However, before you head out the door with that knife strapped you should know whether or not you can actually carry it. Why wouldn’t you be able to carry your knife in public? As surprising as it might be, there are numerous states that will not allow you to carry that knife, whether it is sheathed, or unsheathed, concealed or unconcealed. How do you know?
As an example of the laws governing knife carry in the US, let’s look at the state of Colorado. This state allows pocketknives to be carried both openly and concealed, so long as they have a blade shorter than 3 and 1/2 inches in length. They also allow fixed blade knifes and dirks/daggers, so long as the blade is shorter than 3 and 1/2 inches. Of course, your Bowie knife is likely a bit longer than this, as the blade should be at least 6 inches long to qualify as a Bowie. Therefore, you cannot carry your Bowie knife in public within Colorado, whether concealed or in the open.
Of course, there are additional complications to this question. For instance, in Arizona, having a permit to carry a concealed weapon allows you to carry any sort of concealed weapon, from a knife to a gun. This includes Bowie knives. However, having such a permit in Texas does not carry the same legal rights, as Bowie knives are still considered illegal (In Texas, the knife must remain in your car, unless you are hunting or otherwise engaged in a (legal) activity that requires such a knife even if you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon).
In addition, you’ll find that Arizona lets individual cities and towns create their own laws governing what knives can be carried and how they can be carried legally. Therefore, should you travel from Flagstaff to Tucson, you might find that your knife is not legal. Check ahead to avoid legal problems.
These are just a few examples of the confusion that can result from trying to carry a knife in public. The best course of action if you are not sure about your state’s or your city’s laws governing knives like Bowie knives is to leave it at home, or leave it in your vehicle, in plain sight. Remember that even putting your knife in the glove box might be construed as concealment, putting you in hot legal water with local authorities.