What is the maximum length knife I can carry concealed?


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vintage68
June 19, 2008, 10:53 AM
I'm looking to wear a knife from a cord around my neck. I know there will be variations from state to state, but is there a generally acceptable length that won't get me in legal hot water? I'll be carrying in Utah for a two week camping trip, and later in Colorado, Idaho, and Florida.

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JShirley
June 19, 2008, 11:48 AM
No.

In GA, any knife designed "for offense and defense" could get you in trouble, and any neck knife could easily be seen as such a design. I suggest a more reasonable approach is to carry a moderate sized folder, such as a Spyderco Delica...in addition, pocket carrying will be more comfortable than neck carry in most situations.

John

Dave P
June 19, 2008, 12:16 PM
FLA doesn't care - if it is not concealed.

Pilot
June 19, 2008, 12:19 PM
Colorado has a blade length limit of 3.5 inches for carry unless your hunting/fihsing, etc. I'm always on my way to hunting or fishing! ;)

hso
June 19, 2008, 12:21 PM
John and I will have to differ on this to some extent.

I agree that there is no default blade length for a fixed blade that is nearly certain not to get you into legal trouble anywhere in the country if found on you. Some places just don't allow you to carry a fixed blade concealed in some settings, therefore it doesn't matter what the blade length is for your neck knife. Just carrying it can violate the laws in some states and even more cities.

In detail, it depends upon what your setting is, rural or urban, and what your intent, self defense or sport/utility, is, what the blade shape is and if the state has language making it legal to carry a particular type of knife in a rural setting that it otherwise limits.

Look up each state's laws and see if there are restrictions.

JShirley
June 19, 2008, 12:41 PM
I don't necessarily disagree with carrying a FB- depends on setting. A belted sheath knife looks perfectly at home in the woods, for instance.

Dave Markowitz
June 19, 2008, 12:50 PM
The book Knife Laws of the 50 States (http://www.gunlaws.com/KnifeLawsof50States.htm) would probably be a good investment.

vintage68
June 19, 2008, 12:55 PM
Excellent! I have the book about traveling with a firearm. I had no idea there was one for knives, but I'll certainly buy it.

Thanks HighRoaders!

vintage68
June 19, 2008, 01:35 PM
So generally speaking I can carry a knife on my belt in plain view and be okay with just about any size knife? I'm thinking of a Strider EBL-T with a 4" cutting edge.

JShirley
June 19, 2008, 02:49 PM
No, look at what I said. If you were in the woods camping or hiking, a belt knife won't look out of place. That same knife might draw attention if you were in a city. Further, don't expect LEO to know the law. Even if technically legal, you could be at least hassled if you insist on carrying something that looks like it was made for Mad Max.

Hobie
June 19, 2008, 04:21 PM
Concealed? In VA a 3". Mine is a Delica.

SimpleIsGood229
June 20, 2008, 09:16 AM
Originally posted by vintage68:
So generally speaking I can carry a knife on my belt in plain view and be okay with just about any size knife? I'm thinking of a Strider EBL-T with a 4" cutting edge.
Careful! Cutting edge does not equal legal blade length (stupid as it seems).

22-rimfire
June 20, 2008, 09:52 AM
Many states will have a maximum acceptable blade length. While a fixed blade may not exceed the maximum blade length, carrying such is often viewed as an offensive knife (ie fighting). It is best to avoid carrying fixed blades but a small one as a neck knife will probably not get you in trouble as long as the blade length does not exceed any state guidelines.

I understand that enforcement of knife laws is mostly situational. You are involved in a fight, expect very close scrutiny. Carrying camping or hiking, no problem on any blade length or design (short of switch blades and so forth) unless you're in a fight. Bottom line: Avoid knife fights. Avoid carrying fixed blades in urban settings. Keep you knife concealed.

Even if something is technically legal, it can still get you in trouble if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

rantingredneck
June 20, 2008, 09:55 AM
NC bans concealed carry of "dirks or daggers" which is generally accepted to mean any fixed blade knife. Folding knives are OK for concealment. No specific statutory limit on blade lenght for a folder, but 4" is probably a safe bet. I'm sure there's case law on that.

hso
June 20, 2008, 11:58 AM
So generally speaking I can carry a knife on my belt in plain view and be okay with just about any size knife? I'm thinking of a Strider EBL-T with a 4" cutting edge.

John and I have both given you a blanket NO on any blanket statement about any blade length being legal in every setting. What is legal to carry depends on too many variables that haven't been bounded yet for anyone to say anything worthwhile.

