North Carolina Knife Laws

Peter Stec
May 6, 2021
The Great Seal of the State O North Carolina

North 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.

Sources

  • 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)
About The Author
Hey Knife Up gang! I'm Pete, and I'm just another man like you in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like KnifeUp.com every day. The difference is that I like to share what I know and research what I don't totally know so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors-related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice, eh?

196 comments on “North Carolina Knife Laws”

  1. 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…”
    (1916)
    – “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.

  2. “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. 🙂

  3. 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?

  4. 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?

      1. 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)

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

        2. 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?

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

            Sec. 12-1060. – PROHIBITION OF FIREARMS AND DANGEROUS WEAPONS.

            (a)

            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.

            (b)

            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.

            (c)

            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.

            (d)

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

            (1)

            Law enforcement officers,

            (2)

            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.

        3. 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”.

      2. from what I read into this law.it’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 legal.kinda.it just depends on what you doing with it from what I can understand as ambiguous as it is.and right next store in South Carolina.you can carry any knife you want.yeah North Carolina might have a few Floridiots. lol living there.

  5. 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…

      1. 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.

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

      1. 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.

  6. 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.

    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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

      1. Hey Alex;
        Thanks for checking out Knifeup.com. 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!
        J.

    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.

  7. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  8. 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

  9. 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?

  10. 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 know it’s kind of late, but do not listen to the above people about the switchblades. Switchblades and OTF knives are very much legal in NC as long as they are open carried (I.e. ensuring that the pocket clip remains visible to the general public. This would also not be considered an act of terrorism as you had no intent to do so since law prohibits concealed carry of such knives.) So, yes, you may carry openly any OTF or Switchblade knife at any given time except when posted by private property owners and government buildings.

  11. 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.

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

    1. No it mean like a knives that shoot out of the handle. Also does anybody know the law on opening an eight inch pocket knife in public law? I have been reading through a bunch of law mf can’t find it.

    2. It is counted as a switchblade and is illegal. it states in this article that, “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.”

    3. That’s what I am curious about too. I own several auto-deploy knives. These are spring assisted and have pocket clips for carry. Most pocket knives have a spring of some sort that either assists with deploying or locking the blade in place. And as far as I know auto knives aren’t switchblades, but the wording of the state’s knife law says “spring assisted” knives.

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

    2. No it does not. CCH only applies to handguns. I spoke with my county Sheriff about this a few days ago.

    3. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. It says that you can conceal carry on your property… is your vehicle considered your property in this instance?

  15. This is an excellent reference! I have taken loads of time getting to know the ins and outs of carrying a concealed handgun, gut was nearly as clear about as the gun laws. Excellent work, Thank you.

  16. Do you get a sleeve for a gravity/butterfly knife for open carry, because a necklace tie would be impractical.

  17. I am 14, i am buying a Karambit online and was wondering if it’s illegal for a minor to have a karambit?

  18. Is it legal to open carry or carry in a car a single action knife in which you slide the button up and the knife slides up from within the handle, and when you want to push the knife back in you simply slide the buttom back down? Also is it legal to open carry or car in a car a flipper knife? A flipper knife being a knife that swings out after flipping a buttom on the oposite side of the handle?

  19. I’m looking into purchasing a Guard Father tactical spike. I’m pretty sure it would be considered either a spring loaded or switch blade. But that’s where I get confused. It’s not actually a knife. Its an ice pick pretty much. It looks like a pen until the 4 inch spike shoots out. So my question is, its not actually a knife so is it still covered by the “any like weapon” part of the switch blade clause or is this legal because its not actually a knife?

  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.

    1. you’ve probably already found your answer but now, but if you havent, in all of my experiences I have had to show my ID to prove that I was at least 18

    2. 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.

      1. 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
        J.

  21. I own a high quality Tomahawk that looks more like a steel hatchet at first glance. Is it legal for me to have it in my car or carry it on my person? It is just over 1 foot long.

  22. Butterfly/ballisong are illegal for how it opens “that may not be opened by a throwing, explosive, or spring action”

  23. What about boot knives? I want to go roller blading and I am female on a state property. How can I protect myself? Also, I have a fixed blade in a side pocket in my car. Is in it concealed in it concealed? I am a concealed carry handgun permit and recognize the doesn’t provide any protection.

  24. What about boot knives? I want to go roller blading and I am female on a state property. How can I protect myself? Also, I have a fixed blade in a side pocket in my car. Is in it concealed in it concealed? I am a concealed carry handgun permit and recognize the doesn’t provide any protection.

  25. Is it or is it not legal to carry a butterfly knife? In legal circumstances like all the other weapons that are legal.

  26. I have a butterfly knife and a switchblade that comes out the side is that legal or illegal I don’t carry them because I don’t know if I can or not

  27. It clearly says that switchblades are illegal. If an object is illegal to own it is, therefore, illegal to carry whether it is concealed or open.

  28. Can you carry a helle Viking knife on a belt I don’t know because of the 4 to 5 inch blade. Also if the shirt falls over the knife is that considered concealing it.

