Knife Laws in Texas: What You Need to Know Before You Carry

Knowing knife laws before carrying a knife is important because different states have different rules and regulations regarding using knives. Certain types of knives are prohibited in some areas to prevent criminal activity and promote a safer society. For example, carrying a knife in public spaces such as schools, shopping malls, or airports may raise safety concerns. That’s why you must understand your surroundings while carrying a knife. Knife laws significantly reduce criminal activity, ensure public safety, and clarify legal boundaries.

According to Texas knife laws, owning and carrying certain types of knives, such as pocket knives, bowie knives, and switchblades, is legal. However, the legality of carrying a knife is determined by its blade length and sharpness. If we overview Knives law in TX, we can see carrying a knife with a blade over 5.5 inches in a public gathering or demonstration is illegal.

If you are concerned about Knife Laws in Texas, knowing the laws before carrying a knife can help you avoid unlawful situations and legal issues and inform you about knife use.

Explanation of the Legal Definition of Knife Laws in Texas:

A knife is an essential hand-held cutting tool with a sharp blade typically made of metal. Knives come in a variety of shapes and sizes that are used for a wide range of tasks in our daily life. Several types of knives are defined by Texas law based on their blade shape, length, and intended use. Here are some of the common types of knives defined by Texas knife laws:

Bowie Knife:

The Bowie knife is a large, fixed-blade knife with a sharp point that is longer than five inches long. This knife was created by Rezin Bowie in the early 19th century.

Switchblade Knife:

Switchable Knife is a folding knife with a blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle and opens automatically when a button or switch is activated by gravity or by centrifugal force. So, it is also known as an automatic knife.


A machete is a large, heavy knife with a broad blade that is typically 30 to 45 centimeters long and usually under 3 millimeters thick. It is used for cutting through vegetation.


A sword is a long-bladed weapon that is used for slashing and thrusting. In Texas, you are legally allowed openly to carry a sword if you are over the age of 18.

If you overview Texas knife laws, you will understand that certain types of knives are prohibited from carrying in Texas. Carrying a large knife with a blade over five and a half inches in length or another weapon outside your home, property, or vehicle without permission is prohibited under Texas Penal Code 46.01.

Carrying a Knife in Texas:

In Texas, it is considered a crime for a person under 18 to carry knives with blades longer than 5.5″ in length, according to Chapter 46 of the Texas Penal Code. However, it is legal to own and carry a knife with blades under 5.5 inches in most public places as long as the knife is not a prohibited weapon under Texas law. That means you are allowed to carry machetes, sabers, spears, swords, pockets, and hunting knives.

However, there are some specific locations where carrying a knife is illegal, even if it is not a prohibited weapon. Those locations include:

  • Airports
  • Amusement parks
  • Bars
  • Schools, Colleges, and universities
  • Correctional facilities
  • Government buildings
  • Hospitals
  • Airports
  • Places of worship
  • Polling places
  • Racetracks
  • Sporting event facilities
  • School-sponsored events

But, the location-restriction law doesn’t apply to people who are engaged in hunting, fishing, or engaging in any other sporting activity, including:

  • Law enforcement trainees (on duty)
  • Military officers or armed forces participating in official duties
  • Peace officers
  • People who are traveling
  • Personal protection officers
  • Security officers in the line of duty
  • Texas private security board security officers
  • Those participating in a historical demonstration

So it is important to be aware of Texas knife laws if you are not related to these activities. Because for breaking the knife laws, you may have to pay $1000 to $10,000 criminal charges and penalties and up to a year in jail for carrying a knife in a prohibited location. The penalties may vary depending on the specific offense and circumstances.

Concealed Carry Laws:

Texas’ concealed carry laws authorize the license holder who meets specific criteria to carry a concealed handgun, such as a pistol or revolver, in a concealed manner in public places. According to Texas’s concealed carry laws, people who are at least 21 years old and have a validly issued license by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) can carry a concealed handgun in public places. However, there are some places where none are allowed to openly carry a concealed weapon, such as:

  • Schools, colleges, or career centers,
  • Courthouses and courtrooms
  • Detention centers, jails, or prisons
  • Federal facilities
  • Airport terminals
  • Hospitals

On the other hand, open carry laws refer to the practice of carrying a weapon in a visible manner in most public places, including streets, sidewalks, parks, and many businesses. But it requires a valid License to Carry (LTC) that must be issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). To get this license, people require up to six hours of training, a written exam, and a shooting proficiency exam.

If we analyze Texas’ Knife laws with Concealed carry laws, we can understand that certain types of knives, such as Switchblades, Gravity knives, Balisongs, Dirks, daggers, and stilettos, etc. are prohibited from carrying in public places.

Blade Length and Knife Restrictions:

According to Chapter 46 of the Texas Penal Code, it is prohibited to openly carry a knife with a blade longer than 5.5 inches in most public places in Texas unless the person carrying the knife is a member of law enforcement or a member of the military. Additionally, people who are carrying the knife must be more than 18 years old and have proper training.

However, there are specific types of knives, such as switchblades and other automatic knives, that are completely prohibited from being owned or carried in public. Especially those knives that are designed for use as a weapon to cause serious bodily injury or death are prohibited in Texas under Texas law. So, none can own or carry a knife with the intent to cause harm to others.

Knife Laws and Self-Defense:

When it comes to using a knife in self-defense is allowed depending on the specific jurisdiction and circumstances. Here are a few things to remember about Self-Defense to legally defend oneself with a knife in Texas:

  • Under Penal Code § 9.31, a person is justified to use force against another person when it is necessary to protect himself against another person’s attempted use of unlawful force.
  • Under Penal Code § 9.32, a person is allowed to use deadly force against another person to protect himself against another’s use or attempted use of deadly force.
  • Under Penal Code § 9.04, the threat of force is justified when causing death or serious bodily injury by the production of a weapon. In this case, he can use deadly force if necessary, which does not constitute the use of deadly force.

Conclusion: Although Texans have the freedom to own and carry different types of knives, it’s important to exercise caution and note that laws regarding knives can vary widely from state to state. It would be best to carry a knife only for self-defense and personal safety and research the specific knife laws before carrying it in public.

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