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Thread: California Knife Law? Blade Length?

  1. #1
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Bolster's Avatar
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    California Knife Law? Blade Length?

    I've seen a couple posts recently by guys in California referring to a 3" blade length limit. Is this a California law? Or a law for a particular city, such as LA & SF? Or for a particular county?

    My current knowledge of Calif knife law is from the links below, where the authors state that common folding knives really don't have a blade length limit in CA:

    http://www.ninehundred.net/~equalccw/knifelaw.html

    http://zknives.com/knives/articles/l...nifelaws.shtml

    But, I see they're dated 2002 and 2009. Have there been state changes I'm unaware of? Or is it a city issue? Or a county issue? I frequently carry Spydercos in So Calif with blades between 3-3.5" and I am learning I may be in violation? Thanks.
    Last edited by Bolster; 10-22-2011 at 03:12 PM.
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  2. #2
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jabba359's Avatar
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    State law has no limit on folders, but city and county laws may differ. Los Angeles has a 3" limit only when the knife is carried in plain sight. If hidden down in your pocket, then this restriction doesn't apply, though the police may misinterpret the rule as a blanket ban on 3"+ knives. Also up for interpretation is whether clipped inside your pocket with the clip and or butt of the handle showing is "concealed" or "in plain site". Case law would tend to support the former. Fixed blades have different rules on which I'm not very familiar.
    Last edited by jabba359; 10-22-2011 at 03:32 PM. Reason: clarify that I'm referring only to folders, not FB
    -Kyle


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  3. #3
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Blerv's Avatar
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    Cali is all over the board as mentioned. Even some autos.

    Might check my sig link. I think they keep the listing pretty current.*

    * Always consult the authorities...dont trust the internet
    Blake

    Listing of Blade-Length Laws by State/County (Not My Website)
    http://www.handgunlaw.us/documents/USKnife.pdf

  4. #4
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Minibear453's Avatar
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    Basically, any folders are fine, concealed or open carried. No switchblades or balisongs may be carried, unless they are under 2". And if your knife does not have a "bias towards closure", or the blade sucks into the handle, then it's considered a gravity knife/switchblade. No ballistic knives, knives pretending to be something else (cane knives, buckle knives), no shurikens (any metal pointy thing with three vertexes.

    For fixed blade, length does not matter, but it must be open carried.

    You cannot bring a knife over 4 inches to a public building, unless it was preapproved. Not so sure about how to get approval.

    However, different places have different laws. In SF, you're not allowed to loiter with a knife over 3". In LA, and I think Oakland, over 3" needs to be concealed. However, you should really check with the cities, since I'm only clear on Santa Clara's knife code. (Nothing)
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  5. #5
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Bolster's Avatar
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    Great, thanks guys, I did not know about the "concealment" clause.

    I recently checked with a friendly looking cop where I live. Told him I wanted to carry a knife, it's in my car, can I show it to you? Sure he says. So I pull out I think it was a stretch or a caly 3.5 and he says, "Nice knife." Then he looks me up and down. Grey hair, bifocals. And he says, "You're not exactly the profile we're looking for, sir, you'll have no problems."

    So I guess the law gets applied willy nilly based on if you look like a hoodlum or not. Apparently I don't pass for a hoodlum. I'm gonna have to work on my gangsta signs and tats, I guess.
    Last edited by Bolster; 10-22-2011 at 08:59 PM.
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User
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    I'm in LA and I've heard all kinds of variations over the years. So, to be safe (even though I'm way not gangsta looking), I carry Spydercos with a blade of 3" or less. When I have my shirt outside my pants or am wearing a coat/jacket, or am doing some outdoor activity, I usually carry clipped to my RF pocket (e.g. Caly 3, Chaparral, Salt 1). Otherwise, I carry something smaller in my pocket (e.g. Lava, Cat, D-fly, Cricket). I do, however, keep a full-size Rescue in my truck console.

  7. #7
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Azwaiian's Avatar
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    Again, this is why I left California, so many stupid laws concerning inanimate objects like knives and guns. The complete lack of common sense, when applied to citizens arming themselves with what they see fit, is frustrating and irritating, to say the least.

    When I lived in California I EDC'd and I never had a problem with the police, but that is not the point! A person who follows the laws of the land, should never have to concern themselves with blade length! Maybe one day California will stop worrying about what good and decent person carry and start worring about the bad guys.

    Sorry for the rant, but good guys should never be limited by the stupidity of our Elected Officials or the minority voice of ill-logic that are the sheeple.

    Move to Arizona, you can EDC what you please, that's because we trust our citizens!

    Rock on.

  8. #8
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Bolster's Avatar
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    I'm an Arizona boy and I do miss it. Used to go shooting once a month and never thought anything about it. Here? Fuggedaboudit. I moved to Calif "for love" so you pick and choose. California laws for knives are pretty reasonable given the restrictive nature of the state in general, but the big city laws are not good. You think the thieves and murderers observe those laws? No way! Disarmament of the average citizen is what it is. Anyway I do wish I lived in AZ again. So enjoy it double, once for me.
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  9. #9
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jabba359's Avatar
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    I moved from AZ to CA, not for love (though that would be fine as well...), but for work about two years ago. I also miss grabbing a couple shotguns, my handgun, some clay pigeons, and a few targets, driving out to the desert, and blowing stuff away. Good thing Cali has decent gun importation laws so I could bring my 9mm Springfield Armory, even if I can't carry it (had to modify the mags to 10 round capacity though). The knife laws aren't too bad. I regularly carry my Millie in LA county to work (3" limit doesn't apply to knives carried for work) and never worry about my other 3"+ knives, as I keep them concealed and legal. I just make sure I wear a shirt long enough to keep them from being "in plain sight" while clipped to my pants.
    -Kyle


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