Welcome to Arizona.
Sorry I'm so late in replying, but I just came across your post.
While no one can explain ALL of the laws, especially considering the constant state of flux and the many "interpretations" of them by those directly concerned with them, there ARE a few basic things you should know. I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a lawyer, but HAVE had some encounters with the law in AZ from both sides. I've also made it a point to learn as much as I can, not onbly about the laws themselves, but of the average LEO's viewpoint on them, since many of my friends are LEOs. Hopefully they'll be of some help to you.
First of all, knives are generally not distinguished from other tools that CAN be used as weapons, except in their capability in that role. Accordingly, automatic knives, for example, are legal except that they may not be carried "concealed" absent a CCW permit.
The legal definitions of "carrying" and "concealed" are quite broad in AZ, and have in most cases been subjected to rulings that have rendered them to the advantage of the average lawful citizen. For example, an object determined to be a weapon, like a firearm, for example, is NOT considered being "carried" for legal purposes, if it is in "luggage". A "briefcase" has passed the legal test of being considered "luggage". Ironically, a woman's purse has failed that definition.
Guess where I carry my .45 ACP? Yup, in a soft leather top opening (by zipper) multi-compartment briefcase. It sits on the floor behind my seat in my car. My Carbon 15 with the new short (8") buttstock lays on my Dobie's blanket on the back seat. When I leave the car, I just flip the blanket over it so it's not thief bait. When I'm in the vehicle, it's uncovered, so being carried, even loaded, and within easy reach, it's legal. Do be advised to double check about Flagstaff though. If I as a Phoenix resident was stopped for some reason and an LEO noted that I was in violation of a local ordinance about my weapons, I would probably get off with advice and a warning. You, as a local, would have a harder time.
Also, a weapon being carried openly in a carrying enclosure that is common for that item is NOT legally considered being carried "concealed". So I carry my HALO III in the Microtech black Cordura Velcro flapped belt pouch, horizontally of course, on my black gunbelt, which is all I ever wear. It's unnoticeable, but legal, while still being available instantly, if and when I need it.
There IS a state pre-emption law that prevents localities from passing laws that conflict with state law regarding "weapons". However, some localities refuse to comply simply by defiance, and still pass laws in contravention of state law. While illegal, and not defensible in court, these laws CAN make things tricky for you. I'm not sure how Flagstaff and/or Coconino County stand on carrying, so your best bet, to avoid being dismissed with a wrong or oversimplified answer, is to become friendly with both the Flagstaff and Coconino County police. See if they have any "ride-along" programs. See which of your neighbors is an LEO that's known by the other neighbors to be a nice guy, and get to know him. Stop at the local library, and look up the State laws (ARS, or Arizona Revised Statutes) and local and County Ordinances and "regulations".
One thing to beware of. The Fish and Game folks are serious as a heart attck on game laws. You can NOT be in "the field", that is, away from a campsite or off a "roadway" (wich I believe legally extends 12' on both sides), in a legally defined hunting area, during a game "season" with a firearm OF ANY KIND (yes, even a .22 target pistol). Any violations are dealt with harshly, and can result in loss of your firearm AND even the vehicle that brought you there, along with a healthy fine, if you are convicted. So until you learn the laws, and the hunting areas and laws, do NOT leave the roadway in a known hunting area during an official hunting season. Right now, it's Elk season, and my hunting/shooting buddy is just Northeast of Flagstaff, with a permit/tag of course. If you have a valid general hunting license, you can still hunt other game IN SOME AREAS. Check with the local Fish and Game people about their position on these things.
I also strongly urge you to buy A copy of the excellent book on Arizona Gun Laws, written as I recall by Alan Korwin. I can't find my copy right now, must have loaned it to someone. Many of the items in it include and/or refer to knives too. You should be able to buy it at any local gun store.
I Hope I've helped you a little. If you have any questions, or if I can help in any way, E-mail me, and I'll try my best to help you.
Enjoy Arizona. I think you're going to love it here. I do.
[This message has been edited by StarPD (edited 10-09-2000).]