Updated: April 20, 2020

California Knife Law

california state seal
California has relatively friendly knife laws, but as you can expect, with large urban centers like L.A. and others, there are some differences between urban laws and restrictions in other regions. Unlike other states who’s knife law is out of date, California’s is modern and up-to-date. This article will talk about what is legal, illegal, and in the gray area concerning knives in California.

Legal Knives in California

  • Bowie knives are legal.
  • Large knives are legal (no restrictions in size).
  • Carrying knives in the open is legal in California.
  • Carrying knives concealed is legal in California for most knives.

Illegal Knives under California Knife Laws

  • Misleading knives are illegal. These include cane knives (and shobi-zues), lipstick knives, belt knives, air gauge knives, and pen knives.
  • All undetectable knives are illegal. These include knives that won’t set off metal detectors.
  • Ballistic knives are illegal.
  • Switchblades with a blade over 2 inches long are illegal to carry (see penal code section 21510)
  • Daggers and Dirks are illegal to carry concealed

What the law is trying to get at are knives usually used by criminals to commit crimes. These are knives that don’t look like knives or don’t have a use as a tool. For example, you typically don’t do much with a dagger other than stab things.

Here is an overview (non-exhaustive) of illegal knives as per the California Penal Code pertaining to knives:

  • (c) A ballistic knife, as prohibited by Section 21110.
  • (d) A belt buckle knife, as prohibited by Section 20410.
  • (h) A cane sword, as prohibited by Section 20510.
  • (i) A concealed dirk or dagger, as prohibited by Section 21310.
  • (m) A leaded cane or an instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a billy, blackjack, sandbag, sandclub, sap, or slungshot, as prohibited by Section 22210.
  • (n) A lipstick case knife, as prohibited by Section 20610.
  • (o) Metal knuckles, as prohibited by Section 21810.
  • (r) A nunchaku, as prohibited by Section 22010.
  • (s) A shobi-zue, as prohibited by Section 20710.
  • (y) A writing pen knife, as prohibited by Section 20910.

Sec. 21510. Every person who does any of the following with a switchblade knife having a blade two or more inches in length is guilty of a misdemeanor: (a) Possesses the knife in the passenger’s or driver’s area of any motor vehicle in any public place or place open to the public. (b) Carries the knife upon the person. (c) Sells, offers for sale, exposes for sale, loans, transfers, or gives the knife to any other person.

It is legal to own, sell, buy, and transport a switchblade as long as it is less than 2 inches. The state of california knife laws has ruled that a Balisong knife is a switchblade because of how easily it can be opened. However, you can still buy Balisong knives that are over 2 inches if you do not carry it in the driver or passenger seat or on you. Simply put, if you buy Balisongs to collect and leave it at home, it is 100% OK.

Concealed Carry

Concealed weapons are seen as posing a significant danger to the general public and as such, they are heavily regulated.  It is not legal to conceal carry a dagger or other double-edged knife.  This is a per California Penal Code Sect. 21310 PC.

While it seems a bit foolish to us, the law allows someone to open carry a dagger.  That means that if you carry a concealed dagger and intend NO harm (and even forget you have it), you are guilty of a crime.  On the other hand, if you open carry a dagger and want to kill someone, you can legally walk right up to your intended target and put your hand on the handle ready to pull it out and stab them in the ribs, you’re good!  No law is broken!

To prove someone is guilty of carrying a concealed illegal weapon like a dirk or dagger, the prosecutor has to establish the following elements:

  • The accused was aware they were carrying the knife
  • The accused did effectively conceal the knife on their person
  • The accused actually carried the illegal dagger/knife
  • The accused knew that the knife could be used for malicious purposes

A dirk or dagger is a knife or other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death. Most pocketknives and folding knives are not considered to be dirks or daggers unless the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position.

It is not necessary that the accused intended to use the dagger as a weapon in order to be successfully convicted for carrying a concealed dirk or dagger under California Penal Code Section 21310 PC.

You can read more info on the California Penal Code as it pertains to legal/illegal knives HERE.

For specifics on knife laws in the city limits of LOS ANGELES, read our post HERE.

Conclusion on California Knife Laws

If you are in California you can buy, own, transport, and carry any knife you want as long as it is not a forbidden knife. You can also collect Balisongs without worry.

Dirk knives and daggers are illegal to carry concealed.  Switchblades with a blade 2 or longer are illegal to carry.  A wide variety of unusual knives are also illegal to carry.  Violation of the carry statute is a felony.  Carrying a switchblade may be a misdemeanor (see Discussion for more).

Note that this is not legal advice and there is no client-attorney relationship.  As always, I have to tell you that you’ll need to consult with an attorney or legal professional in the state of California for “official” advice on this topic.  If you have a question, leave it in the comment below. Some cities and municipals might have their own knife laws so check with your city. We are also looking for an attorney to do a quick interview about California knife laws.

Peter Stec
Latest posts by Peter Stec (see all)
  • Comments

  • Samuel says:

    Hello, would it be legal for me to conceal a fixed blade knife at my place of business?

    • Jake says:

      As long as your business is on private property that you own or that someone else owns and has no anti weapons policies in place, you can totally conceal carry a fixed blade on your person ????????

  • Sam H says:

    Is a karambit fox blade legal in LA or all of CA if it is NOT double-edged only one sharp edge?

  • Terence Adams says:

    I live in Los Angeles and Butt Darts are legal to shoot anytime. Also once on a trip to the farallon islands we saw a 12-14 foot
    Great White shark and it yelled “Smell my fingggherrrr!”

  • Jen Farmer says:

    It should never be illegal to own something. It should only be illegal to harm others with things.

    We give the keys to 16 year olds for 2000 lb of carnage making. Give us the pen knife.

  • David Sherlock says:

    Is an “Automatic” knife considered to be a “Switch Blade” knife in CA? Does it matter if it opens OTF or from the side? Does it matter whether it is less than, equal to or greater than 2″ in length?

    Thank you

    • Kai Lambert says:

      YES, side opening autos (gerber 06, Kalashnikov, etc.) are considered to be switchblades as well as OTFs(ultratech, deadlock, etc.). However, there are a number of CA legal autos. (some of)Those being the Kershaw Launch 4 and 10, the Protech Sprint and Runt, and (OTF!!) the Microtech Exocet

  • james says:

    is it legal to have a credit card knife to explain its a credit card that folds into a blade thank you?

  • jim Johnson says:

    lots of talks about the state that does everything backwards…put it this way if your intent is to cut your cheese and tomatoes then you don’t need a switchblade longer than 2 ” if your intent is to defend yourself you are SOL … move to a normal state as of now you do reside in the wrong state. (The Socialist Republic of california)

    • Anonymous says:

      What are the legality of butterfly knives/balisongs?
      I would like to flip my knives in public

  • Mitchell says:

    So I assume when camping or hiking in the national forests in California that it is okay to have a fixed blade openly carried in its sheath as long as long its openly carried?

    • Eibren Lara says:

      I carry my fixed blade out in the open everywhere. I never have any problems. You don’t have to be camping to carry a fixed blade. When open carrying a fixed blade, dirk, dagger, etc. You must have your shirt in a way that it’s not over the handle and completely visible. If you are wearing a jacket, you must have the handle sticking out with the sheath visible also.

    • Smartn't says:

      So is there any way I can have a Balisong maintained (taking it to a knife smith)?

    • James says:

      I live in the city in California, and I regularly carry a full size Kabar on my belt. Gives me some peace of mind since I’ve got to cross a pretty large field to get from my parked car to my house at night. Keep ’em sharp, and keep ’em with ya.

    • Dave says:

      You can wear a fixed blade knife anywhere in California of any length as long as its not concealed

  • Bdogg636 says:

    I live in California and want to buy a samurai sword is it legal to carry on person in public?

    • I can’t find a statute that deals directly with swords, but I can tell you this: If you carry it in public long enough, you’ll get confronted by Police for sure and they’ll interrogate you til you wish you were not carrying it. Pretty much anyone you see will call the cops if you carry it into a public building like a shopping mall, school or government building, so I’d stay away from those. In my opinion only, I’d pretend that carrying a sword is NOT legal in order to stay out of trouble, which will come whether it’s legal or not.

    • Reid Horne says:

      My understanding is that like daggers, swords and machetes can be openly carried in a sheath attached to a belt. They cannot be carried concealed.

    • Johnny says:

      yes, its legal, but i prefer to carry the knife via a sheath holder on my back

  • Jay-man says:

    What is the length limit on folding knives in Cali? I hear its 3 inch maximum but I also heard its a 4 inch maximum.

    • Alex Sanchez says:

      The state has no limit on the size of knives that is all county and local goverment

    • Kevellow says:

      From what I know, In LA it’s illegal to carry a 3 inch or longer fixed blade openly or a 3 inch or longer folding knife, I carry a 2.75 inch but I guess if you live in Ventura or Bakersfield away from LA or SF you can carry any folding blade under 4 inches and a fixed blade of any size openly

  • Jimmy Page says:

    Are speed safe assisted opening knives legal in California?

  • Christopher Gladney says:

    I bought a survival knife that is 7.5″ long and has a sheath that has a string that ties around your thigh. Can I open carry this knife in Oakland, CA. I know California has a specific law regarding fixed blades, but wanted to know if it’s okay to open carry this knife?

  • JC says:

    I was given an OTF with a blade over 2″ from a family member out of state. I don’t plan to carry it, but is it illegal to possess it in my home?

  • Anthony Macias says:

    Can I carry/own a pocket knife or double side blade knife if I have a demostic violence restraining order?

  • albino nikarer says:

    what kind of knife is legal in California and how many inches does it have to be
    i got my self an Benchmade Adamas and a Benchmade Griptilian.

    • Hey Albino;
      I’m not a lawyer and can’t give you “official” information, but from what I can tell, your Adamas and Griptilian are fine to carry with the clip on your belt or on the edge of your pocket. As long as the knife is not double-edged or “deceptive” (looks like something else), it’s not illegal to carry.
      Thanks for the question,

    • JDM says:

      Switch Blades, Gravity Knives, and OTF Knives: 2″ or Less to own or carry

      Butterfly Knives: 2″ or Less to carry, any size to own

      A ballistic knife, belt buckle knife, cane sword, lipstick case knife, shobi-zue, or writing pen knife: is not legal period.

      A concealed (worn anywhere but openly on the waist) dirk or dagger: is illegal.

      For all fully legal types of pocket knives and fixed blades (not limited to 2″): there is no blade size limit.

      With this being said, some knives may be required to be carried from the waist despite not being fixed-blades.

    • Diana Reef says:

      Its Not Illegal To Possess A Knife Over 2 Inches In Your Home. My Father Always Had A Gun With Him At Home In Case Of Emergencies, Plus Theres A Kitchen Knife That Is Longer Than 2 Inches And Its Not Illegal.?

    • Tazzmosis says:

      Both are fine in the state, you might want to check the laws in your county though just to be on the safe side. But know that you can have a Full Tang knife it doesn’t matter how long it is as long as it is exposed on your side do not try to conceal anything like that folder knives you can conceal it does not matter how long they are.

  • Calaveras32Spcl says:

    In California, is it legal to forge my own knives? I do not have any intent to sell them, just making them for personal use. Examples of knife types would be skinning knife, fillet knife and butcher knife.

    • JDM says:

      I cannot say yes for a 100% fact, but it has become a more common thing here in recent years, so I believe it is legal.

  • Manuel says:

    How many knives can I carry or is there even a limit on carrying knives?

