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Law on knives on Federal Property

Nov 25, 1998
Clinton, Phantom4, Bob Irons, Walker, and all other DC Knife Knuts, please look at the thread captioned "A Question of Size" in the Spydie forum. A guy there says that he has looked up the law on knives on federal property and the limit is 2.5". Ye Gads! Say it ain't so, Joe!

Walk in the Light,

Hugh, last week they confiscated my SAK minichamp! This knife is the same size as a Classic! I guess where I'm at the rule must be 2 1/2 millimeters.

who dares, wins

Hmmm... I would assume that doesn't mean DoD Federal property... Otherwise, I'm FUCT.

Yeah, right. They can't even find the REKAT Utility Neck Knife on me....

Work hard, play hard, live long.

Actually, it's in a Federal Facility, not on Federal property. A Federal Facility is "a building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties."

My dad is in the army reserves, and he says that they won't let them have anything over 3". I guess that qualifies as DOD. Screwed up world..

Just because I talk to myself doesn't mean I'm crazy. What's wrong with getting a second opinion?
I work in a Military headquaters with guards and card swipe machines throughout. I carry or have carried a Microtech D/A SOCOM, Emerson CQC-7 and Raven (thanks, Jeff), Benchmade Ascent, Spyderco Endura, and a custom Crawford with a 4 in. blade. I have never had problems, and with slacks, the blade clips are quite visible, especially when I had the SOCOM. I guess it is just a matter of how uptight the environment is. When I was active duty in a Special Operations unit, anything and everything was carried. The signs on the entryway state no fireams or explosives. Nothing about sharpened steel.

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
Don't try to carry a knife of any size into the Federal Courthouse in Ft. Worth. Judges, especially Federal judges can decide whatever they want. Then again, if you are really nice to those manning the x-ray machines and metal detectors, a leatherman Wave will get through... but I saw a tiny SAK confiscated just before me!

Dances with lemmings

This is not good news.

I know the guards where I work and this type of law is not enforced. Lot of blue collar tradesmen come and go with knives hanging off their belts. My discretely carried knife is ridiculously hidden compared to most.

However, any law on the books is still a law which can be enforced at any time. I don't think much of this one. Sorry if anyone gets hit by selective enforcement Phantom4
Bummer - did you get the SAK minichamp back?

I choose to disobey this law - it is not acceptable to me. Only if I go where I know it is enforced will I carry a smaller folder (as an exception). My daily carry(s) remain the same. If we don't act sane who will?
The 2 1/2" limit is correct. Here is the link http://law2.house.gov/uscode-cgi/fastweb.exe?getdoc+uscview+t17t20+528+11++%28knife%29%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20

Check it out. I work a federal facility and many of us here including my supervisors carry knives. None of us knew this but I had been told when I had worked at a DOD site, previous, that the limit there was 2 1/2" and would be enforced.

I am from now on carrying only a BM 330, 2.3" blade at work. I think if security here felt like it this rule could be enforced even selectively.
Looks like you've got it right beam. The blade length must be less than 2 1/2 inches. Any knife with a blade which is not less than 2 1/2 inches is considered a dangerous weapon according to Title 18 USC Sec. 930.

Also, this gets us into the little game of how do you measure the blade length. To be legal, that blade better be a bit under 2 1/2 inches - any way it is measured.

Yuck Yuck Upchuck - where has all the sanity gone?
Paragraph d.) sub Paragraph 3.)

(3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.

"or other lawfull purposes" seem to give a little bit of an out,
As for the 2.5 inches goes, well if you were confronted with the law and you did have a knife that has a blade not exceeding what the steel tape measures to be 2.5 inches, then you should definately be in the clear. After all who knows what 2.5 inches actually is? Thanks to this number called infinity, no one knows exactly where 2.5 inches is.
Just my opinion, and we all know about opinions.

If you think you know exactly what 2.5 inches is then please let me know, we need to be business partners!
You know, the interesting thing is that I was recently showing my Blue Native to one of the rent-a-cop guards at my office (SEC) and he was very interested and wanted to know how to get one. Yes, Spark, I did tell him and recommended the knife.

Walk in the Light,

So, the Feds can selectively choose to enforce US Code Title 18 Sec 930, but on the other hand selectively choose to ignore US Code Title 10 Chapter 13 Sec 311? What was the line that Indiana Jones said about the Nazis: "I hate those guys".
I guess thats why they made the Umfaan

The lawyers on rec.guns have covered this pretty thoroughly; it might even be in the rec.guns FAQs. The key phrase is the exception for lawful purposes -- only the carrying of weapons for unlawful purposes is prohibited.

My take on that law is it's just an excuse to put up conspicuous warning signs so nobody can say you're not doing anything about crime, but it could be used to add one more to the offenses a criminal is charged with, one more bargaining chip for the plea-bargaining negotiation.

Courthouses are entirely different; there the judges make the rules and they can (and do) prohibit all weapons. Some courthouses simply prohibit all knives.

-Cougar Allen :{)

P.S. Last time I had business at my local Social Security office I had to wait long enough to read all the signs, all the way through. They were pretty entertaining -- a horrifying list of awful penalties for bringing any of a very long list of objects into the building ... and if you read all the way to the end you come to ... for the purpose of threatening, kidnapping, holding hostage ... etc. ... any federal employee.

I wonder how many hostages haven't been taken because of that law?

-Cougar :{)
"Lawful purposes" seems to mean whatever the Federal Protective Service wants it to mean. The guards were searching all packages, including those belonging to employees, here at the Oakland, CA federal building last December. They wouldn't let someone bring in a bread knife to cut a cake (yes, they also had the cake). On the other hand, they've never hassled me about anything I've walked in carrying. These days I choose to go with something under 2 1/2" to help keep my life simple.
I had my Ross Aki sleeve sabre shipped to work(NIST, part of the DoC), they X-Ray all packages, and called me in to make sure I knew it was coming. They had no problem with the Kershaw RandomTask I used to open the box, but told my I couldn't carry the Sabre.

Don't forget to pay your taxes...they eventually become my knives:)

Well, I'll be danged! Oh well, I guess I'm better off, now that I know that the knives I carry (all of them) are illegal where I work. 'Course, like someone said, there is that "unlawful purposes" out. The purpose they're carried will only become unlawful if someone tries to take them, I suppose. Man, I'm really not in a good mood today, now!

Work hard, play hard, live long.

Nice piece of research Mr. Blake, and disturbing. I've worked on DoD and DoE sites for years and never run into problems. Carefully reading the citation I note that the "Federal Facility" definition requires the presence of Federal employees performing their jobs. This could explain the why sites run by prime and sub contractor are not subject to this rule. Or more likely it's not being aware of the existance of the rule.

Again thanks for the quick work.

Take care,