Can i carry a hunting knife in my truck in California?

Hunting Knives

i have a hunting knife with an 8inch blade that i would like to keep in my truck. I keep in secured in a sheath, but I’m not sure of the California laws on hunting knives, and didn’t want to risk getting arrested.

Contrary to what you are going to see in a lot of answers, there is no general regulation of knives, other than switchblades, based upon length under California state law. (There are some laws applicable at schools and public buildings.) Under California law, this is a dirk or dagger, which means it would be unlawful to carry it concealed on your person. There is no prohibition upon carrying it concealed in a vehicle, so long as it is not on your person. (Pen C 12020.)

This is based upon state law. There may be some applicable local ordinances, you should check. I think those ordinances are unenforceable, but you don’t want to be the one to test that.


6 Responses to “Can i carry a hunting knife in my truck in California?”

  1. Eugene — February 21, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

    It has to be below 4 in.
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  2. assbasket — February 21, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

    You should keep it under your seat within drivers’ reach, along with loaded handguns and extra ammo. Then drive erratically and be really aggressive toward the cops when they pull you over. Make sure to have someone in a follow-car get video of the whole thing and put it on youtube, so I can laugh at you.
    References :

  3. Suicidal For Life — February 21, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

    Whatcha huntin- wetbacks?
    References :

  4. Chains — February 21, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

    Would be much smarter to just call the police department or a lawyers office than asking here. I would say if you live in a big city no, don’t risk it unless you intend to keep it out of sight of an officer if he pulls you over. If there is any chance that they would have probable cause to search your vehicle and they find it, they will likely charge you. If a cop sees it in plain view when he comes up to your vehicle, that qualifies as probable cause and can legally search your vehicle at that point.

    If you live in a small town or rural, particularly where it is common and acceptable for people to be equipped for hunting or fishing, then I would probably just put it in the bottom of a tackle box or skinning bag and keep it out of sight. If you don’t hunt or fish I wouldn’t even carry the knife unless you use it for work, then I would put it in a toolbox. A knife in a toolbox is a tool. A knife in your glove box is suspicious, A knife holstered at your side is a weapon, and a knife under your drivers seat is a trip to jail waiting to happen.

    If you have the knife for self-defense get rid of it. There are more effective tools for accomplishing that than a knife, that are also easier to get away with having on your person or in your car. The first obvious choice is to get a CWP (concealed weapon permit) and then carry a small firearm in a holster, in a location convenient for you and easy to keep concealed. Remember that allowing the public to see your firearm even while it is in your holster, could be considered brandishing if someone complains, and that could get your gun taken from you. So keep it to yourself. It is 50% less effective if everyone knows you have one.

    If you can’t carry a firearm I recommend getting a large maglite (flashlight). They are like a hard billy club and can put a bad hurting on someone. They are more effective than knives because you can actually stop someone with a maglite. With a knife any shorter than a short sword you give your opponent way too much time to mount a counter attack, even after they have been stabbed. Unless you stab them in the brain or heart, they will probably still be able to hurt you. If you strike someone anywhere with a maglite you are likely to break something on the first hit. Be careful with a maglite, a blow to the head could kill someone. It isn’t much different than having a short aluminum bat. The good thing about the maglite is it is completely legal to carry as long as the bulb works. If you are carrying it on a belt loop the bulb must work or you will be charged with carrying an illegal blunt weapon.

    Another tool that is much better than a knife for self defense is a claw hammer, or hatchet hammer. Again both completely legal as they are common tools. I wouldn’t try to carry the hatchet hammer on a belt loop though, you would be asking for trouble from the law. Nobody is likely to even look twice if you are wearing a standard hammer though, especially if you also have a tape measure somewhere else on your belt. I kept a 10 pound sledge hammer in my truck right next to the drivers seat for years. I was not allowed to carry a firearm or weapon of any kind into some of the terminals I had to drive in for work every day, so I got an oversized sledge. Great for closing rusted trailer doors, AND getting people away from your truck that are trying to start trouble…lol.

    Anyway, those are my suggestions. Since you didn’t clarify why you wanted the knife in your truck I thought I would cover as many bases as possible.
    References :

  5. John S — February 21, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

    Contrary to what you are going to see in a lot of answers, there is no general regulation of knives, other than switchblades, based upon length under California state law. (There are some laws applicable at schools and public buildings.) Under California law, this is a dirk or dagger, which means it would be unlawful to carry it concealed on your person. There is no prohibition upon carrying it concealed in a vehicle, so long as it is not on your person. (Pen C 12020.)

    This is based upon state law. There may be some applicable local ordinances, you should check. I think those ordinances are unenforceable, but you don’t want to be the one to test that.
    References :
    30+ years as a criminal defense attorney

  6. facebook — February 21, 2010 @ 8:56 pm

    carrying a knife in a truck is unlawful even you will be arrested if he see .
    References :
    http://www.outdoorbasecamp.com/

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