North Carolina Knife Laws [The Complete Guide]

In North Carolina, you can own and openly carry a knife without being on the wrong side of the law. However, there are some limitations with regard to the types of knives you can own. There are also limitations on concealed carry.

It can be hard to wrap your head around the law without formal legal education, especially regarding knife laws, seeing as they come with a lot of riddled jargon.

With that being said, this post attempts to shed light on North Carolina knife laws. We’ll point out what’s legal and illegal to own and carry in Tar Heel State and the limitations concerning concealed carry.

What Knives Are Legal to Own in North Carolina?

In Tar Heel State, you’re allowed to own a wide range of knives, including:

  • Bowie knives
  • Switchblades
  • Gravity knives
  • Daggers and dirks
  • Stabbing knives
  • Disguised knives

What Knives Are Illegal to Own in North Carolina?

Even though North Carolina’s restrictions on owning knives are pretty liberal, there are a few types of knives that you aren’t allowed to own, which are:

  • Ballistic knives
  • Spring-loaded knives
  • Spring-loaded switchblades
  • Any weapon similar to spring-assisted knives and ballistic knives

What Is Illegal to Carry in North Carolina?

So far, we’ve only talked about the right to own a knife. Now, we’ll address what’s legal and illegal with regard to carrying a knife. In the state of North Carolina, there are no limitations on open carry as long as you’re carrying a legal knife. There are, however, limitations on concealed carry.

For one, it’s considered unlawful for any individual to willfully and intentionally carry a concealed deadly weapon, be it a bowie knife, dagger, dirk, razor, metallic knuckles, loaded can, shuriken, or other.

The scenario in which you’re allowed to carry a concealed deadly weapon in North Carolina is if you’re carrying it within your premises, such as in your house, yard, place of business, and so forth.

Moreover, note that pocket knives are exempt from this restriction, meaning you’re allowed to carry a concealed pocket knife without worrying about breaking the law.

Are There Place-Specific Knife Restrictions in North Carolina?

Yes, North Carolina’s knife laws have some place-specific restrictions for possessing or carrying a knife, whether concealed or not. Below are some of the most notable places.

State Property

It’s unlawful to possess or carry any deadly weapon, whether openly or concealed, within the premises of state property. This includes the state capitol building, western residence of the governor, and executive mansion. It also applies to any building that houses the general court of justice.

Furthermore, if a building that contains non-public uses is housing a court, then the only area within the building required by law to be weapon-free is the area that’s used for court purposes while it’s being used.

Finally, the only scenario in which a deadly weapon is allowed in the premises of state property is if it’s used for instructional purposes or officially sanctioned ceremonial purposes.

Educational Property

It’s a Class 1 misdemeanor to possess or carry any weapon or sharp-pointed instrument on educational property, whether it’s a school, college campus, or other. Some of the weapons and tools that aren’t allowed on educational grounds include:

  • Firearms (BB gun, stun gun, air pistol, air rifle, and so forth)
  • Bowie knives
  • Dirks and daggers
  • Leaded canes
  • Switchblade knives
  • Slungshots
  • Blackjacks
  • Metallica knuckles
  • Razor blades
  • Fireworks
  • Sharp-pointed and sharp-edged items, aside from instructional and maintenance supplies


It’s considered unlawful for any individual who’s a participant, affiliate, or even a spectator at any parade to willfully or intentionally possess or carry a dangerous weapon or have one within reach.

This doesn’t just apply to parades; it also applies to funeral processions, picket lines, demonstrations held in public places owned or under the state’s control, and demonstrations held in private healthcare facilities.

In Summary

Ultimately, there’s no statewide preemption in North Carolina concerning knife use. Open carry is allowed as long as you’re carrying a legal knife, whereas concealed carry is unlawful unless you’re carrying a pocket knife. And the only exception to this law is if you’re carrying a concealed knife within your premises.

As for legal knives in North Carolina, they include bowie knives, switchblades, gravity knives, dirks, daggers, stabbing knives, and disguised knives. Otherwise, illegal knives include ballistic knives, spring-loaded knives, or any knife akin to a ballistic or spring-loaded knife.

As far as place-specific restrictions, you aren’t allowed to possess or carry a knife within state properties, educational properties, or parades.

See other State knife laws:

1 thought on “North Carolina Knife Laws [The Complete Guide]”

  1. I’m a bit confused. In North Carolina switchblades are indicated as legal, but spring-assisted knives are not. Are switchblades not spring-assisted? Hopefully you can clarify this for me.

    You have a great site!


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