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California 2nd Amend. Political Discussion & Activism Discuss gun rights activism and 2A related political topics here. All advice given is NOT legal counsel.

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  #1  
Old 04-21-2011, 3:43 PM
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Default Understanding Los Angeles Knife Carry Laws

I've always aired on the safe side with LA knife laws and carried a sub 3" folder concealed or clipped in my pocket. But I recently picked up a great 3.5" flipper that I want to start carrying concealed so I took another look at the municipal codes and was a little confused by the prohibited knives.
Does "spring blade" knife mean assisted opener? Could "snap blade knife" mean flipper? And if so does that mean its fine to carry either concealed just not a sub 3" version open (clipped inside your pocket)? Seems like I'm fine concealed but I have sub 3" flippers and assisted opening knives and am curious how I can carry them. I'm sure much is up to interpretation (unless there is some case law) and I'm being a bit overly cautions but thought I would reach out to the experts here.
Thanks in advance.

13.62.010 Knives and daggers defined.

As used in this chapter, the terms “knives and daggers” shall include any knife having a blade of three inches or more in length; any spring-blade, switch-blade or snap-blade knife; any knife any blade of which is automatically released by a spring mechanism or other mechanical device; any ice pick or similar sharp stabbing tool; any straight-edge razor or any razor blade fitted to a handle. (Ord. 11915 § 1, 1979.)
13.62.020 Carrying knives and daggers in plain view prohibited.

It is unlawful for any person to carry on his person, in plain view, any knife or dagger. (Ord. 11915 § 2, 1979.)
13.62.030 Exemptions to chapter applicability.

The foregoing restrictions shall not be deemed to prohibit the carrying of ordinary tools or equipment for use in a lawful occupation or for the purpose of lawful recreation, or where the carrying of a knife or dagger is a recognized religious practice. (Ord. 11915 § 3, 1979.)
13.62.040 Violation--Penalty.
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Old 04-21-2011, 4:14 PM
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I was under the impression if the knife has a bias toward closed, it was legal. If you have to overcome resistance, its ok.

LA is its own creature. I get worried when my daughter is with her boyfriend in Hollywood. He carries a 3.5" assisted folder inside his back pocket and I have heard this is CCW. I don't want her left alone after some Officer arrests him.
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Old 04-21-2011, 6:09 PM
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Originally Posted by dieselpower View Post
I was under the impression if the knife has a bias toward closed, it was legal. If you have to overcome resistance, its ok.

LA is its own creature. I get worried when my daughter is with her boyfriend in Hollywood. He carries a 3.5" assisted folder inside his back pocket and I have heard this is CCW. I don't want her left alone after some Officer arrests him.
IANAL and California knife laws are horribly complicated. AFAIK, a concealed folder is not a CCW as long as it is closed. State law has no limit on blade length but there is no preemption so some areas have their own laws. I think, Los Angeles County limits it to four inches.

The city of LA forbids open carry of fixed blade knives. I am not sure about blade length of a folder. It may be based on the combined IQ of the Mayor and Police Chief so it will be a small number
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Old 04-21-2011, 6:48 PM
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Wait so does LA have a length limit on folders? Is a cold steel recon 1 g2g?
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Old 04-21-2011, 6:50 PM
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Basically you are OK if you carry any length folder closed and concealed. The LA ordinance language of "spring blade" and "snap blade" are pretty much different ways of refering to switchblades.

I would be careful of carrying any "clip" knife where it can be seen. An LEO may percieve it as being "exposed".
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Old 04-21-2011, 6:51 PM
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Originally Posted by safewaysecurity View Post
Wait so does LA have a length limit on folders? Is a cold steel recon 1 g2g?
LA only has a limit on the length of any knife carried exposed.
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Old 04-21-2011, 6:55 PM
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Originally Posted by scarville View Post
IANAL and California knife laws are horribly complicated. AFAIK, a concealed folder is not a CCW as long as it is closed. State law has no limit on blade length but there is no preemption so some areas have their own laws. I think, Los Angeles County limits it to four inches.

The city of LA forbids open carry of fixed blade knives. I am not sure about blade length of a folder. It may be based on the combined IQ of the Mayor and Police Chief so it will be a small number
Do you have a citation to back the fixed blade prohibition? To my knowledge LA city only prohibits exposed carry of knives 3" or over.
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Old 04-21-2011, 6:59 PM
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Is there case law in regards to carrying a knife with the "clip" exposed? Isn't partially concealed considered concealed?
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Old 04-21-2011, 7:18 PM
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Originally Posted by safewaysecurity View Post
Is there case law in regards to carrying a knife with the "clip" exposed? Isn't partially concealed considered concealed?
Since the violation would be for exposed carry I would think partially exposed would equal exposed.

