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CA katana and sword laws

Discussion in 'Knife Laws' started by VictoriaSparda, Jul 16, 2006.

  1. VictoriaSparda


    Jul 16, 2006
    I am seriously thinking about buying a katana (I have training and know how to properly use one) for the purpose of self defense, I need to know the sword laws for something like this, it would rarly leave my home (though it might if need be) and would not be concealed (carried in the sheath I would hold my hand or mount on my back).

    I had thought of getting a handgun, but here in Cali you cannot purchase or possess a handgun until you are 21 (I am 18), thus I'm going with my second best weapon, the katana.

    I know I'll be asked why I need such a weapon for self defense so I'll explain that now, my father is an abusive drunk and I am scared he may try to find me out here in Cali, if he does, then I'm dead, literally. So far he has not tryed to come out here, but he is unpredictable and the cops here act too slow to be of much help if my father does show up unexpectedly. A normal sized knife would be no defense against my father, trust me, I've seen him get stabbed before, he pulled out the knife and beat the **** out the other guy.

    I've looked for local laws on sword carrying but have had no luck, can someone please help me find the info or tell me what you know about the legality of carrying/owning a katana at age 18 in California?
  2. collins


    Jul 17, 2006
    it would be insane to carry a katana out in public. i carry a 7" blade Kabar and i get tons of flak for it from law enforcement...although i have never been charged with anything, nor my knife taken away.

    if you planned on keeping it in your house, i could see no problem with that. as long of course it stayed within your property.

    laws can be kind of hazy since cities often have their own ordinances. it's hard to find good sources of information on the internet. i have had some luck in calling the CHP and asking them. surprisingly helpful.

    sorry to hear about your dad...he seriously pulled a knife out of his body and proceeded to beat the other guy down? that is hardcore...
  3. Bors


    Mar 23, 2000
    This is a good place to start:

    Having just reciently moved from California I can say that California's Law is very spacific in regards to fixed knifes. Walking down the street with a sword will get you all kinds of attention from the police and from sheeple passerby's. If you attempt to conceal it at all it's an automatic Felony. Concealing a Fixed knife in california regardless of blade length is a Felony. Also if a foldeing knife is in the "opened" position and concealed it is treated as a "Fixed" knife and is a Felony. If it is closed then your OK. Technically their in no blade length limits on a folding knife in California however in practice the police tend to use the "Spirit" of the law rather than the Technically side. Which is to say that blade lengthes less than 4" inches are OK and over 4" inches are "very questionable". Also they take in to account the situation. Being 18 also tends to compound things, bottom line your life will much better off if you don't go their. ;)
  4. the possum

    the possum

    Jul 31, 2002
    Victoria, I've decided against my better judgement and am gonna post something as though your story were entirely true. Even if it were, your take on the whole situation sounds like it's coming from right field, Lunar League.

    You have reasonable belief that someone may come hunt you down and kill you, and your first questions are about laws pertaining to owning a sword, possibly to be carried around strapped to your back. M'kay... Where do we begin?

    If you're that concerned for your life, where do the laws fit in? How big a risk are we talking here? If it's worth risking a felony charge over, then ya may as well make it a weapon that's more effective and easier to conceal at the same time. Such as, I dunno, a trebuchet? No, wait a minute, how about a gun?

    Why are you only concerned about being safe at home? You think he might be able to find your house, but not where you work or hang out? You don't think he'd just wait for you at your place and make his move before you got inside to your weapons?

    Does your demeanor and appearance attract attention?

    Where did you recieve training that deals with modern day self defense from an abusive drunk? The only Japanese sword arts I'm familiar with deal with a similarly armed opponent. (or maybe one with a pole arm) What intructor told you to carry a sword strapped to your back?

    Are you mentally and physically ready for something like this? A guy who can pull a knife from his body and still pummel somebody like Ahnold da Governator doesn't sound like the kind of guy I'd wanna go up against, sword or not. Having a weapon does not mean you're armed. Experienced criminals or tough guys could still easily get the upper hand even without weapons. And further, have you ever killed any living thing with a big blade like this? Are you emotionally prepared to personally kill your father in about the most gruesome way there is? If so, then how come you never fought back when he was abusing you? What's changed now?

    It sounds like you've already uprooted and moved away from him to escape the threat. (assuming any of this is true.) That's good. But, if you can do that, then why don't you go a step further and move to a different state that does recognize the right of self preservation? What's so great about California? I know, I don't have much room to talk being from Illinois, but I'm tied to the land, and I don't have someone after me.

    I am perfectly ready to admit I am in no way qualified to offer sound advice for a situation like this. And I strongly suggest you ask this someplace more tailored to this kind of discussion if you're sincere. I'm only asking some questions to get you thinking, because sword laws aught to be about the last question to ask in this situation.
    Charlie Mike likes this.
  5. VictoriaSparda


    Jul 16, 2006
    I had fought back against him, otherwise I would not be alive right now, I currently carry a folding knife with me, but i know that if it comes down to it, my little 2 inch knife won't even bother him. And yes, if he comes after me I am ready to kill him if need be, i don't even consiter that monster a father. I like cali and have reasons to stay. Believe me or not, I have the scars to prove my past.
  6. the possum

    the possum

    Jul 31, 2002
    Very well, then. Sorry to be a dick with your first post and all. There's just some things there that don't seem to add up to me. Could you please explain the situation a little more fully?
  7. khagler


    Sep 7, 2002
    It's been a while since I had to worry about minimum age laws, so I could be wrong about this, but I believe the minimum age to by a long gun is 18 here in California. You can confirm this at your local gun store, but if I'm right, then your first and second choice for a home defense weapon should be a shotgun.

