Texas Knife Law Danger


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Lone Star
June 1, 2005, 01:16 AM
I have been told that under Texas statute Chapter 46.01 11(b), it is technically unlawful to carry knives that pivot open one-handed, and that police will try to flip them open with force, then arrest someone for carrying what amounts to a knife that can be opened with centrifugal force. This is a separate statute from the usual "legal knife" law, and may leave someone vulnerable to arrest, when he believes he is compliant with that law.

Even a Buck No. 110 with a loose joint could get someone arrested if that technique works for charging offenders!!

The issue is what is legally a "switchblade" or gravity knife, even if one isn't designed to be.

Does anyone know for sure?

Lone Star

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Azrael256
June 1, 2005, 02:12 AM
The law is slightly foggy here. It reads:

(11) "Switchblade knife[0]" means any knife[0] that has a
blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle or sheath, and
that:
(A) opens automatically by pressure applied to a
button or other device located on the handle; or
(B) opens or releases a blade from the handle or
sheath by the force of gravity or by the application of centrifugal force.


So, the defense to that sort of nonsense is twofold. First, the knife was neither designed, nor modified to act as a "switchblade." Any argument otherwise, assuming those two conditions, just isn't going to fly. And second, the wording of "releases a blade from the handle" indicates that force cannot be applied to the blade to open the knife. I can open most of my folding knives by holding the blade and swinging, but that is not the design intent, and the blade isn't really released from the handle in that manner.

To be technical, the law does not prohibit knives that pivot open one handed. A blade with a thumb stud will open with one hand, but since force has to be applied to the blade itself, not to a spring mechanism inside the handle, it is legal.

If the police are really looking hard for a reason to arrest somebody, it *might* fly for an arrest, but I find it highly unlikely that it will stand in court.

That Said(tm), there is a potential for abuse in this rather broad statute.

Lone Star
June 1, 2005, 02:20 AM
Azrael-

That potential for abuse is what is scaring me. Many policemen are not really well informed, and may try the technique described, because they think it will fly in court, or not be challenged by someone with a talented, determined defense attorney who cares about his client.

Many cops are easy-going about knives, provided that the person carrying is clean cut and doesn't seem to be a public threat. Others will try to file any charge they can, especially if they've just had a fight with their wife or they enjoy going going on a power trip.

Lone Star

O.F.Fascist
June 1, 2005, 02:31 AM
heh, I just carry a fixed blade knife.

That being said I think any knife laws are stupid.

patentnonsense
June 1, 2005, 02:55 AM
So, the defense to that sort of nonsense is twofold. First, the knife was neither designed, nor modified to act as a "switchblade."

Sorry, the statute quoted above doesn't say anything about "designed or modified." If you can flip the knife open without touching the blade, you may have a problem.

Brian Williams
June 1, 2005, 03:06 AM
Yeah ,carry a fixed blade but do not have two edges sharpened in Texas....

TheDutchman
June 1, 2005, 08:37 AM
Most laws in Texas are Loosely Defined in favor of Law enforcement mostly in dealing with minorities since most of the laws where made in the 40's, 50's and 60's.

beerslurpy
June 1, 2005, 08:54 AM
I think it is sort of assumed that only undesireables like mexicans would carry switchblades, while honest white folk are expected to carry a sidearm.

Considering that a crappy bryco pistol costs less than most switchblades, I cant see how this law serves even its original racist purpose anymore.

c_yeager
June 1, 2005, 08:54 AM
Its absurd how many knife laws there are in most states of the union. I can legally carry a .44 magnum revolver into just about every place in this state, including the state capital, but carrying a lock-back with a 4.5 inch blade can get me jail time.

Can someone explain to me why knives arent considered "ARMS" under the second ammendment?

dev_null
June 1, 2005, 09:13 AM
So my Kershaw Leek would be illegal in TX but not in a nanny state like MD? That's just daft.