I have no case law just advising caution to avoid possible negative LEO interaction.
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Old 04-21-2011, 8:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Decoligny View Post
Do you have a citation to back the fixed blade prohibition? To my knowledge LA city only prohibits exposed carry of knives 3" or over.
LA County Code sez:
Quote:
13.62.010 Knives and daggers defined.
As used in this chapter, the terms “knives and daggers” shall include any knife having a blade of three inches or more in length; any spring-blade, switch-blade or snap-blade knife; any knife any blade of which is automatically released by a spring mechanism or other mechanical device; any ice pick or similar sharp stabbing tool; any straight-edge razor or any razor blade fitted to a handle. (Ord. 11915 § 1, 1979.)

13.62.020 Carrying knives and daggers in plain view prohibited.
It is unlawful for any person to carry on his person, in plain view, any knife or dagger. (Ord. 11915 § 2, 1979.)
The city code sez:
Quote:
SEC. 55.10. CARRY KNIVES OR DAGGERS IN PLAIN VIEW PROHIBITED.

(Added by Ord. No. 162,995, Eff. 1/7/88.)

(a) As used in this section, the term “knife” or “dagger” shall include any knife, dirk or dagger having a blade 3 inches or more in length, any ice pick or similar sharp tool, any straight edge razor or any razor blade fitted to a handle.

(b) No person shall wear or carry in plain view any knife or dagger upon any public street or other public place or in any place open to the public.
Looks like you are right and the open carry prohibition it only applies to blades over three inches long.
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Old 04-21-2011, 8:13 PM
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a "just under 3 inch" blade is still a good sized folder.

So if its 2 7/8s long it can be showing. Just as you can carry a switch blade that has a under 2" blade...which I carry daily and people who see it can not believe its legal...LOL
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Old 04-21-2011, 8:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by safewaysecurity View Post
Is there case law in regards to carrying a knife with the "clip" exposed? Isn't partially concealed considered concealed?
It is my understanding that a knife carried in the pocket with a visible clip is both concealed and exposed, and in each interpretation, a knife with a visible clip is both concealed or exposed in a way which creates the most liability for the carrier.

If it is a fixed blade knife then it is considered concealed. If it is a folder over 3", then it is considered exposed.
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Old 04-21-2011, 9:33 PM
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So if I'm understanding this correctly, LA has no additional restrictions above the state's when it comes to assisted openers/flippers as long as the knife meets the state's definition found in 653K:
"Switchblade knife" does not
include a knife that opens with one hand utilizing thumb pressure
applied solely to the blade of the knife or a thumb stud attached to
the blade, provided that the knife has a detent or other mechanism
that provides resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade,
or that biases the blade back toward its closed position.


Good to know.

Funny thing is, when I first moved to LA I got the same piece of advice from three different cops: "I'd carry a gun if I were you,this city is a dangerous place and its only a misdemeanor if you get caught." While I would never follow that advice, I did take to carrying a knife and always wanted to be "extra" legal so I sought out the best sub 3" knives I could find. I settled on the Emerson mini CQC-7 with a 2.9" blade and the lighting fast wave feature. Its legal to carry just about everywhere in the country, but its great to know I can carry any of my folders in my home town (just need to keep the bigger ones concealed).
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Old 04-21-2011, 9:45 PM
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Is there case law in regards to carrying a knife with the "clip" exposed? Isn't partially concealed considered concealed?
Yes there is case law...NO partially concealed is not cool. Librarian has a link to the case. I read it. He posted it referring to a partial concealed = concealed thread in relation to a firearm.

a guy was stopped by LEO. as he turned around, the LEO noticed the top inch of a folder in his back pocket.

long story short he did 1 year in prison and lost all appeals. he tried the CCW appeal and lost. He then tried the not a defined knife, dagger or dirk appeal...lost.

I don't think I tagged the thread, I just read what Librarian posted, (which should be SOP for any Calgunner).

Hope he has that link somewhere and post it again. was a good read on case law.
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Old 04-21-2011, 9:46 PM
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I thought you could open carry a fixed blade on your belt in a sheath.... no?
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Old 04-21-2011, 9:48 PM
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I thought you could open carry a fixed blade on your belt in a sheath.... no?
as i know it, state law yes, city ordinance = no.
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Old 04-22-2011, 7:52 AM
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I thought you could open carry a fixed blade on your belt in a sheath.... no?
3" max length on openly carried knives, fixed or folding (Los Angeles). For a fixed blade, the knife and/or sheath must be fully exposed (California). For a folder, any part of the knife visible, including the pocket clip, forces it under the 3" limit (Los Angeles).
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Old 04-22-2011, 8:19 AM
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Originally Posted by dieselpower View Post
as i know it, state law yes, city ordinance = no.
You can indeed carry a fixed blade knife in a sheath open on your belt in the City of Los Angeles, it just has to be under 3 inches in length.
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Old 04-22-2011, 9:07 AM
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Originally Posted by safewaysecurity View Post
Is there case law in regards to carrying a knife with the "clip" exposed? Isn't partially concealed considered concealed?
Only if that works to the advantage of the prosecutor.
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Old 04-22-2011, 9:40 AM
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"..having a blade 3 inches or more in length.."

