Tennessee State Knife Laws: Is it Legal to Carry a Knife?

State law about What Knives are illegal in Tennessee? It is illegal to carry a knife with a blade over four inches long in Tennessee. It is also illegal to carry a knife with a blade shorter than four inches if the knife is used as a weapon.

How would you describe your first impression of Tennessee if someone were to mention it? Like me, you probably enjoy country music and ‘Tennessee whiskey’. There is nothing better than drinking a bit of Jack Daniels and listening to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, and Dolly Parton. 

The Volunteer State is home to much more than just whiskey and music. Knife enthusiasts will be pleased to know. The Volunteer State is a knife enthusiast’s heaven. The place has a long history and was the place where the ‘Colonel Coon’ bone-handled barlow was born. 

Former knife repairman Adrian Harris established the firm, which is now known for its quality and craftsmanship to both users and collectors alike. Throughout the years, Tennessee has continued to manufacture some of the finest knives in the country.

Read Also: Best EDC knife under 150

Laws relating to knives in Tennessee

There are a number of knife laws in Tennessee that are friendly to knife users. There are relaxed knife laws in this state that will appeal to knife lovers, collectors, and survivalists alike. However, the loose restrictions may cause confusion to some. We will elaborate on them and explain them here in jargon-free plain English – so you will understand what you are permitted to own and carry.

Regardless of the type of knife, you may own most types of knives in Tennessee, including automatic knives, folders, and fixed blades. This state’s laws are fairly straightforward. There is confusion and ambiguity with regard to open and concealed carry. This will be discussed further. The first step is to determine what is legal to possess.

Tennessee Knives Legal To Own

  • Bowie knives are legal to own
  • Dirks, daggers, and other stabbing knives are legal
  • Penknives, buckle knives, and other disguised knives are legal
  • A stiletto can be owned legally

The Butterfly Dilemma

Despite the fact that you may be legally permitted to own a butterfly knife, you may have to inquire with your attorney regarding the difference between a butterfly knife and a switchblade or automatic knife. 

Generally, most U.S. courts would consist of those rulings that define a butterfly knife as one that opens by “gravity or inertia”, similar to the way Tennessee defines a switchblade knife. It is generally agreed that butterfly knives are considered pocket knives and not automatic knives or gravity knives. The Tennessee Supreme Court has yet to rule on this matter.

In all honesty, it does appear to be legal for someone to possess a butterfly knife and to carry it openly or concealed so long as there is no intent to commit a crime. You are responsible for any criminal activity committed while carrying it.

Tennessee does not allow the possession of knives

Here is what you are all about, you good citizens of Tennessee! As of the new Tennessee Statutes Laws, knives are not prohibited. Since July 2014, the switchblade or automatic knife prohibition has been removed. I’ll get to the point – any knife is legal for you to possess. Woohoo!

The carrying of firearms is restricted. Concealed Carry versus Open Carry

We mentioned earlier that there is a gray area with regards to open and concealed carry. 

According to Tennessee Statutes in 2017, the emphasis seems to be placed more on the ‘intent of carrying’ rather than the method of carrying.  There is no difference between open carry and concealed carry – according to your intended use.

Leave a Comment