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Thread: Carrying knives

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    Regular Member sirtirithon's Avatar
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    I know this is a gun forum, but I'm certain most of us carry some form of blade. My EDC is a kershaw blur.I seem to recall reading somewhere that the legal blade length limitin WAis 3.5". Is this correct? I can't seem to find it in an RCW.

    Most fixed blade knives are longer. So whats the deal?Can a person carry a 5" fixed blade knife in the open and not be hassled for breaking the law? Do any of you carry a blade longer than 3.5" ?

    What prompted this question is that I ordered a gerber lmf ii asek knife last week and I intend to wear it when I go for hikes after work. The blade is over 4.5" long. If I am questioned by a LEO for OC my firearm and they notice that I am also carrying a blade longer than 3.5" could I be in hot water?

    Thanks for any information!

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    sirtirithon wrote:



    I know this is a gun forum, but I'm certain most of us carry some form of blade. My EDC is a kershaw blur.I seem to recall reading somewhere that the legal blade length limitin WAis 3.5". Is this correct? I can't seem to find it in an RCW.

    Most fixed blade knives are longer. So whats the deal?Can a person carry a 5" fixed blade knife in the open and not be hassled for breaking the law? Do any of you carry a blade longer than 3.5" ?

    What prompted this question is that I ordered a gerber lmf ii asek knife last week and I intend to wear it when I go for hikes after work. The blade is over 4.5" long. If I am questioned by a LEO for OC my firearm and they notice that I am also carrying a blade longer than 3.5" could I be in hot water?

    Thanks for any information!
    I don't know of any statewide blade length limitation. The federal pocket knife exemption is 2.5", and there's no preemption, so each city may have its own knife rules.
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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    Knife laws of the 50 states (Washington link):
    http://knife-expert.com/wa.txt

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    Regular Member j2l3's Avatar
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    As said previously, each city has authority to regulate this for themselves. You need to check your local codes to know for sure.
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    There is no state law that addresses blade length. Therefore you can carry any length concealed in the eyes of the state, but you are at the mercy of city codes. I know that Seattle has a 3.5" or less for concealed knives. Can't find any info on other cities.

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    Regular Member Tomas's Avatar
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    (Knife laws in Washington State are an insane patchwork with no statewide standard - and no preemption. Each little city, town and village can, and often does, have it's own "laws" on that. Personally I have carried a knife since I got my very first folder when I first joined the Cub Scouts in the early '50s. http://tijil.org/cub_scout_knife.jpg Yes, I carried that Cub Scout knife to elementary school for years, concealed, and even used it on the occasional classroom project with the teacher's full knowledge when I need a cutting edge for something. Speaking of insanity, these days carrying a knife like that would get me kicked out of school. I still carry a pocket knife sharp enough to shave with, but these days it is my favorite Paul knife. http://tijil.org/gerber_paul.jpg )
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    Regular Member Tomas's Avatar
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    jchen012 wrote:
    There is no state law that addresses blade length. Therefore you can carry any length concealed in the eyes of the state, but you are at the mercy of city codes. I know that Seattle has a 3.5" or less for concealed knives. Can't find any info on other cities.
    Just to add to the info, Tacoma Municipal Code Section 8.66 covers Tacoma's rules on knives and among many other considers any knife with more than a 3 1/2 inch blade, including shank, to be a "dangerous knife."*

    See: http://cms.cityoftacoma.org/citycler...yAndMorals.PDF

    (It strikes me that my old USAF survival knife I brought back from Vietnam would be a "dangerous knife" in Tacoma if I sawed the blade off at the hilt and just kept the handle, as the shank is considerably longer than 3.5 inches... These damned laws are insane.)
    No tyranny is so irksome as petty tyranny: The officious demands of policemen, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets. -- Edward Abbey

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    There are no state laws on blade length. The law tells you that you can not furtively carry specific weapons, with swords, daggers, certain fixed blades, and some other weapons. There's no law against how long your folding pocket knife may be. I carry a 4.5" smith and wesson folding blade.

    However, certain cities, such as Seattle, Tacoma, and I believe Olympia have local ordinances against blade length. Seattle does not allow the carry of ANY fixed blade, regardless of if it's open or concealed. Their folding blade limit is 3.5", I believe. Same with Tacoma. Not sure about Olympia, but I do believe that they have a blade length limit as well.

