California Knife Law

california state sealCalifornia has very friendly knife laws. Unlike other states who’s knife law is out of date, California’s is modern and up-to-date. This article will talk about what is legal, illegal, and in the gray area concerning knives in California.

Legal Knives in California

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

Illegal Knives under California Knife Law

  • Misleading knives are illegal. These include: cane knives (and shobi-zues), lipstick knives, belt knives, pen knives, air gauge knives, and pen knives.
  • All undetectable knives are illegal. These include knives that won’t set off metal detectors.
  • Dirks, daggers, and stilettos are illegal.
  • Ballistic knives are illegal.

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

Legality of Balisong Knives and Swithblades

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

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

Conclusion on California Knife Law

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

Note that this is not legal advice and there is no client-attorney relationship.  You should talk to a California lawyer if you want a real legal opinion. If you have a question, leave it in the comment below. Some cities and municipals might have their own knife laws so check with your city. We are also looking for an attorney to do a quick interview about California knife laws.


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

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

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

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

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

      Btw, it is legal to conceal carry your Tenacious.

  3. niggers are fucking stupid and smell like shit fuck niggers fuck porch monkeys

    1. You lousy piece of shit. Go Fk yourself with these racial Azzz comments. It’s people like you that has the world in uproar. You COWARD these individuals you’re talking about probably took your lunch money. You worthless trash!

    2. It is true though. Blacks have lower IQ’s and every bad thing that comes with it. Sad but true. You go live in a black neighborhood and come back in a year to tell me how colorblind you are. It is a fact.

    3. I never understood the mindset of you Caucasian Cowards. You say nasty things about Blacks but then when one beat yo ass then you deem them as violent or crazy. Every last one of you bigots stay hiding behind your computers or a badge. I never seen a bunch of cowards that can’t say the things on their minds in the faces of those they hate. You see history shows us that the black man is stronger and will defend hisself accordingly and victoriously again the Caucasian cowards. You see what happen to that pig in Texas the other day. Black Lives Matter!

    4. Of course black lives matter. All life matters. So, why is it blacks kill more blacks than anyone else?

    5. Everyone wants to magnify why blacks kill other blacks? Be realistic about it. ALL races kill each other. The white biker gangs been killing each other for years! Those guys ride around looking for other bars and rival biker gangs to shoot no matter where they are.The hispanics has been killing and slaughtering each other at an alarming rate. They kill entire families in Mexico. So what are you talking about Aaron Hartford? Are you blind to these facts or just looking for something stupid to say?

    6. Don’t bother with imbeciles like this because he’s as misinformed as he is stupid, and doesn’t know nearly as much about science as he likes to think he does. Science has proven that the diversity of human societies has zero to do with race and everything to do with environment. Just to give you an idea, you can have tribe of polynesians split in two, like the Maori and Moriori. The Moriori were confined to the Chathams islands, and the Maori populated New Zealand. 500 years later they had two completely different cultures that resulted entirely from the different environments. The Maori and Moriori are the same race of Polynesian, yet the Moriori developed into a peaceful tranquil culture, and the Maori became a violent conquering culture.When they found out the Moriori had no weapons and did not know how to fight, 900 Maori went over there and destroyed them so they could steel their resources..

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

    8. The most confusing day for a black child is fathers day.

    9. Each racial or cultural group kills each other more than any other group. That’s just how tribalism goes. Whites kill more Whites than anyone else.

    10. I’m your huckleberry! Where are you, lets meet and chat about cowards.

      Moreover, does anyone know what day is the most confusing time for a child in South Central L.A. ?

      Father’s day.
      Talk about cowards, stop fucking every whore welfare recipient, getting them pregnant and
      pumping out more black lives that really do end up not mattering. Starts with the father.
      Save the BS for the news.

      So, where ya at?

    11. fag where are you? Stop hiding behind your computer and come out sissy. You talk a good one but know that you aint going to do nothing but type words. Go have sex with your mother…

    12. Where are you idiot. Be realistic and reveal who you really are. Don’t have time to play computer games with you. Go get your mama for that punk. I bet you’re an incest baby.

    13. When you shave a chimp or a baboon, his skin color is caucasian. Its only his hairs that are black. Once had my apartment burglarised and trashed beyond belief. They practically took everything I owned and it ended up the perpetrators were a couple of white guys. So what’s your point? You don’t have one. Your hate makes you stupid because you left this moronic comment on a site that’s about knife making, craftsmanship, and skills, that you very likely don’t have. Where did you learn to speak english? In a barn?


    15. Bro stop saying crap about black people and you think you have a hard life look around you. Look at the homeless people. They have nothing and you have a roof over your head andthey live in boxes or under bridges

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

    1. yes. its essentially a toy. it does classify as a replica weapon.

  5. I carry a Bowie with me everywhere I go, but obviously don’t brandish it or threaten anyone unless they foolishly threaten me first (which has not happened yet). Had a guy tell me it was illegal to carry a Bowie in California, and I just laughed and told him…..let them try to take it from me sir. It is a utility knife, and I am surprised by how many people tell me they are intimidated by it. I never want to intimidate anyone, but quite a few women have said they feel intimidated by it. I would protect them and anyone else in a heartbeat if it was needed, but I am getting tired of people saying I somehow should not be able to protect myself or carry a utility knife. Thoughts? Comments? Yes. I carry a Bowie knife to church.

