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Knife Carry in South Carolina

Discussion in 'Carolina Glockers' started by .357Magnus, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. .357Magnus


    Sep 28, 2006
    Gone Fishin'
    I will be traveling to South Carolina and wanted to ask about the knife laws in there. I carry a knife everyday for utility use and from what I can see 2" is the max allowable blade length. Even my Swiss Army Knife has a blade longer than this. What is the practical enforcement of this law? It seems overly restrictive if I can not even bring a pocket knife along. Also, I do not plan to bring a firearm along and was wondering about bringing along a larger folder @ 3"-3.5" and pepper spay, but only if legal to do so. Please advise.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2009
  2. BadAndy


    Oct 2, 2004
    Irmo, SC
    If it's in your pocket and you're using to open boxes, mail etc...and not stab people with it, no one here will even question or notice you.

  3. i think it would be wise if you contacted SLED (state law enforcement division) and ask them directly. noone here will be standing with you in court should the advice you get on this site not be complete. the help and advice you get on this site is top notch but there is just no substitute when seeking the type of information you're asking. too important to take a chance on someone misinterpreting the law.
  4. Rosco P

    Rosco P

    Mar 30, 2009
    Raleigh NC
    You have a better chance of getting arrested for not carrying a knife in NC/SC so long as you stay out of Chapel Hill...
  5. Eagle22


    Feb 6, 2009
    Raleigh NC
    :rofl: oh that is the truth.

    I carry a folding knife with about a 3" blade all the time. What is the big deal ?
  6. ranger88

    ranger88 CLM

    Apr 30, 2004
    Columbia, S.C.
    Here in SC it seems to be one of those add on charges instead of a primary offense. As long as you're not breaking any other laws, you should be okay. Last time I checked the law, it was 2" or 2 1/2" for blade length. Could be different now. Even my Leatherman Wave has a longer blade than that!
  7. Chucktown Mako

    Chucktown Mako G23

    Jun 24, 2009
    On the Coast, SC
    I may be a little late on this, but I always thought it was 4" concealed. Open carry can be a sword!
    I used to carry a 4" one handed folder, but have switched to about a 3" pen knife. I still do carry the 4" occasionally.
  8. It's late also but over 2oz of pepper spray is illegal to carry
  9. Thx-1138

    Thx-1138 NRA Member

    Jul 27, 2007
    North Carolina
    I travel through SC a couple of times a year. I bought a cheap, 1 3/4" blade folding knife for just that purpose.

    I don't like to disobey the laws, regardless of how infrequently they're enforced.
  10. Make sure you check with any of the cities or towns you will be staying in. Several have passed local ordinances concerning length concealment etc...
  11. k3sls


    May 24, 2007
    At the beach, SC USA
    While I can't find a cite, I'm reasonably sure state law preempts local ordinance for weapons possession offenses in SC. If not, it would be an enforcement nightmare for LEOs and the courts.

  12. State law does not have a helmet section for motorcycle riders except under age. But that didn't stop Myrtle Beach from enacting it's own law on it.

    They got around the length requirement by making it a civil offense instead of a misdemeanor charge. Just like it is legal to sell a switchblade knife but ILLEGAL to carry it except for LEO and FF/EMS. It amounts to an add on charge at officers discretion.
    Current city ordinance for Myrtle Beach regarding all weapons they pistol section was preempted by the CCW law.

    Sec. 14-101. Discharge of firearms, slingshots or air rifles prohibited.
    It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge or cause to be discharged any firearm of any kind or nature or any air rifle or slingshot at any place within the city.
    (Code 1980, § 9-3-1)

    Sec. 14-102. Carrying of certain weapons prohibited.
    It shall be unlawful for any person in the city to carry, either concealed or not, any pistol, dirk, slingshot, metal knuckles, razors, numchucks or other deadly weapons used for the infliction of injury to person or property. Upon conviction thereof, besides that penalty as may be imposed by the court, he shall forfeit the weapon to the city.
    (Code 1980, § 9-3-4)
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2009
  13. k3sls


    May 24, 2007
    At the beach, SC USA
    I believe there are still at least two unresolved state constitutional lawsuits regarding the above, although the courts have permitted the city to continue enforcement by declining to issue TROs. Plus, traffic regulations are an entirely different animal compared to weapons regulations...a bit of an apples/oranges argument.

    Switchblade and certain automatic blades are also controlled by the Federal government, in that interstate commerce prohibits the sale and transportation of such across state lines. State/local law might allow possession/sale, but it would be unlikely you could purchase such because of transport restrictions. See 18 U.S.C. § 1716(g)(2).

    As you implied with the CCW regulations, the above would not apply if you were defending yourself while complying with the provisions of SC Title 23 Chap 4. Many municipalities and counties have "no discharge" zones, but there is no limitation on defense of life or property. I should mention...this is where I was confused as relates to the original question. I mistakenly assumed blades are covered by the concealed weapons regulations...they are not!

    Again, reading SC Title 23 Chap 4, a concealed weapons permit holder would be allowed to carry a concealable firearm without being subject to this local ordinance. The places you can't carry are specifically delineated and municipal/county ordinances can not preempt.

    It should be noted blades longer than 2" are still prohibited at school locations under SC Title 59 Chap 63 and Title 19 Chap 23.

  14. The city and county has a number of infractions and civil codes that the state allows but are prohibited. The home rule allows them to allow such things. N. Myrtle Beach has a permanent ban on ANY outside burning except barbecue and firefighter training. The state controls if out door burning is allowed though. Another example of city codes in violation of state law. The road maintenance surcharge that's been ruled illegal by the State Supreme Court but still shows up on my car tax bill every year.
  15. k9patrol


    Dec 18, 2010
    I have asked several LE co-workers and other LE agents, just to see what they would say. Each one said something totally different than the other.

    Some said 3", some said it depends on what town, as to the local laws, and some towns have a no knife law. Simply put they did not know. Also, a lawyer did not know.

    The moral of the story is, "Don't trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer".
    I just don't carry one, though I would like to carry one. If I carried one it would not be over a 3" blade.
  16. On a similar note: I have asked if "assisted opening" is considered a switchblade and have gotten 10 "yes" answers and 10 "no" answers.
  17. Personally I carry a boker & have for 20 + years. As long as you are
    not acting like a jerk, waving it around or calling attention to yourself. Most people could care less & are more concerned with there own lives. Before CCW was allowed you would be surprized how many had small carry pieces in there pockets. The attitude was judge by 12 or carry by 6. Again as long as you acted as if you had common sense no one really pushed it for the most part
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012