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Can a felon carry a knife in Arizona and elsewhere?

Discussion in 'Knife Laws' started by rrjenn, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. rrjenn


    Dec 28, 2010
    My brother has a 35 year old felony from when we were kids in Calif but we live in Mesa, AZ now. We both carry Cold Steel Vaquero Grande 6 inch Folders clipped inside pocket. We want to find out if it's a crime for him to be carrying this knife around either open or concealed. It's a real nasty weapon that can only be considered as such. My brother can't get this felony expunged due to the violent nature of the offense, but he still needs to be able to have some means to way to defend himself.
    This is the knife we carry: http://images.coldsteel-knives.com/Lg/3362_1/21GNSC_Cold_Steel_Vaquero_Grande_Folder.jpg
  2. Brennanscott


    Jul 8, 2010
    You should call the Mesa PD and ask.


    Oct 22, 2010
    can you look up the laws on knives in your area.Google works for me here in VA. it brings up the legit codes and such, I'd say that's a little extreme of knife unless you live in the rough. I'd go with something at least a little less threatening looking if its a concern because that's a beast of a knife ha ha. or just go outlaw with it and forget the rest. better to have it and not need it,than to need it and not have it, i always say. anyways good luck with your answer. i hope i helped some
  4. Daniel


    Oct 3, 1998
    A convicted felon is not allowed to carry anything considered a weapon in any state that I am aware of including Arizona.

    If he has not had his rights restored, then he cannot carry anything that even remotely can be considered a weapon.
  5. Christian


    Oct 3, 1998
    I don't know about other states, but in CA it's been my experience that as long as the convicted is not currently on probation or parole, a knife is legal.
  6. Daniel


    Oct 3, 1998
    If the knife can be referred to as a weapon, then convicted felons are not permitted to carry it.

    I would question whether a convicted felon in California would be allowed to carry any knife over 3" long. All it takes is the court to decide that it can be used as a weapon.

    Arizona has the most open carry laws of any state. You can carry anything concealed, a knife, a gun, club, whatever-- as long as you are not a convicted felon.

    A convicted felon basically has no rights to carry--anywhere, unless their rights have been restored in the court. The OP stated that the felony was for a violent crime which makes it even more unlikely that he would be allowed to carry a weapon or any knife that can be construed as a weapon.
  7. TOM1960


    Nov 5, 2007
    Not true at all. Here in MA, we have some of the most restrictive weapons laws in the nation. Blade length is not mentioned in state law. The only knives that are illegal to carry are switch blade knives, ballistic knives and double-edged knives. The cities of Boston, Cambridge, Revere, Salem, Lawrence, Lynn and (I believe) Beverly have local ordinances against carrying knives with blades longer than 2.5". Again, this is not state law. Violation of these local ordinances is arrest, court appearance, $300 fine and a misdemeanor conviction on one's CORI record. Remember, do not use the term "weapon" or "nasty weapon" when referring to your carry knife, especially when speaking to an LEO. It is always a tool. ;)
  8. glistam


    Dec 27, 2004
    Here is the law itself, truncated for relevant paragraphs and emphasis added:

    Unfortunately, this still leaves the matter a tad uncertain. Yes, your brother is, by the letter of state law, a prohibited possessor. It is a matter if Vaquero is specifically "designed for lethal use." Frankly, even being a knife knut who thinks knives are tools first, I would have a hard time arguing that it isn't designed to be used as a weapon.

    If he really wants a big folder that isn't going to be viewed as a deadly weapon, perhaps a CRKT Surf n Turf or a Opinel Slim? Don't scoff, you'd be amazed how many homicides I have seen with fillet knives. Skinny culinary blades like those are designed to go through meat. Just sayin. Of course that also raises the problem of whether knives are good for self-defense in the first place. They only do two things: Scare, and Kill. He certainly needs to have options outside of these two force continuum levels to be safe.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010
  9. Chris Pierce

    Chris Pierce

    Nov 15, 2006
    If your brother is actually concerned for his safety (and dosen't just want to carry a big knife, like me) he should probably look into carrying a tazer or pepper spray.
    Pocket knives, while possibly a good deterrent to a fight, are probably not the best option for self defense. Especially for him, considering the law.

    A very good point. Check out the Cold Steel videos. Cutting up leather jackets full or meat? A weapon for sure.
  10. Daniel


    Oct 3, 1998
    The law is different for convicted felons. While a person, NOT a convicted felon, might only get a "ticket", it is a whole different story for a felon. The criteria for what can be used as a weapon when determined by a court for a convicted felon is quite a bit different.

    You pull out a Vaquero and it will not be viewed as a "tool". The only "tool" will be you, the felon, when they put the handcuffs on!
  11. TOM1960


    Nov 5, 2007
    Massachusetts law only prohibits felons from possessing firearms, ammo and Mace/Pepper spray, which is considered to be ammo in MA. Convicted felons carry knives all of the time here. There are no blade length limits under state law. As long as it is not a double-edge, switchblade or ballistic knife, you are good to go. If the dickhead with a badge wants to "put the handcuffs on", let them go right ahead. The felon will be enjoying an early retirement when he sues the department and the dickhead cop for a huge amount of money in civil court for false arrest, false imprisonment, etc. That is the law here and, like New York, we have some of the toughest weapons laws in the nation, especially with respect to firearms. That 6" Vaquero would be completely legal for the OP's brother to carry here. Please don't make statements that felons cannot carry knives in any state. It is not true!
  12. JTR357


    Sep 10, 2007
  13. TOM1960


    Nov 5, 2007
    Doesn't mention blade length at all, similar to MA law. I suppose if you have large enough pockets a 6" folder would fit and can be called a "pocket knife" or perhaps the term refers to any large folding knife or jackknife. Not sure if there is any AZ case law that would apply to the OP's brother's situation. Personally, he may be better off with a 4" Vaquero, Recon 1 or other Cold Steel folder if CS is his brand of choice. Easier to conceal, faster to get into action and lighter to carry in the pocket. If a cutting job cannot be handled with a 4" blade, it is time to reach for a hatchet. He can do one of two things: hand over a C-note to a good defense attorney for a consultation or visit the local court's law library to check case law. Nobody wants to be the test case. In the meantime, my advice to him would be to keep that knife well-concealed and maintain a low profile while carrying it in public.
  14. glistam


    Dec 27, 2004
    Actually I think that's out of date. AZ just passed new laws this year.
    Here are the official statute links that I forgot to put in my last post.

    It comes down to whether or not a given knife is "designed for lethal use." There is no established caselaw under the new statutes as to what constitutes such a weapon or any mention of blade length. Do not forget a major factor on this whole darn thing is why a police officer not only discovers your brother's knife, but cares enough about it to approach him AND is suspicious enough to run his priors through a computer.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  15. JTR357


    Sep 10, 2007
    come to think of it,that link is a bit dated.Thanks for the correction.
  16. Daniel


    Oct 3, 1998
    It all comes down to how the court interprets the law and whether you get caught.

    If the person wishes to be exposed to the possibility of jail time, then by all means test out the theory that felons can carry anything that they want to.
  17. glistam


    Dec 27, 2004
    You know, while the felony couldn't be expunged, there are other options where the restriction can be lifted and his right to possess arms is restored (http://www.shouselaw.com/gun-restoration.html) Maybe one of these is an option? If however his offense was so severe and brutal in nature that these aren't options for him...maybe I'm not going to be all that upset if this guy isn't allowed to carry a knife. And maybe I'm not going to be all that concerned about his ability to defend himself.

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