Quick Legal Facts
Yes, if licensed.
Of knives prohibited unless licensed, except for common pocketknife.
Furnishing a weapon to a minor under the age of eighteen (18) or persons of unsound mind is prohibited.
Weapons may not be possessed on school grounds.
Major Cities with Knife Ordinances:
Various municipalities and cities have knife ordinances
The Florida State Constitution recognizes an individual right of its people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves.
a) The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law.
F.S.A. Const. Art. 1 § 8
The Florida Constitution provides that the “manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law.” This body of Florida statutory law is generally found at Chapter 790, captioned Weapons and Firearms.
Ballistic or self-propelled knives have been banned under Florida law since 1985. There are no laws regulating the manufacture, sale, or purchase of knives, except for ballistic knives.
In 2003, the American Knife & Tool Institute, the Florida Cutlery Association, and concerned knife owners successfully combined efforts to petition the Florida Legislature to pass a bill, which clarified the definition of a “ballistic knife” as one where the blade is a projectile that physically separates from the device. That legislation is codified as following statute:
(1) It is unlawful for any person to manufacture, display, sell, own, possess, or use a ballistic self-propelled knife which is a device that propels a knifelike blade as a projectile and which physically separates the blade from the device by means of a coil spring, elastic material, or compressed gas. A ballistic self-propelled knife is declared to be a dangerous or deadly weapon and a contraband item. It shall be subject to seizure and shall be disposed of as provided in s. 790.08(1) and (6).
Title XLVI, F.S.A. § 790.225
This clarification was necessary because of unfortunate Court of Appeals ruling in 2000, where the court conflated illegal ballistic knives and automatic knives, thereby effectively declaring all automatic knives illegal.
As noted immediately above, it is unlawful to sell any ballistic knife. Florida law further provides that no weapons, other than an ordinary pocketknife, may be sold to any person under the age of 18, in the absence of permission from a parent or guardian.
(1) A person who sells, hires, barters, lends, transfers, or gives any minor under 18 years of age any dirk, electric weapon or device, or other weapon, other than an ordinary pocketknife, without permission of the minor’s parent or guardian, or sells, hires, barters, lends, transfers, or gives to any person of unsound mind an electric weapon or device or any dangerous weapon, other than an ordinary pocketknife, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(2)(a) A person may not knowingly or willfully sell or transfer a firearm to a minor under 18 years of age, except that a person may transfer ownership of a firearm to a minor with permission of the parent or guardian. A person who violates this paragraph commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775-084.
(b) The parent or guardian must maintain possession of the firearm except pursuant to s. 790.22.
Title XLVI, F.S.A. § 790.17
Open carry of all knives (except ballistic) is legal. Florida law provides that concealed weapons may not be carried.
F.S.A. § 790.01. For purposes of Florida law, weapon is defined as follows:
(13) “Weapon” means any dirk, knife, metallic knuckles, slungshot, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or other deadly weapon except a firearm or a common pocketknife, plastic knife, or blunt-bladed table knife.
The term “common pocketknife” is not defined in the law. Although there are judicial decisions which provide some guidance, the line of demarcation between what is a common pocketknife and an uncommon or unusual pocketknife is indistinct. The decision is a question for the jury or a judge in a non-jury trial.
In general, a “common pocketknife” is “a type of knife occurring frequently in the community, which has a blade that folds into the handle and that can be carried in one’s pocket.” The common pocketknife does not include such features as a “combat-style grip”; “large metal hilt guard” or a “notched, combat-style grip.” It also does not include a switchblade or double-edge blade. K.H. v. State of Florida, 29 So.3d 426 (2010).
Florida law, and in particular § 790.06, provides that a person may be licensed to carry concealed weapons or concealed firearms. This section also lists the numerous locations where a licensed person may not carry a weapon. Among these locations are any school, to include elementary and secondary schools, as well as colleges. An exception exists as to colleges and universities if the licensee is a registered student, employee or faculty member. Establishments licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises are also prohibited locations for that portion of the establishment that is primarily devoted to that purpose. 790.06 (12)(a) 12.
Knife owners should presume that the maximum blade length of a “common pocketknife” is four inches (4″) because of conflicting or unclear decisions of the Florida courts.
Yes, but only if licensed under F.S.A. § 790.06(15).
§ 790.25, pertaining to lawful ownership, possession, and use of firearms and other weapons, permits “a person 18 years of age or older to possess a concealed firearm or other weapon for self-defense or other lawful purpose within the interior of a private conveyance, without a license, if the firearm or other weapon is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use.” This act provides that it supersedes any conflicting law, ordinance, or regulation.
Weapons may not be possessed on school grounds. This applies to persons holding a license under F.S.A. § 790.06.
Yes. Knives are specifically listed as weapons which may be carried in a concealed manner by one authorized under F.S.A, § 790.06 with a license to carry concealed weapons or firearms.
This section also lists the numerous locations where a licensed person may not carry a weapon. Among these locations are any school, to include elementary and secondary schools, as well as colleges. An exception exists as to colleges and universities if the licensee is a registered student, employee or faculty member. Establishments licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises are also prohibited locations.