    It's kind of a pain. I think folding pocket knives should also be included in the preemption, because I don't like the fact that I'm perfectly within state law to carry my pocket knife mostly anywhere in the state, but if I go to Seattle, Tacoma or Olympia, then I'm breaking the law. Thankfully, most cities simply adopt state law on the issue.

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    It seems to me that knives are arms, too.

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    olypendrew wrote:
    It seems to me that knives are arms, too.
    +1

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    FWIW, there is a growing organization, that among other things, is working to establish state knife preemption, just like many states have with respect to firearms: http://kniferights.org/

    Doug Ritter, who also runs the excellent Equipped to Survive web site (http://www.equipped.com) is behind this.

    The time is probably not right for Washington now, but when it is it will be good to know that there are folks with the experience to help.
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    geojohn wrote:
    FWIW, there is a growing organization, that among other things, is working to establish state knife preemption, just like many states have with respect to firearms: http://kniferights.org/

    Doug Ritter, who also runs the excellent Equipped to Survive web site (http://www.equipped.com) is behind this.

    The time is probably not right for Washington now, but when it is it will be good to know that there are folks with the experience to help.
    Cool. Thanks for sharing the site.

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    Regular Member amzbrady's Avatar
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    We should have a CWP instead of a CPL that way we wouldnt have to worry bout knives either.
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    Tomas wrote:
    (Knife laws in Washington State are an insane patchwork with no statewide standard - and no preemption. Each little city, town and village can, and often does, have it's own "laws" on that. Personally I have carried a knife since I got my very first folder when I first joined the Cub Scouts in the early '50s. http://tijil.org/cub_scout_knife.jpg Yes, I carried that Cub Scout knife to elementary school for years, concealed, and even used it on the occasional classroom project with the teacher's full knowledge when I need a cutting edge for something. Speaking of insanity, these days carrying a knife like that would get me kicked out of school. I still carry a pocket knife sharp enough to shave with, but these days it is my favorite Paul knife. http://tijil.org/gerber_paul.jpg )
    The knife laws suck. I don't understand why WA preemption doesn't cover them as well, and why we can't have a CWP that covers it.

    I don't personally carry a knife, but I do carry a Leatherman Wave that I've caught guff for. My wife has illegally carried her scary cub scout knife that her Father the Scoutmaster gave her when she was a little girl... which I've used to open many things while out because I didn't bring mine. :P
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -John Stuart Mill

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    killchain wrote:
    Tomas wrote:
    (Knife laws in Washington State are an insane patchwork with no statewide standard - and no preemption. Each little city, town and village can, and often does, have it's own "laws" on that. Personally I have carried a knife since I got my very first folder when I first joined the Cub Scouts in the early '50s. http://tijil.org/cub_scout_knife.jpg Yes, I carried that Cub Scout knife to elementary school for years, concealed, and even used it on the occasional classroom project with the teacher's full knowledge when I need a cutting edge for something. Speaking of insanity, these days carrying a knife like that would get me kicked out of school. I still carry a pocket knife sharp enough to shave with, but these days it is my favorite Paul knife. http://tijil.org/gerber_paul.jpg )
    The knife laws suck. I don't understand why WA preemption doesn't cover them as well, and why we can't have a CWP that covers it.

    I don't personally carry a knife, but I do carry a Leatherman Wave that I've caught guff for. My wife has illegally carried her scary cub scout knife that her Father the Scoutmaster gave her when she was a little girl... which I've used to open many things while out because I didn't bring mine. :P
    I don't think we should even have a CWP to conceal them. I think we should be able to carry whatever knife or blade we want to carry, concealed or openly.

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    Regular Member sirtirithon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information! I figure I will continue to carry my legal kershaw blur and carry the gerber lmf when I'm hiking outside of town. I don't think I will get hassled at all out in the woods with a fixed blade on. I agree that we should be able to carry whatever blade we want. Especially considering that it's legal to pack a loaded .45 around in the open without a permit but you can't carry a 4" knife in most cities? what gives? And if nothing else if you have a CCW it should include bladed weapons. Oh well.

