legal question for Californians

Apr 7, 1999
I don't remember the penal code that lists what is legal and illegal to carry concealed. All I can remember is that any stabbing implement is considered a dirk or dagger. My question is: is it legal to carry a fixed blade concealed that has a blunt tip like Carson's chisel tip intrepid or a diver probe knife? This way the knife is no longer a stabbing implement.
Penal Code secton 12020 says that a "dirk" or "dagger" means a knife or other instrument that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury
or death. I'm not an LEO, nor a lawyer, but my guess is that if the you-know-what hits the fan, you're going to be hiring a lawyer unless your fixed blade knife doesn't come to any sort of point at all.

Yes, say there was no point at all. I could file a knife into the shape of a butter knife, and I could dull the tip to the point where it could no longer stab a piece of cheese. Then would it be legal, or does the law include anything with a blade as well as a point?
As you discuss this, take note that the language of the law and its interpretation are two different things. In the early days of this law, a guy got hauled into court for a Spyderco mariner (absolutely NO POINT), the judge must have been having a bad day because he ruled the mariner "capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon ...". I think the ruling was eventually reversed or dropped, but that guy probably had a pretty bad time of it.

I personally wouldn't carry a fixed blade concealed in CA, period. There are plenty of good folders that are more law-friendly.

First off, the laws were changed after that dumb Mariner case, BECAUSE of that case.

In Penal Code 653k, folders with a manual one-hand opening device (both holes and studs are mentioned) are declared 100% guaranteed legal.

Penal Code 12020 was later patched to declare folders that are carried folded "not readily available" and therefore OK to conceal. Nowhere in any of this or 653k is a length limit.

The real problem is that you cannot conceal a "readily avalable stabbing implement". Lengths aren't mentioned, neither is double versus single edge.

Now, the rules were written after a fatal stabbing with a wood chisel in SF. So I would NOT assume something with a chisel-like business end will slip by.

There's some reason to believe a "true sheepsfoot" could pass as a non-stabber. A "true sheepsfoot" has an unsharpened spine that rolls down to a straight edge and hits at a 90degree angle. For examples, see - I'm very fond of the A500 as a plausible CA-legal concealable backup. In comparison, the Spydie Mariners don't drop the spine down to the blade at 90degrees and therefore could make better stabbers - but remember, as folders the Spydies are OK regardless, I'm just comparing tip structures.

Mad Dog once developed a weird critter called the "street razor" that had two sheepsfoot tips with a grip sticking up from the middle, an attempt to build a "combat sheepsfoot".

I think the sheepsfoot tip is the safest "legally concealed fixed blade" you can pull off. In the case of the Myerchin, the length is modest enough that you could probably avoid major hassles...try and conceal a 12" sheepsfoot and you'll get MAJOR trouble.

Jim March