South Carolina Knife Laws

South Carolina Knife Law 101: Everything You Need to Know

South Carolina is one of the most popular states to visit when you go to the US for its shoreline and tropical beaches. But when you’re there, you need to follow a few knife laws to carry knives outside.

Not following these laws can lead to fines and possibly even confinement.

As a result, you might be interested in knowing about the South Carolina knife laws. Thankfully, the state isn’t very strict about its knife laws, and there aren’t any specifically restricted knives.

You are able to carry them concealed, too, even as a minor. But any knife over 2 inches in blade length isn’t allowed in schools.

But there’s more to it. We’ll be covering every nook and cranny of the knife laws in South Carolina here in the article, including the illegality in specific cases, the penalties, exceptions in the law, and much more.

So nothing remains out of sight. Let’s get started, then!

Legal Facts: SC Knife Laws

  • Statewide Preemption: No, local governments can have their own laws.
  • Concealed Carry: There are no laws regarding concealed carry in South Carolina as long as you don’t intend to commit a crime with it.
  • Restricted Knives: No specific knives are illegal in South Carolina.
  • Schools: Any knife with a blade length of over 2 inches is illegal to carry in schools. Small pocket knives aren’t illegal.
  • Critical Dimensions: None noted.

Relevant Laws

16-23-405: Definition of a weapon.

16-23-420: Concealed carry in public and schools

16-23-460: Carrying concealed weapons and forfeiture of weapons.

16-23-490: Punishment for carrying a knife during an attempt to commit a crime.

List Of Illegal Knives In South Carolina

Normally we’d start off with a list of all the illegal knives, but in South Carolina, there aren’t any specified restricted knives.

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Bowies and dirks are considered to be dangerous, but they can still be carried by adults.

South Carolina Knife Laws: Illegality Based On Different Factors

However, knives can be illegal, depending on the scenario. So here’s a list of all the different cases where knives can be illegal in South Carolina —

Illegality Depending On The Areas

Although knives are completely illegal to carry in schools most of the time, that’s not actually the case in South Carolina.

As long as the length of the blade is under 2 inches, you can have a knife even on school grounds, as per 16-23-420. This applies to both adults and minors without a license.

So a typical, small pocket knife will be completely legal to carry even as a minor. Just make sure that the knives aren’t in the category of “dangerous knives,” such as bowies, dirks, or blackjack.

Illegality For Carrying Knives Open Or Concealed

There are no laws specifically about concealed carry in South Carolina if you don’t attempt to commit a crime with it.

So even if you were a minor, you could carry most knives except bowies and dirks out in public. If you’re an adult though, you can carry even these concealed with no issues.

Illegality Of Manufacturing, Selling & Other Related Activities

There are no laws regarding manufacturing or importing knives as an adult, but you can’t legally trade or sell any type of dangerous knives, such as bowies, dirks, and blackjack, to a minor.

But other than that, you won’t have to worry about selling or manufacturing dangerous knives such as bowies and dirks as long as you’re an adult.

Make sure not to even let a minor hold onto one of these dangerous knives, even when passing it to someone else in public, as that is also illegal.

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Illegality On An Impact With Interstate Commerce

In South Carolina, knowingly transporting or distributing dangerous knives such as blackjack is illegal across borders.

Other knives, such as bowies and dirks, aren’t illegal. But if it’s banned in other countries or states, then interstate commerce is illegal.

Illegality For Any Minor

There aren’t any specific restrictions on possessing knives as a minor as long as you don’t carry bowies or dirks.

Every other type of knife is legal to carry, and you can even carry a knife in a school if it’s under 2 inches in length.

So if you, for example, had a driver’s license as a minor, you could even carry a knife in car in South Carolina legally.

Illegality About The Knife Length

If you’re wondering what size knife is legal to carry in South Carolina, there isn’t really any.

The only time the knife length matters are on school grounds, where it can’t be above 2 inches in blade length, but that’s the only restriction regarding the knife’s size in this particular area.

Local Government Illegalities

As mentioned earlier, there is no preemption statewide in South Carolina. This means that local governments can modify their knife laws.

There are mainly three areas in South Carolina where there are modified laws —


In Charleston, they have a specified legal knife length which is 3 inches or less. So it prohibits you from carrying any type of knife with over 3 inches of blade.

Besides, it also restricts ice picks and daggers.


In Columbia, any type of pistol, butcher knife, dirk, case knife, spear or sword, metal knuckles, canes, razors, and other dangerous knives are illegal.

It also prohibits switchblade-type knives from being possessed or carried.

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Greenville prohibits carrying any knife with a blade length of over 3 inches concealed.

Penalties For Carrying Knives Illegally

You could get a fine of up to $1000 if you carry knives illegally in South Carolina as a minor.

Along with that, in some cases, you could even get confinement for as long as 6 months, and your parents could get fined.

But whether you’re a minor or an adult, committing any type of crime with a knife can lead to a fine of $1000 to $5000, depending on the type of crime, and imprisonment for up to 5 years.

South Carolina Knife Law Exceptions

In South Carolina, there are a few exceptions for whom the knife laws don’t matter. So here’s a list of them —

  • Anyone training for the military or already in the military
  • Police officers and anyone fighting against crime
  • Members of the safety department, such as professional firefighters
  • Guards of jails, prisons, and asylums
  • Wardens or superintendents on duty
  • Legally verified guards or security advisors
  • Probation or security parole officers
  • Medical examiners and students
  • Members with a full certified course on handling firearms and knives


Hopefully, you now know about the South Carolina knife laws. They aren’t particularly strict about their knife laws, and there are no banned knives for adults, but bowies and dirks are banned for minors.

But dangerous weapons like blackjack and metal or brass knuckles are still illegal for anyone to carry. As long as you aren’t carrying those, there isn’t much to think of.

There isn’t a specific universally restricted knife length either, except for schools where the legally specified blade length is 2 inches.

With that out of the way, good luck carrying knives in South Carolina, and cheers!

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