North Carolina Knife Laws

ncNorth Carolina knife laws are wordy and may be difficult for anyone without legal training to follow. This article describes both the statutes and Court decisions, or case law, concerning the ownership and carrying of knives in North Carolina, and puts it all in a language and order that makes it easy to read and follow.

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a switchblade
  • It is legal to own a gravity knife
  • It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as in a pen or lipstick

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is illegal to own any spring-loaded projectile knife
  • It is illegal to own a ballistic knife
  • It is illegal to own any weapon of similar character to a projectile or ballistic knife

What the Law States

§ 14-269. Carrying concealed weapons

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person willfully and intentionally to carry concealed about his person any bowie knife, dirk, dagger, slung shot, loaded cane, metallic knuckles, razor, shurikin, stun gun, or other deadly weapon of like kind, except when the person is on the person’s own premises….

Restrictions on Carry

  • It is illegal to conceal carry a bowie knife
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dagger
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a butcher knife
  • It is legal to conceal carry a pocketknife
  • It is legal to open carry any legal knife
  • It is illegal to open or conceal carry any knife on a school campus, state property, or into a Courthouse
  • It is illegal to open or conceal carry any dangerous weapon at a parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration upon any private health care facility

Definitions of Various Types of Knives

North Carolina statute defines a pocket knife as a small knife, made to carry in a pocket or purse, which has its cutting edge and point entirely enclosed by the handle, and that may not be opened by a throwing, explosive, or spring action.

A switchblade is defined by statute as a knife containing a blade that opens automatically by the release of a spring or a similar device.

Neither the statues of North Carolina, nor the case law, define any other type of knife.

Definition of a Dangerous Weapon

A dangerous weapon includes bowie knives, dirks, daggers, or any weapon of like kind, a switchblade, or any object capable of causing serious injury or death if used as a weapon.

Definition of Concealed

In order to be convicted of carrying a concealed weapon, one must have the intent to conceal it. In 1882, in State v. C. F. Gilbert, the Supreme Court of North Carolina found that Mr. Gilbert had not meant to conceal the weapon he was carrying in his front pocket, but was merely transporting it from one place of business to another, and was therefore not guilty of carrying a concealed weapon. In State v. Dixon, in 1894, the Court found that it did not matter what a persons’ intention in carrying a concealed weapon was, the only intention that mattered was whether the carrier intended to conceal the weapon. It then upheld Mr. Dixon’s conviction for carrying a concealed weapon, even though he carried it only for the lawful purpose of selling it. In this decision, the Court overruled prior case law, specifically State v. Harrison, where in 1885, it had found that Mr. Harrison could not be convicted of the concealed carry of a weapon that he carried only for the lawful purpose of trading it.

According to State v. McManus, a concealed weapon may either be concealed on the carriers’ person, or “about his person”, meaning that a weapon concealed within the reach and control of a defendant, is a concealed person for the purpose of North Carolina’s concealed carry statute. In State v. Gainey, the Court found that this means that a weapon hidden inside a vehicle may be a concealed weapon for the purpose of the conceal carry law. However, in the case of State v. Soles, the Court found that a gun concealed inside a backpack in Mr. Soles’ van, was not a concealed weapon under the statute, because the backpack was located in such as place as it could not be said that Mr. Soles had easy access to the gun.

Defenses to Conceal Carry Law

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269 provides a defense to the conceal carry law for weapons that are not a firearm; that you were engaged in, or on your way to or from an activity, in which the weapon is legitimately used, you used the weapon for that purpose, and you did not attempt to use the weapon for any illegal purpose. The statue does not describe any specific activities that a person must be engaged in when carrying a concealed weapon and the case law is silent on the issue. Commonly recognized activities where one would carry a knife, however, include hunting, fishing, trapping, and farming.