  • Mike Hawk says:

    Is it legal in California to own or carry a out the front opening knife?
    Thanks in adavance

  • AL says:

    Can I carry a knife thats longer then 5 if it stays in my pocket and I only use it for work such as cutting boxes and plastic. It would make my job a hell of a lot easier.

    I use to have a knife that was kinda like a folding knife but I myself had to flip up the knife to use it and then press a switch to unlock and set it back in place.

    • Cole says:

      If the knife itself is longer than five inches in the closed position, there is no California code that prohibits you from carrying it. If the blade is longer than four inches, as long as it is folded it can remain in your pocket. Knives with blades longer than four inches, that are not already a prohibited category, and are a fixed blade type or a folding knife that remains in the open position, must be carried in a sheath in plain view on your person.
      Folding knives with a blade longer than 4 inches can be legally carried in the closed position in your pocket, as long as it is not already a prohibited class.

  • Alex says:

    Is it legal to conceal carry a “folding” or “assisted opening” knife that is longer than 2.5 inches?

    • Daniel Lopez says:

      Yes it is indeed legal to carry any type of assisted opening knife, as long as there is resistance when opening the knife and while doing so, it is opened by the user applying DIRECT pressure on the blade (thumb stud or flipper) to open it. These types of knife are NOT, under definition of CA Knife Laws, considered a switch blade, although many confuse them with it.

    • Paul says:

      I think at one point the law read that three inches was the max legal legnth, but now it has dropped to two inches max. It is illegal to carry, or conceal ANY assisted, OTF, switchblade, or balisong in California. Some laws allow for a larger blade, some have allowances for mechanism, but few waiver on concealment, and appearance. If a knife appears to be a cell phone and instead opens to reveal a 12 inch sword, authorities would frown on that. No cop is going to ticket, or harass you for carrying a reasonable knife provided you’re not in a touchy area, or scoring, or have someone bleeding in the back of your SUV. If a cop makes a case out of a three inch blade carried by a peaceable individual we need to take another look at OUR constitution. I used to think those guys were rednecks, dirts, backwood swamp water bathers, but the older I become the more frequent I reflect on their collective mindset. This country was indeed founded during a vastly different period of our history, and governing laws are designed to do that – Govern! Laws are not designed for the convenience of one political party to further agendas, nor are they implemented to foster discussion pertain to specific groups of people. When we begin to use legislation as a tool to fussily micro-manage our backyards, and become so myopic that we personalize laws and elect leaders who cater to our designer tastes, we’ve failed as a nation of rebels, farmers, business people, entertainers, hunters, and inventors. God save us
      ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

  • Kyler Reynolds says:

    I live in California and I have some balisongs or butterfly knifes so can I buy them and play with them in my house without any cops giving me a felony or a ticket

    • Daniel Lopez says:

      According to what I have come across, it is absolutely illegal to posses such knives, even if they were to remain in your house hold. If you have anymore questions or seek legal advise, it is best to propose such questions you may have to your local attorney, and whatever you do, DO NOT ASK A COP.

    • Dan says:

      You may own them, you just can NOT carry them, or transport them, unless the blade is under two inches. The article use tho say that, id on’t know why they removed the clarification. the law has not changed since then.

    • JDM says:

      To add on to a previous reply, you cannot transport within the passenger area of your vehicle, however if it is in your trunk or cargo area you can transport it to your residence. Heck, a knife booth sold them (longer than 2″ blade) at the Sacramento County Fair this year.

    • Mike says:

      If I have a fixed blade, 4″ survival knife, can I wear it with an ankle sheath? Is that considered a dirk or a dagger? It’s not dual edge.

  • Tim says:

    I fly out of town four my work. I carry several switchblade knives depending on what I’m doing. As long as they are kept in the check in baggage or checked in tool bag i should be ok right.

    • Excellent question Tim!
      Because I’m not a lawyer, I’m not allowed to give you official info (officially you’d ask a lawyer in California), but I can share my thoughts. In theory, you should be okay, but I know strange things happen in airport security and in the USPS package delivery network. Travelers and recipients of packages have noticed that knives have gone missing from their luggage or packages but not most of the time! I’m guessing this is a grey area and you might arrive with your knives – but I REALLY doubt you’d be in trouble for packing it in your luggage. The more they look like knives, the worse it is, so if they’re folding knives it’s a bit better. Hey, just my thoughts. Maybe others have experience traveling with knives??

  • Dat Boi says:

    Hey. I live in California and I own a WW2 American bayonet. I keep it in my room. What are the laws surrounding that?

  • Dan Schwartz says:

    is “assisted open” legal?

  • Alan says:

    Are K bars legal even though they have a partial double edge at the end?

    • Isaac Bosley says:

      anything with a double blade is illegal

    • C. Swift says:

      Double bladed knives are only illegal to carry in CA if fully concealed. It can be found under 21310 of the CA Penal Code. If open carried, a double edged knife (dagger) is completely legal. The writer of this web page is wrong about double edge knives always being illegal to possess. It is a myth.

    • Dan says:

      is the edge sharp or is it a false edge, known as a swedge? as long as only one side of the blade has a cutting edge, and another cutting edge is not present on the other side of the blade, you are fine. A false edge is not an edge.

  • Jackie says:

    Hello I was wondering if an one inch box cutter would be considered a knife and or a officer considering it as a weapon?

  • Justin Han says:

    So would it be illegal to carry any switchblades in California??

  • EDDIE says:

    I have been told that it is illegal to carry a knife with the blade longer than 3 inches, is that true??

    • Dave says:

      Only in the city of Los Angeles, and only if it’s not part of your job, hobby, or religion. In practice if you’re stopped you say it’s a tool and unless they’re looking for a reason to hassle you, it’s not a big deal. It’s not like NYC where they spend time trying to snap your knife open to get you under their stupid “gravity knife” law.

      Everywhere else in the state (except schools and secure facilities like airports and government buildings, of course), there’s no restriction at all on blade length. You can walk around with a cavalry sword on, as long as it’s sheathed and suspended from your waist. And anything that folds and stays shut can be concealed.

      It’s a little weird how friendly the knife laws are in California given how totally ridonkulous the gun laws are.

    • Dan says:

      It’s weird. Reading the penal code, and multiple sites who have an interest in this topic, under the LAW, as long as it is not EXPOSED, you are fine. As soon as the blade is exposed(out of the handle) is when it is a problem. This only applies(to my knowledge) to L.A. The L.A law regards blades exposed with a length greater than three inches, so by the law, as long as the knife is in your pocket, you are fine regardless of length. The moment you open it, it is exposed, and that is the issue. Obviously this only applies to folders since you legally can’t conceal a fixed blade, so fixed blades must always be 3 inches, or under, in L.A. and openly carried. Folders can be any length, and in L.A, as long as the blade is not exposed in a public place(unless it is part of your job).

  • Ryan kelper says:

    I bought a M48 Cyclone knife is it legal to open carry them

    • Hey Ryan;
      I couldn’t find anything in the statutes pertaining to this type of knife, but I would be hesitant to carry it. In most states, the length of this blade would classify it as a “dangerous weapon” which has lots of restrictions. If you were caught with it by a police officer, you’d probably have some serious explaining to do if you were anywhere in public. They don’t like knives that appear to have no other use than to inflict damage on a human body. However, that’s just my opinion and should absolutely NOT be taken as law. As usual I have to tell you to consult with licensed legal counsel in the state of California.

    • Michael Pillow says:

      They consider it a dagger/dirk from what I’ve read. So you must open carry it (You are permitted to holster carry it as long as you can clearly identify it.)

  • Scott says:

    I live in a room and board in Bakersfield. I was wondering if its legal to have one for protection even if its against the house rules? Am i legally able to have it on me for safety? Are they aloud ti take it away from me?

    • Hey Scott;
      Good question! I’m not a lawyer and I suspect only official legal advice in California could help you. That said, my guess is that the authorities would probably side with the house rules in order to make for an even and fair playing field where no one can have any weapon. Of course, you and I know that the bad guys will always carry a weapon, so I feel your pain! Many knife laws are applied in a legal sphere using some interpretation and subjectiveness, so there’s no really accurate way to answer your question – sorry bro.

    • Dan says:

      Great question. Does the facility prohibit “weapons”? It could still be a second amendment violation.

      As far as defense. Never tell them(anyone) you carry it for defense. Under the law, there is no distinction made between defensive use, or malicious use. If it is carried to cut a person, it is seen as malicious, regardless of intent. If the time comes, and you have to use it in defense, then it’s fine, but never say you carry it fr the expressed purpose of defense. You carry it for utility, and it just so happened to come in handy in a defensive situation. Think of carrying a rock. If you say you are carrying it for defense, you are looking to use it on a person, but if you are taking the rock t a museum, and you get mugged, and bash the guy over the head, it came in handy to help defend yourself.

  • Gary says:

    Dirks and daggers are not legal. Keep them home in your collection. Best read the Ca. Penal code on CONCEALED weapons.

    • Skyler Visconti says:

      They are most certainly legal under state law, county and city ordinances do vary wildly, and concealed carry isn’t legal for some knives, but open carry is.

    • Dave says:

      (Not a lawyer. Consult one if you want advice.)

      Dirks and daggers are not allowed to be carried openly, but sheathed and suspended from your waist is fine.

  • Steve says:

    Read my comments, I give expert testimony in courts constantly,
    its sometimes gray and gray is never
    Beautiful unless its with a bright and
    Cheerful color. ( law jargon)

  • Steve says:

    Try to remember the following facts
    when determining legality. Never alter a knife away from its utilitarian (tool) use.
    Never carry concealed a knife with a fixed blade longer than 4. Never consider owning a switchblade knife
    Or if it has a button operated mechanism even if its 2 or shorter.
    Im a law inforcement official when at my applying duties. Ive seen hundreds
    Of arrests for simply crossing the line or spirit of the law. Its not worth it!
    Good attorneys even fail during there representation because the judge will consider intent each and every time.
    Why why risk it. If your in some states
    the only illegal knife is a switch blade.
    Enjoy your hobby stay away from the gray! Steve

  • Steve says:

    All sword knives are illegal in Ca.
    Theres a list available of always illegal
    And exception legality. A kitchen knife becomes illegal when sharpened on both edges or altered to increase its probability to delivering great bodily injury or death.
    Thanks Steve

  • Pedro says:

    So in cali I’m around to purchase a butterfly as long as I keep it at home ?

  • Just dont live in commifornia its that simple????

  • Josh Montoya says:

    Is there an age limit? I am 13 and want a knife. Is that legal?

  • Tony says:

    I really want to buy an torpedo knife from Cold steel. But Im worrying about i dont know it is legal or illegal in California.

  • Jeremy Kellis says:

    What about push/ punch daggers?

  • Baldomero says:

    Key knives are a thing as I’ve seen on amazon.com, would that be illegal to own?

  • Caleb Peairs-Johnson says:

    Is it 3 inches to the blade or to the handle

  • Logan Miller says:

    If I buy a 13 stiletto knife online but dont intend to actually use it on anyone but just keep it at home could I be breaking any laws https://blade-city.com/products/spring-assisted-stainless-steel-stiletto?variant=36727101967 this is the knife

  • chris says:

    if you are under 16 and carry a spring loaded knife, it is illegal, but if the knife is 4 inches or under it is legall as long ad its not spring loaded or assissted

  • Max L says:

    What age is it legal to own a knife in California? Also are karambits illegal for carrying around?

  • Caeva says:

    Trust me, that’s a knife you don’t want to be caught owning anyways.

  • Dan says:

    How old in handford

  • Steve says:

    Is a folding knife legal to be carried in your pocket in LA county .

