It’s just a knife. Why do I need a license to carry a knife?
Because Georgia has a law for most everything, and knives are no different. In order to carry a knife, with a blade greater than 5” (keep reading), one needs a Georgia Weapons Carry License (GWCL). OCGA 16-11-126(h)(1). There are all some exemptions, notably that no GWCL is needed if one is engaged in hunting or fishing with said knife, so long as one has a valid hunting or fishing license. OCGA 16-11-126(f). Requiring a GWCL for the carrying a 5” knife is probably one of the most unenforced laws there is, except the slow poke law which is wholly ignored by law enforcement.
Now the law says nothing about carrying a knife open or concealed, but most buck knives are 7’ or more. That is the style of knife most commonly carried by hunters, fishermen, rednecks, police officers, motorcyclists, veterans and little old ladies. The folks who carry a large knife tend to be confident in their ability to use said knife, at least in my experience. Further, they usually carry a large knife openly, other than a “pocketknife” (by definition not something carried openly).
So you could generally assume that one with a buck knife on their belt has a GWCL, even though I submit that many such carriers don’t. But does the general public get worked up about knife carriers? Not really. They generally aren’t seen as much of a threat, because guns are the current enemy of the masses (according to the mainstream media), so until guns are eliminated, there is no reason to go after guns.
On April 5, 2017, Governor Deal signed HB292 which, among other things, changed the 5” knife blade definition to 12” or more. Yep, now in order to carry a knife of 12” or LESS, one does not need a GWCL, whether you are fishing or not. To me, 12” seems pretty big, sorta like a turkey carving knife. Yet so long as a knife blade is 12” or less, one can now carry it, openly or concealed.
I don’t know what the clamor was to get the definition of a knife expanded, but they sure went big. At least, if nothing else, they made all those buck knife carriers who didn’t have a GWCL legal now.