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Maximum blade length for fixed blades in CA

Discussion in 'Knife Laws' started by learnerofknives, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. learnerofknives


    Apr 5, 2012
    I've always had a knife on me, but they're always folders. I want to start carrying a fixed blade on me instead but I don't know if what I want to carry is too long. Any info would help!
  2. timmy<3bm


    Mar 14, 2011
    Use google bro. Go on Wikipedia and look up the laws for California to be sure. BUT if I remember correctly there is not a length limit as long as it is openly carried. It cannot be concealed.
  3. glistam


    Dec 27, 2004
    There is no length limit period. Any fixed blade is potentially a concealed weapon under California state law, so it must be carried openly in a belt sheath where it is visible and recognizable to other people. It is only in LA county that any visible knife (not concealed knife) must have a blade less than 3 inches long.
  4. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    This is the exact statute taken from the California state penal code- http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=20001-21000&file=20200
    You'll notice it puts no limit on the length of blade you can carry. And if the law doesn't specifically state a measurement limit, then there isn't one.

    It never hurts to print out the specific knife statutes that apply to the knives you are carrying and carry them in your wallet. I know of a few people who talked their way out of potential trouble by "educating" the cops on the specifics of the law.
  5. butterflyknives


    Jun 18, 2012
    On the state level there is no blade length but some local governments may have length restrictions and fix blades must be open under state law and this is not legal advise
  6. butterflyknives


    Jun 18, 2012
    But I have carried a full sized ka bar in town before with no problems and I live in CA
  7. JulianHayes


    Mar 17, 2012
    I live in CA, and understand no length limit IF openly carried. and that can mean very visible, i.e. if you wear a fixed blade on you belt, tuck in your shirt too.. And NO double edge blades, evan a sharpened top edge. I know I am mostly repeating what has been said, just my experience as a resident, and carrying even a case ridgeback (about 4 inches) I get some looks, so usually I feel like I have to go with a folder.. but that may be part of living in silicon valley. It always comes down to the officer if it comes to that, from what hear, but I play it safe, wont even pocket my little becker bk13 at about 2 inches.
  8. fast14riot

    fast14riot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2010
    Now for a technicality, I have carried a FB for a long time, legally, but now I am doubting that. The law specifically states "openly carried suspended from the waiste" but I carry a messenger bag on my bike and clip my knife to the strap. It does not get covered by my shirt or bag that way and puts it up higher on my torso, but is not "suspended from my waiste." Is this a technicality that can work against me in court if (god forbid) I ever end up in that situation?

  9. glistam


    Dec 27, 2004
    The part you speak of, Penal Code 20200, is not an exclusive definition of legal open carry like many seem to think. Rather, it clarification.

    Penal Code 21310 states it is illegal when a person "carries concealed upon the person any dirk or dagger," commonly interpreted by police officers and the courts as including any fixed blade knife, due to the lack of legislative definition for the word Dirk or Dagger. The aforementioned 20200 simply clarifies that belt sheaths do not count as concealed for purposes of that law. Other open carry methods are still considered open carry, and I think 20200 was passed to prevent LEO harassment of people who were employing the most common type of open knife carry.
  10. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    I live in California, and for what it's worth, more than a few cops have seen me carrying a fixed-blade in a back-pocket sheath, clearly NOT being suspended from my waist. In one case, a cop warned me that the tail of my jacket had at one point covered the exposed knife handle and that technically it was "conceald". But this was just a friendly warning and after I zipped up my jacket so it wouldn't cover the knife I was on my way.

    As always, every cop is different, and your mileage may vary, but as long as the knife is visible then I for one wouldn't worry about getting into trouble.
  11. fast14riot

    fast14riot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2010
    Thanx for the clarification, that's the rule I always went by, never hide it and its legal. I almost freaked out the other day when I took a short cut through the university campus on my bike and had my knife hanging there front and center on my chest! I know their laws are 2" or so, and I high tailed it to the nearest public street!

  12. Decimator22


    Sep 9, 2010
    No length limit, just make sure it's not concealed and you're gtg.
  13. Clang!


    Jul 26, 2010
    You should also note that there are prohibitions against knives that look like pens, lipsticks, etc, and/or non-mettalic. It has to look like a knife and if a fixed blade, be carried openly, to stay within state law.
  14. acourvil

    acourvil Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Dec 2, 2006
    Do you have a reference for this? I'm not aware of anything that specifically addresses double-edged knives.
  15. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    You know, you're right. I can't find anything in CA law that forbids carrying double-edged knives. In fact, CA law doesn't say anything about double-edged knives. It does say that you can't carry a "dirk or dagger", but it specifically says that you can't carry them conceald. It doesn't say anything about carrying them openly. Nor does it define a "dirk or dagger" as having two sharpened edges.

    All these years I've been under the impression that it was illegal to carry double-edged knives. It's funny, I always advise others to read and know the law yet I've always overlooked this one fact. Oh well, I guess you're never too old to learn.
  16. XiaolongJackson


    Jun 5, 2012
    Isn't there a law against carrying objects created for impaling, such as ice picks? Also, there's that whole intent thing that could end up being an issue.
  17. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    The only laws I found regarding ice picks specifically restrict carrying or possessing them on various school campuses. While the law specifically forbids carrying "dirk or daggers" conceald, that part of the law doesn't specifically mention ice picks. But it does describe and forbid carrying conceald objects that can be readily used as stabbing weapons.

    Bottom line, I wouldn't walk around carrying a conceald ice pick. A prosecuter might decide to use the "readily used as a stabbing weapon" part of the law to press charges. Of course I can think of various legitimate reasons why a person might be carrying an ice pick or an ice pick type item. After all, ice picks by there very name have a legitimate use and there are many legitimate tools that people use and carry that consist of long pointy metal objects. I believe that wether or not a cop arrests a person or a prosecuter files charges depends a lot on who the person is, any criminal record they may have, and what they were doing that caused them to be searched.
  18. JulianHayes


    Mar 17, 2012
    No, I don't have a reference. I just know a dirk or dagger to be double edged so I asked a local cop who knew knives when he was in my shop in Palo Alto. He told me anything double edged would be a bad idea, and could be argued as a dirk or dagger, but he didn't cite any penal codes. Sorry to mislead, that is just what I was told, and I asked him about a sharpened top edge because I wanted to open carry a esee 4 sharpened top edge, he said I should stick with the Case Ridgeback. Sorry, not formal, just what he told me.
  19. russamurai


    Feb 24, 2009
    I was in a large knife shop the other day talking to a sales guy who seemed well informed. He told me 5" or less for a fixed blade unless you are using it for hunting, camping, etc and its obvious you are en route to an activity that requires a greater than 5" blade. I was surprised by this, I've always heard no limit if visible.
  20. Nutty Knife Nut

    Nutty Knife Nut Banned BANNED

    Jul 22, 2012
    He's probably confused with other states laws, I think that's the length limiit in Texas.

    I have seen quite a few people carrying full size Ka Bar's in Cali.....I even had a conversation with the sherriff about knives and he said nothing about a length limit, he just said that its not illegal to open carry a fixed blade.

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