When the Open Carry of a Knife May Be Illegal

In 1843, in the case of State v. Huntley, the Supreme Court of North Carolina found that while a person may open carry any weapon, which is not illegal to own, for any lawful purpose, he or she may not do so in order to terrify or alarm the public. The Court held that though there is no statute prohibiting such carrying; it was a common law offense for which a person could be indicted.

Conclusion on North Carolina Knife Law

It is illegal to own a spring-loaded projectile knife, ballistic knife, or any similar weapon in North Carolina. However, “spring-loaded projectile knife” and “ballistic knife” are not defined by either statute or case law.

North Carolina allows for the open carry of any legal weapon, so long as you are not carrying it in order to terrify or alarm the public. It does not allow for the concealed carry of bowie knives, dirks, daggers, or butcher’s knives.


  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269 (2013)
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.6 (2013)
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-277.2 (2013)
  • State v. C. F. Gilbert, 87 N.C. 527 (1882)
  • State v. McManus, 89 N.C. 555 (1883)
  • State v. Erwin, 91 N.C. 545 (1884)
  • State v. Gainey, 160 S.E.2d 685 (1968)
  • State v. Huntley, 3 Ired. Law 418 (1843)
  • State v. Dixon, 19 S.E. 364
  • State v. Soles, 662 S.E.2d 564 (2008 N.C. App.)
  • State v. Harrision, 93 N.C. 605 (1885)

Peter Stec
Latest posts by Peter Stec (see all)


  1. I’m 15 male can I open carry a k-bar or something along the same size

  2. Would it be legal to carry an ESEE Izula concealed in NC? Specs are below

    Overall Length:6.25″
    Blade Length:2.875″
    Cutting Edge:2.625″

    1. Concealed? Yes it would be illegal to carry concealed (unless you are going to or coming from camping, hunting, fishing activity) because it is a Dangerous Weapon. It’s in the law above. You can open carry it, all day long.

    1. I am 12 female is it ok for me to carry a pocket knife?

    2. Should be good to carry on your property; house backyard, house frontyard, house inside, apartment inside only. Not okay to carry beyond ones own property. You can own it but cannot travel with it because it is an automatic knife or like kind.

  3. I have a survival knife(Rambo style with unsharpened swedge) I like using for bushcraft and camping is it legal to open carry? I dont want to use it for everyday carry if its not legal so want to figure this out before I decide to get another knife.

    1. Yes. You can open carry as long as you’re not trying to scare people with it.

  4. Hello! I was hoping to get a larger knife to put in my purse for self defense in cities walking the streets alone. Is it a concealed carry if I just put it in my bag for self defense??

    1. Hi Lindsey;
      I think just like you in terms of what I’d like to carry, but here’s the deal in a nutshell; Any weapon that you carry and no-one can see, is considered conceal carry. And, further to that, if you ever tell a police officer it’s for “self-defense” they won’t like that because it implies you may use it in a violent confrontation. A lot of us can “fudge” our way out of situations by saying we were heading out on a camping trip today or we just returned from a day on the lake fishing and we still have our “fishing” knife on us. It depends on the officer in many cases, but I’m just sayin’.

  5. I can’t find exact information on fixed blades. I recently purchased a fixed blade with a leather sheath. The man who hand made it says the cutting edge is 4.8 inches and the overall length is 8.3 inches. My question is are fixed blades of that size legal to open carry?

  6. Hi. I have a three foot sword and was wondering if it was legal to carry openly obviously as it would be very difficult to conceal such a weapon.

    1. Hey Scott;
      That’s a fair question and it’s been asked many times before. My standard answer is this: I’m officially not “allowed” to give you personal advice on legal issues, but here’s what I would consider. I wouldn’t even bother with the issue of whether it’s legal or not. I’d be way more concerned about public opinion, because if someone is offended/scared/angry/shocked at you carrying a sword, they’ll call the cops and I guarantee you the cops will give you a hassle. They are allowed to make a judgement call as to whether or not they’ll confiscate the sword and charge you for stuff like disturbing the peace, public mischief, etc. which is totally unrelated to the issue of “legal-ness” of the sword itself. Intent will be another big issue as you explain yourself in front of a couple of officers. That’s just too big a hassle for me. I also own a 3 foot long Katana and I’ll never bring it into public for the reasons I’ve just outlined. Plus, I have no reason to want to carry it in public! It makes no sense logically.
      Thanks again for stopping by knifeup.

