Laws Against the Bowie Knife

The Bowie knife, a long bladed survival and hunting knife, has been made rather famous in America through its depiction in popular fiction, movies and television. However, while there are no laws against possessing a Bowie knife, there are plenty of laws concerning having one on your person or travelling with it.


Nowhere in the United States is it legal to take your Bowie knife onto an aeroplane either on your person or in your carry on. The blade's steel would be easily detected and it tends to cause a scene with security. If, however, you absolutely have to take your Bowie knife with you when you fly, it can be put into a bag that will be checked and stored separately. Your Bowie knife should also be boxed and sheathed to make sure that it isn't damaged in transit, and that nothing else is damaged by it either.

Texas Law

One of the most ironic laws concerning the Bowie knife is that they're expressly forbidden in the state of Texas. The state which is famous for the Alamo, Jim Bowie and a number of other famous Old West histories and legends is the state that most Americans associate with the Bowie knife, according to Other knives which are specifically illegal in the state of Texas are throwing knives, switchblades, swords, spears and daggers in general.

Blade Limits

Knife law is a fairly convoluted section of American weapons law, and it varies from state to state. The Bowie knife is a very large blade, sometimes topping 10 inches or more. Most states, according to, have blade length limits of no more than 6 inches (if there is a blade length requirement). If Bowie knives aren't mentioned specifically (as they are in Texas), then knife owners should judge the legality by the blade length laws. In the state of Indiana, for instance, there is no blade length limit, and so a Bowie knife would, theoretically, be all right to have and carry.

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About the Author

Neal Litherland is an author, blogger and occasional ghostwriter. His experience includes comics, role playing games and a variety of other projects as well. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, and resides in Northwest Indiana.