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View Full Version : Kind of off topic.. but question about Knife Laws...Orange County..


Metal425
05-31-2009, 7:34 PM
Does anyone know the legal length of a folding knife blade in Orange County?

I'm just curious because my current EDC knife is a Spyderco Tenacious,

and I'm just wondering if it's legal in Orange County.

Scratch705
05-31-2009, 7:54 PM
i thought anything shorter than 4" is acceptable? as long as it isn't a switchblade

1JimMarch
05-31-2009, 7:57 PM
I don't know, but I can tell you this: DO NOT ASK A COP.

If you're silly enough to ignore that advice, second advice is DON'T BELIEVE HIM.

Seriously, you HAVE to look up actual statutes on knife law.

I found the complete set of county ordinances for OC here:

http://www.municode.com/resources/gateway.asp?sid=5&pid=11378

Open up "Title 3 - public morals, safety and welfare". Under that you find "Division 2: firearms and dangerous weapons". In there is NOTHING on knives. So there's no county-level rules on cutlery.

That means you're under state law. As far as I know, this is still good:

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

As an aside: knife laws are NOT OFF TOPIC and should not ever be declared so by the moderators!!! A huge number of California gunnies are forced to rely on cutlery for daily defense...and fortunately, California's knife laws aren't all that bad. Better than many "shall issue" gun carry states.

1JimMarch
05-31-2009, 8:01 PM
i thought anything shorter than 4" is acceptable? as long as it isn't a switchblade

Any folding knife that is set up to be manually opened, has a "thumb push system" directly connected to the blade and has a "detent or bias towards closure" is legal to carry concealed in California, as long as it's carried while fully closed. If it can be snapped open, no problem, so long as it has the "bias towards closure or detent".

With no blade length limit.

Yeah. You heard that right. I was pondering a folding Katana at one point.

Cold Steel makes great folding knives in the 6" and even 7" range. You can set up a double shoulder rig for a pair of 'em.

Metal425
06-01-2009, 8:30 AM
I called the Orange County Sherrif Department and I asked this women, she said 2.5 inches, I was laughing hysterically, that's not true, correct? First she said 6" or the width or your palm, then she said let me go check, and said 2.5 inches, I think she meant assisted blades.

383green
06-01-2009, 8:37 AM
I called the Orange County Sherrif Department and I asked this women, she said 2.5 inches, I was laughing hysterically, that's not true, correct? First she said 6" or the width or your palm, then she said let me go check, and said 2.5 inches, I think she meant assisted blades.

Looks like you missed this part:

DO NOT ASK A COP.

If you're silly enough to ignore that advice, second advice is DON'T BELIEVE HIM HER.

;)

I do not consider knife laws to be off-topic in a 2nd Amendment forum. Blades are arms, too.

Metal425
06-01-2009, 8:39 AM
So, the answer is no blade length limit in Orange County if it's a folding knife? What about assisted opening blades, like the SOG Flash I?

Metal425
06-01-2009, 11:38 AM
Any answers?

paintballergb
06-01-2009, 11:58 AM
I would think there has got to be a limit.

tombinghamthegreat
06-01-2009, 12:10 PM
On folding knives there is no limit. When it comes to fix blade knives there is no limit as long as the knife is not concealed, concealing is a felony. IIRC assisted opening knives are the same as folding.

this is a good site http://www.ninehundred.net/~equalccw/knifelaw.html

Metal425
06-01-2009, 12:23 PM
On folding knives there is no limit. When it comes to fix blade knives there is no limit as long as the knife is not concealed, concealing is a felony. IIRC assisted opening knives are the same as folding.

this is a good site http://www.ninehundred.net/~equalccw/knifelaw.html

For Orange County?

motorhead
06-01-2009, 12:25 PM
I called the Orange County Sherrif Department and I asked this women, she said 2.5 inches, I was laughing hysterically, that's not true, correct? First she said 6" or the width or your palm, then she said let me go check, and said 2.5 inches, I think she meant assisted blades.
she looked to find the shortest legal citation. if i'm not mistaken th 2.5" is on school grounds.
now call DMV and ask them about smog laws.:43:

paintballergb
06-01-2009, 12:27 PM
On folding knives there is no limit. When it comes to fix blade knives there is no limit as long as the knife is not concealed, concealing is a felony. IIRC assisted opening knives are the same as folding.

this is a good site http://www.ninehundred.net/~equalccw/knifelaw.html

So it is legal to conceal a 2ft. long folding knife?

