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Open carrying a fixed blade knife when camping in Washington

Discussion in 'Knife Laws' started by RedHawk454, Sep 26, 2018.

  1. RedHawk454


    Sep 26, 2018
    hi all, I'm planning a two week camping/backpacking trip next May in the Olympic National Forest and possibly Mt Rainier. I've read a lot about Washingtons knife laws, and it appears I can legally open carry anything but if someone becomes triggered by seeing a knife being open carried in a sheath, they could call police and I could potentially get hit with some kindof menacing charge.

    "It is also illegal to carry or display a dagger, sword, knife, or other cutting or stabbing instrument in a manner or under circumstances that would cause alarm or show an intent to intimidate another. In 1994, in State v. Spencer, the Supreme Court of Washington held that there must be a sufficient basis for the alarm, such that a reasonable person would be alarmed. Also in 1994, the Court held, in State v. Byrd, that because the display of a weapon in a manner that caused reasonable fear or alarm could be done without intent, a violation of the statute did not require intent. This means that one does not have to intend to cause alarm or fear in order to be guilty of a crime under the statute."


    "It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk, dagger, or other dangerous weapon. It is legal to open carry any type of weapon, so long as it is not carried in a way that may cause others alarm."



    It would be remote/dispersed camping and hiking. Seems a lot of issues with open carry of anything has to do within city limits. The knife I would be carrying would be a TOPS kukuri or a Benchmade Arvensis

    I don't want to be paranoid, but has anyone had a problem with Washington state when camping and hiking?
  2. Pointshoot777

    Pointshoot777 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 16, 2001
    I’ve never had a problem carrying a fixed blade knife while camping, hunting, or fishing in WA state. I don’t recall ever hearing of anyone having a problem. If concerned about that, maybe a more modest sized blade would be less likely to draw the attention of someone. Or, just carry what you want and deal with it if someone makes a stink over it. The laws are written in a vague manner (purposely?) Its up to a law enforcement officer’s descretion as to if you’ve violated the law or not.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  3. Dadpool

    Dadpool Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2015
    I have open carried my Busse SHE2, which has an ~8" blade, on hikes and camping trips in WA with no issues.

    I do consider where I am before doing so, though. In a campground near Rainier? No worries. Up at Paradise with bus loads of tourists? I leave it in the car and pack a folder instead.
    Pointshoot777 and Casinostocks like this.
  4. Pointshoot777

    Pointshoot777 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 16, 2001
    Of course, having to choose what to carry based on the possibility that some &[email protected]! might get triggered and call the police, totally sucks. But that’s the world we live in today . . unfortunately.

    The ‘standard’ is if some ‘reasonable’ person might feel ‘intimidated’. So that’s where blade size might come into play. Who knows
  5. RedHawk454


    Sep 26, 2018
    Thanks for all the responses. Washington's laws are pretty vague and I agree that places of high population are more likely to be an issue.

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