NC knife law blade length

NC knife law blade length

This is a discussion on NC knife law blade length within the Defensive Knives & Other Weapons forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hey guys, I recently purchased a Benchmade Adamas. Its a great knife and I really appreciate the quality since ive been carrying a broken kershaw ...

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Thread: NC knife law blade length

  1. #1
    Member Array Archer's Avatar
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    NC knife law blade length

    Hey guys, I recently purchased a Benchmade Adamas. Its a great knife and I really appreciate the quality since ive been carrying a broken kershaw assisted open for 12 years.

    After looking at the knifes specs (Overall Length: 8.70" Closed Length: 4.88" Blade Length: 3.82") i decided to google NC laws just to see if there are any retarded laws regarding size or the method of carry of pocket knives. Much to my surprise, I saw a few older threads stating that NC has a 3.5" maximum of pocket knife blades, or an overall length of 4.5 inches, and that NO knives can be concealed, even if you are a CCW permit holder. I searched around on a NC legislative website and the only thing I saw was in the concealed weapon law:

    "...This section does not apply to an ordinary pocket knife carried in a closed position. As used in this section, "ordinary pocket knife" means a small knife, designed for carrying in a pocket or purse, that has its cutting edge and point entirely enclosed by its handle, and that may not be opened by a throwing, explosive, or spring action...."

    My benchmade's blade is contained within the handle in the closed position.

    GS_14-269

    I also saw it mentioned that the overall length closed cannot exceed 4.5 inches, I dont see that anywhere in the above clause. I will admit that "ordinary pocket knife" and "small knife, designed for carrying in a pocket or purse..." is ambiguous.



    This site lists some NC case law regarding knives:

    http://knife-expert.com/nc.txt

    "Knife about 4-1/2 inches in overall length which, when
    folded, was clearly designed for carrying in a pocket or
    purse, was an 'ordinary pocketknife' as defined by this
    section."


    So I guess my question is, define "about 4-1/2 inches". My knife is 4.88" closed. I dont want to have to get rid/stop carrying my new knife because of some ambiguous, antiquated, law that probably isnt enforced. So whats the deal?


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    VIP Member Array NC Bullseye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archer View Post
    Hey guys, I recently purchased a Benchmade Adamas. Its a great knife and I really appreciate the quality since ive been carrying a broken kershaw assisted open for 12 years.

    After looking at the knifes specs (Overall Length: 8.70" Closed Length: 4.88" Blade Length: 3.82") i decided to google NC laws just to see if there are any retarded laws regarding size or the method of carry of pocket knives. Much to my surprise, I saw a few older threads stating that NC has a 3.5" maximum of pocket knife blades, or an overall length of 4.5 inches, and that NO knives can be concealed, even if you are a CCW permit holder. I searched around on a NC legislative website and the only thing I saw was in the concealed weapon law:

    "...This section does not apply to an ordinary pocket knife carried in a closed position. As used in this section, "ordinary pocket knife" means a small knife, designed for carrying in a pocket or purse, that has its cutting edge and point entirely enclosed by its handle, and that may not be opened by a throwing, explosive, or spring action...."

    My benchmade's blade is contained within the handle in the closed position.

    GS_14-269

    I also saw it mentioned that the overall length closed cannot exceed 4.5 inches, I dont see that anywhere in the above clause. I will admit that "ordinary pocket knife" and "small knife, designed for carrying in a pocket or purse..." is ambiguous.



    This site lists some NC case law regarding knives:

    http://knife-expert.com/nc.txt

    "Knife about 4-1/2 inches in overall length which, when
    folded, was clearly designed for carrying in a pocket or
    purse, was an 'ordinary pocketknife' as defined by this
    section."


    So I guess my question is, define "about 4-1/2 inches". My knife is 4.88" closed. I dont want to have to get rid/stop carrying my new knife because of some ambiguous, antiquated, law that probably isnt enforced. So whats the deal?
    You need to note, the "Knife about 4-1/2 inches in overall length..." is the open length. That would mean that it's blade length is around 2 inches. There are a few cities in NC that specify a blade length of "less than" 3.5 inches is acceptable but there is no state law with exact dimensions.

