North Carolina - Knives in the Workplace, Guns in the Parking Lot

Hello. I work for a company in North Carolina that has a strict “no weapons” policy. I have two questions as to how NC law pertains to this company policy:

  1. I know that the law specifically gives any establishment the force of law to prohibit firearms, but I do not see anywhere in the law that gives them the same power over knives. If I’m correct, this would mean that the company policy carries the force of law against firearms, but that it cannot legally apply to otherwise lawfully carried knives. Is there some text somewhere that I’ve missed, or is this correct?

  2. I know some states have laws protecting civilians’ right to keep a firearm locked up in their car in otherwise gun-prohibited places. I believe NC has this allowance for many cases, like being on school property, but it does not seem to be specifically applied to areas prohibited by establishment postings. Does this mean that even if my weapon is securely locked in my car in the company parking lot, I would still be in violation of the law due to the company’s no-weapon policy? If so, I would effectively be unable to carry on my way to and from work, just because I’d have nowhere to put my gun while I’m in the office.


I don’t know about North Carolina law (I’m not a lawyer), but the Florida permit is called a Concealed Weapons License because the license covers not only guns but knives and other weapons. It is possible NC’s laws - and especially your employer’s “no weapons” policy references the same lack of differentiation between the two.

I suggest you contact a lawyer in NC to get clarification.


I suspect that most would use the term “weapon”, which creates a whole different body of muddy water. My Bic pen is a weapon. Comb. Toothbrush. It gets ugly right out of the gate. (I’m in NC too and our office-when I was going there-was 100% no weapons on the property or you’re likely fired.


@OldGnome NC law does seem to differentiate between handguns and knives:

A permit does not authorize a person to carry a concealed handgun in any of the following:

(8) On any private premises where notice that carrying a concealed handgun is prohibited by the posting of a conspicuous notice or statement by the person
in legal possession or control of the premises.

Actually, reading this again, could this be interpreted to mean that one can disregard these signs as long as they are open carrying? I can’t find anything that says establishments can ban firearms period. This specifies a concealed handgun. I would never try this, but it’s an interesting loophole. I think I may take your advice and contact a lawyer. I would certainly like to know exactly what I’d be dealing with were I to take a pocket knife into the office, intentionally or otherwise.

As for the company wording, @Brad you are 100% right. The policy very vaguely prohibits “weapons of any sort” which is a poorly conceived policy because not only can anything be used as a weapon, but many things that would often be seen as weapons (a knife) can definitely be carried with no intention of using it as one. Is a knife carried solely to cut open boxes considered a “weapon”? I want to get clarification from the company without painting a target on my back…


Try wwwDOTknifeupDOTcom

They have knife laws by state in easily searchable format.


I’m a NC CC instructor and I’d like to make just a few quick points.

1- Knives are NOT covered by your CC License because it’s strictly a handgun license, and if you shove one down into your pockets it’s an unlicensed concealed deadly weapon. Of course we are not talking about grandpa’s old pen knife but the “tactical” SD blades need to be carried clipped to the edge of the pocket opening so they are not concealed.

2- There is no penalty for carrying in a place that is posted because you might miss the sign(s). But if asked to leave you MUST or be arrested for trespassing which is a criminal offense.

3- Anyone who owns or manages any private (including commercial) property can post it and prohibit all carrying of firearms (Concealed or open) on the premises. They don’t even need to post it. They can just ask you to leave.


@Enzo_T Yeah I’ve been making sure to stick with manual-action folders to stay within the “ordinary pocket knife” definition for concealment.

I’ve read that clipping a knife to the edge of the pocket may be kinda iffy because concealment isn’t really defined. I’d hate to meet a cop having a bad day who decides my pocket clipped knife is concealed. What are your thoughts on this?


Hi Samuel,
From the DOJ folks I was told that there has never been a prosecution that they are aware off for just having a concealed knife on you. It’s a charge that someone in LE or Prosecutor can add or trade away if needed but really the chances of you getting arrested JUST because you have a concealed knife are very low if not outright non existent.


Jesus wept.

10 seconds of internet lookup 5 minutes reading. All you can ever want to know about North Carolina Law.

The Great Seal of the State O North CarolinaNorth Carolina knife laws are wordy and may be difficult for anyone without legal training to follow. This article describes both the statutes and Court decisions, or case law, concerning the ownership and carrying of knives in North Carolina, and puts it all in a language and order that makes it easy to read and follow.

It is legal to own bowie knife
It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
It is legal to own a switchblade
It is legal to own a gravity knife
It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as in a pen or lipstic


  • It is illegal to own any spring-loaded projectile knife
  • It is illegal to own a ballistic knife
  • It is illegal to own any weapon of similar character to a projectile or ballistic knife

§ 14-269. Carrying concealed weapons

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person willfully and intentionally to carry concealed about his person any bowie knife, dirk, dagger, slung shot, loaded cane, metallic knuckles, razor, shurikin, stun gun, or other deadly weapon of like kind, except when the person is on the person’s own premises….


  • It is illegal to conceal carry a bowie knife
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dirk
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a dagger
  • It is illegal to conceal carry a butcher knife
  • It is legal to conceal carry a pocketknife
  • It is legal to open carry any legal knife
  • It is illegal to open or conceal carry any knife on a school campus, state property, or into a Courthouse
  • It is illegal to open or conceal carry any dangerous weapon at a parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration upon any private health care facility


North Carolina statute defines a pocket knife as a small knife, made to carry in a pocket or purse, which has its cutting edge and point entirely enclosed by the handle, and that may not be opened by a throwing, explosive, or spring action.