    Less than 2 in length across the palm of hand.

  • Ken says:

    If you put it in your pocket, you are 1/2 inch over the legal legal length in California.

  • Joe Michael says:

    How old do you have to be to buy a knife?

  • Chris alexandro says:

    It is legal

  • Murdock Owen says:

    Do they make butterfly knives smaller than 2 inches?

  • Charity Hall says:

    I need to know if I can purchase a butterfly knife in the state of California

  • Charity Hall says:

    Can sporting goods stores and camping stores etc. legally sell butterfly knifes in the state of California?

  • Thomas Edward Reynolds says:

    Is my 8″ survival knife from harbor freight legal to carry in California? It comes with a sheath.

  • Nico Hauck-Deleon says:

    minimum age for able to carry a knife in California?

  • Ralph says:

    Is a Para -Claw bracelet blade legal to be worn on wrist in CA?

  • Henryk Rusak says:

    Question if i fly to the states (california) and buy a balisong can i take it back to my country? in my baggage??? and fly free like thats a real question…

  • eric says:

    Do you know the BUCK 110 is not allowed to ship to California?
    A web store called Academy deny to ship BUCK 110 to California.
    I don’t know why this happened.
    It will be much appreciated if you have any solution.

  • Bob Krikorian says:

    If someone is jabbing at you or threatening you with a chef’s knife is that a criminal act?

  • Pierre says:

    can i put it in check in luggage at the airport and bring it, say , from LA to New Orleans?

  • Daniel says:

    Dirks or daggers are not illegal in california, u have to wear them openly in a sheathe on your waist. They are illegal to carry concealed and so are any other folding knives capable of being a locking into place

  • ryder says:

    how old do you half to be to have a karambit knife

  • Valerie says:

    Correct me if you’re sure I’m wrong, but there is no blade length limit for open carry unless it’s a switchblade. I openly carry a 4″ assisted knife and while people occasionally stare, since I’m an older attractive blonde female, I get a kick out of it. I’m no Charlie’s Angel. LOL. Just trying to be safe on the streets of L.A. 😉

  • Raphael Villalobos says:

    Im 15, can I have a fixed knife on me in public in California?

  • Rum says:


    Im from Los Angeles, CA. Just read through your page. I bought a walking cane with a brass horse head. One day I unscrewed the horse head from the cane and discovered it was actually a knife with a 5″ blade.
    From reading through your page it looks like this is illegal to possess and sale. Am I correct?

  • SB says:

    i got a ticket because i sold Butterfly knife in the store that i was working on it
    the DA refuse to give my lawyer a good deal and the case is going to the court .
    what is my chances in the court and what is the Max and Min penalty that i mas take ?

  • Josh says:

    Spring assist is illegal in Cali as far as I know

  • JESSE Callahan says:

    Im in California and im just verifying i have a fixed blade it is 9 1\2 inches in total and blade itself is 4 1/2 inches… Is this legal for open carry and im also 16

  • Lynzee says:

    Stay out of California, problem solved! Even if the knife in your possession is a legal knife, they can still arrest you on reasonable suspicion to commit a crime. California laws are stupid and rediculas, all these stupid laws they make do nothing more than trample your rights. Every day law abiding citizens are the ones that pay the price upon the inforcement of these laws, me my preferred knife is a balisong not only for a tool it is my mode of self defense. They would confiscate my knives, arrest me and charge me, and guess what, now my knives are gone but the criminals still have theirs, now I’m defenseless, these laws need to be repealed, not only in California but several other states as well.

  • Lynzee says:

    Stay out of California, problem solved! Even if the knife in your possession is a legal knife, they can still arrest you on reasonable suspicion to commit a crime. California laws are stupid and rediculas, all these stupid laws they make do nothing more than trample your rights. Every day law abiding citizens are the ones that pay the price upon the inforcement of these laws, me my preferred knife not only for a tool it is my mode of self defense. They would confiscate my knives, arrest me and charge me, and guess what, now my knives are gone but the criminals still have theirs, now I’m defenseless, these laws need to be repealed, not only in California but several other states as well.

  • Stephen says:

    What about Karambits?

  • Connal says:

    I have a marine 6inch blade and I care it on my shoulder in the open in Los Angeles CA is that that legal?

  • Lexi says:

    An assisted opening knife is not a switchblade so no need to worry!

  • zenogeer says:

    So if your knife has two sharp edges on the left and right side, it’s considered a dagger and is illegal? What if it’s an assisted opening knife with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental openings? Doesn’t matter?

  • Anonomous , ( age reasons ) says:

    Can I carry a toy balisong in public in my pocket , and lockt in a small container ? Its made of wood , and is dull on the ” blade and tip ” part . Please respond , Thank You

  • Scared boy says:

    So I can have a 7 inch stilleto as long as it’s stays home in it’s box?

  • chris says:

    Would it be illegal if the knife was one like the benchmade infidel ?
    this one on the bottom link.

  • Angel says:

    Its made of wood , has metal bolts and the ” blade ” is not sharp and is more than 3″

  • Angel says:

    Can you own a wooden balisong knife ( its made completely out of wood ) Please someone respond , I need to know!!!

  • Mosed says:

    The black ones illegal. Your ok with silver!!! LMAO you asked for it???????? anyways my brother legally, hell no you can’t own, or walk around with that. Anything over 2″ in California that’s spring assisted, is illegal. I have my 14″BO. In a sheath on my right hip, trust ME when i say brother, thats all you need…

  • Moses says:

    Sorry brother, you can have anything! Just can’t carry it , or get caught with it. Spring loaded 2-21/2″ max.

  • Alec Grodrian says:

    This is to answer Samuel Adams, karambits are legal, I am only 13 and I bought mine for my birthday, the person who sold it to me owned a shop in San Francisco called we be knives that I would very recommend.

  • Andre E says:

    would a Karambit be legal?

  • naveed says:

    how old do you have to be to have and carry a knife

  • Bill says:

    Is their case authority for a pocket clip folding knife, to be considered concealed or not concealed?

  • Jillian says:

    Are Karambits legal to carry around?

  • Ramiro Villagomez says:

    What if I wanna buy a knife from Walmart or any store but I’m 14 will I be able to buy it?

  • Graysen Kalamaras says:


  • Dean says:

    I got one for my birthday similar to your TAC-FORCE-Spring-Assisted-Opening-BLACK-TACTICAL-Pocket-Knife-Folding-Blade and just to make sure it was legal I asked my cop friend and said it was perfectly legal.

  • Alex says:

    is it legal to have a trainer

  • Kyle Stack says:

    As someone who lives in Pennsylvania where Balisongs are 100% legal as long as there is no intent to harm, seeing that any of the balisongs own and might carry with me are all illegal saddens me greatly. I’m looking up the knife laws in advance because there’s a very large chance that my future job will be located in the state and I want to know what I can and can’t carry, own, etc. Like, I fully understand the reasoning for their restrictions, but no limit on the size of fixed blade knives? Really? You’re telling me someone could walk around with a 14 inch hunting knife, but I can’t carry a balisong with a blade longer than 2 inches.

    Is that a 2 inch cutting edge or 2 inch total length? Because if it’s a 2 inch cutting edge I could grind down the blade edge on my cheaper knives to something flat and harmless, but my $400 benchmade will be under house arrest until the laws change. I got into flipping as a hobby several years ago when a friend got me a balisong as a gift for making it all the way to Eagle Scout. They knew I was a knife enthusiast who collected knives as a souvenir from each summer camp or major scouting event I attended. At this point I own about 15 folding knives of various shapes and sizes, 2 swiss army knives, 5 balisongs, and 2 balisong trainers.

  • Brian says:

    Can I carry a cold steel ti lite 6 inch in California?

  • john says:

    you should update this because under penal code 20200 its legal to carry a dirk or dagger just as long as its visible.

  • Aj says:

    Is carrying a cyclone knife illegal in California?

  • Anthony orosco says:

    Is open carry on hunting knives legal ?

  • JACOB says:

    What about a spring assited Karambit

  • David says:

    Can you carry a fixed blade knife with a blade under 4 inches concealed in CA?

  • Jonathan says:

    What kind of knives you could carry in Los Angeles?

  • Jake says:

    Minor parents consent or buying t for u over 18 get ur own lol

  • Jake says:

    Read the laws

  • Jake says:

    Jail time

  • Jake says:

    Depends if your saying ur carrying a box cutter

  • Jake says:

    If it comes up out the hilt in a straight line from bottom to top or aka closed to open it’s a switchblade if it flips out from the hilt or in a arch like half a circle it’s spring assisted flip open an is legal an it is legal to own a switchblade at 2 inches or shorter

  • Jake says:

    It’s a flip style spring your good

  • Luciano Leon says:

    Do state laws on knives trump city and county laws as they pertain to knives?

    Arizona seems to be the only state where there is a clear understanding about knife laws. Everywhere else is a mish-mash.

  • Ppppppaa says:

    U can as long as ur mom or dad say u can have one or ask a gunshop owner the sell knifes to

  • Dylan says:

    Is it legal to carry a karambit as an edc?

  • Chris says:


  • Max says:

    Perfectly legal. Its an assisted opening knife not a fully automatic knife.

  • Jimmie Adkison says:

    In California it’s not two Inches it’s 7 centimeters which is just over two inches

  • Alan Alchavan says:

    How old do you have to be to carry a knife

  • Harley says:

    What are the regulations on a Pantographic knife?

  • Patrick Dickinson says:

    Is a Gerber Mk I legal to carry in the open in California?

  • Troy says:

    Knives that open or unsheath using a spring are illegal. The knife can only be brought to the open position by Physical manipulation of the hand or fingers.

  • Jefferson Worthen says:

    Who needs a knifes if they have taekwondo???

  • Angel says:

    If I want to order a balisong and have it delivered to my house, would that be illegal?

  • arleigh says:

    Home Depot sells a double edged fixed blade sheath knife for cutting insulation ,serrated on one side and strait o the other.
    they also sell spring assisted knives .
    I’ve asked several times but sales representatives assume they are ok since the company sells them.
    Off hand it might be fair to say , that if one carries a particular type knife and it is due to the work they perform professionally ,it may not be a problem . the trouble happens when a knife is carried into inappropriate places. or one’s reason is for self defense.
    I’ve seen girls wearing box knives , but they were also wearing clothing appropriate for the job they were doing that day.
    Though the box knife may not come under judgment normally , if wearing evening clothing and walking into a bar with a box knife , some one may well have reason to suspect your intentions.
    I come from wine country and have a ranch . I cary a knife all the time and even in town ,but i have been asked to leave it in the car by those in movie theaters . Some theaters know me so well that they just tell me to conceal it in my bag while there, and that is enough.
    Its their property , their rules . they trust me, and it is only for the sake of others that do not know me, they want me to conceal the knife.

    Brandishing a knife is no different than brandishing a gun .
    If I have a genuine need to draw ,it is used and put away , not flashed around . It goes for either one.
    The only time it is appropriate to share things like this is in the privacy of ones own home or shooting range or other relative place, where it is likely that others -on lookers- are not disturbed at seeing.
    No one but a police officer can require you to let him see your knife.
    These are my opinion from experience and I am not a lawyer.
    When in question. ASK your local law enforcement . each area treats these issue differently in spite of local/state law.

  • David says:

    Anything you can throw and is meant for throwing, something that can go deep into human skin, muscle, and even bone, any hidden knife inside of something, or if you can’t detect them with a metal detector are all illegal. Anything else is a go, except a sword, that I believe is more of a ballistic weapon, if not, why even carry a sword around?

  • Rcp says:

    What about swords or machetes ?

