Scout carry fixed blade in OR

Joined
Jan 9, 2021
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Greetings,

Recently picked up a ESEE 3 with a tech lok. I was intending on wearing it behind me on my belt scout carry style. But recently started worrying I was violating Oregon law. I saw some sites mention a Oregon case suggesting that it being on my belt keeps it from being a concealed weapon. What worries me is by having it scout carry (as I prefer it) and having a shirt or jacket cover it would it count as a concealed weapon or not?

My understanding of having a concealed knife is either having a knife lose in a pocket and/or concealing the knife as another item (like a ring or a belt buckle etc)
 
Joined
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Oregon lacks an statutory definition of concealment, but there is a general trend among all jurisdictions to interpret it as a situation where it's not discernible when looking at it from a reasonable distance of interaction. If your coat or shirt covers it to the point that one can't see it when they are standing a few feet away, even when the side of your body with the knife is facing them, it's concealed. If it's not covered, but they can't see it just because they are standing on the wrong side of you, that's not concealed.

Oregon's courts have ruled that even if partially covered, if the nature is obvious, it is not concealed. State v Turner, 2008:
Defendant appeals his conviction for carrying a concealed weapon, namely, a ninja sword. ORS 166.240.(1) The issue on appeal is whether the officer stopped defendant without reasonable suspicion to believe that defendant was carrying a concealed weapon. We review the trial court's denial of the motion to suppress for errors of law, State v. Woodall, 181 Or App 213, 217, 45 P3d 484 (2002), and conclude that, having seen a sufficient portion of the ninja sword to identify it as a sword, the officer did not reasonably suspect that it was "concealed" within the meaning of ORS 166.240. His stop of defendant was therefore unlawful, and the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress a second sword uncovered during the ensuing search. Accordingly, we reverse defendant's conviction.
 
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Joined
Jan 9, 2021
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Thank your for replying...But does this case: state vs walton 1974 set a different case law then what's mentioned in state vs Turner? I am not a legal expert. So hopefully I am understanding this right.


" Oregon caselaw, does suggest that a knife carried in a sheath at the waist is not concealed:

Like a gun in a holster, a knife carried openly in a sheath on the belt is not “concealed.” Cf. State v. Walton, 18 Or. App. 603, 526 P.2d 458, rev. den. (1974) (affirming on other grounds defendant’s conviction for carrying a knife in a scabbard at the waist, but concealed beneath his coat). Once the officer discovered that defendant carried his knife openly in a sheath at his waist, he no longer had reasonable suspicion, let alone probable cause, to suspect defendant of wrongdoing"
Quote from: https://www.akti.org/state-knife-laws/oregon/
 
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So that seems to be State v Johnson 1989 that's in turn referencing State v Walton 1974. I pulled the following quote from Johnson:
The officer testified that defendant wore a short leather jacket and carried a knife in a sheath on his belt. ORS 166.240(1) prohibits the carrying of a knife only if the knife is concealed. Neither the statute nor any prior case addresses the issue of whether a knife carried in a sheath at the waist is concealed, but we note that ORS 166.250(3) specifically provides that "[f]irearms carried openly in belt holsters are not concealed * * *." Like a gun in a holster, a knife carried openly in a sheath on the belt is not "concealed." Cf. State v. Walton, 18 Or. App. 603, 526 P.2d 458, rev. den. (1974) (affirming on other grounds defendant's conviction for carrying a knife in a scabbard at the waist, but concealed beneath his coat). Once the officer discovered that defendant carried his knife openly in a sheath at his waist, he no longer had reasonable suspicion, let alone probable cause, to suspect defendant of wrongdoing. The reason for the officer's stop of defendant having dissipated, the subsequent arrest and search were unjustified and therefore illegal.

Based on this and Turner above, it would appear that Oregon has established a relatively forgiving standard in that, if a cop can see it for any reason prior to a dedicated search, it's not concealed. This is preferable to some states that ruled that a cop's "specialized training" enables them to notice weapons that common citizens wouldn't, such as when a weapon "flashes" during movement but is otherwise concealed. Oregon's case law means that having a coat or shirt cover the knife partially or some of the time would be permissible, provided the knife shows in some way when you move or if it sticks out part way. If the knife is 100% concealed all the time and doesn't reveal itself at all until you're frisked, then it's a violation of the law.

Therein lies an bit of interesting philosophy on concealed carry: If you're concealment is loose, then you're not violating the law. If it's complete concealment, then you have to break some other law or act suspiciously, or the cop will never frisk you in the first place. I've read a lot of case law across the 50 states, and 99% of concealed weapons cases involve criminal/psych issue behavior prior to the weapon being found and made an issue of.
 
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While it seems that if the knife and sheath are covered by clothing they would fit the definition of "concealed," the law doesn't prohibit carrying all knives concealed, only dirks, daggers, switchblades, assisted openers, and similar knives. There's case law that a single-edged fixed blade knife with a 3.5" blade is not a dirk or dagger and is therefore legal to conceal.

See some the appellate case ruling here: https://caselaw.findlaw.com/or-court-of-appeals/1669603.html
 

Dergyll

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Feb 24, 2021
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Interesting, so most neck knives are concealed, even if the chain/paracord is visible?

I better be careful hiking with my M1 Backpacker then...
 
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