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Tennessee Law Regarding Edge Weapons [Knifes]

    The majority of individuals [especially males], who are authorized to carry a handgun in Tennessee, also carry some type of knife.  Most of these people do not know what is legal and what is not legal.  It is unusual for a peace officer to confiscate a knife from a legally armed citizen because, they understand that the citizen has undergone a background investigation, and is law abiding since they possess a permit or license.  Another reason is that most peace officers do not know the law covering edge weapons. 

   In Tennessee you may carry a knife up to four (4) inches in length (blade), it may not be an "automatic" knife (switchblade), or a knife that can be opened by inertia (Butterfly Knife is a good example).  It is also a violation to carry a Dirk (an ice pick is a good example of a Dirk).

    The majority of legally armed citizens carry a "clip" type knife (one that can be attached to the inside of a pant pocket).    I would like to point out that most carry the knife on the wrong pocket if they are carrying it for self-protection.  I point this out because if the knife is carried on the same side as the handgun (strong side outside hostler where the majority of legally armed citizens carry), it is too difficult to get to it when needed as a secondary weapon or for weapon "retention".  Why?

    If you are carrying a knife for a secondary weapon including weapon "retention", it should be carried on the weak side. The opposite side of where your primary weapon (handgun) is carried.  If during an incident you have not been able to draw your handgun, and the opponent realizes that you are carrying a gun, they may try and get it from you.  If this happens from the front or the rear, you will be trying to "retain" possession of the handgun so the other person does not take it from you.  If you have the knife clipped to the pocket on the same side where you carry your gun, it is very difficult to get the knife out while trying to maintain possession of the handgun.  If you carry the knife clipped to the opposite side pant pocket, you can maintain retention of your gun with your strong hand, while releasing and opening the knife with your weak hand.  This is especially beneficial if you are attacked from the rear.  If the attacker feels the handgun, they will try and take it from you.  While you have your strong hand covering the gun to maintain control of it, you use your weak hand to draw and open the knife on your weak side.  If the attacker is in back of you, the knife can be used to stab (short stabs to their legs), or slash across their hand that is trying to get your gun out of the holster.   If they are in front of you, the stabbing or thrust movements would be utilized.   In any encounter, the easier it is to deploy weapons, the better the odds are on your side.  Consider carrying a "tactical knife" on your weak side as a secondary weapon.    Gene Kennedy



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