  • Anthony says:

    Does anybody know how CA classifies trainer blades. I feel like they really aren’t classified as blades because there is no edge.

  • Gordon Eggers says:

    You may carry on your belt exposed a Ka-bar in a sheath only if you are a U.S. Marine active duty or a veteran.

  • Alfonso esquibel says:

    When I get the knife I will put it in a display case

  • Alfonso esquibel says:

    I have no other comments

  • Alfonso esquibel says:

    I understood all the laws

  • Sam says:

    I wouldn’t carry to many knifes concealed in California. I see plenty of ppl carried small, folding, unassisted knifes in their front pocket. Often the clip is the only thing you can see or if your wear long shirts it becomes a concealed weapon. I’ve heard of bikers only wearing their knives clipped to the front of their cuts in plain view because they have so many interactions with law enforcement. If you’re a regular no felon citizen you can probably get away with it clipped in your pocket. I’m not a lawyer, this isn’t legal advice and I mostly carry openly. You’re less likely to get confused with a criminal.

  • Sam says:

    If it’s a folding knife it needs to be unassisted or NOT spring loaded.

  • Michael Macdonald says:

    What say a 8 1/4 inch double edge blade or any double edge knife. Ok to carry exposed in california ?

  • Jacob widmore says:

    I was wondering if there is an age limit on carrying a fixed blade knife in the state of California.

  • Chris Hw says:

    Is it legal to carry a 7 1/2 inch seethed Karambit knife on you in public?

  • Isabelle says:

    Are duo blades illegal in los angeles? Its a pocket knife with a blade on each end.

  • Jordan says:

    Is a kukri legal in CA?

  • Jmh says:

    Can a convicted felon carry knives

  • toobookoo says:

    yes swords are legal if you wear a ninja suit, full suit of armor, or dress like a jedi…

  • Etha Pa says:

    Are training balisongs legal to carry in public if the blade is over 2 inches long? The blade cannot be sharpened, and is hence not sharp at all.

  • Cody says:

    Is it legal to take a trainer butterfly outside (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Z6CF7O6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

    Also is a Huntsman legal

  • Cody says:

    Also is it legal to own a trainer Balisong/Butterfly Knife

  • Cody says:

    Is it legal to have a karambit just at my house?

  • ATJ says:

    So it’s okay if I have a folding knife with me that’s less than or equal to 2 inches and in my pocket? Am I allowed to have it in my bag?

  • rahim says:

    Is this legal to carry a pilot survival knife(fixed 7 inches blade) in my car in a public area?

  • Romeo Cano says:

    It counts as a switchblade because of how quick it opens

  • Ardis says:

    I’m pretty late to this post, but the way I read California’s dirk and dagger law, it’s illegal to carry a concealed fixed blade knife of any length. It is however not illegal to carry it openly. In addition, you can carry a spring assisted knife so long as you have to apply pressure to the blade to open it. I’m no lawyer, but that’s my understanding of the law.

  • Illya says:

    Can a carry a bowie knife into resturants, meseums, parks, and beaches?

  • Roberto Garcia says:

    When carrying a knife in a sheath do I have to carry it vertically on the waist or can I carry it horizontally? Like on the center of my back Really could use some information on this?

  • Justin says:

    Is it legal to carry a full tang knife such as the Schrade SCHF14 , the dimensions are Blade Length: 3.4 inch (8.6 cm) Handle Length: 4.5 inch (11.4 cm) in California ?

  • Rey says:

    What about trainer balisong? They have no blade, but they look like real knives?

  • D. A.Johnson says:

    What is the limit size of a folded pocket knife that has a clip on it

  • Robert c says:

    Is a Huntsman knife legal to carry in California?

  • Tony36 says:

    So if I buy a balisong knife of 4 inches and i just keep it at home to practice with it, it is okay right?

  • Don thompson says:

    Can I carry an open or folding karambit in California?

  • Eduardo says:

    Is there an age requirement to carry a knife? If there is what is it?

  • Jonathan says:

    Can i open carry a mini clever or mini tonahawk in California. The blade is only 3 inch

  • Jonathan says:

    What about mini cleavers and mini tomahawks ? The blade is only 3 inch but is the tomahawk still consider a dangerous weapon

  • Miscellaneous says:

    No age in california i carry mine in the bayarea and werever i go but i think you have to have guardian permision mine are koo cause of where i live

  • Sebastian says:

    Can u carry a ballisong trainer in California

  • Ava Waldroop says:

    Can you have a knife with a 11 in blade in driver side door pocket of your truck?

  • Jacob Fonseca says:

    are karambits legal?

  • Robert Greenhalgh says:

    A sword would likely be governed by laws pertaining to fixed blade. This means it cannot be concealed.
    A couple things to note: first, the sword cannot be a cane sword or any other disguised blade. These are not legal to carry in CA. Second, I believe sheathed, open carry knives must be supported by the waist. If that is true, it might technically be illegal to wear the knife across your back.

    Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and this is not offered as legal advice.

  • Robert Greenhalgh says:

    Respectfully, I believe your understanding/interpretation of CA laws regarding dirks may be incorrect. Dirks are not outright illegal. You can legally own and carry them. What you cannot do is conceal them upon your person when you carry them. This seems to suggest you can open carry them.
    Further, CA definition of “dirk” is much more broad than you might imagine.

    See CA PC 16470 & PC 20200

    That being said, I do appreciate the work you do on this page.
    Also, I am not an attorney and this is not intended to be understood as legal advice. Please do your own research. However, I would advise you to start with the penal codes provided above.

  • Joe Black says:

    A blade is thee only way to go. If you have to do it it’s so up close and personal .

  • Carson says:

    Is it legal to have a practice butterfly knife?

  • Giovanni martinez says:

    I found a website where you can buy legit CS:GO (counter-strike:global offensive) and they are sharp and everything but I am wondering if I can legally buy it.

  • Balisong Babe says:

    I want to know because it doesn’t say is it legal to carry a Balisong TRAINER knife? It has NO sharp side or end and technically couldn’t be considered a knife. It only closely resembles a Balisongz

  • Austin says:

    Can I carry multiple or as many knives as I want? For instance can I carry 6 buck 120’s on me at once?

  • Jason Bourne says:

    How old for a knife?

  • Joseph says:

    I plan to get a balisong comb are those ok to carry in California

  • Kody says:

    What if you have a ccw license? Are you able to carry a knife along with your pistol?

  • Broman says:

    So my butterfly knife is illegal in California????

  • Don Turnblade says:

    For back packing reasons, I am considering a Kuri Machete: clearing brush, campfires, even hunting small game. That said, I live in Arizona and may backpack in California normally with a permit. Is there advice on safe transport of knives with a utility use with blade lengths longer than 8″?

  • RedLee says:

    No measurement restriction other than Balisong. Measuring with your palm?? Why would Shaq get to have a knife so much bigger than mine? Find actual legal code of regulations and READ IT. Jailhouse lawyers just spread rumors and half truths unknowingly.

  • RedLee says:

    Did anyone actually read the article before writing a comment? Just sayin

  • Robert says:

    What about butterfly knives ?there is no mention of butterfly knives except as balisong .but you refer balisong as
    switchblade……. which are not the same thing?

  • David Demarest says:

    NOT TRUE!!! California defines dirk or dagger so broadly that every single fixed blade utility knife (and even a simple screwdriver) legally falls under their constitutionally overly broad definition of a concealed dirk or dagger if concealed. “Legally, “dirk” and “dagger” mean the same thing. Penal Code 16470 PC defines them as:
    a knife or other instrument,
    with or without a hand guard,
    that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon, and
    that may inflict a significant or substantial physical injury or death.
    Folding knives (other than switchblades) are considered stabbing weapons that may inflict great bodily injury or death only if: the blade of the knife is exposed, and the blade is locked into position.”

    There is no requirement for intent to use an item as a weapon, and the definition is so broad that an overzealous police officer could choose to include a ballpoint pen into the legal definition of “dirk or dagger.” None of the above is legal advice in any way but I am speaking out of experience in having been arrested for carrying a 3″ utility knife! I am actually involved in a civil rights case subsequent to an unlawful arrest which may help bring some common sense to this legal situation but at this time it is pretty much illegal to carrying any fixed blade utility knife or other instrument which “may” inflict substantial personal injury… Feel free to look up United States District Court for Eastern District of California case No 2:16-CV-02271-GEB-KJN to see if this situation may change for the better. I have been unable to find a lawyer willing to take the above mentioned case so I am proceeding Pro Se but if anyone reading this happens to be a lawyer or know of a lawyer in the Bay Area of California willing to take on the above mentioned case please contact me.

    Best regards,
    David Demarest

  • Knife Admirer says:

    What are the age restrictions for these laws in sacramento? In other words, how old do you have to be to carry a pocket knife legally?

  • Jeff says:

    Are butterfly knives legal in california?

  • Dom says:

    Hi I’m 16 and I have a sch501 folder and the blade length is 3.2 inches. I was wondering if it was legal for me to conceal carry it.

  • LeopardsBane says:

    I was just told that because of California’s laws I cant have a 3.75 paring knife shipped to me from Amazon… and the person I talked to couldn’t tell me if it was actually because of a California law was because of the seller the knife was in a state that couldn’t ship it here. yet the knife in question was an item “fulfilled by Amazon” meaning its in their warehouse.

    However, I could buy a decorative with edge Katana on a listing also “fulfilled by Amazon” and have no problem with having it shipped. The person also would not transfer me to another rep to talk to but closed the chat window.

  • Jit says:

    Any bag or container in your possession is on your person, and the fixed blade will be considered concealed. In CA the only grace for transporting a fixed blade concealed is in the trunk of a car.

  • Jit says:

    Fixed blade karambits fall under the fixed dirk/dagger laws, although they are mostly slashing blades, they can still “be used for stabbing” they must also be open carried, unless they are folders.

  • Indigo says:


    I think this page is misleading, and recommend http://www.shouselaw.com/california-knife-laws.html#2 as a better option. My understanding is that all fixed blades aka “dirks or daggers” (the definition is actually quite broad and includes such things as scissors and knitting needles!) are legal if openly carried (visibly attached to waist); and all fixed bladed are illegal if not openly carried (aka in your purse, yes granny is in trouble).

    Spring assist should be fine, the code states the term “switch blade” does NOT apply to:

    “a knife that contains a spring, detent, or other mechanism designed to create a bias toward closure of the blade and that requires exertion applied to the blade by hand, wrist, or arm to overcome the bias toward closure to assist in opening the knife.”

    Folding knives are generally legal.

    So my interpretation is that you can carry a 6″ Cold Steel Hold Out in your pocket no problem, but having a 2″ CRKT Folts Minimalist under your t-shirt might get you in trouble.

  • Pilot lee says:

    I have that same question

  • Ryan says:

    At 18 you can carry a pocket knife.

  • eliot king says:

    i am planning on buying a knife that is disguised as a lipstick for self defense. i can see that those aren’t legal, but what are the stances on weapons carried for self defense?

  • Louis Herrera says:

    Is it legal to carry a knife longer than 2 inches in a public place?

  • Steven says:

    So I’m 16 and I live in chino Cali is it okay for me to carry a pocket knife since I’m a minor and it is not longer then my palm

  • Anonymous says:

    Can I carry a ka bar straight edge knife 7″

  • Fernando ochoa says:

    Are fixed knives illegal and if not what size can i have around my waist

  • Aaron says:

    All I want to know is am I able to carry a fixed m9 bayonet?

