Carrying fixed blades un-concealed in CA

Apr 7, 1999
I know that a concealed neck knife is a felony in CA, but if I just strapped a Ghurka to my belt and had it in plain view could I still get in trouble? Fixed blades which are not concealed in CA are still ok right?
Don't know about else where, but for Los Angeles county, anything over three inches is not legal to carry in plain view. Here is a link to it, check it out! it's under Title 13. Public peace, Morals and Welfare

[This message has been edited by EW (edited 07 September 1999).]
It's OK to carry a "dirk or dagger" in CA as long as it's not concealed.

"Knives carried in sheaths which are worn openly suspended from the waist of the wearer are not concealed ...".

...However, I wouldn't walk around w/ a gurkha, unless you want to attract a lot of attention.
A Gurkha being a soldier from Nepal, strapping him to your belt WOULD be cause for concern for the law enforcement community.

you're thinking of the Gurkha's knife, the khukuri.

[This message has been edited by tallwingedgoat (edited 07 September 1999).]
I have a 9" blade custom fighter that's "conceptually a little bit like a Khukuri". I designed a Kydex sheath for it that tries to be "open carry enough to be Calif-legal, concealed enough not to freak people out TOO much". I don't have time to manually find the thread but there's pics and specs over on the HI forum...set the "way-back counter" to a year, and manually step through each screenload of're looking for a huge thread (20+ msgs) with the word "kydex" in the title, started by somebody other than me.

Try and find that thread, you may be surprised.

Jim March
Hey tallwingedgoat, this is California you're talking about -- walking around with other people strapped to your belt is pretty much standard fare here; LEO's here won't take much notice unless both of you are naked and one of you is on fire.

-- Carl
I generally carry a fixed blade. While I don't wander around with an Ang Khola, I do usually have a Pygmy ATAK, Wild Thing or Mirage Hunter on my belt. Never had a problem with even a second look from a LEO. The guys at the local Post Office were nervous for a while though. Ocaisionally I wander in to pick up my mail with an ATAK or a Panther just for fun.
Please note I live in a rural area although I have never had any trouble carrying in the Bay Area or the coast. The gang bangers in Fresno certainly take notice. It's kind of fun to watch their reaction.
I really think that a small fixed blade in a very inconpicuous belt sheath that can be carried at the front of the waistband is the way I would like to go. An under 5" blade would be comfortable for me to explain to an LEO as a utility blade in the unlikely event of some chance meeting. I would really like to carry my custom Black Cloud Sharktooth, but at 6.5 double-edged inches, a person might get hassled no matter how clean-cut you look. Besides, whatever I carry has to get past my sisters-in-law, or I don't get to play with my nephews and nieces.

As long as you stay out of LA County, whatever you carry should be legal as long as it is openly carried at the waist. Jim March's friend was arrested for a knife openly carried in a boot sheath, even though it was part of a costume wedding. Just goes to show there are LEOs out there who are big enough rectal orifaces to hassle anybody for anything. Much as I would enjoy carrying my fighting bowie, I just don't want to risk the hassle.

California State law doesn't say anything about blade length as long as it's in a "Comercially availible sheath, suspended from the belt...." or something like that. It those pesky local laws that'll get you. ;-) Davis, CA for example (near Sacramento) will hit you for anything over 3" no matter what. But, as with anything, it's all a matter of intent and attitude.

[This message has been edited by C Rushing (edited 07 September 1999).]
There's nothing about the sheath needing to be "commercially available". In truth, it does NOT even need to be suspended from the waist.

OK, goto:

Pull up Penal Code 12020 (the menus are fairly straightforward. The law DOES say that "readily available stabbing implements" must be carried "openly". It then gives an *example* of legal carry: "openly suspended from the waist".

That's not a REQUIREMENT. In theory, openly carried anywhere else is fine - that's how my buddy at the wedding got off at trial. Note that the REAL problem the cops had was the swords...they cited myself and him on a "no dangerous weapons in the county park" ordinance but that was only an infraction, the DA dropped it, I got my swords back (so did he).

What went wrong in my buddy's case was he had a double-edge fixed-blade openly carried on ankle. The arresting officer *thought* that double-edge knives were blanket illegal.

I talked to his commander later, who admitted that the cop was corrected on that point.

Once the cop got excited over double-edge, he made a felony arrest. When they realized that was a blooper, they altered the charge to a "concealed carry of a readily available stabbing implement" bust.

Such concealed carry is indeed illegal - but the wedding photos showed open carry on ankle! In addition, pics at the wedding taken during the sword arch showed other people at the part playing frisbee and in general not freaked out at all.

If it hadn't been for those wedding photos he'd be a convicted felon by now.

