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Is a Knife Clipped to Your Pocket Considered Concealed Carry?

Say you’re walking down the street and you’re carrying a Spyderco Tenacious clipped to your pocket. It may look a little something like this:

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If a police officer were to see the knife clip attached to your pocket, would it be considered concealed carry or open carry?

In short, it could be considered either. One of the problems with knife laws is the fact that much of it is left up to interpretation. One police officer may only see the clip and say that the actual knife is concealed in the pocket. Another may say that it’s clearly a part of the knife and it’s showing so the knife is being openly carried.

It matters because in some places, a knife with a blade length more than a certain amount of inches cannot be carried openly. In other places, that same knife must be carried openly.

Wherever you live (and wherever you go), it’s absolutely essential to thoroughly look at your knife laws because they are often littered with phrases and definitions that are general or open to interpretation.

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For example, in New York City, knives must be carried concealed. Since the Big Apple is well known for interpreting knife laws very broadly, Knife Rights recommends that knives are never carried clipped to your pocket or you may be arrested, even those with a deep-pocket-carry clip that doesn’t actually show the knife’s body.

In Los Angeles, the code says “no person shall wear or carry in a plain view any knife or dagger upon any public street or public place or in any place open to the public.” A knife, as defined by Los Angeles, has a blade 3 inches or more in length. This sounds very firm, but does a pocket clip—especially a low-carry pocket clip—count as plain view? Again, it’s mostly a matter of opinion from the arresting officer, but it wouldn’t hurt to slip your 3-inch or longer knife into your pocket because there’s no limit for concealed folders.

The problem with clips is that countless objects have clips, like flashlights, pens, and Keybars.

If you saw this, you might assume I’m carrying a knife, especially since Schrade is a well-known knife manufacturer.

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However, it could just be a pen.

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Many officers will simply ignore pocket clips, but it only takes that one for you to get arrested. Your safest bet is to always assume a knife clipped to your pocket is open carry. If your knife adheres to the law, don’t worry about, but if there’s any doubt, slip it in your pocket.


Tim

Timothy Martinez Jr. is the community director for Knife Depot and the editor of The Cutting Edge. If you have any questions or ideas for The Cutting Edge, you can contact him at Tim@knife-depot.com.
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38 Comments

  1. I completely disregard the law games, and I carry my Spyderco Paramilitary 2 everywhere.

    • I rather have and not need than to need and not have. Fuck the law I carry 2 knives and they are for bodily harm if you attack me ….

      • Sometimes it is better to endure bodily harm then spend a mandatory 2 year prison term and more years if it is found that you were not justified in using deadly force. Here in Florida, being punched in the nose does not justify a deadly response. No matter how threatened you feel or what you think will happen if you did not stop the assault, it will be a jury who was not there or feeling what you felt, who will decide. A defense consisting of what might have happened if you did not stab your attacker, is very difficult to defend. Going to prison can put high stress on you and your family. Marriages break up over it ala Zimmerman. Jobs are lost and you are not a felon trying to find a good job.

        I carry a gun legally and it will not be used unless there is a clear and present danger and not what I think like some bozo who was trapped by a bunch of teens and when one reached into a paper bag, she shot him. Inside the bag was a can of soda. They were just trash talking and yet one got shot dead. The other guy is serving a mandatory 20 year no parole sentence. If I just show my gun it is a mandatory 3 year sentance. 80% of those arrested for knife and gun charges end up pleading guilty to a lesser term rather than risk a 10 or 20 year mandatory sentance.

        If I shoot someone justifiable, I am looking at $75,000 in legal fees. Zimmerman, had he had to pay, would have cost him several hundred dollars to avoid a lengthy prison term. I carry 4″ or less knives EDC although I have some tactical self defense ones like the Cold Steel Talwar, Paramilitary 2, Police model and many more. I have been collecting knifes for 47 years so I have a lot of good ones.

        However, due to different knife laws in the three counties I drive though , I carry a 2.5 to 3.75″ blade with no assisted opening. I have a nice collection of OTF and side autos as well as a nice Paragon gravity knife and handmade stiletto. I do not need a knife for self defends nor want to use one. Many decades ago I was taught knife fighting and the thing that stuck with me was that it has to be in touch me distance and both usually get cut.

