OTF knives, also known as switchblades or automatic knives, have been a subject of controversy for years in the United States due to their potential for danger and misuse. 

Knife enthusiasts usually ask, “Are OTF knives legal in Georgia?” Well, yes, it is legal to carry an OTF knife with a blade shorter than 12 inches in Georgia. However, the Georgia knife law may imply differently depending on the scenario. As such, it is crucial to know the state knife laws and regulations surrounding their possession and use in different states. 

In that context, we will go deep about carrying OTF knives in Georgia and see if there are any exceptions to this law.

What is an OTF Knife?

In a nutshell, OTF stands for “Out of the Front.” It means OTF is a type of automatic knife where the blade usually comes out from the front or top of the handle. Due to its diversity and misuse, the term OTF is often confusing to the general public.

Are OTF Knives Legal in Georgia

There are two types of OTF knives based on the release mechanism. They are single action and double action OTF knives. For ease of use, double action OTF knives are taking over the market. However, they are more expensive than single action variants. 

Don’t forget to check how to create your own double action OTF knives.

Are OTF Knives Legal in Georgia? Demystifying the Law

In Georgia, the possession and sale of automatic knives are legal. This also includes OTF knives. You may find both the new and old Georgia knife laws when you search the internet. The old O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126 (2012) (a) law states that,

“Anyone who is not legally forbidden from owning a pistol or long gun is allowed to keep or carry one on their person, including a knife, within their house, automobile, or place of business. This is true even if they do not have current weapons carry licenses.”

Well, this was the old law. The new law is very different from the old one. According to the new law, O.C.G.A. § 16-11-136 (2012), the Georgia Code specifically states that,

“It shall be lawful for any person to manufacture, sell, or possess a switchblade knife within the state.”

However, the legality comes with some restrictions. The switchblade law prohibits the use of automatic knives in the commission of a crime and for aggressive purposes. According to this law, it is illegal to carry an automatic knife concealed without a valid weapons carry license.

It means an OTF knife must be carried in plain view while being carried or stored in a locked container while being transported. 

Some municipalities within Georgia may have additional regulations or restrictions on the possession and use of OTF knives. For example, the city of Atlanta has a ban on the carrying of knives with a blade longer than three inches in certain public places, such as parks and public transit areas.

The Difference Between the Old and New Laws in Georgia

Back in 2012, it was only legal to carry a knife in Georgia if it had a blade length of 5 inches or less. After 5 years, this rule has changed in 2017. Under the newly amended law, the maximum blade length for carry knives was increased from 5 to 12 inches. 

Now, a knife having a blade length of 12 inches or less can be carried openly without a permit. However, carrying a knife having a blade longer than 12 inches is prohibited without a firearms license. This law is still in effect today.

Based on this law, here is what is legal and illegal about carrying knives in Georgia,

  • You are permitted to carry a knife that has a blade length of 12 inches or less.
  • You are not permitted to carry a knife that has a blade longer than 12 inches. A weapon permit issued by the state is required in that case.
  • The rule is applicable to any type of knife. This includes OTF knives, butterfly knives, fixed blades, or any type of pocket knife. We will discuss more on this later. However, you can check how to sharpen a pocket knife.
  • A knife can be carried in all educational institutions, but it has to be 2 inches or less. Everything else longer than that is regarded as a weapon, and you may face criminal charges. Any school safety areas, structures, and grounds where educational activities are held are also subject to this law.
  • According to the general definition, you are not permitted to bring a knife or a deadly weapon to a court, government building, prison, mental health facility, nuclear power plant, or a place where voting takes place. Churches and other houses of worship also comply with this regulation.

Exceptions to this law

The knife-carrying law in Georgia may change or not be applicable to people who work for the defense, the government, or someone who has a valid certification for carrying weapons. Retired peace officers are also exempt from this law.  

Watch the following video to get a gist of the above description,

Knives That Are Legal to Carry in Georgia

Knife enthusiasts are lucky in Georgia since the state barely applies any restriction on owning various types of knives. Almost all types of knives are permitted to carry in this area as long as they have blades of 12 inches or less. 

With that said, you can carry the following types of knives in Georgia,

  • Switchblades
  • Dirks
  • Bowie knives
  • Throwing knives
  • Folding knives
  • Butterfly knives or Balisong knives
  • Ballistic knives
  • Non-metal knives
  • Typical pocket knives
  • Lipstick knives

Knife Laws in Georgia by Population

Knowing whether there are any age or criminal background limits is equally essential now that you are familiar with Georgia’s basic knife carry rules. Without further ado, let’s investigate them,

  • If you are under 18, it will be illegal to buy, sell, or carry a knife or any deadly weapon, as stated in the law. So, you must be at least 18 years to carry a knife in Georiga.
  • The purchase of a knife by a juvenile who is not older than 18 will result in a criminal charge. A minor can buy a knife for protection while accompanied by his or her parents.
  • Georgia doesn’t permit a convicted felon to carry a knife or firearm until he or she restores legal rights.  


Since we are talking about carrying knives, there must be thousands of questions, even after reading this far. We have answered a few relevant questions below,

Is it legal to carry a switchblade in Georgia?

In short, it is not legal to carry a switchblade in Georgia, under the law of (O.C.G.A.) 16-11-127 annotated by the Official Code. Unless the person has the legal right or is working as a peace officer, or in the armed forces, it is illegal to carry a switchblade with a blade over 5 inches.

Can I carry a knife openly in Georgia?

Yes, according to the new law, a knife can be carried openly in Georgia only when it has a blade shorter than 12 inches. Anything longer than that will require a valid weapon carry permit.  

Can I carry an OTF knife in any public place in Georgia?

While OTF knives are legal to possess and carry in Georgia, some municipalities may have specific regulations or restrictions on carrying knives in public places. For example, the city of Atlanta has a ban on carrying knives with a blade longer than three inches in certain public areas.


Overall, while OTF knives are legal in Georgia, it is important to familiarize yourself with the specific laws and regulations surrounding their possession and use. As with any weapon, it is crucial to handle OTF knives with caution and respect for others’ safety. 

We hope this discussion has helped you gain a more in-depth understanding of the knife law in Georgia. If you are passionate about knives and live in Georgia, we advise you to carry or use a knife by following the rules strictly. Misuse or carelessness can lead to serious consequences, both legally and physically.


Oliver aka Arannyk Monon is a versatile content writer, editor, and content strategist. He has been writing for the last 10 years to help people get the actual information that they are searching for on Search Engines. He has proven expertise in Kitchen, automotive, camera, hosting, and other technical topics.

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