    2. Wear it with a kilt and say you are an actor and that it is for a low budget film. Never had a problem with my sword when i have been asked and said that. I also did a few stupid videos and keep them on my phone to prove i do it.

    1. I believe it’s legal at the age of 8yo to carry a knife but you should double check and make sure.

  7. Okay for knives but what about Cane-Swords and regular Swords? I have always wanted a Japanese Samurai Sword as well as a Cane-Sword but wonder if they are legal to own? Also, what about Bayonets? I have always wanted a WW1 Bayonet but is it legal to own?

    1. A cane sword would likely be considered a concealed knife of some sort. All swords and bayonets are legal to own, as well as machetes.

    2. You can own anything u want as long as u keep it on ur property. And or if u just bought it for instance travel but it would be best not to get caught because it would probably cost u a lawyer to get this strait.

  8. I have a 18” machete behind my driver side front seat, is that illegal in anyway??

    1. It’s not a Bowie, dirk or dagger so it doesn’t violate law.

  9. I have an 11 inch pocket knife with a 4.7in blade. Is this legal to carry in my pocket in public? And can the clip show? NC laws say nothing about pocket knife length, so I am curious. Thanks.

    1. Does not sound much like a pocket knife.

      The legal definition of concealed is………not visible from any angle of view.

      Hope it helps.

    2. Gabe – Ordinary Pocket Knife. An Ordinary pocket knife is an ordinary pocket knife. Large Pocket knives are not ordinary pocket knives. Next may, a Representative I spoke back and forth with, Rep Kidwell, who will motion for clarification and include larger knives.

  10. I have a Cold Steel Walking Cane that has a 24″ cruciform SPIKE (tapered to a needle-sharp tip) enclosed in it’s cane/scabbard. A small button unlocks the thing and you pull it out of the scabbard.

    There are NO sharp ‘edges’ – only the needle-point tip. A strictly thrusting weapon.

    If I am taking a stroll with this and it’s securely locked in it’s scabbard, am I in legal trouble if caught?

  11. I just wanted to make a statement based on comments ive read. There are lots of comments and questions about blade length. In NC there is no officially stated blade length that is legal / illegal. its rather vague. Its left vague so LEO can use their own judgement as to whether to charge a person or not. Guilty or not, the courtroom staff still gets paid every time a person stands before the judge. Use good judgement. if the folding knife is 8 inches closed and 15 inches opened.. logically it shouldnt be concealed… you’re asking for a charge. any normal pocket knife, spring assist or not, carried in a normal manner is not going get you in trouble unless you act threatening with it. In Cary, NC, spring assist knives are against local laws/ordinance, but they dont enforce it unless you make them. spring assist are so common these days that its hard to uphold the ordinance… especially when the LEO’s themselves are all toting them.


  12. I have a pocket knife with spring assistance where the blade comes out the side like a regular folding knife than straight out like a switch blade. Would this knife be legal to carry in a sheath side holster or carried in a pocket with clip showing?Masters Collection Spring Assisted Folding Knife
    7.75″ Overall Length – Rainbow Finish
    3.25″ Stainless Steel Blade – Very Sharp
    3mm Blade Thickness
    4.5″ Titanium Coated Handle – Flower Pattern
    Belt Clip
    Liner Locking System

    1. this depends. it is legal to carry a mil-spec ka-bar. but if the the swedge (false edged area of spine) is sharpened then some officers could try to claim its double edged and then cause you a court drama.