CentralTexas
June 1, 2005, 09:19 AM
I was sitting in a college classroom the other day waiting for the instructor. I was comparing my 4" blade folder to what two other students carried clipped to their pocket to pass the time....
CT

Zrex
June 1, 2005, 03:23 PM
So my Kershaw Leek would be illegal in TX but not in a nanny state like MD? That's just daft.

I carry a Kershaw Blur daily, and will continue.

According to the Kershaw website, their knives don't meet the definition of a switchblade.

GhostRider66
June 1, 2005, 05:53 PM
I have also heard that the vague "bowie knife" reference has been used or interpreted by law enforcement to mean any fixed blade knife. But as mentioned before, the cops generally tend to use this when looking for an excuse as it were. Doesn't make it right though. When I asked my CHL instructor about this, his advice was to make sure and only carry a large, fixed blade when out camping or something of that sort. Funny thing is that doesn't seem to be exempted anywhere in the law. :scrutiny:

46.01. Definitions In this chapter:

(6) "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, stilletto, and poniard;
(D) bowie knife;
(E) sword; or
(F) spear.


(7) "Knife" means any bladed hand instrument that is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by cutting or stabbing a person with the instrument.

dev_null
June 1, 2005, 07:17 PM
That whole "must be smaller than x inches" bugs me as well. :fire:

beerslurpy
June 1, 2005, 08:52 PM
Why are there even laws against these things? It seems stupid in a state where pretty much everyone over the age of 7 has a gun of some sort. Last time I checked, even the Italian army was able to beat the Ethopians in a guns vs spears matchup.

Azrael256
June 1, 2005, 09:02 PM
That whole "must be smaller than x inches" bugs me as well Frankly, the idea that a citizen of Texas should be anything less than required to carry a Bowie knife is morally and ethically repugnant.

Funny thing is that doesn't seem to be exempted anywhere in the law. 46.15. NONAPPLICABILITY. (b) Section 46.02 does not apply to a person who:
...
(4) is engaging in lawful hunting, fishing, or other
sporting activity on the immediate premises where the activity is
conducted, or is en route between the premises and the actor's
residence, if the weapon is a type commonly used in the activity;

Selfdfenz
June 1, 2005, 09:31 PM
(11) "Switchblade knife[0]" means any knife[0] that has a
blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle or sheath, and
that:
(A) opens automatically by pressure applied to a
button or other device located on the handle; or
(B) opens or releases a blade from the handle or
sheath by the force of gravity or by the application of centrifugal force.

Neither of those describe the Leek.
-No buttom or other device located on the handle of mine
-Actually the Speed Safe feature assists opening but it also assists keeping the knife closed as it tensions against the force of gravity or centrifugal force.

S-

dev_null
June 2, 2005, 12:26 AM
> Frankly, the idea that a citizen of Texas should be anything less than required to carry a Bowie knife is morally and ethically repugnant.

I just want to be able to wear my Oyabun. The broadsword can stay in the living room for the time being. <G>


> opens automatically by pressure applied to a button or other device located on the handle;

So your reading of this is that if the "button or other device" is on the backstrap and not the handle per se, it's OK? Seems less than clearcut to me. :confused:

peacefuljeffrey
June 2, 2005, 01:06 AM
Why does the law give a ????? how easily or non-easily a knife opens. Really! What does it matter?! The issue of dangerousness with a knife (apart from the obvious: that of the intent of the user) is the length and sharpness, as far as I can tell.

Once ANY knife is open, it doesn't matter how easily that was accomplished. Is a knife really more dangerous just because it can be flicked open? Ludicrous. That would mean that a fixed blade knife is, like, infinitely dangerous because it is opened in an infinitely short length of time. And so what if they make it illegal to have a Benchmade MiniGriptilian with a thumbhole for opening? If a criminal wants to do so, he can take the stiffest Buck 110 and simply open it in advance of making his attack!

