Laws On Knives In California

California and Oakland Knife Laws 2018 Law Offices
California and Oakland Knife Laws 2018 Law Offices from

Laws on Knives in California


As of 2023, the laws regarding knives in California have undergone certain changes, which have brought about both clarification and relaxation. It is important for individuals to stay informed about these laws to avoid any legal complications. In this article, we will outline the key regulations surrounding knife possession and carry in California.

Legal Definitions

California distinguishes between various types of knives, categorizing them as either legal or illegal. Legal knives include folding knives, pocket knives, and hunting knives, as long as they do not possess certain features such as a switchblade mechanism or a blade longer than 2 inches.

Open Carry

California law permits the open carry of most legal knives. However, it is essential to exercise caution and common sense when openly carrying a knife, as it may cause concern or alarm to others. It is advisable to ensure the knife is visible but not displayed in a threatening or aggressive manner.

Concealed Carry

While open carry is generally allowed, concealed carry of knives is subject to more stringent regulations. In California, it is illegal to conceal carry any knife categorized as a switchblade or a blade longer than 2 inches, except for certain individuals with valid permits or those who can demonstrate a legitimate need.


California law prohibits the possession or carry of certain types of knives, including switchblades, ballistic knives, and knives with blades longer than 2 inches that are undetectable by a metal detector. Additionally, it is important to note that local ordinances may impose additional restrictions in certain areas, such as schools or government buildings.


Special regulations apply to minors in California. It is illegal for individuals under 18 years of age to possess folding knives with a blade longer than 2.5 inches on school grounds or at school events. However, there are exceptions for certain activities, such as authorized educational programs or activities related to food preparation.


Violating the knife laws in California can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the circumstances. The penalties may include fines, probation, or even imprisonment. It is crucial to abide by these laws to avoid legal consequences.


Understanding the laws on knives in California is vital to ensure compliance and to avoid any potential legal issues. While the regulations have become more relaxed in recent years, it is still essential to exercise caution and adhere to the specific guidelines outlined by the state. Stay informed and stay safe.