Bound the conditions you will carry the knife in and all anyone can still do is tell you read the laws for the states and municipalities you want to carry in.

Tirod
June 20, 2008, 01:02 PM
"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side." Han Solo

As for the intended use, I believe you have answered your own question.

Aside from concealment issues is whether a knife is even a capable weapon. DOJ statistice show it ranks third: 1st, firearms, 2d, anything else, 3rd, knives.

What give is that most don't carry a weapon at all unless it is a firearm, so when they do need one, it's whatever is at hand. The defensive choice in most cases is the longer object - to make separation from danger more feasible. Same rule as in firearms, distance counts. Knife use is directly opposite - up close and personal, precisely why people used lances, then swords, then hangers, etc, as society pressured users to diminish the size for purely control reasons. It had everything to do with diminishing the effective range as a weapon.

A simple walking stick may be a more acceptable and effective choice.

JShirley
June 20, 2008, 02:11 PM
excellent post, and very close to what I tell people who are looking for a knife to carry for defense.

J

22-rimfire
June 20, 2008, 02:29 PM
Here is the deal from my experience. If you are hiking in non-populated areas (lets call it wilderness), you can generally carry as large a belt knife as you please. Carry that same knife into town on your belt and you may have a problem. Remember the Rambo First Blood movie??

A walking stick is probably more effective defensive tool than most knives in the wilds. You just can't cut your food with it. :)

Read up on the laws for each state. You will discover that is generally difficult to determine what is legal and what is not other than possibly a blade length restriction. Most know what a switch blade is too. Use the entire length of the blade if you measure, not the cutting edge. It takes an attorney to figure it out and let's hope you will never need one because of any knife that you might have on you. Avoid carrying a fixed blade knife in any urban setting. If you have a pack, put it inside.

For hiking, I carry a SOG Seal Pup Elite. I also carry a swiss army knife and my newest toy, the SOG Mini-Vulcan. I have gobs of choices to carry. I have a Dozier Canoe model (fixed blade) that makes a nice neck knife or concealed belt knife. Bob Dozier sells it with either a neck sheath or belt sheath. It is just a handly little knife with a short blade. It runs around $200. Long blades are combersome for me.

grendelbane
June 20, 2008, 09:57 PM
It takes an attorney to figure it out and let's hope you will never need one because of any knife that you might have on you.

If you can find an attorney who can figure out such things, please let me know.

I live in Kentucky, and one nice thing about Ky CCDW laws is that concealed carry means weapon(s). All of my knives are legal, my cane sword is legal, shuriken are legal, and even nunchuks are legal.

Though I have had some well intentioned people, including an attorney, attempt to inform me otherwise.

Now, if some one would just define what the "usual amount" of alcoholic beverage is?

DaveBeal
June 20, 2008, 10:16 PM
As I read the Colorado law, the blade length limit is 3.5 inches:

CO Concealed Carry Law (http://cbi.state.co.us/ic/statutes/18-12-105.htm)
CO Definition of "knife" (http://cbi.state.co.us/ic/statutes/18-12-101.htm)

Tirod
June 21, 2008, 09:50 AM
"A walking stick is probably more effective defensive tool than most knives in the wilds. You just can't cut your food with it. "


Yes, I agree.

But a walking stick can be carried on board an aircraft, or in a courtroom. I can't carry any knife there. So, in terms of self defense - the question - I think the poster would be better off with something he could have at hand anywhere, rather than something he'd be incarcerated for having at all.

Practically any knife will do camping - Swiss Army to Bowie is the usual range when asked. But NO knife is a common condition in much of our urbanized society. I dare say a CCW permit and small 9MM may be more tolerated in the wrong place and time. But very few will question a cane or walking stick.

The point is to deliver some balance on the concept of using a knife as a defensive weapon at all. I believe it's a third rate choice. I also have knives worth more than some firearms I own. I like 'em, I just try to keep the big picture in balance.

Pilot
June 21, 2008, 09:55 AM
As I read the Colorado law, the blade length limit is 3.5 inches:


You are correct of course. I edited my post. Thanks.

vintage68
June 22, 2008, 01:30 PM
I'll be taking a survival skills course in Utah, and they emphasize no "Rambo" knives which they figure are overkill. So I've decided to go with a Strider EB-T (on the small side but heavy-duty enough to be useful) and carry it on my belt while on the premises of the school and in the wilderness.


Thanks for all the responses.

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