  • Bro knife says:

    Any spring assisted blade is considered a switch blade. Also any gravity knife that can be opened by the flick of a wrist is illegal so odds are you can get arrested with almost any knive. The laws are restricted they just don’t tell you upfront.

  • Gio says:

    The blade is 3.5 the total length is 8in

  • Gio says:

    Hey Isaac is it legal to have a 3.5in auto knife that’s 8in I. Total length

  • Unkown says:

    Are buck 120’s illegal in lancaster ca

  • jeff hagerman says:

    Are open carry swords legal in California ?

    • Vitaliy Avagimyan says:

      Jeff Hagerman it did say dagers are illegal. Most likely due to their size. So I would assume that yes the are.

    • Cesar Martinez says:


    • Dave says:

      Yes, but “open carry” means sheathed and suspended from your waist. See Penal Code 20200.

      I am not attorney. You should consult an attorney for proper legal advice.

    • Dave says:

      Yes, you can open-carry a sword as long as it’s suspended from your waist and as long as it’s sheathed. Note: I am not a lawyer.

    • Sam says:

      There is no length limit in knifes carried openly. A sword is not a knife.

    • Bryce says:

      as long as it’s not one of those scary “Black Swords.” Make sure your Sword has all wood furniture and doesn’t have a laser or tac flashlight mount.

    • Bryce says:

      In all seriousness, that’s up to the officer. If they want to they can claim it’s a deadly weapon, but if it is part of a costume and you have taken reasonable efforts to “peace tie” it (i.e. keeping it in the scabbard and tying it into the scabbard so you cannot easily draw it) and are in a area where said costume is appropriate (i.e. a con, ren faire, historical recreation) you probably won’t get harassed.

      If you are just carrying it down the street strapped to your hip or back going to the market…expect some attention from the authorities.

    • Chris says:

      Yes, open carry for swords of any length is in fact legal in California. You may get a lot of weird looks but you won’t be getting robbed.

    • Justin hurd says:

      Yes you can carry a katana or any other soward as long as it’s in a case or sheath

  • Scott Brownlee says:

    What about fixed blades in purse/ backpacks/fanny-packs? is that still considered a concealed dirk or dagger?

    • Ian says:

      Apparently, see above

    • Robert Greenhalgh says:

      This would most certainly constitute concealment.

    • Dave says:

      No. In People v. Pellecer (2013), the Court of Appeals ruled that Penal Code 12020(a)(4) says “…concealed upon his or her person…” means either touching your skin or in your clothes. They ruled that if the Legislature had intended to ban the carry of knives in your backpack, they would have been specific about it as they were with firearms.

      PC 12020 has been removed and replaced with PC 21310, however the wording is exactly the same.

      You do still have to keep it sheathed, though, which seems obvious anyway.

      I am not an attorney. You should consult an attorney for proper legal review.

    • eric says:

      Hello Scott,
      “Concealed” means not to be seen.

    • Johns says:

      Yes, concealed fixed blade in a backpack or other case is illegal.

      People v Wade, 2015, http://www.leagle.com/decision/In%20CACO%2020150210021/PEOPLE%20v.%20WADE

  • Greg says:

    Is a push knife legal if it is clipped on your pants (hence not concealed) and about four inches long blade?

    • Ian says:

      “Broadly speaking, California law places knifes into three (3) general categories:

      1. Knives that may be worn openly, but may not be concealed

      California’s law prohibits carrying concealed dirks and daggers. Dirks and daggers are knives capable of causing serious injury by stabbing. They may not be carried on one’s person if they are concealed in any way. Nor may they be carried in a purse, briefcase or other container.

      California has an open-carry knife law, however. It allows you to carry a dirk or dagger openly in a sheath suspended from your waist.
      The definition of a dirk and dagger is quite broad. In addition to knives such as daggers and stilettos, it can apply to such seemingly innocent items as:

      chef’s knives;
      ice picks;
      knitting needles; and

      Carrying a concealed dirk or dagger on your person is what is known as a California wobbler offense. A wobbler can be charged as either a California misdemeanor or a California felony, in the prosecutor’s discretion.”
      From a law website found with google search

  • Samuel Stephens says:

    Are Karambit knives legal in the Komminist paradise of Kalifornia?

    • Eddie S says:

      Yes,they are.
      Peoples Republic of San Diego

    • Robert Greenhalgh says:

      The beauty of karamvit knives.

      Ok so- traditional fixed blade Karambit would likely fall under the laws regarding dirks. This means no concealment.

      However, there are a variety of folding Karambit knives which would then fall under folding knife laws. Now you can conceal the blade. Emerson makes a really nice knife with you purchased a couple years ago in California. The nice thing about this Emerson knife is the fact that it has a feature called The Wave. This feature allows the knife to be quickly utilized.

      Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and this is not offered for legal advice.

    • Dave says:

      Yes, it is legal to own a kerambit. You just have to carry it sheathed and hanging from your waist, you can’t conceal it (because it’s technically a dirk or dagger). I am not an attorney, though, and if you want a real answer, pay for an attorney.

    • Dave says:

      P.S., your “Kommunist Kalifornia” remark aside, and our ridiculous gun laws aside, California has remarkably good knife laws. Unlike, say, New York City.

    • Don Maran says:

      Yes they are, as long as the openness carried.

    • Thomas Chainey says:

      The Karambit knife that has a ring on the handle that covers the finger/knuckle and can be used to protect the hand / knuckle and or inflict damage would fall under the definition of a brass knuckle making it (Karambit) illegal in the state of California.

  • dan says:

    Assisted Opening Knife / not a switchblade right? Can I conceal a folding knife that is assisted open? it uses a lever not a button. there is a difference but how is it viewed by the law here? I saw federal law trying to classify them by one hand open?

    • Ian says:

      From Shouse Law’s website:
      “The problem was perhaps best explained by the California District Attorneys Association, who in opposing the exemption for some knives asked:

      What is the essence of a switchblade knife? That it is spring loaded and can be opened with only the push of a button? That it may be opened with a hand movement if there is no spring? That it may be opened with only one hand, regardless of the mechanism?64

      Despite the objection of the CDAA, Penal Code 653k was amended by Assembly Bill 3314 in 1996. The amendment exempted from the definition of switchblade knife all knives designed to be opened with one hand via pressure on a thumb-stud or hole in the blade.”
      (I have no affiliation with said site, found on google search)

  • Justin C says:

    It is not illegal to have a TAC-FORCE-Spring-Assisted-Opening-BLACK-TACTICAL-Pocket-Knife-Folding-Blade. I’ve got searched and that’s the same kind of knife I had on me when I got searched, and he didn’t question me about it. I was 17.

    • Daniel Cox says:

      Just because you got stopped and were not charged does not make it legal. A spring assisted knife is often considered a switchblade. According to Penal Code section 17235, spring blades, snap blades, gravity knives or any knife which can be opened automatically are illegal to carry in public, concealed or open.

  • tj vitanza says:

    Each city has its own length laws.
    Over rides County length law.
    Mostly 3″ knifes only within city limits
    So if your pocket folder is longer
    You are subject to arrest , confiscation or both.
    Guide for city knife lengths can be found online.

    • TPB says:

      Yeah, what tj said. Absolutely check the statutes in your city re: knife laws and legal maximum length. If there are any such laws, then that is what you must follow. If not, check for county laws. And, if none there either, then check the state laws.

      It is rather confusing and frustrating to find out what is legal in your area and then find out that it is illegal only a mile away across city/county lines. Pretty much, if I recall correctly, a *concealed* pocket knife with a 3″ folding blade is legal everywhere in CA so go with that and don’t get cute re: opening mechanism or open carry. Also, don’t break the law in general, you know? And then you won’t have to worry about it.

      ALMOST everywhere in the country, you won’t run afoul of the law with a blade 3″ long or smaller, though there are a few municipalities/counties with 2-3/4″ and 2-1/2″ maximum length laws.

      Also, laws on county, state and federal lands vary, so if you are in doubt (or simply don’t yet know), always check IN ADVANCE.

      *** The information in this comment is provided purely for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice. ***

  • LAMike says:

    Are double edged blades legal?

  • Ronin says:

    I’m 14 going to be 15 in a couple of months. I live in a ghetto area and go to a bad school can I carry a knife with me after school for protection?

  • Rudy Ponce says:

    How long can the actual blade be, is 5″ legal? Can you carry around a folding knife/pocket knife on a belt buckle?

  • allan hackman says:

    im 17 and i have purchased knifes at my local gun show in orange county and i have been purchasing since i was 12, no one cared then. but online i have no idea.

  • Dale Sherman says:

    Why is it legal to deny entrance to any public event if you have a common pocket knife in Santa Clara County, San Jose, Ca?

  • plss13 says:

    Is it illegal to have a knife in your glove box?

  • David Nakamura says:

    Would you consider Gauntlet Knives (A.K.A Predator Blades) legal, they are knives locked into a case that spring out to act as claws on your wrist. I want to know because I want to make a costume that includes these blades.

  • Mark says:

    Are karambit a legal in CA ? I’ve been told that with the ring design at the hilt it can be interpreted as a knuckle duster. Advice ?

  • Titan says:

    Issac. you just told everyone you live in l.a. You meant to say “How old do you have to be in order to have a knife in California?”

  • Toa says:

    What about knives that are spring assisted? Would that fall under legal knives or illegal knives?

  • Tim says:

    I’ve read Ca knife laws as of two years ago. They stated that any fixed blade must be carried open and any folder must be concealed. All switchblades are illegal. As are ballistics.

  • Nick says:

    Can you carry a trainer balisong in public

  • George says:

    There is no age limit

  • Tim smith says:

    are double sided throwing knives legal in the state of California in the year 2016 because I purchase some at my local gun store in Sacramento

  • Charli says:

    Some of this is incorrect, or misleading. Under CA law, most knives are considered “dirks” or “daggers,” (technically the two are synonymous in regards to the law as well) be it a single-edged kitchen knife or a folding knife locked in ready-to-use position. That said, you can carry (pretty much) whatever blade you please as long as it is worn openly. Dual-edged “stabbing” knives are definitely legal to carry OPENLY.

    Basically, as long as the public can tell you’re carrying an item that is easily-discernible as a bladed weapon and it’s not on the specific list of illegal ones (i.e. longer that 2″ switchblades) you’re fine.

  • Alleypoop says:

    Yes, very illegal. Any assisted blade is illegal if it’s over 2 inches… Regardless of the size of your palm.

    You must be 18 to purchase in MOST establishments but it’s usually up to the store owner… but you can be ANY age to carry (Boy Scouts carry them all the time)

    Los Angeles follows all CA laws to the T. Orange County, I.E., and San Bernardino have slightly different laws.

  • Mads says:

    can a 13 year old carry a tiny knife legally while walking in the streets, hiking, and or possibly entering places like Starbucks and other areas (not including school.) ? /In Los Angeles California/

  • Robert says:

    anyone know if a karambit counts as a dirk or dagger pls help

  • Dave says:

    Spring assisted knife= illegal in CA

  • cameron says:

    are karnbit knifes legal?

  • Owen says:

    I was wondering the same thing, for all over California.

  • Ethan says:

    If it’s an automatic knife at all meaning if you do not need to put in effort to open it, it must be equal to or shorter than 2 inches in blade length

  • Merkmusic says:

    There is no age restriction as far as I know.

  • Ben says:

    Are dull butterfly knives legal in California?

  • Jaucelynn says:

    I was curious if it was legal to carry a karambit. Not a fixed blade, but a folding version.

  • Zigggs says:

    What about a 9″ black handle chrome Blade Michael Corelone Milano Godfather type pocket knife spring asisted in cali

  • That guy says:

    Are butterfly knives illegal in Cali??

