Florida Knife Laws: Are Switchblades Illegal in Florida? (2023)

When it comes to owning and carrying knives in Florida, it’s important to be aware of the specific laws and regulations in place. One common question that arises is whether switchblades are illegal in Florida. Understanding the legalities surrounding switchblades and other types of knives is crucial for residents and visitors alike. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of Florida’s knife laws to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the regulations. By the end of this article, you’ll have a definitive answer to the question of whether switchblades are prohibited in Florida, along with a clearer understanding of the state’s fl knife laws as a whole.

Overview of Florida Knife Laws

Before we delve into the legality of switchblades in Florida, it’s essential to gain an understanding of the broader landscape of knife laws in the state. Familiarizing yourself with the general regulations will provide a solid foundation for comprehending the specific rules pertaining to switchblades.

Florida knife laws encompass various aspects, including the types of knives allowed, restrictions on carrying knives in certain locations, and the age requirements for possessing certain types of knives. By exploring the overall framework of Florida’s knife laws, we can better grasp the context in which legality of switchblades are regulated. So, let’s begin by examining an overview of Florida knife laws to lay the groundwork for our discussion on switchblade legality.

Definition of a Knife

Florida Knife Laws: Are Switchblades Illegal in Florida? (1)

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In Florida, a knife is defined as a “cutting instrument” that is used or intended to be used as a weapon. This definition encompasses various types of knives, including pocket knives, fixed-blade knives, and even certain specialized knives like butterfly knives. It is important to note that while the blade length exceeding 3 inches is a factor, the intention behind carrying the knife and its potential use as a weapon for self-defense are equally significant under Florida knife laws. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the specific regulations surrounding the possession and carrying of butterfly knife Florida, as they fall within the scope of the state’s knife legislation.

(Video) 338) Can I carry a Knife / Switchblade w/out a permit in FL? - #HaberPA Criminal Defense DUI Lawyer

Open Carry

It is legal to open carry any type of knife in Florida, with a few exceptions. For example, you cannot open carry a “bowie knife, dirk knife, or switchblade knife.” However, you can still carry these types of knives concealed, as long as you meet the legal requirements for concealed carry. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific laws and regulations regarding concealed carry of these prohibited knife types in Florida to ensure compliance and avoid any legal issues.

Concealed Carry

Florida law allows for concealed carry of any type of knife, with a few exceptions. The following types of knives are illegal to carry concealed in Florida:

  • “Bowie knife, dirk knife, or sword cane”
  • “A blade that is larger than 4 inches and is spring-loaded
  • “Any weapon that is disguised as a knife”

School Zones

It is illegal to carry any type of knife, including a pocket knife, on school grounds in Florida. This is a federal law that applies across the United States.


Florida law allows for the use of deadly force in self-defense, including the use of a knife, if you reasonably believe that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to yourself or others.

Are Switchblades Illegal in Florida?

Florida Knife Laws: Are Switchblades Illegal in Florida? (2)

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Now that we have looked at an overview of Florida knife laws, let’s get to the main question: Are switch blades illegal in Florida?


The answer is yes, switchblades are illegal to open carry in Florida. However, they are not illegal to possess or own. This means that you can legally purchase and own a switchblade knife in Florida, but you cannot open carry it.

It is also important to note that while switchblades are legal to own in Florida, they are illegal to import into the state. This means that if you purchase a switchblade knife online and have it shipped to you in Florida, you are technically breaking the law.

Penalties for Violating Florida Knife Laws

If you are caught violating Florida knife laws, you could face serious consequences. The penalties for violating these laws vary depending on the type of offense and the circumstances of the violation.

For example, carrying a concealed weapon that is not a firearm is a third-degree felony in Florida, which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. However, if the weapon is a firearm, the penalty is much harsher, with a minimum mandatory sentence of 3 years in prison.