Decoligny
06-01-2009, 12:40 PM
So it is legal to conceal a 2ft. long folding knife?

If you can find a 6 foot long folding knife, it would be legal to conceal it if you could figure out a way to conceal it.

DDT
06-01-2009, 12:55 PM
I used to have a 5" melon knife. Perfectly legal AFAIK. No real Self Defense utility though.

tombinghamthegreat
06-01-2009, 1:13 PM
For Orange County?

I gave you the state law, if you look at the site there might be local restrictions such as LA city might have local laws on open carrying fix blade knives but generally folding knives are not restricted, you could have 6 foot folding knife. Being on the grounds of a K-12 school are different matter.

I have a question though about necklace knives, since they have a small fixed blade knife inside the artifact would only be illegal if it were put underneath someone shirt or is it already concealed?

Turo
06-01-2009, 2:42 PM
Listen to Jim March, he's got the right info.

If you really want to be sure, read the Penal Codes 12020, 653 (k), and 626.10 (if you're into carrying on a college campus)

As far as the State laws are concerned, THERE IS NO LENGTH LIMIT on folding knives or fixed blade knives (with the notable 2" limit exception for switchblades) when carrying in the general public. Folding blades can be concealed, and fixed blades MUST be carried openly.

I regularly carry a 6" folder in my pocket, and a 4" fixed blade on a sheath on my belt and they are both perfectly legal to carry as per CA laws.

The only things you need to worry about are schools k-12 (2.5" limit unless pertaining to your employment), college campuses (2.5" limit on fixed blades only, folders don't have a limit there), and Public Meeting Places (ie. govt owned buildings, forgot the limit there, if blades are even allowed, can't remember)

And to reiterate Jim's point, Do not ask a police officer about knife carry laws! I have never met a cop that knew the correct laws pertaining to carrying knives. Granted I don't know a whole lot of cops, but the ones I do know needed to be educated on knife carry laws.

Hope this helps!

Librarian
06-01-2009, 2:59 PM
And, even if Orange County were to have something squirrely, remember that cities and counties can create only misdemeanors and infractions.

Here's a link to Orange County's 'Codified Ordinances (http://www.municode.com/Resources/gateway.asp?pid=11378&sid=5)'; search for 'knife' and 'knives' and see for yourself if OC is doing anything special.

Decoligny
06-01-2009, 3:15 PM
Listen to Jim March, he's got the right info.

If you really want to be sure, read the Penal Codes 12020, 653 (k), and 626.10 (if you're into carrying on a college campus)

As far as the State laws are concerned, THERE IS NO LENGTH LIMIT on folding knives or fixed blade knives (with the notable 2" limit exception for switchblades) when carrying in the general public. Folding blades can be concealed, and fixed blades MUST be carried openly.

I regularly carry a 6" folder in my pocket, and a 4" fixed blade on a sheath on my belt and they are both perfectly legal to carry as per CA laws.

The only things you need to worry about are schools k-12 (2.5" limit unless pertaining to your employment), college campuses (2.5" limit on fixed blades only, folders don't have a limit there), and Public Meeting Places (ie. govt owned buildings, forgot the limit there, if blades are even allowed, can't remember)

And to reiterate Jim's point, Do not ask a police officer about knife carry laws! I have never met a cop that knew the correct laws pertaining to carrying knives. Granted I don't know a whole lot of cops, but the ones I do know needed to be educated on knife carry laws.

Hope this helps!

K-12 schools, < 2.5" non-locking folders only, unless pertaining to employment.

pullnshoot25
06-01-2009, 3:20 PM
I gave you the state law, if you look at the site there might be local restrictions such as LA city might have local laws on open carrying fix blade knives but generally folding knives are not restricted, you could have 6 foot folding knife. Being on the grounds of a K-12 school are different matter.

I have a question though about necklace knives, since they have a small fixed blade knife inside the artifact would only be illegal if it were put underneath someone shirt or is it already concealed?

Only if you conceal it is it concealed.

