What Knife is Legal to Carry in California?

Knowing California’s knife laws is crucial. California knife laws vary. If you’re looking for a California-legal knife, you’re at the correct place. We’ll cover California’s knife laws in this complete guide to help you stay legal. Let’s begin!

What Knife is Legal to Carry in California?

What Knife is Legal to Carry in California?
Knife is Legal to Carry in California 1

California Penal Code Section 17235 outlines knife types and their legality. Blade length, opening mechanism, and concealability determine legal and illegal knives. Understanding these distinctions ensures legal compliance and prevents legal issues.

Folding Knives

California allows pocket knives, or folding knives. Blade length is limited. California law allows folding knives with 2.5-inch blades. These knives are carried for daily use.

Auto Knives

California bans switchblade knives. These knives open automatically with a button or switch. Switchblades are illegal in California, with few exceptions. Even owning an automatic knife can be illegal.

Balisong Knives

California restricts butterfly knives, or balisong knives. Two handles spin around the blade on these folding knives. In California, balisong knives can be owned but not concealed. Concealing a balisong knife is a crime.

Dirks, Daggers, Stilettos

California bans dirks, daggers, and stilettos. Stabbing or thrusting knives have a fixed blade with a sharp point. Unless they are carried publicly, these blades can be illegal.

Other Prohibited Knives


Other knives are prohibited under California law, including:

Ballistic knives: Detachable blades driven by springs, elastics, or other systems.

Belt buckle knives: Knives in belt buckles.

Lipstick knives: Knives in lipstick pots.

Cane swords: Hidden-blade canes.

Undetectable knives: Metal detector-proof knives.

Questions (FAQs)

Does California allow Swiss Army knives?

California allows 2.5-inch Swiss Army knives. These multipurpose knives are not weapons.

California allows self-defense knives.

California allows self-defense knife carry, but there are restrictions. The knife must be lawful, including blade length, and not a switchblade or dagger. Remember that knives are for utility, not self-defense.

Are knives allowed in California public spaces?

California bans blades in certain public places. Government buildings, schools, airports, and other secure sites forbid knives. Restaurants and retailers may have knife carry policies. Check and follow signs and restrictions at such areas.

California allows hidden knives in vehicles.

California allows carrying a knife in a locked vehicle. Lock the knife in the trunk or glove box. Driving with a concealed knife is illegal. When driving with knives, comply with California’s concealed carry regulations.

California knife carry age restrictions?

California has no knife age limit. Switchblades are illegal for all ages. For safety and responsible knife use, minors should be supervised when using knives.


Avoiding legal troubles and responsible knife possession requires knowledge of California knife laws. Folding knives with blades 2.5 inches or smaller are acceptable to carry, but it’s crucial to know which weapons are prohibited and where. Stay lawful by reading California Penal Code Section 17235.

This article contains general information, not legal advice. Consult a lawyer if you have questions regarding carrying a knife in California.

I love knives and love reviewing them. Knives have been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember. We grew up using knives in the kitchen and in outdoors.