WILL SOMEONE PLEASE STAND UP TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT ESTABLISHMENT AND POINT OUT HOW STUPID THEY ARE BEING BY FOCUSING ATTENTION ON THE MEANS BY WHICH A KNIFE IS OPENED?! IT'S A NON-ISSUE!

-Jeffrey

peacefuljeffrey
June 2, 2005, 01:13 AM
Sorry, the statute quoted above doesn't say anything about "designed or modified." If you can flip the knife open without touching the blade, you may have a problem.


With the law worded the way it is, about "centrifugal force" being applied to effect the opening of the knife, you could even make a case that a Buck 110 is illegal: after all, grasping the nail nick with the fingernail and pulling it open IS APPLYING CENTRIFUGAL FORCE TO THE BLADE. :banghead:

This is what happens when idiots write laws.

-Jeffrey

dev_null
June 2, 2005, 01:21 AM
> WILL SOMEONE PLEASE STAND UP TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT ESTABLISHMENT

Presumably you mean the law MAKING establishment, not the law enforcement establishment. You know, the clowns that think they're getting paid by the number of new laws they create.

Selfdfenz
June 2, 2005, 08:21 AM
Automatic and/or assisted one hand opening knives are a logical technological step in the development of the tool.

When I was a kid and fished 3 or 7 days a week I longed for a switch blade. Not even a multi-tool clipped on you vest is more useful than something hanging on you pocket that opens at a thought. I was always putting on a new hook.

Just like with guns and ammo I wonder for the gigaoodles of times a knife is used constructively what is the % of negative applications. Probably a tiny #.

But thank Heaven people so much smarter than us are minding the deatils. :rolleyes:

S-

Azrael256
June 2, 2005, 08:38 AM
wonder for the gigaoodles of times a knife is used constructively what is the % of negative applications. Probably a tiny # This story may be entirely apocryphal, but it is my understanding that the anti-switchblade laws stem entirely from the perception of their use. It was something like outlaw biker types, a la Marlon Brando, used them in movies, so people became convinced that they should be banned. Obviously this became page 1 of the gun grabber handbook.

dev_null
June 2, 2005, 10:19 AM
If it had been nowadays, they'd outlaw DA's and pegged pants, too. :D

pcf
June 2, 2005, 11:29 AM
Has anyone had a problem or heard of a problem where a regular pocket knife has been described as a switchblade by law enforcement?

Balisong/butterfly knives are generally referred to as gravity or centrifical knives.

TheDutchman
June 3, 2005, 07:37 AM
Yeah my Buddy had a Kershaw when pulled over and was threw in Jail by a DPS Trooper for a illegal switchblade.

CentralTexas
June 3, 2005, 08:18 AM
"Yeah my Buddy had a Kershaw when pulled over and was threw in Jail by a DPS Trooper for a illegal switchblade"

Lone Star
June 3, 2005, 09:44 AM
The switchblade issue became a cause celebre in the 1950's, when New York street punks, mainly non-white, became a serious threat on the streets of that "sainted" city. As ever, politicians and the media rushed to blame objects rather than low class social types with homicidal attitudes.

As I recall, it was Demo senator Estes Kefauver who introduced the Federal switchblade law, which became effective about 1957. I was very young, but recall seeing this in the news then, and have seen some material about it since in the knife magazines.

Following the Federal act, many states and localities also passed switchblade bans. They weren't thinking of the one-armed farmer who might use one to open a sack of animal feed, but of the racial stereotype of "typical" switchblade users. Decent white people didn't usually carry them, so they must be evil.

Other knife laws used similar "reason", I'm sure. And knife owners have never banded together as a sort of NRA. There has been an American Knife and Tool Manufacturers Institute organization that has done some good in the past few years, but it has nowhere near the membership or clout of the NRA. Knife owners need to become much more politically active, or the situation is going to get much worse, as it has in Britain. 9-11 caused a furor in where knives can be carried, and it has done the cutlery industry and the concept of individual freedom serious damage. Bin Laden won that round. He impacted our society in a way that cost us much of our freedom of movement in airports and other public places, and made anyone with a pocketknife a potential thug or terrorist in the public eye. It's time to strike back. Let your politicians know, and if the local zoo or museum bans knives, tell them that you will find something else to do with your time and money. (Don't mention switchblades, but say that you won't go where your ordinary pocketknife isn't accepted.)

