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The Truth About Knives

The Truth About Knives

Depending on where you are in South Carolina, you may be breaking the law with your knife. Read on to get the skinny.

I am a huge advocate for carrying less lethal tools in addition to the lethal ones. It all pretty much boils down to a couple things called proportionality and the use of force continuum. This article is not about those two things, however. I’ll cover them in a future blog post.

Back in 2008, South Carolina amended its State Code to eliminate any restrictions regarding the possession of knives provided you are not a prison inmate and the knife is not being used in the commission of a crime. As long as it is of the folding blade type (pocket or tactical knives), they can be concealed. You do not need a concealed weapons permit to carry a concealed folding knife in the State of South Carolina. As a matter of fact, you can be a convicted felon and legally carry a knife.

Now, if you are carrying a fixed blade knife, it’s a different story. Fixed blade knives must not be concealed. They must be “open” carried. 

When it comes to schools, as a visitor, you are legally permitted to carry a knife on campus provided it is 2 inches or less. If it is greater than 2 inches, it cannot be anywhere on that school’s property. If you are the holder of a concealed weapons permit, you are afforded the right to properly stow your knife in your vehicle parked at the school. This would be with some sort of container, locked glove box, gun safe, etc.

All that sounds fine and dandy, right? Well, here’s the catch. South Carolina does not yet have any state preemption laws in place, which means, local and city governments can enact their own ordinances against knives and override state law. 

Three larger cities that come to mind are Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston. Each of these cities has their own ordinances against knives. Columbia, for instance, prohibits them period. Charleston and Greenville both have language in their ordinances regarding knives longer than 3 inches.

It is not clear whether or not concealed weapons permits get you around the cities’ strict knife ordinances. I honestly can’t find a straight answer. 

I have been carrying a knife as part of my EDC for years now and I won’t stop. I advocate you do the same. I have never taken mine off depending on what city I’m in. I doubt I ever will. One thing I may start doing, however, is checking what the laws are in the other states I frequent. Regardless of where you go, concealment is key. You can get charged with brandishing a knife the same way you can get charged with brandishing a gun. Be discrete, be smart, and stay safe.

Joe Shahoud

Joe Shahoud is the owner and lead instructor at Safe Family Defense LLC, a firearms training academy that serves the greater Columbia, SC area specializing in pistol, concealed weapons permits, and general education in personal safety. 

Copyright 2020 – All Rights Reserved, Safe Family Defense LLC

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