I often carry on my person a 2 to 3 inch blade folding gerber knife cliped to my pocket as a tool for day to day stuff. One day i was asked if i carryed it for self defense. I said nope but looking back it brings up a good questoin would it work and is it legal. Do pocket knives fallow the same rules as guns and can they be consealed. Finally would it ever be useful in that capasity.

Tags: defense, knives, laws, self

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A folding pocket knife for "night in jail"?  Ah, the naivety!  You'd have to be dealing with a pretty incompetent set of coppers, starting with the arresting officer and working your way all the way through the jail staff, to get a pocket knife into a jail.  Rules?  If you use the pocket knife for defense, you're in the realm of deadly weapons charges.  I know various jurisdictions have restrictions on allowable blade length you can carry, beyond that, it's out of my bailiwick.

Can be useful in that capacity. I carry a Gerber on me as well.

 

Main thing is, you don't want that to be the primary purpose of carrying it, and if a police officer asks you if you have it on you for self defense, the best answer is no. Depending on your state there are laws that classify them as concealed weapons even though they are still legal to carry (depends on state, look up your local laws to confirm knife lengths and types that are legal). Cops in general as I have learned are just not fond of what they can be used for and understandably can see it as a potential threat.

 

If you can help it, rarely carry a fixed blade on you, they are legal as well (dependent on local laws) but are seen often as weapons and a cop will likely take issue with you carrying it unless you have a valid reason, such as you are on your way to go hunt/camp and it is a survival knife/skinning knife.

 

Also if you are ever pulled over and patted down, always be honest that you have a knife on you, let them know in which pocket, and that you carry it as a tool. Its best to be honest and straight forward then say nothing and get slapped with fines or jail time for something that could have been avoided.

 

 

My knife is a tool with many uses, self defense being only one amung many, and it is almost never the primary reason.

I think if you told them it was "Self defense" a prosecutor could turn it around on you, saying you were looking for trouble, thats why you had it.  Sounds fucking ridiculous, but lawyers these days will do anything.

If the clip part of the knife is showing on the outside of your pocket, is it considered "concealed" ?  This varies by state.  Mine is about 4 inches and if ever asked I would just say "I use it for work everyday" I feel like that answer might be a little better. 

Laws vary by state and locality. I am not a lawyer and this should not be construed as legal advice. 

In Chicago (and NYC and many other major cities) a knife carried on your person should not have a blade longer than 2.25 inches, be non-serrated and no gravity or spring assist to opening. 

Anything else is up to the cop who finds it to decide if it is something they are going to bother you about and possibly charge you for (or add as an aggravator to another charge). 

"I use it for work everyday" is a better answer (good call Josh). 

Knives are not the same as guns, but there are laws constricting their transportation, same as guns.

If you're in a place where carrying the knife is otherwise illegal, you'd need a really strange situation for "self defense" to be an affirmative defense to the infraction or misdemeanor of carrying the knife. "Self defense" might apply for using the knife in a mugging, for example, but unless you had a reasonable suspicion you were going to be mugged, "self defense" is not a justification for breaking the law and carrying the knife when you left home. Yes, sometimes "victims" get prosecuted in such situations. Likewise, a background fear of robbery doesn't let you get around the better-known laws about concealed carry and guns.

You're young enough that you should still have access to programs that teach young people their constitutional rights with respect to police stops. They're usually presented by law students or police officers who visit high school and college classes. You should ask around about attending such a program. Usually, the police have to suspect you've committed some other crime before they can frisk you and find a small knife.

Usually, the police have to suspect you've committed some other crime before they can frisk you and find a small knife.

 

And with that said, if you are in a location where carrying a knife is restricted, a police officer seeing the spring clip of a knife on the outside your pocket, could potentially be considered reasonable suspicion and a reason to at least stop you for questioning. Especially in New York right now - with its rather sketchy "stop and frisk" policy.  

Sure. I was thinking of a 3" knife entirely in a pocket. But maybe the present interpretation is that a knife-shaped bulge justifies a stop-and-frisk.

Depending on the laws of the county you live in a knife can be a concealed weapon. In the county I live in you can have a pocket knife no bigger then 3in and a fixed blade knife of any size as long as it is visible or in a bag that is not easily excusable. But knowing the law and following the laws, did not stop the cops from doing an illegal stop and search and arresting me, I was very polite to the officer; I told him I use it as a tool, said what I was doing and were I was going and were I came from answered his questions and everything. My charges are being dropped but it cost me time, money and was a big hassle. So be careful.

I went target shooting in a designated shooting area and a group of copes did an illegal search they saw my knife and did not have a problem with it said it is legal and kept on searching tell they found a reason to give a ticket, they gave my brother a fixit ticket. So it is up to the discretion of the officer whether they are wrong or right, it is very hard to sue law in forcemeat especially when you don’t have any money up front to pay a lawyer. I live in ca and can’t wait to get out of this state.

In some cases, knives are restricted more than guns.  In Texas, you can legally carry a loaded pistol in the console of your car without a carry license.  If you get caught with a bowie knife in your car within arm's length, you'll go to jail (Jim Bowie died for this State, and we banned the Bowie Knife -- we should be ashamed).  Big knives are illegal in a lot of places.  I have a 13" bowie knife at my house that I won't carry anywhere, and only transport in my trunk if I must.

 

My understanding of Texas weapons law is that a pocket knife has to be shorter than 5.5" to be legal to carry.  No daggers, throwing knives, switchblades, bowie knives, etc.  No clubs (mace, tomahawk, nightstick, blackjack).

 

As for a self-defense claim, I don't think self-defense laws are weapon-specific.  If you have the right to use deadly force, you have the right to use deadly force.  I don't imagine it'd matter much legally whether you used a knife, gun, or baseball bat to kill an armed robber.

 

It might be useful as a fallback, but, trying to kill a guy with a sub-5"pocket knife seems less than ideal.  Probably takes significant training to have any real confidence in succeeding.  You could do it if you're a ninja or a Navy SEAL.  Otherwise, you might get lucky ... or you might get shot in the face.

 

JB 

Colorado has a concealed handgun permit.  Different than concealed weapons.  A knife is not allowed to be concealed in the same manner as a gun, even with a concealed "weapons" permit.

i live in ohio.

Even in Ohio, it is possible that a city ordinance for Cincinnati (for example) would be different than the state law.

Certainly that is the case here between Chicago/IL.

Best to do some research.

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