Turo
06-01-2009, 3:20 PM
K-12 schools, < 2.5" non-locking folders only, unless pertaining to employment.

Thanks for clarification. It was all off the top of my head and I don't usually carry on school campuses unless it's for my job.

1JimMarch
06-01-2009, 3:28 PM
"Assisted openers" are always classed as standard folding knives UNLESS there's a human-controlled opening mechanism of any sort that is NOT attached to the blade.

In other words, "thumb holes" (typically Spyderco, except the patent has run out and you see them on copies) and "thumb studs" are legal.

Where somebody ran into trouble some years back was an odd piece that had a thumb-operated lever on the grip. This was internally gear-linked to the blade. That was a no-go even though no spring was involved. I believe the knife was the "Lever-lock", by Cammilus?

Anyways. So long as the assisted-opener has a thumb hole/stud setup, you're good.

Untamed1972
06-01-2009, 3:40 PM
Would carrying a 6" fixed blade knife (k-bar type) in a backpack be considered carrying it concealed? I was just curious because I have a "survival pack/ bug-out pack" that I carry with me when I travel. If I had a 6" fixed blade knife IN the backpack, but pack was in the trunk of car / back seat of truck is that considered concealed? Or what about when carrying pack from car to hotel room and so on?

Decoligny
06-01-2009, 3:46 PM
Would carrying a 6" fixed blade knife (k-bar type) in a backpack be considered carrying it concealed? I was just curious because I have a "survival pack/ bug-out pack" that I carry with me when I travel. If I had a 6" fixed blade knife IN the backpack, but pack was in the trunk of car / back seat of truck is that considered concealed? Or what about when carrying pack from car to hotel room and so on?

12020. (a) Any person in this state who does any of the following is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison:
(4) Carries concealed upon his or her person any dirk or dagger.

If it is in the pack, and you are not carrying the pack, I don't think they would consider it "concealed upon his or her person". However, if you were carrying the pack, it might just buy you a felony charge.

My advice, find a way to attach the knife to the outside of the pack. This way it is readily available should you need quick access to it, and it is not concealed.

Untamed1972
06-01-2009, 3:54 PM
12020. (a) Any person in this state who does any of the following is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison:
(4) Carries concealed upon his or her person any dirk or dagger.

If it is in the pack, and you are not carrying the pack, I don't think they would consider it "concealed upon his or her person". However, if you were carrying the pack, it might just buy you a felony charge.

My advice, find a way to attach the knife to the outside of the pack. This way it is readily available should you need quick access to it, and it is not concealed.

Good thoughts. Seems kinda backwards to hafta do that, but that's CA law for you. Especially considering that where I to be carrying the backpack on my back from car to hotel room the knife would be less accessible to be then if it was attached to the outside of the pack. Were I actually to be "packin' up" for a survival situation the knife would be out on my belt, but it would be more convienient and draw less attention to have it stowed inside pack when just carrying it in the car or from car to hotel room.

Untamed1972
06-01-2009, 5:50 PM
Although how would a sheathed knife packed securely in a backpack and not easily accessible when the back is being worn be any different then when I bought the knife and it was in a factory box which was then "concealed" in a shopping bag that I carried it out to the car in? Was I committing a felony when I carried it out to the car in a shopping bag?

PORCH
06-01-2009, 7:31 PM
How about fixed blades in a car?

1JimMarch
06-01-2009, 8:29 PM
Replying to both:

Would carrying a 6" fixed blade knife (k-bar type) in a backpack be considered carrying it concealed?

How about fixed blades in a car?

I strongly recommend treating fixed-blade knives to the same carry restrictions as a loaded gun, EXCEPT that you can legally do open-carry.

If it's readily accessible in a car (read: not in the trunk or a locked container), you'll be assumed to be "carrying" it.

If it's in a backpack, you're "carrying" it unless it's in a locked container.

Now, when carrying it somewhere other than "openly suspended from the waist", there's a potential problem. In PC12020 there's a "serving suggestion" that says "openly suspended from the waist is legal open carry" or words to that effect.

