Knife Laws In Alabama

Knife laws in Alabama are fairly lenient. Alabama’s Constitution[1] plainly supports a citizen’s right to bear arms and, as a result, the state has few laws, which hinder the right to own and/or carry a knife. The few restrictions Alabama does impose focus on the bowie knife (or like-kind weapons determined by a court).

While the state has lax knife laws, some municipalities in Alabama have passed local legislation, which impose additional restrictions on knife ownership.

Knife Laws in Alabama

Sale of Knives

In Alabama, the sale of knives is largely unrestricted. The exception to this rule is the bowie knife. In Alabama, it is illegal to sell a bowie knife to a minor. Selling a bowie knife to a minor can result in a fine of $50 - $500.[2]


Concealed Carry

Generally, Alabama does not prohibit citizens from carrying knives on their person. Any knives which are prohibited by federal law, such as gravity knives, are prohibited. Folding pocket knives (e.g., switchblades), double-edged fixed-blade knives (e.g., bayonets, daggers), and short-edged fixed-blade knives (e.g. Ka-Bars) may be owned and carried without issue. In addition to federal restrictions, Alabama has two exceptions to its generally lenient concealed carry laws.

    • Deadly weapons are prohibited from being carried on school property.[4] Knives classified as deadly weapons for the purpose of this provision include gravity knives, switch-blades, stilettos, swords, and daggers.[5] Possession of a deadly weapon on public school property is a Class C felony, punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and/or imprisonment for between 1 and 10 years.
    • Concealed carry of a bowie knife is punishable by law. Violation of the law can result in a fine of $50 - $500 and/or up to six months in jail.[3] 

Bowie Knives in Alabama

Most restrictions on knife ownership and possession in Alabama concern the bowie knife. The concealed carry or sale to a minor of a bowie knife is specifically prohibited by the Alabama criminal code. Some case law has helped to define, what exactly, a bowie knife (or like-kind weapon) is for purposes of the law.

A bowie knife is, generally, a long, single-edged dagger-like blade.[6] Courts have held that a butcher’s or chef’s knife is considered to be a bowie knife[7], while a knife which can fit into a pocket with the ability to hinge open and closed is not.[8]

Local Knife Restrictions

While the state of Alabama has considerably relaxed knife laws, some towns and cities have taken additional steps to limit the type of knives that can be carried without issue. More than 20 cities in the state have passed legislation to impose length limitations – typically between 3 and 4 inches – on knives. These restrictions typically do not apply to locking, hinging pocket knives. Check with local jurisdictions for specific information that may restrict Alabama’s more lenient knife laws.


[1] Section 26

[2] 13A-11-57

[3] 13A-11-50

[4] 16-1-24.1


[6] Smelley v. State, 472 So.3d 715, 717 (1985)

[7] Brewer v. State, 113 Ala. 106 (1897)

[8] Smelley v. State, 472 So.3d 715, 717 (1985)