(This site is reader-supported. When you buy something using retail links on our articles, we may earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
North Carolina knife laws are wordy and long. It even gets into minute details, which makes it quite difficult to understand. However, as you become familiar with them, you realize that there is no room for confusion. Here is what you should know about knife laws in North Carolina.
What knives are legal to own in North Carolina?
Unlike many other states, North Carolina allows the possession of bowie knives, as well as other massive knives. You can also own a dirk, stiletto, dagger, or stabbing knife. You can also own a gravity knife, as well as a switchblade – plus, other types of automatic knives. Then, you can own disguised knives too – pen knives or lipstick knives, for example.
Types of knives that are not mentioned in the laws are assumed to be legal since there are no regulations about them.
What knives are illegal to own in North Carolina?
Ballistic knives are illegal in North Carolina. Any other spring-loaded projectile knives are not allowed either. Furthermore, knives similar to ballistic or projectile knives are not allowed either, even if they do not go in this category.
What are the limits on carry?
If the knife is legal, you can carry it in the open with no issues at all. The knife must be visible, though.
While there are not too many restrictions on carrying knives in the open, things are different when it comes to conceal carry. This is where most restrictions apply. For example, you cannot conceal carry a bowie knife or other similar large knives. On the same note, it is illegal to conceal carry stabbing knives like daggers or dirks.
Butcher knives cannot be concealed either. But, you can conceal carry a pocketknife.
Restrictions on Carry in Specific Locations / Circumstances
You cannot carry a knife in schools, safety zones, or on school properties. The same rule applies to school transportation. State properties also ban the carry of knives – whether in the open or concealed. You cannot carry knives in courthouses either.
Other than that, the same restrictions apply to parades, processions, demonstrations, healthcare facilities, funerals, or picket lines.
Restrictions on Sale or Transfer
You cannot own, sell or transfer ballistic knives. Other than that, it is illegal to sell or transfer dirks or bowie knives to minors.
Is there a statewide pre-emption?
There is no statewide pre-emption in North Carolina.
Major Cities in North Carolina with Knife Ordinances
|City, State||Law Title/ Chapter/ Section||Concealed Carry Legal Yes/No Folder/Length||Short description from the law|
|Asheville, NC||12-42.||Yes ?||in any park or other city-owned facility any knife, other than an ordinary pocket knife, which means a small knife,|
|Brevard, NC||42-14.||Yes ?||in any park or other city-owned facility any knife, other than an ordinary pocket knife, which means a small knife,|
|Buncombe Co. NC||54-10.||possessing knife in a county park or county owned/operated recreational facility is unlawful.|
|Cabarrus, Co. NC||50-4.||possessing any weapon in the reasonable opinion of authorities/park officials can be used as a weapon (Knife)|
|Cary, NC||24-10.||Y 3"||No person shall carry a knife upon his person having a blade of three inches or longer in Parks/Recreation Areas.|
|Catawba Co. NC||20-99.||In Parks/Recreation Areas any knife or instrument capable of causing serious bodily injury designed for use as a weapon;|
|Charlotte, NC||15-14.||Y 3.5"||Dangerous Weapons: Possession of knives of any kind or type having a blade in excess of 3 1/2 inches in length,|
|Cherokee Indians||Any school building/bus/campus/grounds/recreational area/athletic field or other property owned/used/operated by|
|Conover, NC||16-14.||Y 3"||in a parade or street event no knives of any kind or any type having a blade in excess of 3"|
|Cumberland Co. NC||9.5.65||possession or use in a county park/county owned or operated recreational facility is unlawful. The term "weapons" includes, Knives|
|Dobson, NC||22-91||Y 3"||During Parades/Demonstrations including, knives of any kind or type having a blade in excess of 3 inches|
|Durham Co. NC||46-22||Y ?||Weapon: shall not mean ordinary pocket knife designed for carrying in pocket/purse edge/point enclosed by handle|
|Unlawful to possess a dangerous weapon while on or in city property|
|Fayetteville, NC||24-282.||Y 3"||about his person or vehicle knives with a blade more than three inches in length|
|Gaston Co. NC||12-4.||possessing any weapon in the reasonable opinion of authorities/park officials can be used as a weapon (Knife)|
|Gastonia, NC||7-52.||Y <3"||On Parks and Greenways no person shall carry a knife having a blade of three inches or longer|
|Greensboro, NC||18-25||Weapon: shall not mean ordinary pocket knife designed for carrying in pocket/purse edge/point enclosed by handle|
|High Point, NC||10-1-271||Y 3"||Dangerous Weapon: knives of any kind or any type having a blade in excess of three (3) inches in length,|
|Hyde Co. NC||34-25.||Y 3"||At Parades knives of any kind or any type having a blade in excess of 3"|
|Kernersville, NC||20-15.||No person shall carry a knife or any other lethal weapon in a City park or recreation Area|
|Lumberton, NC||14-322.||Parade or public assembly no person shall possess a weapon.|
|Weapon: shall not mean ordinary pocket knife designed for carrying in pocket/purse edge/point enclosed by handle|
|Marion, NC||11-15.||Y 3"||to carry or use any knife, with a blade of over 3" in length, anywhere within the corporate limits of the city.|
|Morehead City, NC||15-89.||Y 3"||in a parade or street event no knives of any kind or any type having a blade in excess of 3"|
|Orange Co. NC||18-151. & 8-6||Y 4"||possession of knife on county property/county facility is prohibited / A pocket knife with a blade >4" that|
|provides for its point and cutting edge to be entirely enclosed by handle is not a knife,|
|Raleigh, NC||12-1060.||Y 3"||On person/Vehicle knife over 3"|
|Reidsville, NC||11-45.||Y 3"||in a parade or street event no knives of any kind or any type having a blade in excess of 3"|
|Spring Lake, NC||34-151||Y 3"||At a Parade knives of any kind or any type having a blade in excess of three inches in length|
|Smithfield, NC||12-99.||carrying or use of knives or weapons of any character upon the recreation areas is prohibited,|
Exceptions apply to law enforcement officers when illegal knives are used for training purposes.
Summary of Knife Laws in North Carolina
North Carolina knife laws are quite straightforward and mostly target concealed carry. Of course, some knives are legal, and some others are not – just like everywhere else.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.