  29. @Mark.
    I’ve never seen a knife law that made sense.
    The ordinary pocket knife law is basically what this is.
    Florida has the same law and New York. I think Chicago. You’re allowed to conceal and carry an ordinary pocket knife. So I guess if you got a Kershaw Leek or link in your pocket you’re in trouble?
    But it does say you can open carry.
    Absolutely reverse where I live. You can carry concealed Any knife dagger stiletto switchblade No length law. But it must be used proper to art, profession occupation, sporting activities, surprisingly if you are disabled or considered defenseless there is no knife law that applies to you.
    I guess they tried to give it disabled guy a chance. But it must be completely concealed.
    I live in the United States territory the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

  30. Can you carry a concealed legal knife if you have a concealed weapons permit initially intented for firearms in NC ?
    Or do you need a special concealed knife permit as well ?

    I do a lot of outdoors activities camping, fishing, etc
    So as a tool it is quite useful
    I like to carry a knife but don’t think it’s always wise to display that I have it as sometimes any weapon seems to make people uneasy
    Or could invite unwanted attention

  31. My brother bought my son a Mosey Oak gut cutting knife . Has a 4 inch blade ,is it illegal to carry in his vehicle for protection ? Please respond ASAP . I am a concerned Mother….

  32. Makes sense but how can one carry say a stiletto open carry? Can one attach a pocket clip to it and it be called as being seen?

  33. Is a karambit “FOLDER” (Rescue Knife – Yellow Handle) with a typical 3 +/- inch blade legal to carry semi concealed with clip and ring showing / exposed legal in N. Carolina ?

    Add’l : tip of blade is blunted, cutting edge serrated and small 1/4 ” straight edge by serration. Is equipped with glass breaker tip as well. Primary purpose is rescue / survival but can be misconstrued as an actual Karambit Folder Combat Knife, I suppose ..

  34. 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.

  35. 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,
      J.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. IN 1960 I WAS CHARGED WITH CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON (A KNIFE) BECAUSE THE OFFICER SAID IT WAS OVER 5.5 INCHES IN LENGTH. IT WAS 7″ OVER ALL. NOW 59 YEARS LATER NOWHERE DOES MY ARREST SAY IT WAS A KNIFE. THE COURT ASSUMES IT WAS A GUN. EVERYONE INVOLVED IS DEAD. I WANT A GUN PERMIT. MY ATTORNEY CAN’T FIND OUT FROM THE COURT WHAT THE WEAPON WAS. ALL RECORDS ARE GONE, TO OLD.
    ANY ADVISE. MY ATTORNEY WANTS MORE MONEY. PAID $1,100.00 SO FAR.

    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.

  39. 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. 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?

  40. 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

  41. 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.

    1. I WAS ARRESTED AND SET FREE FROM THE MAGISTRATE, BUT I AM STILL BEING CHARGED BY G4S SECURITY FOR HAVING A 2 & HALF INCH POCKET KNIFE CLIPPED IN THE INSIDE OF MY POCKET. ( M-CARRYING CONCEALED WEAPON )
      GIVE ME A CALL, I HAVE QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT THE CHARGE. 704-584-8562

  42. 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?

  43. 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. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. I am looking to purchase a Case 288 Quickfire knife but am not sure if is legal to carry it. Can anyone give me some advice.

  46. 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.
      cheers,
      Pete

    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.

  47. 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?

  48. 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?

  49. 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’.
      cheers,
      Pete

  50. 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. 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.

  51. 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. A K-Bar is a clip-point fixed-blade knife that is typically considered a style of bowie knife, which in NC is legal to own and open carry, but not conceal carry. Now, K-Bars are generally considered as a “tool of war” that was purpose built for combat by the military. In the, “WHEN THE OPEN CARRY OF A KNIFE MAY BE ILLEGAL,” section above, it states, “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.”

      Now, if you openly carry a K-Bar knife, even though you may not have the intent to, “terrify or alarm the public,” you will certainly attract unwanted attention. All it would take is one person calling the police or 911 and reporting you for carrying a big scary knife to land you in hot water.

    2. The answer to this question is easily found here and verified also by using a search engine.
      You can carry any legal knife, like a K-Bar as long as you do not conceal it.
      Be especially careful when transporting it in a car. Do not place into a glove box or under a seat or within a console.

  52. Okay, what about Balisong(butterfly knives)? No one ever mentions those. Are they illegal in NC? Are there restrictions?

Leave a Reply to Timothy Robinson Cancel reply

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

Search This Site:

KnifeUp was founded in 2010. Today, KnifeUp is the home to knife experts who provide clear, unbiased, practical advice on buying and maintaining knives to make your life easier.

Whether you’re looking to buy a knife, sharpen it or understand the knife laws, KnifeUp’s 11-year strong library of over 300 pieces of professionally researched content will answer your questions with straightforward answers.

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
KnifeUp.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fee by advertising and linking to Amazon

© 2021 KnifeUp. All Rights Reserved. Sitemap