OTF knife laws florida

Florida Knife Laws: Are Switchblades Illegal in Florida? (3)

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In Florida, OTF (Out-the-Front) knives, also known as switchblades, are subject to specific laws and regulations. The possession, sale, and distribution of OTF knives are generally prohibited unless the person falls under certain exceptions. These exceptions include individuals who use OTF knives for specific occupational purposes such as law enforcement officers, military personnel, and individuals with disabilities requiring the use of such knives.

(Video) Carrying a Weapon For Self Defense in Florida. If you use will you be arrested?

It’s important to note that the possession or carry of OTF knives in Florida by individuals who do not fall under the aforementioned exceptions can result in legal consequences. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with the detailed provisions of Florida state law regarding OTF knives to ensure compliance and avoid any potential legal issues. Consulting with local authorities or legal professionals can provide specific guidance tailored to your circumstances.

Is it legal to carry a knife in florida?

Florida Knife Laws: Are Switchblades Illegal in Florida? (4)

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In Florida, it is generally legal to carry a knife as long as it is carried openly and not concealed. However, there are some exceptions and restrictions to be aware of. For example:

  1. Blade Length: It is legal to carry a knife with a blade length of up to 4 inches. Knives with blades longer than 4 inches are generally prohibited unless they are being used for a lawful purpose.
  2. Intent to Harm: It is illegal to carry a knife with the intent to harm another person or to use it as a weapon. The knife should be carried for legitimate purposes such as utility, work, or self-defense.
  3. Prohibited Areas: Certain places, such as schools, government buildings, airports, and courthouses, may have restrictions on carrying knives. It is important to be aware of these prohibited areas and comply with any regulations.
  4. Switchblades and Automatic Knives: The possession and carry of switchblades or automatic knives are generally restricted in Florida, with exceptions for specific occupational purposes such as military, law enforcement, or individuals with disabilities requiring such knives.

It’s important to note that knife laws can vary and it’s always advisable to familiarize yourself with the specific laws and regulations in your area or consult with local authorities or legal professionals to ensure compliance.


In conclusion, Florida knife laws can be complex and confusing, with different rules and regulations depending on the type of knife, its length, and how it is carried. It is important to be aware of these laws and comply with them to avoid potential legal issues and penalties. Also, here was florida open carry knife laws.

While switchblade knives are not illegal in Florida, they are subject to certain restrictions, including prohibitions on carrying them in certain places and using them in certain ways. Additionally, other types of knives, such as dirk knives and bowie knives, are illegal to carry concealed in Florida.

(Video) Prohibited Weapons


Can I carry a switchblade knife in my car in Florida?

Yes, you can carry a switchblade florida knife in your car in Florida, as long as it is not within reach of the driver or passengers.

What is the penalty for violating Florida knife laws?

The penalties for violating Florida knife laws vary depending on the type of offense and the circumstances of the violation. Carrying a concealed weapon that is not a firearm is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Can I carry a concealed knife for self-defense in Florida?

Yes, you can carry a concealed knife in Florida for self-defense, as long as the blade is not longer than 4 inches and is not a switchblade, bowie knife, or dirk knife.

(Video) OTF Knife Laws in Florida,MidTech Knives

Can I open carry a pocket knife in Florida?

Yes, you can open carry a pocket knife in Florida, as long as the blade is shorter than 3 inches.


Florida Knife Laws: Are Switchblades Illegal in Florida? ›

Automatic knives, switchblades, and butterfly knives are legal to own in Florida. They can be legally carried in the open similar to other knives. If you want to concealed carry any automatic knife, regardless of the blade size, you must possess a concealed carry permit.

Why are switchblades illegal in Florida? ›

Open carry means that you carry your knife in a certain way that the average observer can see. The only illegal knife is a ballistic knife that propels the blade after pressing a switch. With this said, knives are considered weapons in Florida and banned in certain places like schools or government buildings.

Is a 4 inch knife legal in Florida? ›

While almost all knives are legal to own and carry in the open, they cannot all be carried as a concealed weapon. Knives for work like box cutters and multi-tools can be carried in your pocket or clothing. Generally, if the knife has a blade shorter than 4 inches it will be fine.