  • Ben Rohrbach says:

    I live in Nevada county and I was wondering, I have a cold steel recon 1 4-inch folding knife ,blade length is 3 Inch or 4 inch for folding knifes?

  • Joey says:

    California does not have an age limit on carrying legal knives. Although, be conscious of location such as schools if under 18 and still in school. There is no such limitation regarding size of blade in relation to palm of the hand. California has no limit on folders as long as concealed. In Los Angeles County folders worn openly must not exceed 3 inches in blade length. There is also no limit on blade length for fixed blades in California, but all fb knives must be worn openly. Again, if in Los Angeles County fixed blade knives cannot exceed 3 inches in blade length.

  • Nick says:

    I know this might sound stupid but do knife laws apply to dull blades? I was thinking of displaying a knife and I want to know if it would be illegal even if the knife was dull. I live in SF/BA and am under 18.

  • Rafael Rodriguez says:

    Is it legal to have a comb butterfly knife because people told me it is

  • Dieithryn says:

    There is no limit to age.

  • Branson says:

    Is it ilegal to carry a kbar on the back of your belt mounted sideways

  • Tyler says:

    For active military, are you allowed to carry an automatic knife that is over the length of 2 inches I.E. example 2.5 inch blade, or does the same statue apply for active military members. Thank you.

  • Jonathan Nesbit says:

    To lonely loser… your TAC-FORCE-Spring-Assisted-Opening-BLACK-TACTICAL-Pocket-Knife-Folding-Blade is legal in the state of California because it is a lever assisted knife. Not a switchblade. You still manually have to assist the blade out of the handle. If it was a button releasing the blade automatically then it would be illegal.

  • Ernesto S says:

    You said “pen knives” twice.

  • Cole says:

    Any age as long as you are very responsible with it

  • blake biscotti says:

    is there an age restriction for carrying knives

  • Erin Kim says:

    So are daggers illegal then??

  • Joshua says:

    You have to be 18 to legally buy a knife in California, same goes with legally being able to carry one. Unless your parental guardian is with you and you have permission from them. As for being in LA the blade length has to be under 3 inches.

  • Joshua says:

    It is legal to carry that knife in California. All spring assisted knives are legal, just as long as it’s not an automatic knife (ex. Push button knife)

  • john says:

    I am a 27 year federal law Enforcement Officer and would be remiss if I didn’t say that the legality of any particular edged tool/weapon, regardless of length, breadth, scales or lack of, locking mechanism, automatic opening, assisted opening, manual opening, material of blade construction and any other minutia is very subjective in California. Your freedom or being charged with a crime, may boil down to the Officer’s understanding of the law or additional circumstances involved in the LE contact. I have seen disliked individuals go to jail or cited, for what is effectively “contempt of cop”

  • Oscar A. Huerta says:

    Is it legal to carry concealed a fixed blade knife in CA when the blade is 3 inches or less?

  • Joseph Brown says:

    What about balisong/butterfly knife trainers, what is the legality of those?

  • Joseph Brown says:

    What about balisong/butterfly knife traine, what is the legality of those?

  • Isaac says:

    In L.A

    • LonelyLoser says:

      I’m going to assume 18. I’m not really sure, since I’ve always carried a knife with me since I was 15

    • Somebody says:

      Age doesn’t affect the law in California, but you’d have to check the LA County laws to be sure

    • Ben Dracup says:

      18 years or older to buy a knife and carry it in public. Your parents could always buy a knife and give it to you but you will be fined if cops find a knife on you if you are under 18.

    • enderblake says:


    • Michael says:

      Most likely 18 however as long as you not flinging it around or brandishing it to strangers I doubt you’ll have a problem.

    • Jeff says:

      To order a knife all you need is an Amazon gift card which any adult would trade an instant egift card for cash in hand as the app allows for instant transaction and gift purchases knifes are for those 18 and older but as a teen with parents who allow self defense and the safety of there child soon be adult you are able to purchase anything they allow as long as it follows legal guidelines and laws.

    • Damyn Serna says:

      Isaac you are allowed to be any age im 15 and I walk around my city and school (knives allowed) with a knife thats damn near a sword 1 1/2 ft long blade but its a bowie so it scares people (espescially cops) butits legal

    • Benjamin Byerly says:

      It depends on where you order it from… I know you can from amazon and I would imagine Gerber, s.o.g., and crkt.

  • Isaac says:

    How old do you have to be in order to have a knife

  • Lonely loser says:

    No matter what, I cannot find the answer to my question. I want to know if it’s illegal to have TAC-FORCE-Spring-Assisted-Opening-BLACK-TACTICAL-Pocket-Knife-Folding-Blade? Overall Length : 9.00 inches

    Blade Length : 4 Inches

    • Isaac says:

      Its only illegal if it 2 inches longer than your palm

    • Knife Lover says:

      It’s illegal because there is a spring assisstance for opening the blade.

    • Jonathan says:

      Spring Assisted knives (AO knives) do not fall under the category of “automatic” knives. Therefore, there is no length restriction regarding such exotic knives. Be warned, however: Do not ever pull an AO knife in front of policemen, for all policemen are ignorant of the law, and will either arrest or shoot you.

    • Somebody says:

      Check for yourself if it’s a switchblade or not (penal code 17235 – state website is http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/calawquery?codesection=pen). If it is a switchblade, since it is longer than 2 inches, it is illegal to have in public (concealed or not) or in the main area of your car (penal code 21510 – same website). However, you can still own switchblades.

      Basically, the test for a switchblade according to 17235 depends on how easy it is to open. Hope this helps.

    • TechnoTed says:

      It is legal to own but illegal to carry on you. So in other words – you can have an automatic knife collection at your house but you can’t put them in your car or carry them on your person when you are not at home. There is one exception though – if the blade is less than 2 inches in length.

    • Tony Bamanaboni says:

      They are fine since spring assisted knives where you have to apply pressure to open them aren’t considered switchblades.

    • E Lee says:

      If it opens by some button or switch, rather from the side or straight out of the handle, AND if the blade is 2″ long or longer, IT IS ILLEGAL.

    • Yan says:

      All spring assisted knives are illegal to carry in CA.

    • Rafaiel says:

      i know. thats all I’m trying to figure out

    • Mick Magil says:

      An assisted opened, that has a bias/detent to stay closed, that is opened by use of a stud of artifact of the blade, are legal to carry in a folded position.

      IF there is a button on the sheathe that opens it, then it is a switchblade.

      IF it can “fall open” without touching the blade, it can be called a gravity knife.

    • AmericanPatriot says:

      That knife is not illegal. You must make contact with an exposed tang/stud that is directly attached to the blade open the knife. Thus, it is considered an assisted knife, not an automatic, and is legal.

    • Jacob says:

      It is perfectly legal. Spring assisted knives and switchblades are different.

    • J Trock says:

      It is legal. Any size. As long it is an assisted opening. Where you are aided by a mechanical assist when opening vs pushing a button unlocking a spring loaded device.

    • Sky Hawkins says:

      No, not at all. The main difference between a spring assist and a switchblade is that you have to assist the blade. A switchblade is litterally a knife with a button and BOOM your knife out ready to go. similar. but different.

    • Robert says:

      Its not legal

    • Mark Smith says:

      If it’s a folding knife that locks in place while open and closed then it being spring assisted is fine so long as it doesn’t use a button to open, as that would make it technically a switchblade The blade length is irrelevant, it’s a folding knife so you can carry it concealed as well.

    • Mo says:

      Spring assisted is fine as long as you open it like any other knife. As long as you have to push the blade or something a fixed to it, your fine. If it’s a button, or lever, illegal.

    • Thad says:

      California doesn’t have a length law. It’s a folder so you can conceal carry it (put it in your pocket). Spring Assisted is ok. The easy way to tell if a folder is legal or not is if you have to touch the blade when opening. If you push a flipper, pull a nail slot, press a thumb stud on the blade or just pull on the dull part to open it then you’re fine. If you hit a switch or press a button and it pops out, it’s a home only item and you’re not allowed to carry it.

    • collin says:

      spring assisted is 100% legal in california as long as it has “detent to open ” where the blad will move back in to the handle right before it closes. in los angeles it is illegal to carry a knife on your person unless going to or comming from a job that requires a knife
      i think la county is the only one with a restriction like that but idk

    • Gordon Eggers says:

      Max blade length 1.5″ Ca law for spring assist Fratus Infinitus Marines!

    • Barclay says:

      That’s a very arbitrary (and inaccurate) answer, Isaac. I’ll just have my palm surgically widened to 3 feet and carry a sword, then. Don’t give legal advice when you’re not certain.

    • me says:

      give the knife up and buy a good one… it has “tactical” in the name. it’s no good. get a kershaw skyline (legal to carry in CA) or just about any other knife without the word “tactical” in the name.

    • Clem Torres says:

      I’m pretty sure it alright if you just keep it in your pocket or in your house

    • Don Nissel says:

      The only illegal knife would be the OVER 2 inch switchblade, or your spring assisted pocket knife also , all fixed blades can be worn on waist no matter size. I am a knife maker and have investigated this .. Hope it helps..

    • Jason says:

      Spring assisted in always legal in CA. Due to the fact that it has restrictions that has to be overcome. Which is the act of pushing the thud stud or back flipper to open it.

    • mike says:

      No…. Its illegal to carry spring assisted

    • Rick says:

      any spring assisted knife is illegal to carry in California,

    • mr.T says:


    • Joshua says:

      As long as the blade requires you to manually push it open, even with a spring assist, then it’s legal. If it opens on its own, then it’s not legal to carry, but you can keep it at home.

      Nobody listen to this dummy Isaac bringing an old wives tale about knife length to a page of facts.

    • Caden terry says:

      I have been trying to find the same answere but for a different knife, it says the maximum cokncealed carry is 2 inches but it never states the maximum open carry, I found one site that says as long as it’s open carry there is no blade limit but I wasn’t sure if that was true or not. Google this and see if it helps; Penal code section 20200

    • Balisong juggler says:

      as long as it is ONLY FOUR INCHES the it is legal

    • Ornery Mark says:

      That depends on what State, city or town you live in. If in doubt, I think you should send it to me, I’ll pay for the shipping cost, because I’d hate to see you get arrested. Where I live it is legal, the next county over I could be arrested for carrying it in any Gov. building.

    • Anthony says:

      Spring assisted are legal in the state of California

    • bob says:

      because its spring assisted your fine

    • Bear Palomo says:

      That is a legal knife in CA according to this article.

    • Ian says:

      According to the excerpt below from what I deduce, as long as the spring assisted knife does not use a button as its opening mechanism, the knife requires effort to open (aka detent) and close, is carried via pocket clip and cannot be open via gravity/flick of the wrist, your knife is legal to carry. Hope this is clarity!

      PART 6. CONTROL OF DEADLY WEAPONS [16000 – 34370] ( Part 6 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )
      TITLE 1. PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS [16000 – 17360] ( Title 1 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )
      DIVISION 2. DEFINITIONS [16100 – 17360] ( Division 2 added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. )
      As used in this part, switchblade knife means a knife having the appearance of a pocketknife and includes a spring-blade knife, snap-blade knife, gravity knife, or any other similar type knife, the blade or blades of which are two or more inches in length and which can be released automatically by a flick of a button, pressure on the handle, flip of the wrist or other mechanical device, or is released by the weight of the blade or by any type of mechanism whatsoever. Switchblade knife does not include a knife that opens with one hand utilizing thumb pressure applied solely to the blade of the knife or a thumb stud attached to the blade, provided that the knife has a detent or other mechanism that provides resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade, or that biases the blade back toward its closed position.
      (Added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 711, Sec. 6. (SB 1080) Effective January 1, 2011. Operative January 1, 2012, by Sec. 10 of Ch. 711.)

