Across the United States, there are many different laws regarding the legality of owning and carrying different types of knives. In Florida specifically, these laws are considered to be fairly relaxed. The only type of knife that is completely illegal to own in Florida is a ballistic or self-propelled knife. If you are caught owning a ballistic knife in the state, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanour.
However, there is more than one way to get in trouble with the law by carrying knives in Florida. There are some knives that are illegal to open carry, and some you can’t own or carry without a permit. For instance, unlicensed people can not carry anything other than a common pocketknife unlicensed, and it is illegal to concealed carry any knife with a length over 4 inches.
So, let’s get into what kinds of knives you are allowed and not allowed to own in Florida, as well as some of the rules for owning and carrying knives in Florida as well. Read on to find out more about owning knives in Florida, and which ones may or may not be illegal to possess.
As far as forbidden knives, or knives that are completely illegal to own no matter what in the state of Florida, there is only one type.
Ballistic knives (or knives that are self-propelled by a spring) are forbidden in the state of Florida.
As stated earlier, a ballistic knife or self-propelled knife is forbidden in all of Florida. This is the case in every state, as ballistic knives are extremely dangerous weapons that are often used for more than just self-defense.
In Florida, carrying a ballistic knife carries a penalty of a first-degree misdemeanor. First-degree misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanor you can commit. In Florida, a first-degree misdemeanor can carry a sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 dollars.
Not only is owning ballistic knives and other self-propelling knives illegal, but it is illegal to display, manufacture, and sell them as well.
Although it is legal to carry most knives (with some restrictions as far as licensing and concealment go), in the state of Florida, there are some places within the state that are far more strict as far as the carrying of knives goes, both concealed and open.
For instance, it is forbidden in the state to carry a knife or weapon of any kind other than a standard pocketknife on school grounds.
It is also illegal for a minor, or any person under the age of 18, to carry a knife in the state, whether it be concealed or open carry. People who are determined to be “of unsound mind” are also forbidden from carrying knives in the state.
To go along with the above rule, it is also illegal to provide or sell a knife to a minor in any capacity.
Although ballistic knives are the only knives that are completely forbidden, there are a few ways to get into trouble for carrying knives in the state of Florida. This is mostly the case for concealed carrying knives that are either illegal to conceal carry, or concealed carrying knives that are legal to conceal carry, but not having a proper permit.
It is illegal for any unlicensed citizen to concealed carry anything larger than a standard pocketknife. A standard or common pocketknife has been defined in Florida law as “A type of knife occurring frequently in the community which has a blade that folds into the handle that can be carried in one’s pocket.”
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Licensed vs. Unlicensed
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As mentioned above, as far as the law is concerned, unlicensed individuals are barred from carrying anything larger than a standard pocketknife. However, almost any knife can be openly carried in the state. This includes knives of any size, type, or length.
This goes for many knives that are illegal in other states. Examples of these are butterfly knives and machetes. These may be open carried in Florida even without a permit. Even switchblades and other automatic knives, which are widely banned in many other states, are legal to carry in Florida, and even concealed carry, provided you have a license.
However, if you want to conceal a knife, a license is required. Any knife over the size of a standard pocketknife requires a conceal carry permit in order to carry.
The following knives are illegal to carry without a valid permit or have other restrictions on them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re illegal, just that there are certain things you can and can not do when it comes to carrying them in public.
Knives over 4 inches
All knives besides ballistic knives are legal to carry in Florida openly without a permit. However, if the blade exceeds 4 inches, it is illegal to carry it concealed. This does not change if you have a license. There is no permit that will allow you to concealed carry a knife over 4 inches in the state of Florida.
Automatic Knives and Switchblades
Much like fixed blade knives over 4 inches long, automatic knives and switchblades are perfectly legal to open carry. However, if you want to concealed carry these knives, you’ll need a valid permit. Without a valid permit, it is illegal t conceal carry a switchblade or automatic knife.
Differences between Municipalities
Although most knives are legal statewide, this does not mean that you can bring them anywhere within the state. Different cities and municipalities within the state may have different laws regarding what you may or may not open carry and concealed carry in that area of the state.
Make sure to check your municipal code to be extra sure whatever your carrying is legal, and make sure you have the proper license for the way you are choosing to carry it!
So, Florida law is pretty straightforward as far as knife laws go. Only one knife is completely forbidden, and that is ballistic knives, which are self-propelled knives that can be used as a projectile.
However, there are restrictions on other knives. Although it is legal to open carry any other knife besides ballistic knives, there are some major restrictions as far as concealed carrying goes.
It is completely illegal to concealed carry any knife with a blade longer than 4 inches. Despite this, it is still legal to openly carry these knives, even without a permit, but they must be easily seen.
As far as concealed carrying other knives, you’ll need a permit in order to do so legally. Any knife other than a common pocketknife requires a license to conceal carry.
Other than this, there are very few knife restrictions in the state of Florida. So if you have a knife and you’re wondering if open carrying is legal in Florida, it probably is. On the other hand, you’ll need a license to conceal carry it, and if it’s over 4 inches, you can probably forget about it.
So now that you know the law in Florida, make sure to practice safe and legal knife practices!