    The chances of you getting charged with a concealed weapon depend on what caused the length of your knife to come into question in the first place. They don't usually have random knife measuring stops. If you do something that brings the wrong attention to you then you could see more of the weapons charges.
    StormRhydr and WrongRecroom like this.
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    Member Array Archer's Avatar
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    If that is truly the case id say that 25-40% of north carolinians violate that law everyday. I dont think I own a single pocket knife that is smaller than 4.5 inches open/extended. Again, that is CASE law, not the written law. The written law states that as long its an "ordinary" pocket knife, designed to be carried in a pocket or purse youre ok.

    Im gonna roll with that.

    Thanks for the clarification.

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    Florida is the same. No statutes makes any description other than "ordinary pocketknife" but case law has established that as a blade length of .35 inches or less.
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    Member Array Archer's Avatar
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    Id like to know if anyone in NC or FL has been charged with carrying a pocket knife that exceeds those lengths. Ive never heard of these laws being enforced. I figure, as long as its a pocket knife and im not already engaging in illegal behavior, or being a dick to a cop I wont have any problems. I seriously doubt most cops know about 23 year old case law on knife dimensions, nor do they care to arrest/incriminate law abiding citizens on such grounds.

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    VIP Member Array NC Bullseye's Avatar
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    If you re-read my post you'll also note that I said that you would most likely only have any issues if you were coming under scrutiny for something else. If you end up on the wrong side of the law they tend to look for any other violation to add on. If you are carrying a knife that may possibly be considered a concealed weapon then they may add that charge. It doesn't mean that you will be found guilty of it, only that the officer believes it should be further evaluated.

    If you also note that I mentioned that some cities have length restrictions of 3.5 inches I would be more concerned about exceeding their limits while in their jurisdiction since they have specified an exact length instead of some arbitrary length as in the state statues.

    The main reason for my first post was to correct your reading of blade length vs overall length in the case law. I don't think you'll get any arguments that a large number of current pocket knife carriers in NC exceed a 2 inch blade. This does NOT mean they are breaking any statute, it only means that they are in a gray area that could possibly be challenged in court. The purpose of case law in this matter would be if you carried a knife with a blade of 2 inches or less you could then reference the case law for dismissal. If you get in the same situation with a longer blade you could be making case law for a longer measured blade.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Florida is the same. No statutes makes any description other than "ordinary pocketknife" but case law has established that as a blade length of .35 inches or less.
    I hope you mean 3.5 inches! I can't think of any knives that have a blade no more than a third of an inch!
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    In my 30 plus years in LE in NC people would get arrested for other things such as fighting, DWI, NOL, or what ever. If the knife was not used during the act of committing a crime. They usually got their knife back if their not acting out or appeared unstable, along with their other personal items when they got bond or released. But if the fight involved the knife or was used as a threat, it was then evidence for a trial. That's the way things usually go down when a folding pocketknife comes into the picture. A lot of guys carry those assisted knifes now with the clip to attach to pants pocket such as a kershaw. I have not seen anyone ticketed or arrested for just carrying one in a public area. But if ur acting out with one in a threatening manner towards other people that's grounds to get arrested. But you do have to be careful of where ur at when carry in NC such as around a parade or protest. Read NC laws before you go to certain events and or places with any kind of weapon.
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    Member Array Archer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard58 View Post
    In my 30 plus years in LE in NC people would get arrested for other things such as fighting, DWI, NOL, or what ever. If the knife was not used during the act of committing a crime. They usually got their knife back if their not acting out or appeared unstable, along with their other personal items when they got bond or released. But if the fight involved the knife or was used as a threat, it was then evidence for a trial. That's the way things usually go down when a folding pocketknife comes into the picture. A lot of guys carry those assisted knifes now with the clip to attach to pants pocket such as a kershaw. I have not seen anyone ticketed or arrested for just carrying one in a public area. But if ur acting out with one in a threatening manner towards other people that's grounds to get arrested. But you do have to be careful of where ur at when carry in NC such as around a parade or protest. Read NC laws before you go to certain events and or places with any kind of weapon.
    Thank you sir for the advise. I rarely go to parades and have never gone to a protest, no crazy gun laws that make me want to storm the state capital yet ;). I do not carry this knife for defense, it is a tool. But if I am in a very desperate life threatening situation that I cannot flee I may be forced to use it. I am not an unlawful person, and I dont engage in unlawful acts, so I wont worry about it. I have some experience with the "attitude test", last year I got the CITY police called on my for shooting on private property outside of the city. 2 cops pretty much came out of the woods behind me with long guns draws telling us the put our guns down. Kind of a tense situation for us, never even talked to LE outside of license checks, the were kind for the most part and we showed them respect. They still told us to find another place to shoot, and we lied to them and said ok. In other words, I know the game, respect and courtesy is a 2 was street.