        I rather carry a main gun and a small backup gun. I can defend myself beyond knife range.

      • Guess you are right Mr. Lu if someone attack you will pulled-out your knives no matter what. The cops can’t do nothing!

    • Be ready to be arrested any time a cop is in the mood then.

  2. Agree with you man! First time on your blog from Google search. Super v.

    Thanks

  3. A person definitely needs to be aware of their state’s knife carry laws.

    In Florida, the definition of a weapon doesn’t include a “common pocket knife”. The debate is what is considered a “common pocket knife” since the Florida Statutes don’t specify what constitutes a “common pocket knife”(i.e. Blade length).

    There is case law that basically states that the manner in which the knife is carried or used is the deciding factor. In the Tampa area, there was a man who was caught burglarizing a home. He had a pocket knife on him and was charged with armed burglary. The Supreme Court stated since the pocket knife wasn’t an element of the crime and was in a closed position that it wasn’t a weapon. I believe the blade length was “3 to “4 inches.

    There was another case in Florida where a lady made verbal threats to harm another person. When police contacted her, she had a similar sized pocket knife in the opened position. She was charged with Aggravated Assault and the charge maintained by the courts.

    The only knives in Florida that are illegal are “ballistic” knives. The automatic knives are in a gray area here since there isn’t any guidance on those.

    Open carry of knives, especially knives in sheaths are acceptable in Florida. Florida is a very friendly knife state.

    • I am from Florida,and I have carried a sheath knife(buckmaster 184)
      and I have never had a problem . I have had officers tell me that they would rather see it openly.

    • I’m in NYC and fuck this Law … I rather have and not need that to need and not have. And my knives serve one purpose protection. But, if they as its for emergency medical procedurs .

    • I’m from fl I’m 16 almost 17 can I open carry a knife. And open carry I mean in my pocket with the clip

  4. I’m so glad I live in the South. Here in the state of SC we can legally own and carry any size knife, concealed or openly. I have done so all my life and have carried everything from a small pocket knife to a full size 8″ bowie. I’ve never had a problem here in my state. As long as it’s sheathed or in my pocket and I’m not causing malice or threatening anyone, people don’t care, (and that’s the way it should be.)

    • Yup! Here in Tennessee, any size blade open or concealed is just fine.

    • I’ve had a Rock Hill police officer tell me that fixed blade knives with blades longer than 3 inches were illegal to carry. I was unable to find anything in the code of laws at any level available online that supported that claim though. Unfortunately, you can still have issues with cops while doing something completely legal as not everyone knows the law very well and it only takes a couple triggered liberals calling 911 for things to go South. I definitely agree that as long as we’re not doing anything else illegal we ought to be able to possess whatever knives and/or guns we desire without incident.

  5. I live in Ohio now haven’t had a problem here

  6. People’s Republic of Massachusetts, Lot’s of grey areas, Police Officer interpretation—also known as , PD doesn’t like citizens with pocket knives, or better yet…Make-Believe -Laws…I noticed some online shops won’t send assisted knives to MA., but they appear to be misinformed. Assisted knives–both spring, and manual IKBS/Ball bearing type are for sale in MA. Local Walmart in one township that’s very friendly in knife sales has CRKT Hissatsu’s for $50.00..As well as The larger Fossil, and some other CRKT items…Also all manner of Kershaw’s…The only places I’m aware of that have “so called township/cities ordinances.” Would be Boston—“DNC/ DemoCRAPS permission 2 1/2 inches only from work or to sport…Whatever that means…All US Constitutional-Bill of Rights infringements anyhow…Includes a few other cities /towns with their own Monchary…” Anyhow, I support my constitutional rights —if it’s being declared a personal weapon…Then it’s constitutionally protected…If it’s a tool, it’s still falls under property rights…Remember, Their is NO Such thing as “Pre-crime.” Furthermore, Murder is a Crime….It is already against the law!

  7. Go Wisconsin! Gov. Walker just removed the law of concealed carry, and no local government can overrule this law. Now one doesn’t need a license for any type of concealed knife.

