Say it ain't so!!
Blade of get my point

You are doing right by checking this out. Better safe than sorry.

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

[This message has been edited by misque (edited 28 September 1999).]
I remember reading somewhere that the FBI figures that more people are stabbed to death with screw drivers than are killed with knives. And you can carry a concealed screw driver.
The odd part is that there is no switchblade law on the books in Georgia (state law). Nor have I been able to find any restrictions (other than federal) regarding open (non concealed) carry as long as you are not committing a crime. The laws within the city limits of Atlanta are much more strict.
True , open knife carry is legal! If city ordinances are not consistent with State Law , then State Law overrides city ordinances. I was told today by the GA. Attorney Generals office & prosecutors from State & Superior courts that a "concealed weapons charge" is discretionary on the part of the LEO which initiates the charge.
I have to disagree with the Attorney General on "If city ordinances are not consistent with State Law , then State Law overrides city ordinances" State law does override city ordinances if the city ordinances are more leniant than state law. For example, If the city ordinance says you can carry anything you want concealed and the state law says you cant carry anything then the state law would supercede the ordinance. However, city ordinances can be stricter. For example, a city could pass an ordinance that says any knife with a blade over 2" is illegal within the city limits. Cities and municpalities do this all the time. Granted it would be a city charge and not a state one. It would not have as much teeth as a state charge, probably only a fine and no jail time involved.
Also on the descretion thing. this is true as an officer normally can choose to charge someone or not on just about anything. There are normally several options available to officers. Alot of this descretion depends on departmental policy. The general orders in my dept. say that it is our duty to uphold the law so officers have no descretion. Basically what that means is officers at my dept could get in trouble at work for letting someone go...if someone wanted to push the issue.
We have the same problem here of trying to get an answer on certain illegalities. Ask 20 people and you get 20 different answers. I know how frustrating this can be. I would just be careful and be leary of advice from anyone! Including me. If by some slim chance you did get charged the fact that several people, including the AG, will not be a defense.


Anymore good opinions regarding concealed knife carry by civilians , especially by LEO's?
Harikari, your problem is typical of cases where the law steps beyond its proper function of protecting individuals and instead regulates them. There is nothing immoral about having a knife in your pocket. It violates no one's rights. It harms no one. There is where the confusion comes from. The law makes it illegal, common sense tells everyone who possesses common sense that it shouldn't be illegal. No one wants to enforce it, no one wants to deal with it. I bet that in Georgia there is not nearly as much confusion as to what a murder is or when an officer should act in a case of murder, whether the DA should prosecute, what the Court should do, what the opinion of the AG is, ect. The reason for the lack of confusion is because murder is the proper subject of legislation, pocketknives aren't.

I suspect, and anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong (as if you won't), that many weapons control statutes in the South were initially for the purpose of preventing the newly emancipated slaves from possessing weapons immediately after the Civil War. I once read a report prepared by a retired ATF Agent, which traced the history of guncontrol legislation back to the very first of those type laws in America. Without exception, guncontrol legislation began as a tool to deprive ex-slaves in the South from having guns and spread like a killer virus from there. If you identify the original motive for such legislation, its easy to determine that its purpose was to violate rights, contrary propaganda notwithstanding.

I think that you should first find out what the maximum penalty for carrying a concealed knife is. If it is simmilar to my state's for unauthorized carrying of firearms (max $500 & 30 days in jail), I don't think that you really have to worry about jail time because in most states there is not enough bedspace for actual criminals. If you are caught, and the penalties are minor, go to trial. Don't accept any plea offers. Make them go thru the expense and hassel of a trial. Make it clear that you intend to do so from the start. No DA in his or her right, or wrong mind wants to loose a trivial misdemeanor case in a jury trial; especially if it should attract broad publicity! Think of how these yahoos would be wasteing taxpayer's money, for a pocketknife! In Oklahoma, DAs and District Court judges are elected, are they in Georgia?
hankrearden98 , thanks for the support! Your reply was excellent , I could use you as my lawyer when I get in trouble. Thanks!

At the Firing Line , Covert Mission mentioned that as long as the "clip" is exposed to view even though the knife is actually in the pocket that this is open carry & not concealed carry? If this is true , my problems are over because I will be LEGAL? I still have the blade length issue to contend with though. aaaaaaahhhhh!!!
NO, NO, NO,-That's not legal advice, its opinion! Opinion is like certain parts of the anatomy, everyone has one. However, I do think that such a strategy would be effective if everyone would do it.

"Evil is the absence of good. It can only advance when good men abdicate their responsibility".

I read the above somewhere but don't recall who said it, or if it was said exactly that way. Regardless, it is true.