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    Blade length

    I have always interpreted it as blade length, i read a page similar to the one you shared that stated blade length. I don't exactly know but i am friends with a police officer and i will truly answer your question when i know. That's just my input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archer View Post
    Id like to know if anyone in NC or FL has been charged with carrying a pocket knife that exceeds those lengths. Ive never heard of these laws being enforced. I figure, as long as its a pocket knife and im not already engaging in illegal behavior, or being a dick to a cop I wont have any problems. I seriously doubt most cops know about 23 year old case law on knife dimensions, nor do they care to arrest/incriminate law abiding citizens on such grounds.
    IME as a cop in FL the only time I recall a person being charged with it was when they were already being charged with another crime (ex. Aggravated Battery) in which the knife in question was used in a crime. I don't ever recall an arrest just for a knife there was always another charge that brought the knife into play. I do recall a judge years ago that determined during a trial that a folding Buck 110 that was used in a stabbing in a biker bar during Bike Week was NOT considered a "common pocket knife".
    Last edited by 5lima30ret; January 14th, 2014 at 10:58 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5lima30ret View Post
    IME as a cop in FL the only time I recall a person being charged with it was when they were already being charged with another crime (ex. Aggravated Battery) in which the knife in question was used in a crime. I don't ever recall an arrest just for a knife there were always another charge that brought the knife into play. I do recall a judge years ago that determined during a trial that a folding Buck 110 that was used in a stabbing in a biker bar during Bike Week was NOT considered a "common pocket knife".
    Not saying this as the word of law but an investigator working for the solicitor's office (Charleston, SC) informed me that the pepper spray limitation that is written into most laws, similar, in a way, to the length of a knife is also a non-issue if it has been used in a responsible self defense action. There are some out there who have some common sense and are not the inmates running the asylum, formerly known as the USA.

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    I asked a very high up individual in NC law enforcement about this and he said if you are concerned just carry a knife on your belt(of any type) or carry a knife with a pocket clip. In the case of a pocket clip make sure the knife is visible and not under any clothing. On the belt or using clip in a pocket makes the knife not concealed and length is not regulated.

    Charlotte has a local law that limits a pocket knife to 3.5 inches. Raleigh, Fayetteville, Greensboro and Winston Salem(I think) have defined a pocket knife for a parade as 3 -inches or less.

    To see the local laws you will need to look up the city codes.

    The State law about a common pocket knife is totally arbitrary and rarely enforced unless there are other aggravating circumstances.

    So if you want to carry a concealed pocket knife anywhere in NC a 3-inch blade would be defendable in all locations as a common pocket knife defined by local statutes.

    Keep in mind legal advice is as good as the price you pay for it in most cases.

    SW

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    If you're going to carry in the Post Office, note that Federal law prohibits knives in Federal buildings. They also define a "knife" as having a blade more than 2.5" long, which is one reason I went with a 2.5" blade.

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    I sure wish a small fixed blade knife was legal . I would be more comfortable with a small 2 3/4" Knifes of Alaska bear cub than a pocket knife but nooooo not in NC unless I am hunting. Instead I carry a SOG FlashII that's 4.5 closed with a 3 1/2" clip point edge to the blade. Good knife, just slower if ever needed .

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