    • mossy84 says:

      No it is not. Other California knife laws say that flip knives are only legal if they are weighted towards closed position and can only be opened by force of the hand. (Sorry bro move to Texas)

    • Timothy Walton says:

      100% legal it is not a switchblade

    • Saberian says:

      Assisted opening is not classified as an automatic knife as it is just assisted in its opening of the blade with a spring of some sort. These are not illegal in California. Basically switchblades are primarily where it is not the blade that is pushed to open the blade from closed position. So if it was a lever or button that was pushed, that is construed as a switchblade. Pushing on the blade to open or flicking open from thumb using the thumb stud is not a switchblade. So unless your Tac-force knife has a button or lever to automatically open the knife, it is not a switchblade.

  • rsg7777 says:

    I carry 8 knives with me at all times

  • sdhello says:

    Is this legal in CA? It is spring assisted, and the piece you push on is part of the blade. If you don’t use the leverage it opens up like a regular pocket knife. http://www.amazon.com/TAC-Force-TF-705GY-Assisted-Half-Serrated/dp/B007WHCFC0?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

    • Isaac says:

      Thats still considered a switchblade

    • Bryan says:

      I have been fed two different lengths here in Los Angeles… i usually carry a Spyderco Para 2. Is the legal length 2 or 3? Is my Para 2 illegal?

  • Eduardo says:

    Can i legally own a spring assisted knife?
    (knife which you must push down a “lever” for it to open quickly)

    • ???? ???? says:

      That would be a switchblade lol

    • Dan says:

      by definition spring assisted knives are NOT switchblades. Switchblades require you push a button to deploy the knife. Spring assist, you push a lever, or thumb stud that is PART of the blade itself to help open it. That said, butterfly knives although not switchblades, are covered under the switchblade law in CA. Spring assists though are not.

  • max says:

    is therre any age limits

  • The Joker says:

    So that’s why I can’t find a Cupid OTF or a Butterfly knife anywhere

  • JOHN CODE says:

    Its a legal blade fixed can be open carry any length Cali. Also in Cali your home campsite and to and from your business you own you can carry a concealed firearm

  • Bigsexxy says:

    The reason is knives are more dangerous than guns. Semper Fi

  • Ben says:

    Can I purchase a balisong knife that has a 4 inch blade and carry it around?

  • Mark Farris says:

    Does anyone even care to obey these stupid laws?

  • What the hell is an “auto knife”? Are you talking about assisted open?

    • Davy Crosier says:

      An auto knife, or a switchblade knife is a knife where a button or switch is pressed to automatically deploy the knife.

      The difference between that and an assisted opening knife is that pressure needs to be applied to the actual blade of an assisted opening knife and opened about 15 – 20 degrees in order for the spring to kick in, whereas a switchblade only requires the press of a button.

    • Thank you for the clarification. I thought maybe it was one of those projectile knives. Now I know.

  • Carlos E-t Elizondo says:

    Is there a limit to how many knives one can carry concealed or open there person

  • Tibo Smolders says:

    What about swords? I’m asking because while I understand that any fixed blade over a certain length in this are identified as a knife yet I remain confused. The sword of which I speak would be a black wire hilt rapier with the total length being just over 40 inches, and entirely unsharpened (I’ll add the link for anyone who needs to see it to give their ideas) and it would entirely be for costume purposes, and afterwards for display within my apartment. The costume I have gathered so far does involve a large overcoat which would cover the scabbard approximately 18 inches in the middle, but both the tip of the scabbard and hilt would remain visible. If anyone has any suggestions on what to do please let me know. I have been told by others to just wear an empty scabbard with only a hilt attached to it but I always go all out with my costumes and believe the weight plays a role in how one carries themselves (I get too into it I realize).

    Thank you

    the link: http://www.medievalcollectibles.com/p-20559-black-wire-hilt-rapier.aspx

  • barbara says:

    My mom recently let me open my dad’s old footlocker from his career Army days …he’s been dead 29 years. Inside were some old knives. One I want to find out more about is about 10 inches and curved, the entire knife is 14 inches and 16 with the ornate sheath……and there are two little bitty 3 inch knives that are “hidden” behind the sheath…………….so, if I want to take it to a dealer or historian to find out more about it………how do I take it, legally, from my car to the store? Any help greatly appreciated.

    • Scott999 says:

      I think that is a kukri knife. Kukris are used by the Ghurka people, and the Ghurka are still famed for their prowess in combat, both with knives or guns. Keep in mind that I am not a historian so what I say should be taken with a grain of salt.

    • Davy Crosier says:

      As long as it is single edged (meaning only one side of the blade is sharpened) and it is open carried. But you should be ok if you are just going to an antiques dealer in a bag or something. Just use common sense.

    • Richard Finneran says:

      It’s a kukri from Nepal

  • Madame Ost says:

    You’re wrong about this too. In a society ruled by banks and capitalism, no one’s life matters, only profits matter.

  • Kirito Yagami Vi-Brittania says:

    What are the regulations for knife usage with minors?

  • narbeh says:

    ive got a fixed blade kbar knife that the blade is 2 5/16 ” is that legal to carry conceal?

    • Mike Tran says:

      All fixed blades must be open carry, and sheathed. Only folded knives can be concealed carry.

  • Daniel Heller says:

    I dont recommend using a knife for defense in cali.

  • Geordin Soucie says:

    So are medieval dirks and such illegal to own or just carry? Is there a special permit for swords and other weapons?

  • Jason Chen says:

    So it’s legal to keep a knife at home right?

    • Daniel Heller says:

      No age restrictions. I am 14, i have been edcing for almost 2 years. Yes you can keep legal stuff at home. if its illegal you cant keepi t at home (there are some exceptions)

    • Jason Chen says:

      Ok, thanks!

  • Patrick Michael says:

    They stole my bike too…

  • Joe Kerr says:

    California Knife Laws (a former D.A. explains)

    What knives are always illegal to carry? What knives may be carried, but
    only openly on a sheath? And what knives may be possessed openly or
    concealed? What are the penalties — misdemeanor or felony — if you get
    arrested and charged with unlawful knife possession?


  • dude says:

    I don’t get why they banned Balisong knives, could someone explain this to me?

    • Daniel Heller says:

      because they are scary and stuff. there is no reason.
      California’s laws are written to ban knives that are “used by criminals” or what ever.

  • Tim says:

    so can i keep a butterfly knife in my house if im in ca……..?

    • Daniel Heller says:

      yes. but you cant bring one into the state, make one in the state, or carry one. essentially if you already had one or majically get one in then sure keep it at home.

  • The Inja says:

    Guysssss. Chill outtttt

  • Robert Wilson III says:

    California knife laws will probably surprise anyone who hasn’t taken the time to read the penal code. In California it is perfectly legal to carry a fixed blade knife, of any length, around the waist — if sheathed. This includes hunting knives, kitchen knives, swords, etc. You could literally walk around with a 27 inch Katana sheathed around your waist if you wanted to — and it would be perfectly 100% legal to do so.

    The exceptions to this rule are: Can’t open carry on school or college/university grounds, can’t open carry in government owned buildings, can’t open carry during government official meetings — such as a town hall meeting or otherwise. That’s it.

    The only city which does not allow this is Los Angeles. In LA you can’t open carry anything greater than 3 inches. I was too freaking excited when I learned of the Knife laws in California. I’m going to buy a sword from Japan and walk around town with it around my waist, and I’m going to learn how to use it by taking Iaido and Kenjutsu classes. I’m pretty excited (note, I probably can’t afford a real folded steel Katana — those swords go for $600 – $10,000, but hey, I can dream right?).

    • Daniel Heller says:

      coldsteels are only a couple hundred

    • JOHN CODE says:


    • Tibo Smolders says:

      They’re good for cheap katana’s but not for more medieval ones. I do like how cheap their clothing is compared to some other sites that sell the same items, so thanks!

    • John Yang says:

      Does the LA municipal code include LA County, or would State law have jurisdiction? Our state law seems to be great, but if you have to worry about every little city, we are screwed.

    • Patrick says:

      it sucks that I live in LA

  • Wolf Herobrine says:

    May I buy a training balisong knife? and keep it at home and try to learn it and not get arrested?

  • david says:

    What does a assisted opening knife fall under

  • PeteH says:

    There are many local laws that supercede State and County laws.

    A knife that is legal in your County and city may be illegal in a different city in the same County.

    This resource may help clear up many of the questions here:


  • Anthony Ramos says:

    My girlfriend recently got me the Schrade 13 Fixed Blade Knife i wanted with a 3.7 inch blade , its legal to carry it openly on my belt correct ?. I usually carry my spyderco tenacious openly on my pocket & have no problems . California, Los Angeles

    • Davy Crosier says:

      The City of LA does not allow fixed blade knives to be open carried at this time.

      Btw, it is legal to conceal carry your Tenacious.

  • crazycayote says:

    Isn’t there no length limit on a folding knife as long as it’s concealed? I plan to buy a kershaw cryo 2 that has a framelock is more than 3 inches length is that CA legal?

    • Jak says:

      I’m sure its legal. justread over the legality of the balisongs and switchblades section

    • Robert Wilson III says:

      There is no length limit to fixed blades that are openly carried except in the City of Los Angeles, any School, College or University grounds, within any public owned property, or any property being used for the purposes of a public or official meeting (like a town hall meeting). Otherwise, you are good to go. I’d go online and print out the Penal code and keep a copy in your wallet for when you get stopped by the Police who didn’t read the penal code before taking an oath.

    • JOHN CODE says:

      Any size length folder legal concealed in California

  • Justin says:

    If i have a bottle opener that looks like a balisong
    knife when its closed can i carry it on my belt in a holster in california?

    • Christine Westbrook says:

      It doesn’t have a blade, so long as you do your part in letting Law Enforcement Officers know this in any situation involving them, you should be fine. Just don’t try to threaten people with it and you’ll be OK.

    • Daniel Heller says:

      conceal it, it isnt a knife. its as good as a toy or regular bottle opener

  • Juan Antonio Sandoval says:

    So I recently bought a fixed blade thats 5.05 inches can i carry it openly?

    • DavidyArica Freire says:

      Yes. No restriction on size. It says in the beginning paragraph of the article.

  • Christine Westbrook says:

    1. does the blade lock? swiss blades usually don’t but yours may
    2. how long is the blade? Knife laws are dependent on blade length

  • Jackson says:

    could i carry a balisong knife in public with me if it is in a backpack?

    • Christine Westbrook says:

      This depends on where you are, generally NO
      You can if you are going directly to yours or a friend’s motor vehicle or privately owned boat, at which point it is ‘ok.’
      I’d avoid it though if you can.

    • Daniel Heller says:


  • Pomona Pete says:

    who wrote this? WHO’S is misused; should be whose. What’s a Swithblade? Pen knives are so super important they’re named twice.

    • Isaac says:

      A switchblade is any mind of knife woth a switch on the blade itself so.when younpush it down the blade comes out

  • Eddy says:

    If you want self protection a Swiss Army knife isn’t the way to go

  • Nicole says:

    I am interested in shipping letter openers that are concealed in a pen to California. (It’s a usable pen and you can also remove an end to reveal the letter opener). Would this fall under the hidden weapon category? Thank you!

  • Vincr says:

    I have a credit card sized multi tool knife. Is it legal to carry it in my pocket? The blade sheaths in the tool discretely, but it has other tools on it. (compass, bottle opener, tweezers, etc.)

