Knife Laws in Florida: Are Switchblades Illegal in Florida?

Florida’s statutes regarding the right to own and carry a knife can be pretty overwhelming to read and understand. With that being said, this post breaks down knife laws in Florida in plain and simple words.

What Knives Are Legal to Own in Florida?

In Florida, you’re allowed to own, buy, or sell any type of knife apart from ballistic knives. Some of the knife types that are legal to own in Florida are:

  • Balisong knives
  • Cane knives
  • Belt knives
  • Disguised knives
  • Throwing knives
  • Throwing stars
  • Bowie knives
  • Undetectable knives

What Knives Are Illegal to Own in Florida?

The only type of knife that’s illegal to own in Florida is the ballistic knife, which has a detachable blade that you can shoot by activating a switch, lever, or trigger. Ballistic knives differ from pocket knives or flip knives in that you can remove the blade entirely from the base or hilt of the knife.

According to Florida law, the manufacture, possession, display, owning, and selling of ballistic knives, also known as self-propelled knives, is illegal. If you’re caught with a ballistic or self-propelled knife in the state of Florida, you can be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Are There Restrictions on Carry in Florida?

In the state of Florida, you’re free to openly carry any type of legal knife. This includes work knives, such as box cutters and the likes. As long as you aren’t openly carrying a ballistic knife, you have nothing to worry about.

As for concealing carry, you can’t carry any knife with a blade of over 4 inches without a permit. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t carry any type of concealed knife in Florida, except for a standard pocket knife with a blade that’s shorter than 4 inches.

According to Florida statute 790.06, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has the authority to issue licenses that grant licensees the right to carry concealed weapons. This includes handguns, electronic weapons, tear gas guns, knives, and so forth. And the license must have a color photograph of the licensee.

Otherwise, carrying a concealed weapon without a license issued by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will put you on the wrong side of the law.

Note that law enforcement officers are exempt from the penal and licensing provisions regarding weapon concealment as long as they’re acting in the course of their duty. Furthermore, active-duty military personnel and honorably discharged veterans are offered a simplified version of the licensing process.

Location-Based Restrictions

Some restrictions have less to do with the types of knives or carriers and more to do with where you carry it, and we’ll demonstrate how:

Municipal Code

It’s important to note that some counties in Florida follow different regulations for weapons compared to state law. That being said, you must check your local municipal code before you decide to carry a knife.

School Ground

According to Florida statute 790.115, it’s illegal to possess or discharge any sort of weapon on school property or at a school-sponsored event. Not to mention, furnishing a weapon to minors or people of unsound minds is prohibited.

Are Automatic Knives Legal in Florida?

Yes, automatic knives are legal in Florida as long as you carry them openly. If you’re going to conceal an automatic knife, you’re going to need a concealed weapons to permit from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Please bear in mind that if the automatic knife bears a resemblance to a ballistic knife in terms of design or implementation, you shouldn’t own or carry it. That’s because it’ll be considered a ballistic knife, which makes it illegal.

In Summary

Florida’s knife laws are pretty liberal when it comes to the types of knives you can own. So, you can own just about any kind of knife in Florida, including balisong, bowie, belt, cane, disguised, throwing, and undetectable knives.

The only type of knife that you aren’t allowed to own in Florida is the ballistic knife. In addition, any kind of knife that resembles the ballistic knife in terms of design or implementation is considered illegal.

With regard to carry, you can carry any type of knife openly, as long as it isn’t a ballistic knife. Concealed carry is a different story, though. And the only knife that you can conceal is the typical pocket knife if it has a blade that’s shorter than 4 inches. For any other type of knife, you’re going to need a concealed weapons permit.

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