North Carolina Knife Laws

North Carolina Knife Laws: Every Ins And Outs

The United States or any other country’s laws are very intimidating. Out of 50 states, the US has different rules for individual states and is hard to keep track of.

However, we will talk about North Carolina knife laws today to ensure you don’t get convicted for carrying a simple knife that isn’t even dangerous.

Carrying a knife in the Old North State can be due for any reason, but the type of knife matters here. As some mentioned, knives are banned, and you have to be really careful about the knife you are holding.

Additionally, your intent for carrying it in the first place matters the most. It has the power to get you out without any fines or charges.

There is a Federal Law that will override any state law. Nevertheless, there are countless things that you need to be aware of. Let’s check them out.


Before we even get started with the lengthy laws, here are highlights of what the laws look like;

  • Ballistic and Switchblade knives are prohibited.
  • Carrying any type of knife in a school, healthcare facility, public property, or government property is illegal.
  • Pockets knives are not considered dangerous at all in North Carolina.
  • Concealed carry is forbidden unless it’s a pocket knife.
  • Penalties can get up to 1000 dollars and 120 days of jail time.
  • No mentioned knife length to be illegal.
  • Having a clear intention can get you out of the penalties.
North Carolina Knife Law Highlights

Can I Carry A Knife In North Carolina?

Carrying a knife in North Carolina sits between the sweet spot of being lenient and harsh. You can carry a pocket knife without worry in North Carolina.

Whether it be an open carry or a concealed one, there’s no restriction on pocket knives. However, it should not fall under the switchblade knife category.

The Federal Law strictly prohibits switchblade knives and states law will be overridden.

Similarly, the Knife Laws in North Carolina are strict about ballistic knives. You just can’t carry a ballistic knife with you and get away with it. The ballistic knives fall under the switchblade knife section but are seen in a terrorizing way.

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You are not the only one but a law enforcement officer also has to follow these regulations. Even if law enforcement carries or manufactures a ballistic knife, then the same penalties go for them as well.

Why they are seen in this way? Well, ballistic knives are primarily known for being lethal. Surely, no officer would want to see a dangerous weapon being carried by the general public.

Thus, the §14-269 law makes sure you don’t carry these lethal weapons with you.

What Is A Pocket Knife By Law?

The term pocket knife is a bit confusing. You can carry any knife if you want to in a pocket. However, what it means in the law is the size of the knife should be small.

Moreover, there shouldn’t be any auto mechanism there to open up the pocket knife. The sharp side of the blade should be closed by a flick with the handle.

Overall, a knife that anyone can tell is going to be used for cutting some wires or slicing fruits.

The Federal Law On Knives

The Federal Law On Knives

As per federal law, you cannot carry a switchblade knife anywhere. § 1242 mentions that you cannot manufacture, sell, carry or import any switchable knife in the United States.

They are the ones that open up the blade by a push, spring, or button mechanism.

Legal Knives In North Carolina

Any knife that isn’t a ballistic one or a switchblade one is legal. However, that doesn’t mean that you will carry a butcher’s knife with you. You already know it’s lethal, and it’s something that someone shouldn’t carry in a public place.

Nevertheless, to give you a better idea, here’s a list of some legal knives;

Bowie Knife
Bowie Knife

A bowie knife is basically a hunting knife that is single-edged. They are primarily used for hunting and are considered safe by the government to carry.

Gravity Knife

Don’t mix up a gravity knife with a switchblade one. They open their blades with the force of gravity and not any fancy mechanism. So yes, they are certainly legal.

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Even though daggers can be used as weapons, they are not considered to be lethal by the law. Thus, daggers are not a problem.

Illegal Knives
Zombie Knife

When it comes to illegal knives in the Tar Heel State, there are only two. Firstly, it should have a mechanism that opens the blade of the knife by push, spring, or button mechanism.

Secondly, the knife should certainly not be a ballistic one. As long as you follow these, you are good to go.

What Is The Legal Knife Length In North Carolina?

If you are wondering what size knife is legal to carry in North Carolina, there aren’t any. Till now, North Carolina hasn’t selected a length of the knife that they think should not be in the hands of the public.

However, you do have to use your senses here. There’s no way you are getting out with a 15-inch-bladed knife. It’s obviously suspicious and threatening to others.

Thus, it’s up to you to decide the legal knife length but make sure you use your sensibility. A great way of thinking here would be to think what a police officer would think if he/she catches me with this knife.

Where Can’t I Carry A Knife Even Though It Is A Legal Knife

Even though it’s legal to carry a certain knife, there are places where the government thinks not to give permits. It is to ensure that no threats are received and no one feels terrified.

As per the 14-269.2, any weapons in any schools, colleges, universities, and other educational property are prohibited. Yes, a pocket knife falls under this section too.

Thus, anything related to educational property is banned to carry a knife in.


Additionally, you cannot carry a knife in car in North Carolina if that car is related to educational property.

The same guidelines apply to any government building, funeral ceremony, parade, public space, or medical institution.

Concealed Carry

Concealed carry is seen as a crime in North Carolina. As long as it is not a pocket knife, you are not allowed to conceal carry.

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Your intention has to be clear here, so keeping a knife in a concealed manner only seems more suspicious.

On the other hand, a pocket knife is safe in every way, and no one will interfere with you if you do a conceal carry or open carry.

With all the other ones, you must do an open carry.


The laws are severe when it comes to schools, colleges, universities, and other educational property.

If anyone is caught violating the laws mentioned above, then they will receive an unmentioned fine that will be more than $1000. Additionally, there is a jail time of 120 days at least.

On the other hand, if anyone is seen doing a concealed carry-on non-pocket knife, then they are not seen as a serious offender.

They will be fined 1000 dollars and get 60 days of jail time at a minimum.

Get-Away Jail Card

The get-away jail card here is the intention that you are carrying the knife in the first place. If you were not engaged in any illegal activity with that knife, then you have a strong point to argue.

If you can show valid reasons and the intention of why you are carrying it, then you have a strong chance of getting away.


To summarize, the North Carolina knife laws are pretty simple and easy to maintain. You cannot own a ballistic or a switchblade knife in the state of North Carolina. However, the rules are very lenient when it comes to pocket knives.

No length of the blade is illegal, but there are places where carrying knives is illegal.

Carrying one in an educational or healthcare facility is one of the serious crimes one can commit and comes with severe consequences.

On the other hand, if it’s not a pocket knife, then carrying it in a concealed manner is illegal. It also comes to the intention, though.

If you can prove your point, then you have a better percentage of leaving without any charges.

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