    2. Use some common sense. Yes it is legal to carry and yes they may try to take you to court and find you guilty of a dirk etc etc etc. What is going to happen is you are going to be detained you are going to go to court and you are going to pay a lawyer a lot of money to uphold the right! Is that what you want to do?

    3. Yes.

      The legal definition of concealed is,……….not visible from any angle of view.

      Any legal knife is legal to carry open

  13. Police in Wrightsville Beach, NC, told my friend James, that is open carry Firearm is technically concealed because it is holstered and that a holster or sheath covering even one in h of a firearm, constitutes concealed carry. So with Knives, exercise caution as to how they are holstered, sheathed, clipped…. at least in Wrightsville Beach anyway .

    1. The officer either is ignorant of the N.C. Constitution and laws regarding open carry of firearms, or was outright lying to your friend. A holstered weapon that is not covered by clothing or accessories is perfectly legal. If your friend carries the firearm in his hand, which seems what the officer was suggesting, that is brandishing and is illegal.

      I am not a lawyer but I imagine Wrightsville Beach PD views on firearms reflects that of the political leaning of the residents.

    2. That officer clearly was a moron i know i live in wilmington and know my gun laws extremely well and have a
      N.C ccw.

    3. Sounds to me that cop was screwing with your friend, tell the cop to charge you then sue his butt for violation of your 2nd amendment rights. (Yes knives and swords are part of the 2nd amendment)


    1. i was wrongly accused of 2 weapons charges in the 90’s that i was unable to fight it court, and now i can get permits and pass checks. it shouldnt affect your process of obtaining a firearm unless you have DUI or other charges in the more recent past. it was only 6-8 years before i was clear to buy guns.

    2. Get the attorney to do a record expungement then you should have no more worries.

  15. I do have a story that may help someone. After a traffic stop, I had a trooper ask me if I had any concealed weapons. I said no, just a pocket knife. He asked me to show it to him, and I did. He instantly recoiled and said “that ain’t no pocket knife!”. It was an old timer brand large linerlock. Schrade called it a Mustang.
    Anyways, the cop was cool mainly because I had been obviously fishing, with my gear strowed about me.
    We started a friendly dialogue about legal knives.
    What he told me was, if the sales nomenclature from the manufacturer said “pocket knife” you typically are ok.
    If not, and the manufacturer supplies a sheath, you need to” exercise caution” his words.
    Also, most manufacturers of large knives with clips, state them as “belt clips”, not pocket clips. Again exercise caution.
    Nice officer who understood wording jargon.

    1. If the knife as a clip on it and you got it stick in your pocket and the clip is showing , than it is not a concealed weapon and usually one with a clip you can see the top part of the knife sticking your pocket anyways. You just can’t have a switch blade that will open automatic, it is illegal, so is two edged knives that are sharp on both sides or anything that shoots straight out like those switch blades, all illegal, just use common sense if you got any, read the law, not what everyone thinks on it, got what people think all over the internet, pull up your state law and code and read it, than some cities put in their own little law on that also and change it.

  16. NC Law should be amended. If you have a CCW permit, that should cover knives, as well. Not everyone has 500 bucks to drop on a a gun, but everyone has a right to self defense.

    1. Pretty much. Unfortunately it seems knives don’t have the passionate backing/outrage that follows firearms. So, we barely have a right to defend yourself/carry a knife when its relatively simple to do so with a gun.

  17. Regarding the blade length of 3.5 inches, does that mean the sharpened part or the entire blade piece? I have a folding knife with a total blade length of 4″ but the sharp part is about 3.5″ .

    1. Hey James;
      The safe answer would be, of course, the ENTIRE length from tip to handle, including the ricasso or bolster (which is the unsharpened part of the blade right next to the handle itself). I’m not sure the law is so specific to deal with that difference, but ultimately you’d probably want to ask an attorney in North Carolina if it matters that much to your situation.
      thanks for asking,

  18. What about fixed blade throwing knives? I assume they are legal for open or concealed carry, so long as the blade length meets the requirements of a legally concealable knife

    1. throwing knives, stars and throwing “hawks” are all illegal to carry. in NC you are allowed to shoot bullets and arrows, but not throw sharp pieces of metal by hand.