    1. My Bowie knife isn’t a joke.
      It speaks so loudly, I can’t hear your minority nonsense.

    2. Stick it in your a$$ Coward! Just like your ancestors were common Cowards.

    3. My ancestors are Russians motherfucker.The put the first people in space, are very intelligent, while your……ancestors…..ran away from lions and got eaten, while selling one another to whites and into slavery.

    4. oh no. I would much rather gut you with it you ever say coward again.

    5. You gotta admit…doesn’t it suck to be a nigger? You are ugly, stupid, look like apes, and even you don’t like your own women.

    6. Oh by the way Coward the white men are furious because we screw your flat A$$ women, take your hard earned money from them and send their flat A$$es back home to you. And you embrace them with open arms. Ha Ha

    7. Also, I love how you just write it off that “all races kill each other.” I guess that is a fact, but why is it blacks kill each other, have more out of wedlock children,and depend on welfare more than any other race? Sorry, but blacks are a scourge that we would be better off without. What do they contribute besides crime, welfare, lower earnings, poor test scores, lower intelligence, and basically cause trouble? Even the country the US made for them to relocate to for slaves is a failed country. Nothing good comes out of Africa; that is the joke. Africa…..yeah…..I am so glad I am not a negro. I’d just off myself.

    8. Last I check buddy. (According to the U.S. Census) whites are leading in the polls of being on welfare. If it wasn’t for the military to give Poor whites an escape route they’d be in trouble. All they do is smoke meth have sex with their own kids and ride around on motorcycles with them silly jackets on looking to kill each other for no reason. It’s the greed of the white trash of this country that’s ruining it. White trash has been the biggest manipulators, liars and cunts to put this country at odds with everyone else and hide like you’re doing. Coward!

    9. Oh…..and how many winners come out of Africa? White Americans built this country, and you should be grateful to have come here as slaves. You have it better than you did in Africa. Coward? Really? Tell that to my knife. Sure, by numbers maybe whites have more people on welfare, but you have to look at per capita. Blacks are by far more likely to have out of wedlock children, and be on welfare. Your IQ’s are also a full standard deviation below that of whites, which is why you never see anything creative coming from the ghetto or Africa. Europeans actually made the world we live in, and Africa just has child soldiers and losers. I am not a coward; I carry a damn Bowie knife. Look up James Bowie and the sandbar fight,and you will find the exact opposite paragon of a coward.

    10. Listen COWARD like I said it’s more whites on welfare than blacks. Do your research idiot! As far as kids out of wedlock, whites have incest children. Every time you look up a white man is molesting his own kids or siblings. You’ve been doing it and that’s why a lot of you are born fk’ed up. Scums of the earth. You’re like the dirt on the bottom of my shoe. And PUNK as far as you stating you carry a Bowie knife who cares? Stick it in your A$$ Coward. History has shown Black Men has ALWAYS dominated you white sissy ass men a$$es in ALL ways. You Cowards call the pigs every time one of you get smacked in the mouth. Punks like you will lock your car door when you see a Black man. COWARD!

    11. oh, I have done my research; have a master’s degree and am an aerospace engineer…..COWARD!

    12. Oh yeah Coward. By the way you’re the first Aerospace Engineer with a Master’s degree that lives in a freakin apartment. I told you all you White pieces of garbage don’t do nothing but lie and manipulate the system. From your writing whatever school you graduated from must of passed you for attendance vs learning.

    13. coward! you like that word don’t you nigger? I also have a 5 bedroom, 2.5 bath home while I am building spaceships in the desert….COWARD! I throw that in because it illustrates how fucking stupid you are. Coward Kowhard! Oh yeah nigger; which is what you are. A worthless fucking nigger. No, niggers lie and manipulate the system because they have below average intellect and cannot/will not actually work for a living, which is why no one wants them. Ok, I am done talking to you, because you are a (COWARD! COWARD!) good lord. No, that fucker came into my home and I took him down and now he is “goodified” and serving life without parole, which is what every negro should be doing.

    14. I don’t lock my door. I reload, and actually took down a black serial rapist in my apartment. He is serving life without parole because I took him down. COWARD! COWARD!

    15. COWARD! Geez…..I can tell you really are an ignorant nigger. Yep. I said it. I reach for my Bowie and my gun when I see any of your kind. That is why you keep getting killed. Stupid fuckers keep thinking you have the upper hand, but your intellect isn’t even what my dogs have, so you just think you ‘gamin the system whitey’ but guess what. We are smarter than you are, so you will NEVER get ahead. Coward.

    16. hhhhhahahahahahaha really? Blacks dominated whites? Ah, so the whole slavery thing was a scheme for blacks to overcome whites?

    17. You really are stupid. IQ of possibly 85 if you are lucky. I am surprised you can spell coward.

  6. You piece of white trash I told you all whites do is lie. Who has a home that big and stay in apartments. You caveman you belong in the desert that way all you incest can’t spread your germs. Just like I said coward keep hiding behind your computers. When you see one of us you lock yo car doors. Ha Ha I’m sure you’ve slept with your sister right. Cunt!

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave a Comment