DC knife laws?


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Patriotme
April 1, 2012, 12:02 PM
Does anyone know what the knife laws are in DC? I have a few EDC knives that I rotate carrying. Some are 3" some are 3.5" and there's a mix of assisted opening.
Do they have a blade limit or assisted opening laws?

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glistam
April 1, 2012, 03:59 PM
I live near DC and have been going there since childhood. Knife carry really depends on where your intend to go while there. DC is thick with Federal buildings and even a lot of privately owned buildings with strict "no weapons/sharp objects" policy, usually backed up with metal detectors. This includes museums and at least one shopping mall. These locations do not even allow mini scissors.

As far as actual statutory law goes, this is the text of 22-4514

(b) No person shall within the District of Columbia possess, with intent to use unlawfully against another, an imitation pistol, or a dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto, or knife with a blade longer than 3 inches, or other dangerous weapon.

Technically speaking, this means all knives carried without criminal intentions are legal. That said, I have little faith in the competence of the Capital Police, and they could in their stupidity presume unlawful intent for anything other than a folder with a blade under 3 inches long. You would potentially be in for a court battle to prove that you had no criminal intent.

Again though if you plan on visiting any touristy areas or government owned properties in the core of the city, leave all knives at home.

Carl Levitian
April 1, 2012, 05:14 PM
Being a native of the area, and having lived most of my life here, I've adapted a simple carry rule. Since most of the federal buildings have a 2 1/2 inch blade limit, I make sure I'm good on the safe side when I go 'downtown'. My usual D.C. city knife is my Case peanut, or a small ask. The guards at the places I go don't even blink at a small knife like a traditional peanut, or the Victorinox keychain models like the classic or rambler, or mini champ.

The truth is, there's not much call for a medium to large knife in the city. Maybe open some plastic wrappers. If I need something for defense, that's what my blackthorn or hornbeam stick and AA mini mag is for.

Carl.

Patriotme
April 1, 2012, 10:01 PM
Thanks for the info. It's all good to know. To be honest I never even thought about carrying a knife in DC before last week. I figured I'd lose it if I tried to bring one into a federal building or museaum but never thought about it otherwise.
I was ready another one of Emily Miller's articles about getting her concealed carry permit and gun while living in DC. She wrote that you cannot even legally possess ammo in DC for a weapon that you don't have registered. Now I probably have a few rounds of just about every caliber laying in drink holders, glove boxes and consoles of my vehicles. I never thought about all of the truly stupid laws in DC before that article. I figured that the stupidity was just with guns.

RatDrall
April 2, 2012, 01:03 PM
When I went to DC I wore my sub 2" Spyderco Lava. The well fed security goons at a food court spent about 5 minutes opening, measuring, closing, and otherwise dicking around with it before they allowed me to proceed.

Don't push it, they're looking for a reason to ruin your trip :mad:

hso
April 2, 2012, 07:46 PM
Stick with the federal blade length when in a city that is more federal facilities than not.

Patriotme
April 4, 2012, 06:46 PM
There's a Federal blade length limit?

glistam
April 5, 2012, 09:00 AM
There's a Federal blade length limit?
Not exactly. It only counts in federal-owned facilities, not DC as a whole (nor does it apply to state laws). The statute is called 18 USC 930

Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
...
The term "dangerous weapon" means a weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 1/2 inches in length.

Now, keep in mind that any federal facility has the right to prohibit all sharp objects, including all knives no matter how small, if they so choose. However signs to this effect are required to be posted at the entrance.

Patriotme
April 7, 2012, 05:41 AM
Great info guys. Thanks a lot.
Do you know if they have any laws about assisted opening knives and would a 17 yr old have any issues if she had a 2 7/8" Benchmade Mini Griptilian in DC (outside of Federal buildings). I like the idea of my daughter carrying a pocket knife but it's not really worth it there is potential for District stupidity. I'd actually prefer for her to stay out of DC but her friends live where they live (College).

Carl Levitian
April 7, 2012, 10:25 AM
I'm not sure if DC has an 18 year old age thing going on. Some places do, some don't. DC being DC, I don't think I'd send my daughter in with a bench made. A small can of pepper spray may work better. Has she got any training to use a knife?

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