  19. How old do you have to be to say, buy a karambit or butterfly/balisong knife?

    1. NC Law if I’m not mistaken is you have to be 17 to buy a knife, I’m not a lawyer but that is the age that stores have asked me whenever i buy a knife.

    2. Hey Timothy;
      Thanks for the comment. I checked out the law which says it’s illegal to sell certain knives to a minor:§ 14-315. Selling or giving weapons to minors.

      (a) Sale of Weapons Other Than Handguns. – If a person sells, offers for sale, gives, or in any way transfers to a minor any pistol cartridge, brass knucks, bowie knife, dirk, shurikin, leaded cane, or slungshot, the person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and, in addition, shall forfeit the proceeds of any sale made in violation of this section.

      I also found that;
      North Carolina recognizes 18 as the “age of majority,” or the age at which state residents are legally considered adults, as do most other states. … North Carolina legal ages laws allow minors as young as 16 petition the court for emancipation and may enter into a contract to pay for college tuition if 17 or older.

      So there may be a gray area of what type of knife can be sold to a “minor” and then exactly what makes a “minor”. Can you be 17, or maybe 18? I’m not a lawyer and as always, don’t take what I say as law. Only certified legal counsel in the state of North Carolina can answer this question officially.

      thanks and good luck

  20. I have to differ with Joe MC and Bob Dole – the statute says “spring loaded ballistic knives” are illegal, not switchblades. Ballistic or projectile knives have detachable blades that actually shoot off of the handle. A switchblade does not.
    Switchblades may not be conceled but can be “open carried” if not done in a manner to alarm anyone (like on your belt, etc.).
    The law states its legal to open carry any legal knife, and switchblades are legal. Projectile or ballistic knives are not. Hope this makes sense.

  21. This article needs to be updated. It says it is illegal to carry a weapon to a parade. State Law was amended to allow persons with Concealed Handgun Permits to carry a handgun at a parade.

  22. If one has a CCH, does this cover concealed knives? Like a karambit.

    1. Not in North Carolina. There is no “concealed weapons” permit, only a “concealed carry handgun” permit.

    2. Sam’s comment about a karambit being a dagger is not correct. NC does not define it so depending on the LEO, circumstances and court it may or may not be defined as a dagger.

      Here is wikipedia’s definition;

      A dagger is a knife with a very sharp point and usually two sharp edges, typically designed or capable of being used as a thrusting or stabbing weapon.

      If a karambit has one sharpened edge , folds so that the blade and tip are enclosed inside the handle and is legal length then it could be considered a pocket knife.

      Be smart, be safe, be careful and use common sense.

    3. No. Cch is for handgun only.

    4. Not yet, some of our reps were trying to get knives included.

  23. So wait? Is a “spring-assisted” knife illegal? Like when you press a button the spring opens the knife? Is that illegal?

  24. Why is butterflie knife illegal to conceal it i didnt see nothing about it sayting grivity knifes are illegal

    1. (d) This section does not apply to an ordinary pocket knife carried in a closed position. As used in this section, “ordinary pocket knife” means a small knife, designed for carrying in a pocket or purse, that has its cutting edge and point entirely enclosed by its handle, and that may not be opened by a throwing, explosive, or spring action.

      I have been told that a butterfly knife is illegal because it is opened by a “throwing” motion.

  25. 1. can you carry swords in North Carolina?
    2. can you have a switchblade that comes out of the front or just the side of the knife?

    1. No But 36 inch machetes are fine. .Lol
      No switchblades. harpoons are not listed. Go with a tromantina chete. And a hawian sling poon and you will be fine. ha!