  • Robert says:

    For those of you wondering about open carrying your fixed blade knife. I live in Riverside county (one of the stricter counties) and for my EDC i go out with no less than my SOG SEAL Pup, my SOG Trident, a small 2 inch Winchester pocket knife, and a SOG Snarl. I carry the SEAL Pup on my belt out in the open and the rest of the knives I carry concealed about my person. Been stopped many times (for the Pup) and been asked to remove all of my weapons. Not one of those knives is illegal to carry in CA and i am always let go once the officer makes sure all of the blades are legal. When you open carry a fixed blade remember these 3 things:

    1. It has to be recognizable as a knife (cant be disguised)

    2. It must be in a sheath of some sort

    3. The full length of the knife must be visible (your shirt cant be pulled down over the handle i tuck my shirt in behind it)

    Also to save yourself some trouble print up a copy of the laws that apply to your carry and keep it on your person. That way if the officer in question is “confused” about your legal right to carry a knife, you can provide proof to set him straight.

  • John says:

    FYI: per 626.10 CA Penal Code, regarding school grounds (kindergarten through 12th grade): any lock blades are illegal; and the same for any non locking folder (ie slip joint) with a blade longer than 2 1/2″.

    Exceptions are staff & emergency personnel in course of duty.

    This is either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the individual circumstances of each case.

  • Kyle says:

    So this site says you can have a fixed blade out in the open of any size no restrictions but you can only have a switch blade no longer than 2 inches??

  • Avery says:

    I own a folding, single edged, 6 inch blade Cold Steel Ti-Lite. The blade is long and thin like a stiletto, but as it’s single edged and folding, is it still legally a prohibited weapon to carry concealed/at all? under state law? Thank you…

  • Jonathan fort says:

    I have a balisong butterfly knife it’s more than 2 inches long and I live in ca. Can I sell it out of state shipping via ups/FedEx

  • Angel says:

    I want to buy a. Balisong knife (Butterfly knife) and its the blade is 5 inches. Im not planing on carrying around with me but i want to make sure its legal to have one.

  • Joe says:

    I have a 3 inch non-auto or assisted knife. Can I carry it around town in my pocket?

  • John says:

    I would like to know if I can carry a 7 inch T-bar marine knife carrying on on my side when I’m riding my motorcycle is that legally in California -city of inland empire and if it is with cities in the surrounding areas have a problem with it and can I get a permit to carry it

  • Ossifer says:

    Under California law a concealed handgun can legally be transported with a motor vehicle without a permit only by carrying it: 1) unloaded; and 2) locked in the vehicle’s trunk or in a separate locked container other than the utility or glove compartment. If the vehicle does not have a trunk, it must be carried in a “locked container” separate from the utility or glove compartment.

    Ammunition cannot be attached to the handgun in any manner. Under most circumstances, a firearm is considered loaded when there is a live round of ammunition “…in, or attached in any manner to, the firearm, including, but not limited to: in the firing chamber, magazine or clip thereof attached to the firearm…” For example, a semi-automatic handgun with an empty firing chamber and a loaded magazine inserted in the magazine well is considered loaded. There is no prohibition in the state codes against also carrying ammunition within the same motor vehicle or compartment in the vehicle, as long as the firearms are not loaded and ammunition is not attached in any manner to the firearm. – Penal Code Sections 12025, 12026, 12031.

    Penal Code Section 12026.2 states that carrying a handgun in your car even in a locked container is only for the purpose of transporting from one specific location to another (going to the range, going hunting, etc.). It is illegal to carry a firearm without a permit, even in a locked container in your car, for general purposes such as self-defense.

    While it is legal in California to carry an unloaded handgun in plain sight in the passenger compartment, it is not advised. It can lead to unfavorable attention and an encounter with the police. If the gun slips between the seats or otherwise out of sight, it is no longer “in plain sight” and therefore illegal.

    Switchblades are legal to own in CA. You just can’t carry them on your person, or in your vehicle in the passenger compartment or buy. sell, trade, give one away, etc. So yes, you can have one legally IN YOUR HOME.

    ANY knife that has a fixed blade including a pocket knife in the open position, is considered a dirk or dagger.

    Ok folks? Hope this answers ya’ll’s questions.

  • Isaac says:

    How old do you have to be to carry a knife.

  • Truck says:

    What about ASP batons in CA? any good link to read up on those?

  • Woodbro Chillson says:

    So even owning a “switchblade” with a blade over 2 inches is forbidden in California? You cant even have one in a display case in your home?

  • Edward says:

    Might explore the medical implications of knife fightng, wounds, and real-life survival /wounding with various defense methods/ systems. Probably a lose-lose. And medical bills? Good luck.

  • Robert Sawtelle says:

    The issue with California, while the law may state one thing, and be the prevailing law, it doesn’t matter if the officer interprets it differently. And there are MANY officers who have ill-informed concepts of what the laws actually are! Then there are the various city & county laws to deal with. This resource, while nice is also misleading and can most certainly get people into trouble. As ignorance of the law is no excuse, and a cop being ignorant, can get you shot!

    • xrich says:

      meh, just remain calm and co-operate with the cop and if you get cited or arrested then present your defense to the judge. but make absolutely certain your are following all state and local rules before you carry.

  • jmtnvalley says:


    Not sure when this happened to you, but the courts have ruled that an unloaded gun is just that, unloaded. If there are no bullets in the gun, it is unloaded. You can have a loaded magazine next to the gun, but the magazine is not a gun. I have great respect for the CHP, but the commandant of the CHP often oversteps his authority on defining the law. Take the California motorcycle helmet law a number of years back. He decided that a certain helmet type was not safe and orders his officers to ticket them, even though the helmets met the requirement of the law. Another case that will come to a head is giving Ham radio operators tickets for not using hands free. Ham radios are NOT wireless telephones, as specified in the law. Same happened with the loaded gun law.

  • Having spent several hours being searched, questioned,detained and terrorized by the CHP at the Cordillia Weigh Station I can assure you that the way CHP defines their law is different than what is presented here. I was pulled in for vehicle inspection as is quite common at all CA weigh stations.
    I had an M-7 bayonet in the map pocket in my truck which was clearly visible when I opened my door. The officer asked the obvious “What is that” My reply was “A knife” Next came “are there any more weapons in the truck” weeeeellll “Yep there is a pistol in the sleeper”
    Three hours later I’m free to go because…. The knife was in the vehicle Not on my person Had it been on my belt…BAD BAD BAD. Pistol was returned with industrial sized Zip tie through mag well/ejection port. Mag was emptied and ammo placed in stapled shut bag. I was told it was illegal to carry a loaded gun in a vehicle in CA. If the gun was in the passenger compartment then the ammo had to be in a separate compartment that could not be reached. I only got my gun back because where I lived and was licensed at the time I could carry exposed in any location. Ca has since changed their laws to prohibit that exception as well.

  • Joshua says:


    I point out that the violent crime rate and the murder rate of Arizona is about the same as California (murder rate was a little higher in Arizona in 2011, last year I have reliable stats for). Also, in AZ you are in trouble carrying any knife, even a pocket knife on a keychain, in a school. In California you can carry small blade knives in a school, at least. Also, CCW holders can carry guns in schools. And in bars. In fact, CCW holders have less restrictions in CA than AZ…it is just that it is harder to get a CCW, and you guys permit far broader unlicensed carry.

    One thing to bear in mind is that unlike firearms, where CA has preemption (one dying act of the GOP before we went blue), knife laws vary. There is a limit on length in some cities. LA, SF and Oakland limit blade length to 3″, e.g.

  • MedusaOblongata says:

    The CA law info posted in the article above is not exactly accurate. State law prohibits concealing a “dirk or dagger,” and then goes on to define “dirk or dagger” as any fixed blade knife. So, other than the limit on autos and balisongs, the only thing state law prohibits is concealing a fixed blade. There are no length limits in state law (other than school grounds), and it doesn’t matter whether the knife has one edge or two.

  • MedusaOblongata says:

    The only knives prohibited by state law at public universities that are legal elsewhere are fixed blades over 2.5″. Which means that, per state law, fixed blade knives under 2.5″ and folding knives (of any length) are legal on university property. Check your city/county laws for other restrictions. Violating university policy will get you kicked out, but not arrested. (The CSU system used to have a 5″ blade length limit, but that could have changed)

  • J y says:

    Can I have a knife in my university dorm ?

  • Jay says:

    While California has made headway in recent years in repealing or defeating some repressive laws, I believe it a reach to think that CA is “modern and up to date” in regards to it’s knife laws. Any state that restricts or forbids law abiding citizens from possessing a knife simply because of an antiquated “chicken-little” mindset cannot pretend to be a friendly state to knife owners. The length or style of a blade as a determining factor of legality, ie. switchblades limited to under 2″ or the determination that a dagger can only be used for nefarious purposes, is both repressive and moronic.
    If you wish to be a true Knife Friendly state maybe you should look to your eastern border. Arizona continues to prove itself as a true knife friendly progressive state. We have drastically lower violent crime rates for the simple fact that we allow our citizens to live as our forefathers intended; without redundant or repressive laws that restrict the rights of the people to own, possess or carry almost any weapon, including any knife, switchblade, out the front automatic knife, dirk, dagger, sword, swordcane or penknife they desire. Be it for self defense or collecting purposes.
    The point is, there should be no restrictions put upon the law abiding populace of a free state. The belief by most in California that you can reduce or eradicate crime by restricting ownership of an inanimate object by the law abiding populace is pure ignorance.
    I look forward to seeing California continue it’s fight against the repressive laws which you live under as well as those that continue to be brought against you every day. Good luck.

  • Junior says:

    I just bought a 16 inch Bowie and I wanted to know if I can carry it around here in California?

    • Clint says:

      Again, READ. There are no length restrictions.

    • PeteH says:

      Depends where you are as some cities/counties do have blade length restrictions.

      Try this web site for more accurate info: http://www.handgunlaw.us/documents/USKnife.pdf

      This web site here seems to be doing more harm than good.
      Best thing to do is to check your city and county laws as well as cities/counties that you travel to and thru on a regular basis.
      Example; my city doesn’t have a blade length restriction, but in a nearby city where my g/f lives, they have a 3″ or longer limit so when I visit her, I carry a 2.875″ Spyderco Byrd Hawkbill.
      But in my city, I can carry my older model Cold Steel Vaquero Grand with the 6″ serrated VG-1 blade, which is about 13″ with the blade deployed and is longer than your forearm.

      What is legal in one city may be illegal in another.
      SF, OAK, SAC, LA all have blade restrictions of 3″ or longer as do other cities while others don’t.

      I’d hate to see someone get rung up for reading something on this web site thinking that the knife they carry is legal when it isn’t and some liberal gun-hating, knife-hating DA sends you to County for a Year based on misinformation.

      There are length restrictions. The trick is to find out which Counties/Cities.
      The link I posted above should be of help and if there is still confusion or questions, they can check their LOCAL laws which supercede State laws.

      Hope this helps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Best Law Articles

"I've been looking for knife law guides for a while and your articles are amazing. I haven't found such clear law advice anywhere else. I'm really happy I found KnifeUp."
--Chuck N.

Great Gear Reviews

"KnifeUp's series of knife reviews was really helpful. I found a great knife that did exactly what I wanted to do thanks to them. They also helped me save $30! I love KnifeUp."
--Kyle S.

Your Rights Advocate

"I'm relieved that there is someone out there protecting me and my rights. When something threatens my rights, KnifeUp is the first to inform me."
--Justin M.