Lone Star

Art Eatman
June 3, 2005, 05:13 PM
TheDutchman: "Most laws in Texas are Loosely Defined in favor of Law enforcement mostly in dealing with minorities since most of the laws where made in the 40's, 50's and 60's."

is not correct. The entire Criminal Code was rewritten in the late 1970s. (Given the way I lose track of decades, it might have been the early 1980s. :) )

GhostRider66, I'm a bit dubious about your Bowie knife rumor, since it's pretty well accepted that such a blade would be at least 10" to 12".

Lone Star, I think it's still written in the law (once was, anyway) that a one-armed person is not prohibited from carrying a switchblade.

Art

hps1
June 3, 2005, 05:42 PM
What with "over 5 1/2" blade" and "swords" being illegal, where does this leave a machete?

I carry a machete in the tool box of my pickup 90% of the time. It is used for everything from cutting brush to opening up game. Since it is usually locked in a tool box, it is highly unlikely that it would ever be a problem, but anyone ever heard of an issue w/a machete?

By the way, the exclusion for hunters on or between hunting property and home leaves you in jeopardy if you happen to use a circuitous route when apprehended. The same clause appeared in the handgun statutes but if you "did not take the most direct route", this was not a defense.

Regards,
hps

mec
June 3, 2005, 09:49 PM
The language in texas laws has changed over the years. In the past they used the words " designed, made or modified for purposes of offense or defense." as one part of the definition of Illegal Knife. There is kind of a common law thingy that if a blade is double edged it is a n illegal COMBAT! KNIFE!.

At one time buck 110s were illegal because they were lock blade. The lock blade prohibition disappeared out of the penal code in 1979. Switchblades are defined as having a button on the handle to actuate the assisted opening. the new designs that spring open after a nudge on the blade are apparently legal.

Partyguy816
June 3, 2005, 10:07 PM
They have a knife made by Boker that has a button on the side of the handle. I don't see where it says it's a switchblade. Does anyone know if this is illegal? I'd assume it is.

TheDutchman
June 14, 2005, 11:49 AM
He was pulled over for out of date tags at 12:00am on %th and Rio Grande area. Then the Trooper racked the charges up on him for DWI, which the DA Dismissed. However his stupid Lawyer made him plead no contest to the knife charge. :banghead:

Spreadfire Arms
June 14, 2005, 01:17 PM
http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/PE/content/htm/pe.010.00.000046.00.htm

states the TX law was ratified in 1973.

