Am I right on what to carry in California and NYC as a tourist?

Discussion in 'Knife Laws' started by 3rdMusketeer, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. 3rdMusketeer


    Mar 24, 2006
    I have tried to make some sense of the various threads on this question and this is my own conclusion on what is ok to carry in the above two locations.

    under 4" blade, single edge, cant be flicked open, concealed out of sight, does not look like a dagger.

    Fixed blade;
    under 4" blade, single edge, concealed out of sight, does not look like a dagger.

    Which would be better alternative, the folder or fixed blade. I am old fashioned and actually use a knife during the day for various tasks....defence is not the main reason for carry.

    I intend to visit many of the usual tourist spots in NYC, at which of these spots do you have to go through a metal detector at the entrance and would you have your knife returned on exit or actually confiscated.


    Oct 29, 2005
    cities and counties have their own laws, often more restrictive than the penal code.

    for example, in los angeles city or county, any folder is fine so long as it is not an auto or bali and the blade length is 3" or under for open carry. but no fixed blade carry.

    there is not restriction on carrying a folder concealed that i am aware of.

    and the definition of a dagger is a knife ready for use as a stabbing weapon. there is no reference to a double edged blade anywhere in the state code.
  3. 3rdMusketeer


    Mar 24, 2006
    OK, I will go through LA airport straight to Long Beach CA for few days and then on to Santa Barbara CA for few days.....from there on to NYC. I did not know that in LA the max blade length on a folder is 3", thanks for that.
  4. Esav Benyamin

    Esav Benyamin MidniteSuperMod

    Apr 6, 2000
    For NYC, it might be a good idea to have a small Swiss Army Knife with you for light cutting or scissors, rather than using something technically legal but larger.

    The problem with which tourist places restrict "weapons" :rolleyes: is that New York has so many tourist attractions it is effectively impossible to keep track of which few won't hassle you.

    If you are going to any attraction, even museums, you may run into a problem bringing even that small SAK, and I don't think any of them will hold it for you.

    Walking around, going to restaurants, theatres, parks, or zoos, no problem with a legal (under 4" knife) completely concealed. I would recommend a folder as it's easier to conceal.


    Oct 29, 2005
    sorry, i should add that the length limit is for open carry.

    concealed there is no limit on blade length for a folder in l.a.
  6. 3rdMusketeer


    Mar 24, 2006
    What do you mean in "open carry", is it clipped to the pocket and visible to other people, or is it locked open in a sheath.....


    Oct 29, 2005
    well, that is where the ambiguity comes in to play.

    open carry is generally considered to be in plain view.

    if the clip is visibile, it is arguably in plain view. just to be safe, consider wearing a shirt to cover the clip or putting the knife completely in a pocket.
  8. Getahl


    Dec 22, 2007
    I would not risk even having something clipped in your pocket in NYC. I've seen too many threads about someone having even a small knife or a multi tool clipped to their pocket and getting hassled by New York's finest.

    On my recent trip to NY, I just didn't bring anything. Not even a Vic Classic. And there are metal detectors at the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and "Top of the Rock", which is just a tour up to the top of Rockefeller Center. There are undoubtedly metal detectors at other tourist attractions as well. It was kinda funny because at the Statue ferry, there was a sign that had a silhouette of what looked like a SAK Huntsmen on it with a cross through it. Multitools sound like a no no too. They're really serious about the no-knife policy.
  9. mp510


    Mar 20, 2006
    In NYC you must make sure that your knife is not visible- including clipped to your pocket. There is an NYC Administrative code that makes doing such illegal- it's an infraction. NYPD aggressively enforces that section, as well as the prohibition on carrying gravity knives, which in effect (in NYC) is any lock knife that can be flicked open (to include holding the blade and flipping the handle open IIRC). Gravity knife posession can be charged as an A misdomeanor or a D felony (if you have any prior criminal convictions).
  10. carrot


    Jan 9, 2006
    For NYC if you hit up any of the big tourist attractions (Statue of Liberty, for instance) you'll find metal detectors. But there is also plenty to do outside of those.

    Most, if not all large museums, like the Natural History Museum & Planetarium, MET, and MOMA don't have metal detectors but usually will check your bags. If there are specific places you want to visit you might as well ask about metal detectors.
  11. 3rdMusketeer


    Mar 24, 2006
    OK, so this is the way I understand the situation......

    In LA; no fixed blade carry.....any size folder completely concealed is ok, no auto's and balisongs.

    In NYC; for just walking around, fixed blade or folder with blade under 4" completely concealed is ok......folders must not be able to be flicked open in any way.......leave knife at home/hotel if going to any major tourist attractions.

    Is that about right?