A switchblade is defined by statute as a knife containing a blade that opens automatically by the release of a spring or a similar device.

Neither the statues of North Carolina, nor the case law, define any other type of knife.


A dangerous weapon includes bowie knives, dirks, daggers, or any weapon of like kind, a switchblade, or any object capable of causing serious injury or death if used as a weapon.


In order to be convicted of carrying a concealed weapon, one must have the intent to conceal it. In 1882, in State v. C. F. Gilbert, the Supreme Court of North Carolina found that Mr. Gilbert had not meant to conceal the weapon he was carrying in his front pocket, but was merely transporting it from one place of business to another, and was therefore not guilty of carrying a concealed weapon. In State v. Dixon, in 1894, the Court found that it did not matter what a persons’ intention in carrying a concealed weapon was, the only intention that mattered was whether the carrier intended to conceal the weapon. It then upheld Mr. Dixon’s conviction for carrying a concealed weapon, even though he carried it only for the lawful purpose of selling it. In this decision, the Court overruled prior case law, specifically State v. Harrison, where in 1885, it had found that Mr. Harrison could not be convicted of the concealed carry of a weapon that he carried only for the lawful purpose of trading it.

According to State v. McManus, a concealed weapon may either be concealed on the carriers’ person, or “about his person”, meaning that a weapon concealed within the reach and control of a defendant, is a concealed person for the purpose of North Carolina’s concealed carry statute. In State v. Gainey, the Court found that this means that a weapon hidden inside a vehicle may be a concealed weapon for the purpose of the conceal carry law. However, in the case of State v. Soles, the Court found that a gun concealed inside a backpack in Mr. Soles’ van, was not a concealed weapon under the statute, because the backpack was located in such as place as it could not be said that Mr. Soles had easy access to the gun.


N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269 provides a defense to the conceal carry law for weapons that are not a firearm; that you were engaged in, or on your way to or from an activity, in which the weapon is legitimately used, you used the weapon for that purpose, and you did not attempt to use the weapon for any illegal purpose. The statue does not describe any specific activities that a person must be engaged in when carrying a concealed weapon and the case law is silent on the issue. Commonly recognized activities where one would carry a knife, however, include hunting, fishing, trapping, and farming.


In 1843, in the case of State v. Huntley, the Supreme Court of North Carolina found that while a person may open carry any weapon, which is not illegal to own, for any lawful purpose, he or she may not do so in order to terrify or alarm the public. The Court held that though there is no statute prohibiting such carrying; it was a common law offense for which a person could be indicted.


It is illegal to own a spring-loaded projectile knife, ballistic knife, or any similar weapon in North Carolina. However, “spring-loaded projectile knife” and “ballistic knife” are not defined by either statute or case law.

North Carolina allows for the open carry of any legal weapon, so long as you are not carrying it in order to terrify or alarm the public. It does not allow for the concealed carry of bowie knives, dirks, daggers, or butcher’s knives.


  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269 (2013)
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.6 (2013)
  • N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-277.2 (2013)
  • State v. C. F. Gilbert, 87 N.C. 527 (1882)
  • State v. McManus, 89 N.C. 555 (1883)
  • State v. Erwin, 91 N.C. 545 (1884)
  • State v. Gainey, 160 S.E.2d 685 (1968)
  • State v. Huntley, 3 Ired. Law 418 (1843)
  • State v. Dixon, 19 S.E. 364
  • State v. Soles, 662 S.E.2d 564 (2008 N.C. App.)
  • State v. Harrision, 93 N.C. 605 (1885)**

@Zavier_D I read the laws before posting this topic. My question is about what is not in the law: a scenario that is not explicitly covered. I was wondering if either it is covered elsewhere in the law and I just didn’t find it, if there is case law pertaining to it, or if it is covered in what I already read but I misunderstood something. In any case, copy-pasting the entire body of text for NC knife law is does not really address my question, as I have already read the law and my question is an attempt to better understand it. I apologize if my initial post was not very clear about what exactly I’m asking.

@Enzo_T I wouldn’t expect to be arrested just for having a knife, but say someone has a knife concealed that isn’t legal to conceal and they use it in a self defense scenario. Their illegal concealment could be used against them when they defend their use of force in court, couldn’t it? That would be my real concern.

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Every situation is unique. Reality is that almost anything can be used against you in court. Too much cough syrup with alcohol in it can bee used against you to make you appear impaired. That’s why as Tim says, the first thing the happens as a member when the crazy stuff goes down is that we get you a lawyer to work with to keep you safe.

But basically, stick to the law. Hang your knife by the clip in a way that’s in plain view and make sure whatever decisions you make about your self defense fall within the main parameters of the laws in NC which are, the citizen actually believes deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent threat of death, great bodily harm or sexual assault.

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Your question started off as asking about firearms and slowly morphed into talking about knives. I was trying to show you North Carolina Law on knives which you asked later.

By profession in my last few career years I started including citations to any “legal” advice I may give so YOU can go look up those same citations and decide for yourself.



@Zavier_D yeah I can see how this topic has zig-zagged all over the place. I probably should have split this into separate topics since my two questions cover significantly different areas of potential discussion. I appreciate you taking the time to help me find an answer to my questions.

It looks like the law just doesn’t specifically address some things I wish it addressed. I like definitive answers, but it is what it is.