46.01. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
(1) "Club" means an instrument that is specially
designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious
bodily injury or death by striking a person with the instrument, and
includes but is not limited to the following:
(A) blackjack;
(B) nightstick;
(C) mace;
(D) tomahawk.
(2) "Explosive weapon" means any explosive or
incendiary bomb, grenade, rocket, or mine, that is designed, made,
or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury,
death, or substantial property damage, or for the principal purpose
of causing such a loud report as to cause undue public alarm or
terror, and includes a device designed, made, or adapted for
delivery or shooting an explosive weapon.
(3) "Firearm" means any device designed, made, or
adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy
generated by an explosion or burning substance or any device
readily convertible to that use. Firearm does not include a firearm
that may have, as an integral part, a folding knife blade or other
characteristics of weapons made illegal by this chapter and that
is:
(A) an antique or curio firearm manufactured
before 1899; or
(B) a replica of an antique or curio firearm
manufactured before 1899, but only if the replica does not use rim
fire or center fire ammunition.
(4) "Firearm silencer" means any device designed,
made, or adapted to muffle the report of a firearm.
(5) "Handgun" means any firearm that is designed,
made, or adapted to be fired with one hand.
(6) "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,
stilletto, and poniard;
(D) bowie knife;
(E) sword; or
(F) spear.
(7) "Knife" means any bladed hand instrument that is
capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by cutting or
stabbing a person with the instrument.
(8) "Knuckles" means any instrument that consists of
finger rings or guards made of a hard substance and that is
designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious
bodily injury or death by striking a person with a fist enclosed in
the knuckles.
(9) "Machine gun" means any firearm that is capable of
shooting more than two shots automatically, without manual
reloading, by a single function of the trigger.
(10) "Short-barrel firearm" means a rifle with a
barrel length of less than 16 inches or a shotgun with a barrel
length of less than 18 inches, or any weapon made from a shotgun or
rifle if, as altered, it has an overall length of less than 26
inches.
(11) "Switchblade knife" means any knife that has a
blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle or sheath, and
that:
(A) opens automatically by pressure applied to a
button or other device located on the handle; or
(B) opens or releases a blade from the handle or
sheath by the force of gravity or by the application of centrifugal
force.
(12) "Armor-piercing ammunition" means handgun
ammunition that is designed primarily for the purpose of
penetrating metal or body armor and to be used principally in
pistols and revolvers.
(13) "Hoax bomb" means a device that:
(A) reasonably appears to be an explosive or
incendiary device; or
(B) by its design causes alarm or reaction of any
type by an official of a public safety agency or a volunteer agency
organized to deal with emergencies.
(14) "Chemical dispensing device" means a device,
other than a small chemical dispenser sold commercially for
personal protection, that is designed, made, or adapted for the
purpose of dispensing a substance capable of causing an adverse
psychological or physiological effect on a human being.
(15) "Racetrack" has the meaning assigned that term by
the Texas Racing Act (Article 179e, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes).
(16) "Zip gun" means a device or combination of
devices that was not originally a firearm and is adapted to expel a
projectile through a smooth-bore or rifled-bore barrel by using the
energy generated by an explosion or burning substance.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.
Amended by Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 917, ch. 342, 13, eff.
Sept. 1, 1975; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 2650, ch. 457, 1, eff.
Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 4830, ch. 852, 1, eff.
Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 167, 5.01(a)(46),
eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 749, 1, eff.
Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 229, 1, eff. Sept. 1,
1991; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994;
Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1445, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

cpileri
June 14, 2005, 03:06 PM
So then, is this knife legal in TX?
The kershaw Ken Onion 1660 CKT:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2268704831&category=63796
(also attached)

It is Index Opening, which the company describes as:
"Is a Speed-Safe knife a switchblade?

There are many unique features of Speed-Safe knives that make them quite different than knives that are considered switchblades.

Unlike a switchblade, Speed-Safe blades NO NOT deploy with the push of a button in the handle or by gravity alone.

Instead, the user must manually overcome the torsion bar''s resistance- using the thumb stud or Index-Open protrusion on the blade itself-in order to engage the Speed-Safe system.

Because the user must manually overcome the torsion bar''s resistance, Speed-Safe knives fall fully outside the Federal definition of a switchblade.

However, due to the complexity and constantly changing nature of these laws and regulations, it is impossible for Kershaw Knives to be aware of every restriction on every location in which our knives are sold or carried. It is the responsibility of the buyer to investigate and comply with the laws and regulations that apply to their specific area. At Kershaw, we are proud to be able to offer this convenient, secure technology. "

So it opens with one hand, using the little "button"- really the protrusion as noted above, and could confuse an officer I suppose. So is it legal or not?

And more importantly, now that this issue has come to the forefront: has any progress been made to rectifying it legislatively?

C-

ncleo
June 15, 2005, 02:27 AM
The only sure way to be legall in all 50 state sis to just carry a brokken tree branch or a piece of brick in your car. The laws are all scrwd up from state to state. It makes one long for anarchy.

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