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California knife laws

California knife laws
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Knife laws in California are determined through a combination of state and municipal laws. These laws govern the types of knives one may possess, as well as the manner and locations in which they can be carried. Understanding these laws is vital to ensure that one remains within the legal boundaries when owning or carrying a knife in California.

Types of Knives

Legal Knives

In California, several types of knives are generally legal to own and carry, these include:

Illegal Knives

Certain types of knives are considered illegal to own, manufacture, or sell in California. These typically include:

Carrying Laws

Open Carry

The open carry of knives in California is largely determined by the type of knife and the location. Generally:

Concealed Carry

Concealed carry laws are quite strict in California. They usually apply to the carrying of illegal knives and also certain legal knives if they are carried with the intent to be used as a weapon.

Restricted Locations

In California, several locations restrict the possession and carrying of knives, regardless of their legality. These include:

  1. Schools: Knives are not permitted on K-12 school grounds.
  2. Government buildings: These places usually have restrictions against weapons, including knives.
  3. Public transportation: Carrying knives on public transportation systems might be restricted, depending on the local laws and the type of knife.
  4. Airports: Strict regulations are enforced for carrying knives and other weapons in airports.

Law Enforcement or Military Exceptions

Law enforcement officers and members of the military may be exempt from some of the restrictions applied to civilians. They might be allowed to carry knives that are otherwise prohibited for regular citizens, both in terms of type and length of the blade.

Consequences of Law Violation

Violating knife laws in California can result in various penalties, including:

  1. Misdemeanor charges: These might result in fines, community service, or imprisonment depending on the gravity of the offense.
  2. Felony charges: For more serious violations, especially involving the use or intended use of a knife in a criminal act.


California’s knife laws are multifaceted, encompassing different types and classifications of knives along with various restrictions on carrying them. It’s essential to be aware of these laws to avoid penalties, which can range from fines to imprisonment. Regularly updating oneself with changes in the law is vital to remain compliant.


California Penal Code Section 16470 – 17360

Official Website of the State of California

Local Municipal Codes and Ordinances

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