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Thread: Washington state blade length and carry

  1. #1

    Washington state blade length and carry

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    What is the legal maximum size for a folding/fixed blade in washington state? Also, what is considered concealing a knife of legal size? Would clipping it on your pocket in a position that your shirt partially or completely covers the clip be considered concealing it? Would having a knife loose in your pocket be considred concealment?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    plain answers are hard to find. my impression is that what is acceptable is mostly dependent on case law and interpretation by the courts. but you personally need to do your own research and learn the laws.

    WA state laws - here's what i found reguarding a few of the basic WA knife laws:
    (found here:

    RCW 9.41.250
    Dangerous weapons — Penalty — Exemption for law enforcement officers.

    (1) Every person who:

    (a) Manufactures, sells, or disposes of or possesses any instrument or weapon of the kind usually known as slung shot, sand club, or metal knuckles, or spring blade knife, or any knife the blade of which is automatically released by a spring mechanism or other mechanical device, or any knife having a blade which opens, or falls, or is ejected into position by the force of gravity, or by an outward, downward, or centrifugal thrust or movement;

    (b) Furtively carries with intent to conceal any dagger, dirk, pistol, or other dangerous weapon; or

    (c) Uses any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm,

    is guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

    (2) Subsection (1)(a) of this section does not apply to:

    (a) The possession of a spring blade knife by a law enforcement officer while the officer:

    (i) Is on official duty; or

    (ii) Is transporting the knife to or from the place where the knife is stored when the officer is not on official duty; or

    (b) The storage of a spring blade knife by a law enforcement officer.

    and here:

    RCW 9.41.270
    Weapons apparently capable of producing bodily harm — Unlawful carrying or handling — Penalty — Exceptions.

    (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.

    (2) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (1) above shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. If any person is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) of this section, the person shall lose his or her concealed pistol license, if any. The court shall send notice of the revocation to the department of licensing, and the city, town, or county which issued the license.

    (3) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to or affect the following:

    (a) Any act committed by a person while in his or her place of abode or fixed place of business;

    (b) Any person who by virtue of his or her office or public employment is vested by law with a duty to preserve public safety, maintain public order, or to make arrests for offenses, while in the performance of such duty;

    (c) Any person acting for the purpose of protecting himself or herself against the use of presently threatened unlawful force by another, or for the purpose of protecting another against the use of such unlawful force by a third person;

    (d) Any person making or assisting in making a lawful arrest for the commission of a felony; or

    (e) Any person engaged in military activities sponsored by the federal or state governments.

  3. #3
    There is no statutorily defined blade length limit under state law. There are plenty of other misc restrictions, but ordinary fixed and folding blades are legal.
    Those whom reside on the side of caution should note that it is illegal to carry "dangerous weapons" with the "intent to conceal" and large fixed blades, automatic knives, and dirks would probably be considered per se dangerous weapons. One should also note that there are plenty of very restrictive local ordinances against knives.

    To be quite honest state law like this makes it hard to be comprehensive in a short description. There is GD a statue that makes it explicitly illegal to carry and brandish a weapon/weapon that would intimidate someone!
    If you want to know if your blade is legal for concealed carry I can give you my best estimation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    well said reffy! thanks for the input.

    and that was a good point about local ordinances often being even more restrictive than state law.

    (the reason i even got involved in this discussion was that i'm headed up to WA this weekend from here in Oregon and i personally wanted some info on this subject too. i was hoping i could carry my 4" bladed Terzuola ATCF folder in a front pocket, using the pocket-clip. and it seems i should be ok...)

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