Saturday, May 27, 2017

Knife Reform Bill Passes Texas Legislature: On to Governor Abbot

The Texas Legislature has passed significant knife law reform by large margins. The bill is on the way to Governor Abbot, and will likely be signed into law. The bill removes bowie knives, dirks, throwing knives, daggers, swords and spears from the list of "illegal knives".

H.B. 1935 in the House with a vote of 131 to 1. The Senate vote has not yet been reported. In the last legislature a similar bill was approved by the Senate unanimously. The ban on knives was first passed in 1871.

In 1871, the reconstruction government in Texas passed the bill to forbid the carry of bowie knives and other arms that could be useful for self defense. The current statute is directly derived from that law. Here is the original verbiage. From
Any person carrying on or about his person, saddle, or in his saddle-bags, any pistol, dirk, dagger, sling-shot, sword-cane, spear, brass knuckles, bowie knife, or any other kind of knife, manufactured or sold, for the purpose of offense or defense, unless he has reasonable grounds for fearing an unlawful attack on his person, and that such ground of attack shall be immediate and pressing; or unless having or carrying the same on or about his person for the lawful defense of the State, as a militiaman in actual service, or as a peace officer or policeman, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor....
The reconstruction government had to change the Texas Constitution to pass the law.

The current restrictions on knives in Texas consists of the following list. People are forbidden from carrying these knives across most of the state. From, edited for ease of reading:
       Illegal knife" means a:

(A) knife with a blade over five and one-half inches;

(B) hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown;

(C) dagger, including but not limited to a dirk, stiletto, and poniard;

(D) bowie knife;

(E) sword; or

(F) spear.

H.B 1935 changes the list of "illegal knives" to "location restricted knife". The bill simplifies the definition to be any knife with a blade of more than five and one-half inches. Location restricted knives can be carried throughout the state, except for a few locations where they are banned.  Those locations are:

School or educational institution, or passenger transportation of a school or educational institution, whether public or private

Businesses that earn more than 51% of their income from the sale of alcoholic beverages to be consumed on the premises.

A polling place on the day of an election

Government court or offices utilized by the court

Premises where a high school, collegiate, or professional sporting event, is taking place.

Premises of a correctional facility


Nursing facilities

Mental Hospitals

Amusement parks

Church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship

There are exceptions in the law for the use of ceremonial blades and in historical and theatrical events.

In the last Texas legislature, similar legislation passed both houses unanimously, without the location restrictions. The bill was supposed to be put on the "Local and Uncontested Calendar in 2015. It has been reported that Senator Whitmire had agreed to put the bill on the Calendar, then failed to do so, killing the bill for that session. Senator Whitemire is a Committee Chair and a Democrat, in the Republican legislature.

Knife Rights deserves credit for effective lobbying in Texas to pass this bill.

If signed by Governor Abbot, the law will take effect on 1 September, 2017.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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Anonymous said...

So If you are in one of these protected places who is responsible to protect you if a terrorist group just happen to come in? No one but your self can determine when or where you may need to protect yourself. the attackers are the ones breaking the law. terrorist never make an appointment.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance it at it again, those knife free zones create soft targets. the old law was probably passed by people that never rode any thing but a carriage. You need a decent size knife if you are crossing this country on foot or horse back and who knows in advance when they are going to be attacked? If you have time to run home and get a knife, get a gun.