What is the legal knife blade in Florida? ›

- Open Carry: it is LEGAL to OPEN CARRY fixed blade knives of any type, size and length. - Conceal Carry: it is LEGAL to carry these knives folded and concealed given that the BLADE is less than 4 inches in length. - It is ILLEGAL to carry any knife with a BLADE longer than 4 inches.

How old do you have to be to buy a switchblade in Florida? ›

Those under 18 years old cannot carry or possess any type of switchblade or automatic knife in Florida. Additionally, they cannot carry any type of concealed weapon such as a dirk or dagger without permission from their parent or guardian.

What weapons are illegal in Florida? ›

What Guns Are Illegal in Florida? According to Florida Statute § 790.221, people are prohibited from owning or being in possession of short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, or machine guns that are in operable conditions. It is not illegal to possess these guns as long as they are antique firearms.

What states allow switchblades? ›

Download Table Data
StateLegal to OwnLegal To Sell
CaliforniaLegalLegal if blade is < 2"
47 more rows

What is the maximum knife length in Florida? ›

A: It is legal to own and possess a knife with a blade of any length in Florida. Before the passage of HB 543, a knife could only be carried concealed without a license if it had a blade measuring 4″ or less. That restriction is no longer part of Florida state law as of July 1st, 2023.

Are brass knuckles illegal in Florida? ›

Brass knuckles are legal in Florida; however, one must have a permit in order to concealed carry brass knuckles. If an individual unlawfully carries concealed brass knuckles they can be charged with a misdemeanor and carry penalties of up to a $1,000 fine and up to three years in prison.

Is a knife clipped in your pocket concealed? ›

Many officers will simply ignore pocket clips, but it only takes that one for you to get arrested. Your safest bet is to always assume a knife clipped to your pocket is open carry. If your knife adheres to the law, don't worry about, but if there's any doubt, slip it in your pocket.

Can you defend yourself with a knife in Florida? ›

Under Section 776.012, Florida Statutes, a person is justified in the use of non-deadly force in self-defense where the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against such other's imminent use of unlawful force. There is no duty to retreat.

What is a pocket knife in Florida? ›

The court relied on a 1951 Attorney General's Opinion that defined a “common pocketknife” as one with a blade less than four inches long. In a footnote, however, the justices cautioned that neither the court nor the Attorney General maintained that four inches should be a bright line cut-off. Supreme Court of Florida.

What is a Dirk? ›

A dirk is classically a large, single-bladed knife with a blade anywhere from 12 inches all the way up to 20 inches. Naval dirks were commonly used for ship-to-ship fighting as they were short enough to be used in tight confines yet large enough to still be effective.

Can a felon carry a switchblade in Florida? ›

Florida Statutes section 790.23 says that it is unlawful for any convicted felon or delinquent to own or possess any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device, or to carry a concealed weapon.

What weapon can I carry at 18 in Florida? ›

“As long as you are 18 or older, you may carry a concealed firearm or weapon without a concealed weapons permit in Florida, so long as it is “within the interior of a private conveyance and the weapon is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use.” In other words, you should not be able ...

What is the difference between a gravity knife and a switchblade? ›

A gravity knife is a knife with a blade contained in its handle, and that opens its blade through the force of gravity. This mechanism of opening is fundamentally different from the switchblade, which extends its spring-propelled blade automatically upon the push of a button, switch, or fulcrum lever.

Why were switchblades made illegal? ›

Newspapers ran embellished stories about gang violence and switchblade use. State legislatures started looking into the “issue,” and New York became the first state to ban automatic knives in 1954. Even Hollywood jumped in on the frenzy.

Why are switchblades illegal in most states? ›

1958, Congress enacted the federal Anti-Switchblade Act, which banned interstate sale of switchblades, and outlawed them in federal territories or on federal waters. Because few states had domestic switchblade factories at that time, the federal act made it illegal to purchase switchblades in most states.

Are switchblades illegal in all 50 states? ›

There are some states that have enacted laws regarding switchblades (see State Laws Regarding Auto-Open Knives). The majority of states allow auto-open knives. There is no Federal restriction on the sale of auto-open knives within the 50 states.


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