While 2 Texas bills went into effect in 2013 and 2017 that legalized almost all knives, there are still some weapons that would get you in trouble. From trench knives and clubs to tomahawks and axes, the bills left certain areas restricted for some knives so let’s cut to the chase.
Basics of the Bills
Most states have more illegal weaponry, but Texas passed a bill in 2013 that legalized the possession and sale of switchblades. However, this wasn’t enough to satiate many who believe the 2nd amendment refers to bladed weapons as well.
As part of the “right to bear arms,” a 2017 follow-up bill was passed that effectively made it entirely legal to carry the majority of bladed weapons. According to the law office of David Breston, “House Bill 1935 eliminated the category “illegal knives.”
Since “illegal knives” were specifically defined as bladed weapons that were 5.5” or over, there was obvious speculation of the bill. However, government officials weren’t blind to the potential repercussions that might happen.
The compromise was to add a new list of places that you simply couldn’t carry knives, but bill 1935 legalized carrying anything from a pocket knife up to a machete or broadsword in public as long as you avoided the few still-illegal ones.
I know that some of the weapons below aren’t necessarily “knives,” but since it’s such a short list I figure it might help to be aware of what else still falls under “illegal” to carry. Keep in mind that the only reason these are still illegal is because they technically aren’t “knives.”
Introduced in World War I, trench knives were created for the close-quarters combat taking place in their namesake. These bladed weapons consist of a short knife attached to “knuckle dusters” for a combination of damage-dealing.
Seeing as these knives were meant to take the place of bayonets and be efficient, it’s no surprise that they’re illegal. Of course, the only reason they are is because of the attachment. However, the blade part isn’t the only thing that’s illegal to carry on your person in Texas.
While they don’t have a blade, brass knuckles are a small weapon that can fit in your pocket so they’re similar to a pocket knife. Keeping that in mind, there are brass knuckles that have spiked or encrusted tips that could be argued as blades.
If you didn’t know, brass knuckles are lightweight coverings that go over your knuckles and are usually made of brass for punching. They protect your knuckles while increasing the outgoing damage, so they’re illegal to have or sell.
Slightly more confusing than anything, I don’t know why clubs are illegal. In a state where you can now legally walk around with a katana and openly carry a handgun, you’d think a wooden club would be the least of your worries.
Still, this is on the list of illegal weapons. They’re not concealable and are usually made of either wood or stone. I assume the major argument against them is that a club can be obtained almost anywhere if you look hard enough.
These are commonly mistaken as axes, but tomahawks aren’t the same as the next name on this list. They do have a similar shape, but tomahawks were meant as a combination of hand-to-hand lethality and short-ranged warfare.
Weighing less than a throwing axe, their blades are usually made of stone or metal attached to a wooden handle. They’re easy to craft and small enough that you could conceal one, but you’re not allowed to buy, sell, or carry one around town.
Coming in a range of sizes and types, axes have been around for centuries for warfare and building. Despite being used on farms, construction sites, and by firefighters, they can’t be carried by the average person in public.
Throwing axes are comparable to a tomahawk, but heavier axes are large and really have no good purpose to bring with you to get groceries. Because of these reasons, while I understand the confusion of large swords being legal, axes don’t fall in the category of “knife.”
Where Can’t You Take Any Knives?
While Bill 1935 removed “illegal knives” from the wording, the legislation was informed enough to add more restrictions on locations that allow the revised list of acceptable blades. With that in mind, you’re still only allowed a knife 5.5” or less in the following buildings:
- Most government-related structures. Courts, government offices, and anywhere that voting takes place have the restriction, though in my experience you aren’t allowed to carry a knife of any kind through the metal detectors of the court building.
- Anywhere that involves education or school-sponsored field trips. This means the full enclosure of school grounds and the trip to the zoo are off-limits.
- As a slight exception, anything over 5.5” isn’t allowed near high school, college, or professional sporting events unless the event in question needs a restricted “knife,” like fencing.
- Racetracks and amusement parks.
- Airports. Especially since the tightened restrictions after the Patriot Act, you might even want to rethink bringing a 5.5” knife into an airport.
- With very few exceptions, any business that makes 51% of its sales from alcohol. This pretty much applies to bars, unless a restaurant isn’t known for its food.
- To go with the government piece earlier, if there’s an execution taking place you’re not allowed to carry your sword within 1,000 feet of the premises.
- Pretty much any hospital is off-limits, from a normal one to mental institutions.
- Prisons, detention centers, and any place of worship like a church or a synagogue.
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Exceptions to the Rule
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According to BladeCity, there are exceptions to the previous locational restrictions for certain “law enforcement and military personnel.” These occupations can be given either partial or full immunity to the revised knife laws:
- On-duty parole officers. If they’re not on the clock, though, they have the same restrictions as everyone else.
- In a similar vein, juvenile probation officers that have their handgun license.
- Police officers and some private investigators. For the latter to qualify, they have to fall under the exceptions listed in Article 2.122.
- Some government officials that have a license to carry a handgun, like an attorney or an assistant of an attorney. Court bailiffs can also qualify if they’re escorting an official.
- Volunteers of some emergency personnel departments, like a volunteer sheriff, that are licensed to carry a handgun.
- Anyone honorably discharged or retired from many of the above occupations as long as they had a certificate of proficiency and possess an ID.
Basically, most of the exceptions are government- or judicially-related and require a license to carry.
Texas is one of the most laid-back states when it comes to weapon restrictions and Bill 1935 removed “illegal knives” from the legislation. Because of that, the only weapons left illegal are axes, tomahawks, clubs, trench knives, and brass knuckles.
Being one of the only states to allow the possession of switchblades, government officials did put in place an addendum of restricted locations like bars or most government or educational facilities. There are also exceptions for many officials that would work in those places.