    As others have noted, even if it's technically legal under state law, carrying a sword in public will get you a great deal of cop attention. You can legally carry any size folding knife (although in some locales such as LA you'll need to keep it concealed, such as in your pocket), but you might consider buying a sturdy cane.
    betover likes this.
  8. mp510


    Mar 20, 2006
    For your home, a pump action shotgun should definetely be given consideration and with some training will give you much "better" results than a Katana.

    You may want to look into the legality of carrying an air taser for personal protecion. see www.taser.com
    betover likes this.
  9. akennedy73


    May 5, 2006
    Whomever stabbed your father doesn't know anatomy very well. A severed femoral artery will quickly cause the loss of consciousness and death will follow within minutes.

    Carrying a katana is not practical for self-defense since you'll quickly be arrested. Even in the home, it's use is somewhat restricted unless you have quite spacious living quarters - as a weapon it was designed for use when outdoors. Hence, the development of the wakizashi for indoors. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wakizashi

    The best weapon is the weapon you have with you. That is why unarmed self-defense is such a valuable skill - because your body is always with you.

    Unlike a katana, a fixed-blade knife can always be with you. You can even easily sleep with it on your person. Sleeping with a katana is impractical.

    A reliable katana will cost over five hundred dollars - a reliable sheath knife will cost you less than a hundred. Take the several hundred dollars you save and enroll in a martial arts class.

    If you have received training for the sword, you can receive training for the knife.

    For home defense, I agree with what others have said - get a pump 12 gauge which you can legally purchase and possess at your age. For defense outside your home carry a knife until you are 21.
    betover and Charlie Mike like this.
  10. LUCKY_D20


    May 8, 2018
    I know this is many years too late. But the reaponses in this thread amaze me. Anyways in 2005 I took a walk with a Nodachi(6" Katana) in downtown Antioch CA. Yes I was stopped by a police officer who asked me about it. After reciting the where in the penal code 12020 that my fixed blade of more then 3" qualified for me to tell him to piss off. And he polite did so. Even if you have a felony and are not on parole or probation, you are still good as long as you follow the 12020.
    Charlie Mike likes this.
  11. Charlie Mike

    Charlie Mike Sober since 1-7-14 (still a Paranoid Nutjob) Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 1, 2000
    Yup... Ex felon here. I carry this on my belt. No worries. 20180505_202413.jpg IMG_20180505_161000_125.jpg
    Man with no name likes this.
  12. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    I know this is an old thread, but I just thought I'd mention for the sake of accuracy that here in California carrying a concealed "dirk or dagger" is not necessarily a felony. Such an offense is referred to in the California criminal justice system as a "wobbler". That is the term used for a crime where the prosecution has the option to charge the defendant with either a misdemeanor or a felony.

    The two statutes in the California penal code that refer to the concealed carry of "dirks or daggers" (which is how California law refers to all fixed-blades) are 21310 and 21390, and neither refer to such a crime being a felony.

    Now if you are a convicted felon, it's a guarantee that the prosecutor will charge as a felony, and push for the maximum sentence. If you have no criminal record, and were not engaged in any criminal activity when you were caught carrying concealed, then the prosecutor would likely charged you with a felony, with the intent of pleading you out on a misdemeanor. But make no mistake, a misdemeanor conviction can really suck and cause you all kinds of unpleasantness (like being on probation for 3 years).

    As for carrying a sword in public, although I am a bit of a proponent of openly carrying a fixed-blade, in compliance with California law, and did so for many years here without issue, I have no doubt that a sword would eventually result in contact with law enforcement. And it only takes one little mistake on your part, and one cop who is a little too quick on the trigger, and then you get shot.

    Not to mention the various businesses that would probably ask you to leave if you walked in carrying a sword, or the difficulty using any form of public transportation, or meeting women, etc, etc.
  13. Man with no name

    Man with no name

    Jun 24, 2015
    CHAPTER 4. Dirk or Dagger [21310 - 21390]
    ( Chapter 4 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )

    Except as provided in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17700) of Division 2 of Title 2, any person in this state who carries concealed upon the person any dirk or dagger is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

    (Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 43, Sec. 94. (SB 1023) Effective June 27, 2012.)
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
    Charlie Mike likes this.
  14. Man with no name

    Man with no name

    Jun 24, 2015

    A knife carried in a sheath that is worn openly suspended from the waist of the wearer is not concealed within the meaning of Section 16140, 16340, 17350, or 21310.

    (Added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. (SB 1080) Effective January 1, 2011. Operative January 1, 2012, by Sec. 10 of Ch. 711.)
    Charlie Mike likes this.
  15. LUCKY_D20


    May 8, 2018
    I should also add that to this day I still actively carry a big blade and have only been stopped about it a few times. I have walked into many restaurants with a full daisho on my hip with no issues. It is also a good conversation piece while on a date. I personally prefer a karambit and wakizashi now. A lot less cumbersome. The only issues I have even encounter is government property. Expect parks. But that is expected. Now I have had regular people ask me about it. But they usually ask about my leather bracers first. As for worrying about a police officer shooting me? Well from my understanding they shoot people for anything they feel like these days. Real or imagined. So that is a fear no matter where you go or do. I can say that the only times I have had someone attempt to rob me is when I decided not to take my usual Everyday Carry.
  16. Charlie Mike

    Charlie Mike Sober since 1-7-14 (still a Paranoid Nutjob) Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 1, 2000
    Twist ending ;)
  17. TheNeonDemon


    Jan 13, 2019
    OMG real Californians don't call it "Cali" UGHHHHHH i guess your a tourist or transplant ugggghhhh
  18. TheNeonDemon


    Jan 13, 2019
    i live in Antioch too lol but im not afraid of the cops LOL funny

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