A Guide to Texas Knife Laws

Last Updated on July 29, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team

Due to the statutes’ brief length and lack of definitional detail, Texas knife laws are mostly found in the Court’s rulings, or case law.

Knives are included in the right to bear arms that Texans are granted by Article 1, Section 23 of the Texas State Constitution. Article 1, Section 23 does, however, also give the Texas legislature the authority to control firearms in order to deter violent crimes.

A Guide to Texas Knife Laws (1)

This article will explain in detail everything you need to know about the knife laws in Texas so you can have a better understanding of them and what they mean.

Texas Knife Law Reform

A law prohibiting the possession of Bowie knives and other weapons, including slingshots, swords, canes, and brass knuckles, was passed by the Texas Legislature in 1871. 2017 marked the end of these limitations.

The term “illegal knife” was changed to “location-restricted knife” by Gov. Greg Abbott. Texas now defines an illegal knife as one with a blade that’s longer than 5 and a half inches.

What is Legal?

In Texas, it is legal to own the following knives, as long as the blade is less than 5 and a half inches:

  • Throwing stars or throwing knives
  • Dirks
  • Daggers
  • Stilettos
  • Swords
  • Spears
  • Switchblades
  • Pockets knives
  • Balisongs or butterfly knives

What is Illegal?

Texas law states that it is illegal to carry a “location-restricted” knife in or near certain places.

Texas Switchblade Laws

A switchblade is a type of knife with a folding blade that opens up quickly and with little force. Simple buttons or triggers that respond to pressure are used by some switchblades to extend their blades.

Many states prohibit the sale and possession of switchblades due to their portability and potential for serious human injury. A 2013 amendment to the Texas Knife Law, however, effectively overturned the state’s ban on switchblade sales and possession.

What the Texas Knife Law States?

The exact legislature covered by the Unlawful Carrying Weapons law states:

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun, illegal knife, or club if the person is not:

(1) on the person’s own premises or premises under the person’s control; or

(2) inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person’s control.

Age Restrictions

A Guide to Texas Knife Laws (1)

It is illegal for anybody under the age of 18 to own knives with blades longer than 5 and a half inches in Texas, according to Chapter 46 of the Texas Penal Code.

A location-restricted knife must not be intentionally, knowingly, or carelessly carried by a person under the age of 18.

The minor may use the knife on their own property if their parent or legal guardian is watching them closely.

Other exceptions are when a person is being supervised by their parent or legal guardian or when they are using the knife for legitimate hunting or fishing purposes.

Location Restrictions

According to the Texas Penal Code, a person commits an offense if he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a location restricted knife on the premises of a business that has a permit or license issued under state law if:

  • The location is a business that receives 51% or more of its income from alcohol sales or the service of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.
  • The location is hosting a high school, collegiate, or professional sporting event or interscholastic event, unless a location-restricted knife is used in the event.
  • The location is a correctional facility.
  • The location is a hospital licensed under state law, unless the person has written authorization from the hospital administration
  • The location is a nursing home under state law, unless the person has written authorization from the nursing home administration.
  • The location is a mental health hospital under state law, unless the person has written authorization from the mental health hospital administration
  • The location is an amusement park.
  • The location is a church, synagogue, or other established place of worship.


Compliance with the knife law of Texas is far less onerous than compliance with the knife law of many other states. In general, the Texas penalties for non-compliance are also more realistic.

A person under 18 in possession of a location-restricted knife and other location violations, with the exception of schools, are classified as a Class C Misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a fine not to exceed $500 and no collateral disqualifications.

A violation involving a school location is a felony, which could result in a prison sentence.

Final Word

While most knives are not illegal to carry in Texas, some are location-restricted and must be under 5 and a half inches in length due to the revision of Texas Knife Laws in 2017.

With this article, you’ll know all the details of these laws and the consequences of violating them.