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    sirtirithon wrote:



    Thanks for the information! I figure I will continue to carry my legal kershaw blur and carry the gerber lmf when I'm hiking outside of town. I don't think I will get hassled at all out in the woods with a fixed blade on. I agree that we should be able to carry whatever blade we want. Especially considering that it's legal to pack a loaded .45 around in the open without a permit but you can't carry a 4" knife in most cities? what gives? And if nothing else if you have a CCW it should include bladed weapons. Oh well.
    You *can* carry a 4" knife in most cities. There's only a select few cities with blade length restrictions.

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    Regular Member amzbrady's Avatar
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    Aaron1124 wrote:
    killchain wrote:
    Tomas wrote:
    (Knife laws in Washington State are an insane patchwork with no statewide standard - and no preemption. Each little city, town and village can, and often does, have it's own "laws" on that. Personally I have carried a knife since I got my very first folder when I first joined the Cub Scouts in the early '50s. http://tijil.org/cub_scout_knife.jpg Yes, I carried that Cub Scout knife to elementary school for years, concealed, and even used it on the occasional classroom project with the teacher's full knowledge when I need a cutting edge for something. Speaking of insanity, these days carrying a knife like that would get me kicked out of school. I still carry a pocket knife sharp enough to shave with, but these days it is my favorite Paul knife. http://tijil.org/gerber_paul.jpg )
    The knife laws suck. I don't understand why WA preemption doesn't cover them as well, and why we can't have a CWP that covers it.

    I don't personally carry a knife, but I do carry a Leatherman Wave that I've caught guff for. My wife has illegally carried her scary cub scout knife that her Father the Scoutmaster gave her when she was a little girl... which I've used to open many things while out because I didn't bring mine. :P
    I don't think we should even have a CWP to conceal them. I think we should be able to carry whatever knife or blade we want to carry, concealed or openly.
    +1 Thats a better thought, because in theory if every US citizen legally able to do so,armed themselves and carried a firearm, no knife would be an issue.
    If you voted for Obama to prove you are not a racist...
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    amzbrady wrote:
    Aaron1124 wrote:
    killchain wrote:
    Tomas wrote:
    (Knife laws in Washington State are an insane patchwork with no statewide standard - and no preemption. Each little city, town and village can, and often does, have it's own "laws" on that. Personally I have carried a knife since I got my very first folder when I first joined the Cub Scouts in the early '50s. http://tijil.org/cub_scout_knife.jpg Yes, I carried that Cub Scout knife to elementary school for years, concealed, and even used it on the occasional classroom project with the teacher's full knowledge when I need a cutting edge for something. Speaking of insanity, these days carrying a knife like that would get me kicked out of school. I still carry a pocket knife sharp enough to shave with, but these days it is my favorite Paul knife. http://tijil.org/gerber_paul.jpg )
    The knife laws suck. I don't understand why WA preemption doesn't cover them as well, and why we can't have a CWP that covers it.

    I don't personally carry a knife, but I do carry a Leatherman Wave that I've caught guff for. My wife has illegally carried her scary cub scout knife that her Father the Scoutmaster gave her when she was a little girl... which I've used to open many things while out because I didn't bring mine. :P
    I don't think we should even have a CWP to conceal them. I think we should be able to carry whatever knife or blade we want to carry, concealed or openly.
    +1 Thats a better thought, because in theory if every US citizen legally able to do so,armed themselves and carried a firearm, no knife would be an issue.
    I'd still want one, though. I'd feel more comfortable with a blade in a close quarters situation, or in a situation that involved multiple attackers, if, God forbid, I was ever in such a situation.

  20. #20
    Regular Member killchain's Avatar
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    Aaron1124 wrote:
    amzbrady wrote:
    Aaron1124 wrote:
    killchain wrote:
    Tomas wrote:
    (Knife laws in Washington State are an insane patchwork with no statewide standard - and no preemption. Each little city, town and village can, and often does, have it's own "laws" on that. Personally I have carried a knife since I got my very first folder when I first joined the Cub Scouts in the early '50s. http://tijil.org/cub_scout_knife.jpg Yes, I carried that Cub Scout knife to elementary school for years, concealed, and even used it on the occasional classroom project with the teacher's full knowledge when I need a cutting edge for something. Speaking of insanity, these days carrying a knife like that would get me kicked out of school. I still carry a pocket knife sharp enough to shave with, but these days it is my favorite Paul knife. http://tijil.org/gerber_paul.jpg )
    The knife laws suck. I don't understand why WA preemption doesn't cover them as well, and why we can't have a CWP that covers it.

