View Full Version : Legality of carrying a fixed blade in VA?

June 2, 2002, 03:50 PM
I want to carry a fixed blade for defense since being only 18 I can't get a VA carry permit yet. One legal concern though. I'm in Virginia. They've outlawed the carrying of dirks and bowie knives concealed. Virginia case law defines a

"'dirk' or weapon of like kind" as "any stabbing weapon having two sharp edges and a point"; and defining "'bowie knife' or weapon of like kind" as "any stabbing weapon having a single sharp edge, a dull or serrated flat edge and a point".

A bowie knife, by this definition, would be practically any "tactical" fixed blade knife with one edge, and a dirk any such knife with two edges. If so, what does this mean for an EDC knife?

In my opinion it's better to be tried by 12 then carried by six. I believe that the only way that anyone would know that I had it would be if I had to use it in defense. I am very discrete, don't show off or brag about what I'm carrying or play with a defense knife publicy. If I had to use it in public, it would be in a defensive capacity, in which case I would be either alive and facing a misdemeanor charge possibly in addition to a homicide investigation, or I'd be dead and not really worrying about breaking VA law. Does this make sense?

I'd be carrying it under a suit coat or jacket. I'm a clean cut individual, never in trouble with the law, don't intend to be, don't fit the typical "gang" profile, so I don't think I'd be targeted for a search.

What are the legal consequences of carrying a concealed fixed blade? Also, do you guys consider it worth it to do so, tried by twelve rather than carried by six?

*Definition taken from Richards v. Commonwealth, 18 Va. App. 242, 245, 246 n.2, 443 S.E.2d 177, 179, 179 n.2 (1994)

June 2, 2002, 05:44 PM
Hmmm, breaking the law is usually a bad thing.

18? Why don't you do undergrad up north in Yankeedom where we don't have such restrictive laws. You can carry at 18 and any edged weapon as long as it isn't a SWITCHBLADE [soccermommie screaming] is O.K. here in the Land of Truth and Justice.

Bring a jacket, y'all.:D

June 2, 2002, 05:47 PM
Why not carry a folder and save the trouble?

June 2, 2002, 08:04 PM
Yeah, that's what I'm leaning to. But I was trying to verify my analysis of the legality of it and make an informed decision. Just trying to gather facts and opinions.

June 6, 2002, 07:44 PM
The worst case scenario is not that you would be caught with the knife concealed and charged with a misdemeanor. The worst case scenario is that you would use the knife in a defensive situation, but the prosecutor wouldn't see it that way.

The prosecutor may think you were illegally carrying this weapon and therefore is more likely to think you started the fight. Then you are going to be charged with malicious wounding or even murder. Even if you are acquitted, the legal bills could ruin you. Expert witnesses like Masad Ayoob are real expensive.

Also, let us assume that you just pull your illegally concealed knife to let the Bad Guys know you mean business. They break off their attack, but call the police on you. You could be charged with felony assault (a threat legally) for just showing someone the knife in a manner which indicated you were willing to use it.

Carrying a tactical folder that you can legally carry is the best advice. Carry some mace or stungun too for extra security.

Stay safe, but stay legal as much as possible. You're too young to end up with a felony on your record.