    2. I have actually asked some police officer friends of mine about swords. You may carry a sword openly, it may not be hidden. However, if a business asks you not to bring it in you must leave and store it in your car before you may come back in. This is in reference to the ordinance that no weapon may be carried for the purpose of ‘terrorizing the public’ and they may claim to feel threatened. I have never had anyone cause a problem with me, however, and usually they are more curious about where I obtained it, or if I would sell it.
      As far as switchblades, nothing spring loaded is legal at all outside of your own home.

  26. Is it illegal to carry a Sgian Dubh (Scottish Knife) as part of wearing the national costume of Scotland and what other states use the same laws?

    1. As long as it is open carry, yes you can.

  27. Ok so I am confused I just want to know if I could carry a “batman” knife (the ones that look like batarangs) because im a HUGE knife person and I got one and I wantes to carrt it I just wasnt sure

    1. Your’e a HUGE knife person and carry a batman knife…. ok…

  28. This is crazy. I walk with a limp and was thinking of getting one of those canes that concealed a sword. Guess I will just get a handgun instead.

    1. 5th bullet point: It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as in a pen or lipstick. You’re good.

    2. You can own one, but you can’t use it in public. Trust me, I have almost been arrested for using one as a cane in Union County. A cop came up to me, told me it was against the law so I pulled the blade out and came back. Then it was legal. Damn shame, the idea that an old or disabled person shouldn’t be able to have a sword cane is straight up nanny state BS IMO.

    3. If practical to do so, yes. NC law is reasonably handgun-friendly, and you can conceal carry a handgun in a number of places where edged devices categorized as weapons are prohibited.

    4. Cold Steel heavy duty sword cane at there handles loose I don’t know how to fix it its three little pins.

  29. What about karambit knives? Legal to carry? Legal to own? Karambit knives are curved blade like a talon FYI.

    1. i used to carry mine but it wasnt fixed blade, its more like a pocket knife and i bought it here in a store in nc. since the law desnt say anything about it it should be techically “legal” to carry but i think that truthfully they dont want and fixed bladed knives, at least not greater than a ceartain length to be concealed.

  30. Are butterfly knives legal? Also since when are switchblades legal???

    1. Yes, butterfly knives, also called a balisong, are legal to own & carry openly, but not concealed.

  31. Can you carry a knife or defensive weapon to school at all. Because I wear a Katana everywhere I go.

    1. It is illegal to carry any dangerous weapon on a school campus.

    2. Hey Alex;
      Thanks for checking out To answer your question, it’s illegal in pretty much every state to bring any weapons onto a school campus or government building and maybe other public buildings too. If it is classified as a dangerous weapon, then it’s 100% illegal to carry into a public school. Sorry bro!

  32. What is your input on Balisongs/ Butterfly Knives, seeing as they were not mentioned at all?

    1. Last I checked, Balisongs/Butterfly Knives are classified as a type of “Gravity Knife”, as the force of gravity or some other kinetic force is required to open it. And since “Gravity Knives” are legal to carry, these should also be legal. You may still want to do a bit of research, as certain states don’t allow them, or have special rules pertaining to them specificaly if you go out of state with it.

    2. How do you even check those laws though? I was going to get a butterfly knife and I may carry it in my pocket if I go out late at night or something like that. I’m not looking to hurt anyone I’ve just always wanted a buttefly knife but would want to carry it on my person just in case. My city is pretty sketchy.

    3. Why? Don’t get me wrong I have several butterfly knives that I enjoy, but if being used for personal protection as you described. A quality folder with thumb stud and pocket clip is far faster into action then any butterfly knife.

  33. Are wrist blades illegal? Also does a dagger count as concealed if I have it brandished and visible.

    1. In NC most police will cite “terror to the public” and make you put it in an inaccessible place. If you are brandishing it they will most likely arrest you.

  34. so what about carrying a switchblade concealed im still confused on that one?