    I don't personally carry a knife, but I do carry a Leatherman Wave that I've caught guff for. My wife has illegally carried her scary cub scout knife that her Father the Scoutmaster gave her when she was a little girl... which I've used to open many things while out because I didn't bring mine. :P
    I don't think we should even have a CWP to conceal them. I think we should be able to carry whatever knife or blade we want to carry, concealed or openly.
    +1 Thats a better thought, because in theory if every US citizen legally able to do so,armed themselves and carried a firearm, no knife would be an issue.
    I'd still want one, though. I'd feel more comfortable with a blade in a close quarters situation, or in a situation that involved multiple attackers, if, God forbid, I was ever in such a situation.
    Agreed. +1.
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -John Stuart Mill

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    Good thread. I've wondered about this as well. Being out in the county I normaly don't worry about it, but if I do have to run into Bellingham I always put my Gerber Applegate-Fairbairn in the draw, throw on my Benchmade Nagara, and double check my safety. The knife laws are really lame. I can OC, but "in town" my blade can only be 3 1/2in long. So strange.

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    Regular Member amzbrady's Avatar
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    killchain wrote:
    Aaron1124 wrote:
    amzbrady wrote:
    Aaron1124 wrote:
    killchain wrote:
    Tomas wrote:
    (Knife laws in Washington State are an insane patchwork with no statewide standard - and no preemption. Each little city, town and village can, and often does, have it's own "laws" on that. Personally I have carried a knife since I got my very first folder when I first joined the Cub Scouts in the early '50s. http://tijil.org/cub_scout_knife.jpg Yes, I carried that Cub Scout knife to elementary school for years, concealed, and even used it on the occasional classroom project with the teacher's full knowledge when I need a cutting edge for something. Speaking of insanity, these days carrying a knife like that would get me kicked out of school. I still carry a pocket knife sharp enough to shave with, but these days it is my favorite Paul knife. http://tijil.org/gerber_paul.jpg )
    The knife laws suck. I don't understand why WA preemption doesn't cover them as well, and why we can't have a CWP that covers it.

    I don't personally carry a knife, but I do carry a Leatherman Wave that I've caught guff for. My wife has illegally carried her scary cub scout knife that her Father the Scoutmaster gave her when she was a little girl... which I've used to open many things while out because I didn't bring mine. :P
    I don't think we should even have a CWP to conceal them. I think we should be able to carry whatever knife or blade we want to carry, concealed or openly.
    +1 Thats a better thought, because in theory if every US citizen legally able to do so,armed themselves and carried a firearm, no knife would be an issue.
    I'd still want one, though. I'd feel more comfortable with a blade in a close quarters situation, or in a situation that involved multiple attackers, if, God forbid, I was ever in such a situation.
    Agreed. +1.
    I wasnt saying trade one for the other, I carry both daily, also for that reason, I always have my knife clipped to my pocket, when I go to bed it is within reach, since I have to lock my gun up.
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    Snow Leopard wrote:
    Good thread. I've wondered about this as well. Being out in the county I normaly don't worry about it, but if I do have to run into Bellingham I always put my Gerber Applegate-Fairbairn in the draw, throw on my Benchmade Nagara, and double check my safety. The knife laws are really lame. I can OC, but "in town" my blade can only be 3 1/2in long. So strange.
    Bellingham has a blade length law? I usually don't research cities that I never go to. I've primarily studied up in all cities in King County, and most north Pierce County cities.

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    I almost always have a knife on me. It's a practical tool for many things.
    "Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world." ~ Musashi

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    gsx1138 wrote:
    I almost always have a knife on me. It's a practical tool for many things.
    Indeed. I too have EDC'd various knives throughout the years, and have yet to use one in a defensive (or offensive) situation. I have used a knife that I carry for various everyday, mundane chores many thousands of times. The point is I think knives should be seen as useful tools and not primarily as weapons. Why? Because that's reality. I think educating folks to this reality may help with enacting reasonable knife-related laws, and with getting rid of those that are unreasonable (e.g., 15 U.S.C. § 1241-1245). At least the antis can't claim with any credibility that only purpose of knives is to kill.
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