This is NOT the only option for legal open carry, but a lot of cops and DAs think it is. Carry anywhere else and you're risking arrest and/or prosecution. You'll get off, but it'll be a pain in the butt. I know a guy who went all the way to a jury trial on this point and was let go, case was "People v. Terrence Terry", Contra Costa Superior Court, late 1990s I think(!?) and out of the Richmond branch. Should be possible to look that up.

But if at all possible, do belt carry. (Terry was at a costume wedding event and ran out of "belt real estate" between various accessories including a sword. So he had a dagger completely open carry on one ankle. I was arrested at the same event with swords, got off, got my cutlery back, educated Terry's public defender, got him off too.)

PORCH
06-01-2009, 8:37 PM
So under the seat is a no go? Would I get harassed about it?

Librarian
06-01-2009, 8:57 PM
So under the seat is a no go? Would I get harassed about it?

How would anyone know? What do you plan to do that will get you stopped and get your car searched?

A couple years back a Sergeant from Concord PD taught a class at DVC where he stated that fixed blades were fine, so long as not concealed on the body, and he explicitly used the example of a former felon (convicted, released, no longer on parole or probation) with a knife under the seat of his car.

Don't often get a cop who has it right.

While that 'within reach' stuff is certainly possible - mistaken arrests are made - officers that believe that, and a DA who would prosecute on that, need to be retrained.

1JimMarch
06-01-2009, 9:11 PM
Knife law busts involving switchblades OR concealed fixed blades are felonies.

DO -=NOT=- SCREW AROUND WITH THIS STUFF!!!

A concealed loaded revolver can get you in LESS trouble than a concealed fixed-blade.

PORCH
06-01-2009, 9:44 PM
How would anyone know? What do you plan to do that will get you stopped and get your car searched?



Nothing I hope. The problem is that the knife in question is a smaller buck knife with a black sheath and the part that attaches to your belt is like a velcro loop so I would like to attach that to the little seat adjuster thing under the seat so I always know where it is if I need it. The problem is if it were to be attached to the seat adjuster using the loop it sticks out a little so possibly the officer could see it on a simple traffic stop.

1JimMarch
06-01-2009, 9:48 PM
If he does see it, you're getting arrested on a felony charge.

I guarantee it.

tombinghamthegreat
06-01-2009, 9:59 PM
A concealed loaded revolver can get you in LESS trouble than a concealed fixed-blade.

I never understood that. I could conceal an unloaded handgun with loaded mags under my shirt and i would only be charged with one misdemeanor while a concealed bowie knife is a felony.Not to mention concealing a long gun is perfectly legal, not much logic with the laws. Anyway i usually open carry a bowie knife on hikes and i am careful to make sure it is in plain sight much like the the people who UOC handguns.

aplinker
06-01-2009, 10:28 PM
"Assisted openers" are always classed as standard folding knives UNLESS there's a human-controlled opening mechanism of any sort that is NOT attached to the blade.

In other words, "thumb holes" (typically Spyderco, except the patent has run out and you see them on copies) and "thumb studs" are legal.

Where somebody ran into trouble some years back was an odd piece that had a thumb-operated lever on the grip. This was internally gear-linked to the blade. That was a no-go even though no spring was involved. I believe the knife was the "Lever-lock", by Cammilus?

Anyways. So long as the assisted-opener has a thumb hole/stud setup, you're good.

AND a detent/preference for closed. This is to comply with the "gravity knife" laws.

DDT
06-01-2009, 11:04 PM
Damn, never knew my boot knife was a felony in CA.

DDT
06-01-2009, 11:06 PM
Really stupid question....

If one were to carry a folding knife concealed in the open position would it still be considered a folding knife or does it magically become a fixed blade knife?

Follow up: Can a folding knife have a handle shorter than the blade?

1JimMarch
06-01-2009, 11:06 PM
I never understood that. I could conceal an unloaded handgun with loaded mags under my shirt and i would only be charged with one misdemeanor while a concealed bowie knife is a felony.Not to mention concealing a long gun is perfectly legal, not much logic with the laws. Anyway i usually open carry a bowie knife on hikes and i am careful to make sure it is in plain sight much like the the people who UOC handguns.

Oh, it's REAL easy to understand. Why was pot made illegal? It appealed to (and was first used by) non-whites. Why is the same amount of cocaine in powder form less of a bust than the same amount in crack form? Because whites sniff coke, blacks smoke it (stereotype but with a large correlation).

