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What are the knife laws in California?

It's very crucial to know what knife laws you must follow so that you don't accidentally break the law and find yourself behind bars for a crime you never meant to commit in the first place. California has a modern system of knife laws that all citizens must abide by.

First off, you should know that knife size is not restricted. Large knives, like Bowie knives, are legal within the state.

As far as carrying a knife goes, you're allowed to do it with the knife in the open, such as carrying it in a sheath on your belt. With many knives, you're also allowed to carry them in a concealed fashion.

There are restrictions on balisong knives and switchblade knives. Buying these as a collector is permitted, but carrying them in the vehicle or on your person is typically illegal. You can buy a switchblade as long as the blade is a maximum of two inches.

Daggers, dirks, ballistic knives and stilettos are all illegal under state law. The same is true of knives that can't be detected with metal detectors.

Finally, a knife that is said to be "misleading" is also illegal. For instance, you can't have a knife that looks like a tube of lipstick or a walking cane. A pen knife, belt knife and air gauge knife would all also fall into this category. The idea here is that these misleading knives are typically carried by those who already want to use them illegally, counting on the weapon's disguise to help them in this regard.

If you do find yourself in violation of the law and you're facing weapons charges, make sure you know what legal defense options you have. While ignorance of the law is generally not a defense, it may look better to have accidentally broken the law than to have violated it intentionally.

Source: Knife Up, "California Knife Law," accessed Nov. 21, 2016

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