    1. Switchblades are illegal to carry, basically. Even assisted opening blades can be problematic depending on the officer.

    2. Not if openly carried. However, most don’t come with clips or sheaths, so you’d have to rig something to have it at least partially protruding from the pocket. Honestly, there are just better options for blades for personal protection. I carry a Ontario RAT I or RAT II, which I think far exceed the practical applications of any of my switchblades chilling in my display case. Switchblades are “cool”, but not the best choice practically for EDC.

  35. What is the law about OTF automatic knives? Does that count as a “Spring loaded knife”? I have an automatic OTF I bought at my local mall. So I figured “If I can but it at the store, it must be okay otherwise they wouldnt sell it”

    1. I don’t believe so… above it states that ANY kind of knife can be obtained/owned legally w/t the exception of any kind of ‘spring-loaded projectile’ knife, ballistic knife or any weapon resembling such. However, it appears that as a rule of thumb, no kind of knife can be carried concealed, w/t the exception of a standard pocket knife. OTF automatic knives fall under the category of a switchblade which are legal in NC. But I were you, don’t conceal it…

    2. Also remember that concealment means complete concealment. If it has a pocket clip with the top portion even very slightly protruding it is NOT concealed.

  36. All I’d like to know is:
    1. What is the maximum length for a blade in a folding pocket knife?
    2. What restrictions are we under when carrying a 6″ blade that is a folding knife?
    3. Can a person carry a switchblade (out-the-front)?
    4. Do I need any special ‘permit’ for any knife mentioned?
    Thank you for your time.

    1. What is the maximum blade length of a switch blade and can you carry it in your pocket in north Carolina?

    2. 3″ is the common legal length in NC, and you cannot carry a switchblade in your pocket (ie concealed carry) at all. It is commonly interpreted that spring-assisted opening knives are included in switchblade laws and that they are legal to own and carry openly (ie in a sheath or visibly clipped to the outside of a pocket). *Disclosure – I am not an attorney and any legal advice should be interpreted as such. Contact a local attorney to ensure what is and what is not legal in your area. Also, spring-assisted knives are not explicitly mentioned in the statue and therefore can be left open to an officers discretion if they are legal to carry &/or conceal (like making laws up on the spot)

    3. hello sir.I guess neck knife daggers would definitely be out of the question in North Carolina.but can I wear it open in North Carolina cuz I am going there soon? hendersonville.

    4. From what I can tell, it should be completely legal. It’s not defined in state statues nor in local ordinances. As long as you don’t go to a courthouse, church, police department or other place owned by the county (ie non-residential or store) you should be fine. Speak to an attorney or call the local PD/Sheriff’s Department and they can easily give you an answer on specific legality of any weapon you might also have with you.

    5. The length is not defined by statute or clearly by any case law. Some local municipalities have included a blade length restriction as small as 3″, but most common length I’ve seen is 3.5″ in length. If challenged, I’m not sure either restriction would be upheld, as the States definition would supersede any local rules where to two conflict. It could easily be argued that these restrictions are invalid as the only case law I remember on length was in reference to a 4.5″ knife being considered a typical folder. But then again do you really want to have to go through the trouble and expense of getting out of trouble?

    6. I was stating blade lengths that adhere to local ordinances, take Raleigh for example:



      It shall be unlawful for any person to possess on or about his person or vehicle any firearm or dangerous weapon of any kind, as defined below, whether exposed or concealed, while participating in any parade or any picketing.


      It shall be unlawful for any person present at any parade or picketing or any person upon any street, sidewalk, alley or other public property within five hundred (500) feet of any parade or picketing, to possess on or about his person or vehicle any firearm or dangerous weapon of any kind, as defined below, whether exposed or concealed.


