Nashville Criminal Lawyer: Tennessee Law On…Knives

I consider myself somewhat of an amateur collector of knives. (Big fan of Gerber knives – they’re reasonably priced and great knives). Although I enjoy hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities, I buy knives not because I need them for any particular purpose (I already own too many) but just because I like them. Most people are aware there are laws addressing certain types of knives and other weapons, but most don’t know specifically what the law is in Tennessee. With regards to knives, here’s your answer:

Switchblade (automatic) knivesIllegal in Tennessee, unless for collecting or possessed as curio or antique. A few other exceptions which are outlined in Tennessee Code Annotated 39 – 17 – 1302 are included for military personnel, law enforcement officers and emergency medical technicians. Most people are unaware they are illegal since they can be easily purchased at many locally owned knife stores as well as weekend gun and knife shows.

Knives with blades over 4” – Illegal to possess with the intent to go armed unless:

1. At your home, business or premises;

2. Incident to hunting, trapping, camping, fishing, camping, sport shooting or other lawful activity.

The phrase ‘with the intent to go armed’ seems fairly repetitive and unnecessary in the statute since presumably if you are carrying a knife, you are ‘armed’ and certainly intended to be armed. What else are knives for? Decoration? The above are the only two which apply to most citizens; however there are several other types of individuals and circumstances which it may be lawful to possess. Those can be found at Tennessee Code Annotated 39 – 17 – 1308.

As you’ve probably noted, this is a very random blog topic but some may find interesting and useful. I’ll also point out that it’s rare to see the prosecution of a generally law abiding citizen who happens to enjoy knives and have some legitimate purpose for having the knife. If you’re out in a bar in downtown Nashville and decide to carry your 10” Bowie knife however, expect to find yourself in some trouble. If you do, contact your Nashville criminal defense attorney immediately. You can contact our office and speak with our criminal lawyers at (615) 829 – 8259.

NOTE: This article is intended to be educational and does not encompass all laws addressing this particular topic. This is not to be construed as legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions regarding the legality of your actions, always consult with a criminal defense lawyer.


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