I guess the question is how do they measure blade length? Just the sharpened portion or whatever helps them make the case? Any case law defining blade length?


Of course, after reading articles like the one below, seems in the wrong situation legality of the knife may not matter to a LEO. Guess I should carry copies of the laws for knives, like I do for OLLs.



http://www.ocregister.com/news/knife...-ramos-illegal

Quote:
Carrying a knife might bring criminal record
People can end up charged with crimes for possessing legal knives, defense attorneys and experts say.
By RACHANEE SRISAVASDI
The Orange County Register

Miguel Angel Ramos bought a silver folding knife at a kiosk at The Block at Orange in November, thinking it was legal. It wasn't – at least to police.

Contact the writer: 714-834-3773 or rsrisavasdi@ocregister.com
Please do not post whole articles - see http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=363956

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See the stickies http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=394912
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Last edited by Librarian; 04-22-2011 at 11:30 AM..
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDPA4U View Post
"..having a blade 3 inches or more in length.."

I guess the question is how do they measure blade length? Just the sharpened portion or whatever helps them make the case? Any case law defining blade length?


Of course, after reading articles like the one below, seems in the wrong situation legality of the knife may not matter to a LEO. Guess I should carry copies of the laws for knives, like I do for OLLs.



http://www.ocregister.com/news/knife...-ramos-illegal


Please do not post whole articles - see http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=363956

Typically, one (short) paragraph and a link is low-risk.

See the stickies http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...d.php?t=394912
Web sites are being sued even with reasonable legal protections in place.


// Librarian
IIRC they measure from the point to the guard, or to the handle if it has no guard. If you have a knife with only the first inch of the blade sharpened, and it is 10 inches to the guard/handle, then you have a knife with a 10 inch blade. Think of it this way, "How deep can it go if it is used to stab?".
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Old 04-24-2011, 2:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Decoligny View Post
You can indeed carry a fixed blade knife in a sheath open on your belt in the City of Los Angeles, it just has to be under 3 inches in length.
Jeesus that's pointless.... how can you open carry a gun and not a flipping larger knife. California is so chicken clucking stupid I hate this place.
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:56 AM
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Sorry for reviving an old thread.

I realize we have been variously quoting and interpreting both COUNTY and CITY laws. How do the laws stand INSIDE la county but OUTSIDE la city (e.g. most South bay communities, Santa Monica, etc)?
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:10 AM
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I'm curious, does the sight of a "clip" allow an officer to stop you and perform the knife version of an "e" check (for length)?
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Old 06-19-2011, 7:43 PM
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Sorry for reviving an old thread.

I realize we have been variously quoting and interpreting both COUNTY and CITY laws. How do the laws stand INSIDE la county but OUTSIDE la city (e.g. most South bay communities, Santa Monica, etc)?
IIRC the county ordinance is virtually identical to the city ordinance.
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Old 06-19-2011, 8:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Fate View Post
I'm curious, does the sight of a "clip" allow an officer to stop you and perform the knife version of an "e" check (for length)?
There is no legal equivalent to an e check for a knife. If a cop can articulate a reason to believe that your knife is longer than permitted, then he can investigate a possible crime. If he can say "it appeared to me that the size of the clip was too large for a 3" or smaller knife, then he could probably get away with checking the knife.
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Old 08-14-2011, 4:06 AM
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This state sucks!
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Old 08-14-2011, 4:35 AM
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On two different occasions two different LEO's stole 2 of my S&W swat blades, TWICE!!
Not conficated, they stole it from me!
They never told my if I was commiting a crime, nothing, they just stole it.
It was a blade that I used for work, and always had it with me in my pocket.
on both times, I was pulled over for no good reason given, searched and all, then released to get all my stuff off my hood or trunk of my car, and by the time I realized my blade was missing, the great respectable police officers were long gone..
Thats what I deserved at that time for being a young 20 year old working the night shift and looking suspicious.. bastards..

anyhow, sorry for the long rant, has nothing to do with the original post.. just striked a memory..
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Old 08-14-2011, 6:22 AM
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This state sucks!
yes
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Old 08-14-2011, 9:10 AM
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any straight-edge razor or any razor blade fitted to a handle. (Ord. 11915 § 1, 1979.)
Does that include this type of utility knife: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053

Or does that fall under "carrying of ordinary tools or equipment for use in a lawful occupation" especially if I carry one around with me for work almost all day every day?

Last edited by swilson; 08-14-2011 at 9:10 AM.. Reason: can't type right
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Old 08-14-2011, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by swilson View Post
Does that include this type of utility knife: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053

Or does that fall under "carrying of ordinary tools or equipment for use in a lawful occupation" especially if I carry one around with me for work almost all day every day?
I would think that it would depend on the circumstances.
If you are coming home from the job site and it is in either your tool belt or toolbox, I'd say legal.
If you are walking home from a night at the bar, and you have it in your jacket pocket, not so much.
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