  8. In Florida a knife is a tool. Weapon laws don’t apply.

    • I live in New York City, and depending where you are, the clip can get you in trouble both ways. I was arrested for walking through a subway station with a clip knife because having a visible knife in the subway is a violation. The real problem was that even though I always keep my blades tight, the hinge had loosened enough from use that the officer was able to flip it open, and a gravity knife is a weapons charge. Ironically, if I hadn’t forgotten to drop it into my pocket, I would have been fine. The charges were eventually dropped, but jail isn’t fun. I don’t carry in the city anymore.

      • Tim

        March 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm

        No one should carry in NYC anymore. The laws are too open to interpretation and they’re really trying to make an example out of anyone. Glad the charges were dropped—if not, Knife Rights would have your back.

      • Get yourself a cheap knife with a clip and liquid steel the blade shut. Watch the officer sling his arm out trying to open it!

  9. Does anyone know Michigan’s Knifes Law?

  10. We have traveled through New York and NewJersey.
    I always carry my pistol and my knives concealed .
    I don’t go into federal buildings with them.
    I have a personal carry permit but is not accepted in these states. I carry smart.
    I will not draw my knife or gun to threaten. When I draw it’s going into use right now. I was “asked are you not afraid to get caught with your weapons”?
    I replied” I’m afraid to get caught without them” !

  11. The confusing NYS laws state switchblades and the like are illegal, yet while hunting or fishing under a valid license they are legal. What about the commute to said activities?
    Unfortunately the vague folding knife laws regarding assisted, auto, gravity, and flipper types comes down to the officer on the street and his adeptness at flipping open your knife.

  12. I’m in VA. I own several switch blade knives all with pocket clips. As long as they are visible in my pocket by the clip is it legal to carry it?

    • I also live in VA and I think the same way. If it’s clipped to your pocket and the clips visible (shirt or jacket isn’t covering it) it’s open carry, which is what this page said at the last paragraph.

  13. Get yourself a cheap knife with a clip and liquid steel it shut. The watch the cop sling his arm out trying to open it!

  14. Make a few clips. Put them on combs, pens, pack of gum, or just clip the clip to a pocket with nothing on it. When they ask for it just grin when you hand it over.

  15. My opinion on the whole thing is that VA is a communist state and law enforcement is gonna make up the laws as they see fit. I’ve asked for lack of a better word cops about automatic knives or switchblades and they tell me and spring assisted knife is illegal to carry in this state. But if you look it up. Any knife is legal to own in Virginia. But in the article they keep saying open carry but don’t say exactly what the term open carry is. This way they can do as they see fit and arrest you. This state is as crooked as a politician.

    • Are your healthcare and universities free? If not, then it’s not communist lol. Those are the core principles of socialism and communism. Before I left Germany to emigrate here, my family paid less than 300 USD in taxes. And all of that was provided by the government. Socialism is amazing, and it works in nearly every country it exists in. BTW, we also still have guns in Germany. We probably have more rights than you Americans.

  16. Just received a response from Florida Dep’t of Agriculture and Consumer Services (those that issue a concealed weapons permit here) and when a pocket clip is utilized, the knife is considered as concealed. So if you happen to have an automatic knife, or a knife with a blade longer than 4″, that have pocket clips AND you possess a Florida CWP, then you are considered within the law, in Florida. I believe if those particular knives were in sheaths, for open-carry, then anyone can carry, in Florida.
    While making these statements though, I don’t believe all law enforcement jurisdictions are fully aware of the laws and sometimes may react “on-sight”.

    • Yep! My rules : 1. Knife 2. Police force flashlight taser 3. Skin dying mase 4. 9mm….. then keys purse kids! Mess with me or my kids, the case isn’t going past stand your ground hearing.

  17. I carry an OTF-DA (Out The Front-Double Action), in my pocket, clip showing. Automatic knives are legal here in Ohio. An officer once asked me if I was carrying any concealed weapons. I said no. He immediately noted the knife in my pocket, accusing me of lieing. I said ” First of all, my knife is a tool, not a weapon. Secondly, you immediately noted to me I was carrying a knife. So in doing so, you admitted to knowing it was a knife. Therefore not concealed because if it was concealed you would have never known it was a knife or that I was carrying one.” A double win for me. I was left alone after that. It’s a sad thing when a law-abiding citizen cannot even carry a knife without being harassed by law enforcement. Because of my trade, I use my knife nearly every day.

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