Why be scared of knives? Because lower-income minorities can get ahold of 'em easier.

All part of a sick pattern.

AND a detent/preference for closed. This is to comply with the "gravity knife" laws.

Correct, but ALL assisted openers have one or the other. It's impossible to make an assisted opener that doesn't!

1JimMarch
06-01-2009, 11:16 PM
If one were to carry a folding knife concealed in the open position would it still be considered a folding knife or does it magically become a fixed blade knife?

YUP. That's exactly what happens. Note Penal Code 12020:

---
(24) As used in this section, a "dirk" or "dagger" means a knife
or other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of
ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury
or death. A nonlocking folding knife, a folding knife that is not
prohibited by Section 653k, or a pocketknife is capable of ready use
as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death
only if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position.
---

Note that 653k is the switchblade/gravity knife laws, so what they're saying is "so long as it ain't a switchblade/gravity" (plus the rest).

Follow up: Can a folding knife have a handle shorter than the blade?

Yes, but that makes it a "readily available stabbing implement".

There's some oddities caused by that phrase. Concealed meat-cleaver anyone? It's not a "stabbing implement", is it? What about a hatchet? Hasn't been tested(!) and I don't think you want to be the one to test...

Another example: is THIS a "stabbing implement"?

http://www.myerchin.com/A500.html

It's a fixed-blade, yeah, but the blunt spine meets the cutting edge at a 90deg. angle - a true "sheep's foot" pattern. This design dates to the age of sail and was driven by three design goals: you can use it as a "rescue knife", cutting clothes and/or ropes off somebody, you can cut the cord surrounding a stashed sail without cutting the sail canvas, and it's not as easy to fight with (although it's not utterly useless in a fight either).

I *have* carried those concealed in the past but that's getting very "edgy" pardon the pun.

DDT
06-01-2009, 11:58 PM
---
(24) As used in this section, a "dirk" or "dagger" means a knife
or other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of
ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury
or death. A nonlocking folding knife, a folding knife that is not
prohibited by Section 653k, or a pocketknife is capable of ready use
as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death
only if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position.


This doesn't even make sense... a nonlocking folding knife if the blade is exposed and locked into position?

1JimMarch
06-02-2009, 12:03 AM
This doesn't even make sense... a nonlocking folding knife if the blade is exposed and locked into position?

It's a "readily available stabbing implement" :rolleyes:.

pullnshoot25
06-02-2009, 12:10 AM
YUP. That's exactly what happens. Note Penal Code 12020:

---
(24) As used in this section, a "dirk" or "dagger" means a knife
or other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of
ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury
or death. A nonlocking folding knife, a folding knife that is not
prohibited by Section 653k, or a pocketknife is capable of ready use
as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death
only if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position.
---

Note that 653k is the switchblade/gravity knife laws, so what they're saying is "so long as it ain't a switchblade/gravity" (plus the rest).



Yes, but that makes it a "readily available stabbing implement".

There's some oddities caused by that phrase. Concealed meat-cleaver anyone? It's not a "stabbing implement", is it? What about a hatchet? Hasn't been tested(!) and I don't think you want to be the one to test...

Another example: is THIS a "stabbing implement"?

http://www.myerchin.com/A500.html

It's a fixed-blade, yeah, but the blunt spine meets the cutting edge at a 90deg. angle - a true "sheep's foot" pattern. This design dates to the age of sail and was driven by three design goals: you can use it as a "rescue knife", cutting clothes and/or ropes off somebody, you can cut the cord surrounding a stashed sail without cutting the sail canvas, and it's not as easy to fight with (although it's not utterly useless in a fight either).

I *have* carried those concealed in the past but that's getting very "edgy" pardon the pun.

That is not a stabbing implement AFAICS.

I really want to try a tomahawk...

Untamed1972
06-02-2009, 8:25 AM
So then you're all saying that when I carried my knife out of the store in a shopping bag I was committing a felony?

How f-ed up is that?

GuyW
06-02-2009, 8:43 AM
So then you're all saying that when I carried my knife out of the store in a shopping bag I was committing a felony?

How f-ed up is that?

Watch it! They'll be staking out Big 5 and arresting Boy Scouts....

.