Is Your Knife Legal?

by Mathew Baughman*

Have you ever wondered what knives are illegal in Texas? Well, Texas law defines illegal knives as a:

  • knife with a blade over five and one-half inches;
  • hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown;
  • dagger (stiletto, dirk, poniard, etc.);
  • bowie knife;
  • sword; or
  • spear.

A person commits an offense (Class A Misdemeanor) if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries an “illegal knife” unless the person is:

  • on the person’s own premises or premises under the person’s control; or
  • inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by the person or under the person ’s control.

Illegal knives are prohibited at a school or educational institution, polling place, court, government office, race track, airport’s secured area, a licensed business selling alcohol, or within 1000 feet of a place of execution on the day of an execution. If found at one of these locations, the offense becomes a Third-Degree Felony.



There is a difference between “illegal” and “prohibited” when it comes to knives. An illegal knife is legal to own, but has restrictions on its location. A prohibited knife, such as a switchblade knife, is illegal to own. Texas law defines a switchblade knife as “any knife that has a blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle or sheath and that opens automatically by pressure applied to a button or other device located on the handle or opens or releases a blade from the handle or sheath by the force of gravity or by the application of centrifugal force. The term does not include a knife that has a spring, detent, or other mechanism designed to create a bias toward closure and that requires exertion applied to the blade by hand, wrist, or arm to overcome the bias toward closure and open the knife.”

Remember, if you have questions about any legal issue, schedule a confidential meeting with our attorney at 936.294.1717 or at

SLMS points Bearkats in the right direction.

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