North Carolina ratified the United States Constitution and joined the union on Saturday, November 21st, 1789. After visiting the fetid legal sewer that is New York State’s knife laws, it’s a pleasure to take a little trip Down South to a land where common sense isn’t completely dead…
But neither is it exactly the picture of health. North Carolina allow citizens to carry most pocketknives most of the time.
The good news about North Carolina knife laws is that the concealed weapon statute, G.S. Chapter 14-269, doesn’t say anything about blade length or ‘presumptions of criminal intent.’ You’re also allowed to own automatics, gravity knives and balisongs as long as you don’t carry them concealed in public.
Sadly, that’s about it for the good news. North Carolina seems to have copied the usual raft of silly restrictions on the carry of “bowie knives, dirks, daggers, slung shot, loaded canes, metallic knuckles, razors, and shurikin.”
The law is also infuriatingly vague as to whether assisted-openers are considered ‘switchblades’ or not. The consensus of the blade forum types is that assisted openers are okay, but that’s certainly not legal advice. And neither is this article, for that matter: if you absolutely have to know whether they’re legal or not, you’ll have to pay an NC attorney for their time. I’m not licensed to practice there, so don’t ask.
To add insult to injury, North Carolina has no preemption of knife laws, so the state is literally a crazy quilt of varying blade length restrictions and lists of places you cannot carry. Check here for a partial (and partially superseded) list of local restrictions.
If there’s any consolation, it’s that you can carry a manual 3″ folder in just about any county or municipality without worry.
NC’s 1970s-style knife laws are way behind its ‘Shall Issue’ CCW gun laws. It’s a better state than NY or NJ, which is faint praise indeed, but it’s the worst Southern state I’ve surveyed thus far. Stick to a 3″ manual folder and you should be fine. Most of the time. In most places. Mostly.