      For purposes of this article, the term dangerous weapon shall be defined as any device or substance designed or capable of being used to inflict serious injury to any person or property; including, but not limited to: firearms, airguns, BB guns, pellet guns, knives or razors with a blade more than three (3) inches in length, metallic knuckles, clubs, blackjacks, nightsticks, dynamite cartridges, bombs, grenades, knives, explosives, molotov cocktails, and sword canes.


      This section shall not apply to the following persons while acting lawfully and within the scope of their duties and authority:


      Law enforcement officers,


      Officers and soldiers of the armed forces, militia and national guard.

      (Ord. No. 1980-346, §1, 4-1-80; Ord. No. 2011-989, §1, 12-6-11)

      I don’t know why you had issue with what I stated, but it’s correct and it also makes sure that most folks won’t get into trouble with the law. As you said that’s not worth the hassle or expense.

      It is a pretty safe bet for most areas to allow a 3″ bladed folder/pocket knife. So to be on the safe side, go with that. It is always advisable to check local ordinances and if need be, call a local PD or Sheriff’s office to confirm that a knife you’re looking to bring with you or have on your person is a legal weapon to carry.

    7. Found it…The North Carolina Court of Appeals has interpreted an ordinary pocketknife to include a knife measuring four and one-half (4½) inches in overall length when folded (i.e., closed). In the matter of Dale B., 96 N.C. App. 375 (1989). But it is unclear whether the Court would find anything larger to also qualify as an “ordinary pocket knife”.

    8. from what I read into this’s similar to Florida knife law.I think it would lean more towards what was your intent.I usually carry a neck knife.if I carry it outside my shirt in Florida it’s just depends on what you doing with it from what I can understand as ambiguous as it is.and right next store in South can carry any knife you want.yeah North Carolina might have a few Floridiots. lol living there.

    9. I don’t think you can carry any switchblade in North Carolina from what I read

  37. Is there a specified limit to length of blade for folding knives?

    Does a pocket or belt clip cover for open carry?

    My reading of the law indicated that push-button knives are illegal for civilian carry. Did I read wrong, misinterpret or has the law been changed to cover push button/switchblades?

    How is “opens by spring action” different from “open by release of a spring” and how can one tell?

  38. “It is illegal to open or conceal carry any knife on a school campus, STATE PROPERTY, or into A COURTHOUSE,
    It is illegal to open or conceal carry any dangerous weapon at a PARADE, FUNERAL PROCESSION, picket line, or demonstration upon any private health care facility” ……….?
    So every time a pipe band, reenactor, historical actor, or properly outfitted Scot shows up with a sword, dirk, knife, Sgian-dubh, and/or a pointy fork, they are in violation of the law? OUCH!

    1. Yes it is illegal to carry the stabbies or the shooty weapons on campus or in a court house it is also illegal to have it at a parade funeral (Unless your one of the guys who fire rifles into the air) But if you are there for a demonstration and this has been approved your good to go. 🙂

  39. Pocket Knife 4.5 inches total length when folded

    North Carolina Case Law:
    – “Carrying concealed weapons in reasonable apprehension of
    deadly assaults is not justification of a violation of the
    statutory offense, but in aggravation thereof, and may be
    considered by the trial judge in imposing the sentence…”
    – “A person acting in ignorance of the law in good faith and
    upon advice of the clerk of the court or of an attorney,
    but in violation of this section, is not excused.” (1907)
    – “Knife about 4-1/2 inches in overall length which, when
    folded, was clearly designed for carrying in a pocket or
    purse, was an ‘ordinary pocketknife’ as defined by this
    section.” (1989)

    1. I have a question as to the laws pertaining to the open-carry guidelines. Does this mean that a knife of less than 4.5 inches may be in a vehicle, or closed and carried in plain sight, in order to possibly cut steak or a food when cutlery is not provided for the purpose? The knife in question has a handle made for ease of grip by someone with disabilities, instead of trying to hold an all-purpose knife and suffering hand cramps. Such utensils are used extensively in eating meals with the most ease.

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