    Oct 29, 2005
    aggravating, isnt it??
  13. 3rdMusketeer


    Mar 24, 2006
    Yeah, I have to go through my collection and eliminate all those that can be flicked open by holding onto the blade. Tightening the swivel pin will not stop the knife opening in this, it has to be a folder that has the blade in the handle with only the studs showing.....and then tighten the swivel pin.....guess what,......the only knife in my collection that can not be flicked open in any shape or form once the pin is quite tight and would pass in NYC is the CRKT manual (non A/O) Hissatsu folder.....and this one has a combat background to it......funny that!
  14. tom19176

    tom19176 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    very aggravting, just an fyi, 99.9% of the NYC LEOS would not test for a gravity knife buy the "holding the blade and flicking method", but it has been done and holds up in court. The guys in the special details who must "meet" their monthly numbers are usally the ones that are most likely to become very creative in how to define a gravity knife. Just to give you an idea how things have changed ( with the same exact law on the books ) in the mid 1980s we had a drunk guy in his early 20s who when searched had a double edge 10" boot knife dagger on him. When he was brought in on both weapons and D&D charges, the desk Sgt said "voucher the knife, and give him a summons for Dis Con and kick him" things have changed.....
  15. 3rdMusketeer


    Mar 24, 2006
    I just worked out the best knife for NYC......the SOG Spec Elite I. It has the 4" utility blade, the blade fits inside the handle and the swivel pin can be tightened to prevent easy flicking.....this one should be legally safe.....I hope.

    Now, in which park am I going to sit down on a bench and have my lunch of salami, cucumber, cheese and bread using my SOG Spec Elite I to cut these items into bite size pieces?.....or is this a BAD idea?
  16. Esav Benyamin

    Esav Benyamin MidniteSuperMod

    Apr 6, 2000
    The law says UNDER 4". Don't expect the nice officer to be carrying a ruler. If it's longer than his palm is broad, he may decide to let a judge decide.

    Using a large knife out in the open could bring unnecessary attention. An Opinel #8 might do.
  17. auspx


    Aug 13, 2007
    You don't want to freak out the local sheeple and then have to explain to a cop why you carry that knife. Get a Swiss Army Knife. The non-locking 3.5" model with a 2.5" blade.
  18. Midlife Crisis

    Midlife Crisis

    Jan 7, 2008
    I've studied the California state (not municipal) knife laws, and they are virtually beyond comprehension. For example, under state law, you can carry a hunting knife, combat knife, machete or sword of any length in public as long as it is worn openly and is suspended from your waist. However, you cannot carry any fixed-blade knife concealed, no matter how small or harmless, including neck knives. On the other hand, you can carry a folding knife of any length, no matter how large or in what configuation, concealed or otherwise (e.g., in your pocket or in a belt sheath), as long as it is not otherwise prohibited (switchblade, butterfly, disguised, etc.). State law provides length limits on knives for community and state colleges, for courts and for public buildings, but not for other places.

    What does this mean? Well, for example, you can go to our local mall and buy a cheap folder with an 8" double-edged blade that has a mechanical hook on the back that will open the blade when you pull it out of your baggy-assed jeans, and that's apparently legal, but you cannot carry a fixed-blade knife with a 2-1/2" blade worn on your belt under your suit coat. Recently, a boy was convicted locally under the state's "dirk or dagger" provision for carrying a screwdriver in his pocket! He hadn't threatened anyone with it and it wasn't being used in the commission of any crime. If it had been openly suspended from his waist (i.e., in a sheath), there would have been no problem.

    Here's another oddity: it's not against the law to own, transport or display switchblades in California. However, you may not possess them upon your person or in the driver's or passengers' areas of a vehicle in a public place or place open to the public. You cannot sell, lend, give away or offer them for sale. You cannot mail them. But you can own them legally.

    I just HOPE to serve on a jury someday involving a non-violent knife possession case. Our knife laws are completely out of control.

  19. Esav Benyamin

    Esav Benyamin MidniteSuperMod

    Apr 6, 2000
    Local law eforcement is not an authoritative source. (Also, coming from Australia, 3rdMusketeer isn't in a great position to consult an attorney or look up the laws for himself -- something that's hard enough for us to do here.)
  20. 3rdMusketeer


    Mar 24, 2006
    Thank you very much for the advice in these replies. I think I understand the basics and the limitations in both, LA and NYC. I will bring a small utility folder and that would be that.

    BTW, here in AU our laws are little simpler, during the day and in public places you can carry a sharp object ONLY if you have a valid reason to do so, self defence is not a valid reason and in fact if you would say that as a reason, you would be in trouble straight away, even if it was a screwdriver on your person. A fisherman can carry a fillet knife, a tradesman can carry any tool he needs, a hunter can carry his knives in the car, a camper can have his sharp tools in the car and so it goes on. At night it gets harder, especially around public places such as pubs and hotels etc. no sharp tools of any kind allowed in or near these places.

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