Jim March
this is not good! What do you mean he would have been a convicted felon if you didn't have the pictures? That means that the court would not have bought your arguement that the knife was never concealed, had there been no pictures. Wouldn't it come down to a simple question addressed to the police officer: was the knife visable or not? If there were no pictures and he said "no it was not visable" then you are screwed even if you wear a fixed blade open on your belt. Say you have an unbuttoned jacket over your shirt, or say the sheath is sticking out from under a long shirt to unconceal it. What is to prevent an officer from saying, "at the time the shirt or jacket was draped over the knife sheath fully concealing it." I think you might be better off completely concealing the thing so that you don't get hasseled in the first place. Or just carry a folder. I have never been searched or stopped and eyed by an officer in my life, but I would hate to give someone else the power of interpretation when it comes to something as serious as a felony charge against me. Thats serious career threatening stuff we are talking about here. Of course I am paranoid since I live in Berkeley.

[This message has been edited by generallobster (edited 07 September 1999).]
Thats a wicked looking blade that you designed. I like it! What a day it would be to live in a time and place where strapping one of those to your leg would be socialy and legally acceptable! But lo, a Ghurka on the leg is OK, but a khukri isn't. Oh well.

"But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword let him sell his garment and buy one." Luke 22:36 & John 3:18
OK, check this out. If you carry a dagger (doulbe edged), or dirk?(just about any fixed blade knife fits the definition of dirk if you think about it
) concealed, you are committing a felony in Ca.- However I was also under the impression that you couldn't carry these in an exposed sheath either. Thoughts/comments are welcome.
If the knife is carried on your belt, I'd say you're pretty safe. Technically you could walk down main street with a katana strapped to your back, and it isn't illegal. But that doesn't mean that you won't be charged with 'Meyham' (whatever the hell that means- honestly, do they have crimes like this just so they can f*ck with you about SOMETHING?) or some other bull**** infraction.

Now here's a statement, do what you will with it: It is earier to get forgiveness, than it is to get permission. As long as you aren't carrying the dreaded 'pnumatic knife'(???????)
From the info I have gotten from James Mattis, LA has a city ordinance prohibiting "open" carry of blade over a certain length without a good reason, i.e. on your way to a trout stream or something. That pretty much gets you in a double-bind with the state code that says no concealed carry. The city of Davis seems to be another exception.

In the bulk of the state though, as long as the knife is visible, and easily recognizeable, you are obeying the law. Then all you have to worry about are cops who don't know the law and have nothing better to do than hassle somebody who is minding his own business. Hey, apparently, just being African-American and owning a new car is enough to get you pulled over on a weekly basis by the proud constabulary of some of California's cities.

Oops...the commercially availible sheath thing was for folders on the waist that may or may not be covered my a shirt or something. My Bad.

I'm not positive (I hate trying to wade my way through legalize) but I believe the "no carrying in plain view" ordinance is directed towards folders (and maybe LA county as well).
General Lobster raises some VERY good questions. In essence, yes, the cops failed to bust Terrence on double-edge so they fabricated a concealed carry charge. The photos proved otherwise. I told him several times to sue the HELL out of 'em for perjury and wrongful prosecution but he didn't want to deal with it.

The truth is, until one of these dirty cops and their departments get *seriously* penalized for this BS they'll keep doing it. CCW bias and corruption is the same way, nothing will change until one department is made to far, it's been just settlements where they fixed things, or promised to.

Now, in Terry's case there were a whole lot of things that went wrong at once. There were swords involved, #1...Terry is rather "counter-culture-looking", not a druggie but he's 20, leather trenchcoat, the double-edge piece was exposed on his ankle because he'd run out of exposed real estate on his belt (the area not hidden by the coat), he had long hair, shaved sides of head and a goatee.

THAT DOESN'T MAKE IT RIGHT, no question, but...hmmm. It did raise his odds of being harassed.

My suggestion: if you open-carry big, legal but controversial cutlery it's a good idea to have lots of people you know be able to say you always open-carried - IN CASE you get a cop who doesn't like knives try and lie to nail you on a concealed bust. In my case, I talk about my open-carry methods on the forums, lots of people have seen my rig, if worst came to worse I could give a strong impression that I know CA knife laws pretty damn well. All that could indeed end up as evidence. I've recently had two Richmond police officers see The Outsider's full sheathed length, I passed the "attitude check", offered to let 'em sit on it (they were taking me to recover my stolen bike in the back of their car) and basically, they were a bit surprised but not unpleasant or unprofessional. No problemo. I think the odds of me having to print out every sheath and knife law discussion I've ever been involved in and have them read to a jury are quite low, but I realize it's possible.

And I guarantee this: if I can show it's a false concealed charge, I'm gonna sue and sue BIG. Nothing else will stop this from happening to anyone else.

Jim March
Equal Rights for CCW Home Page