Could it be? (Texas to allow switchblades)


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Wolfebyte
May 23, 2013, 02:03 PM
Looks that Texas may finally start catching up with the civilized world..

HB 1862 is off to the Gov to sign, removes the switchblade from the list of prohibited weapons. :D

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/BillStages.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB1862

Now, 2015, let's get the bowie knife decriminalized..

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Deltaboy
May 23, 2013, 08:56 PM
Amen.

hso
May 23, 2013, 10:36 PM
Yep, our friends at KnifeRights were pretty busy this year.
May 22, 2013: Knife Rights lobbying, along with your calls and emails, pays off again as the Texas Switchblade Ban Repeal bill, HB1862, passed the Senate 31-0 in the waning hours of the legislative session. The bill now moves on to Governor Rick Perry for his signature.

Unfortunately, HB1299, which would have enacted Knife Law Preemption, was killed earlier in the session because of political infighting. As a result, care must still be taken in carrying knives in some cities and towns, such as San Antonio. However, Knife Rights intends to pursue Knife Law Preemption again, along with further repeal of Texas knife restrictions, the next session, which for better or worse, is not until 2015.

Knife Rights would like to thank Representative Harold Dutton and Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa for sponsoring this bill. We would also like to thank Knife Rights volunteer W. Scott Lewis for his tenacious assistance on the ground in Austin.

JohnKSa
May 24, 2013, 12:55 AM
TX knife laws are a mess. If you want to know how screwed up they are, here's an example. I have an unmodified Opinel knife that qualifies as a switchblade under the existing law.

This change will help the legal situation a lot.

Unfortunately, it's going to cost me money because a whole new world just opened up... :D

metalart
May 24, 2013, 04:07 AM
Still irked that I can't carry my locking pocket knife when I visit my FIL in San Antonio....

Yo Mama
May 24, 2013, 10:14 AM
Kniferights was an important organization for pushing this through. If you can please join them. They are the NRA for knife advocacy.

Next is moving on to a few other states.

hso
May 25, 2013, 08:42 AM
KR had several efforts in other states this year.

We got preemption through in TN, but couldn't get auto or blade length restrictions removed while TX got switchblade restrictions removed, but couldn't get preemption or length through. The whole package went through in KS.

whetrock
May 30, 2013, 11:26 PM
I don't even get real enthusiastic, about automatics, but am eager to see the outcome, hopefully OK will follow. I'd be more enthusiastic, if I could legally carry, and use mine in OK, but as it stands I'll just have to suffice without them.

Barry the Bear
May 31, 2013, 02:52 PM
Im still wondering when bowie knives will be removed . How can they be outlawed if it was the weapon of one texas` great defenders

whetrock
May 31, 2013, 05:42 PM
What exactly constitutes a "Bowie knife" in legal jargon ? Seems like an awfully, subjective term. To me anyhow.

JohnKSa
May 31, 2013, 10:02 PM
It is subjective and it's a problem.

There is no official/formal definition of a Bowie knife anywhere that I can find--certainly not in TX law. In addition, virtually any particular feature of Bowie knives one wants to choose to discuss (other than the agreement that it's a large fixed blade knife) is subject to debate.

TX law also specifically outlaws throwing knives and knives with blades over 5.5" long. One would think those two categories, taken together, should have covered Bowie knives, so the only logical assumption was that there was some other "Bowie-like" feature of fixed blade knives the legislators were trying to criminalize. Since they they neglected to provide any amplifying information, about the only way to be perfectly safe is to avoid carrying any kind of fixed blade knife.

mdauben
June 1, 2013, 09:16 PM
What exactly constitutes a "Bowie knife" in legal jargon ? Seems like an awfully, subjective term. To me anyhow.

This is actually not uncommon in many southern states. Supposedly it was due to the common use of bowie knives for duelling (or at least there was a common perception that this was a problem)

AL has similar wording in its laws on concealed weapons against "bowie knives" with no definition of what that is. There is a AL case law quoted on one of the knife law sites that says a large kitchen knife was classed as a "bowie knife" by the courts. Given that I would worry that any fixed blade could be classed as one by an LEO or the courts. :(

Sent from my KFJWI using Tapatalk HD

whetrock
June 1, 2013, 10:06 PM
21-1272 in OK states similar terminology, prohibiting the carry of "Bowie knives" among other stuff. OK needs to own up, and repeal these, dated, archaic, laws. They're of another Era. I mean, being in the cutlery business I encounter many customers sporting modern folders, including "assisted openers", which for most practical purposes, are automatic AFAIC, but still kinda, legal nonetheless (you won't get arrested in this neck of the woods, they're pretty common). If the average citizen can be trusted with such knives, why can't they be trusted with a bona-fide "Switchblade". Such logic is beyond me. It fires me up to see Texas making progress.

rcmodel
June 1, 2013, 10:23 PM
Kansas did it!

http://www.kniferights.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=215&Itemid=1

Local restaurant owners are already wringing their hands and predicting they will go out of business after having to hire new employees to mop up the blood on the floor every night.

I tried to reason with one by stating the 5" serrated steak knife in every napkin roll was just as deadly, if not more so, then a 4" switch-blade if someone wanted to get frisky with it.

But it fell on deaf ears.

rc

JohnKSa
June 1, 2013, 10:48 PM
It's one thing for a society to decide to outlaw certain items. It's another thing to implement that decision in such a way as to make it impossible to determine how to comply.

Here are the TX knife laws with my comments inserted in red. They are hopelessly outdated, confusing, overly general and poorly constructed. They need to be completely reworked.

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, stiletto, and poniard; (Absolutely NO definition of what any of these are. This section is generally interpreted as banning double-edged knives. If that's what it means, then it needs to say that. If no one remembers why this section is here it needs to be deleted.)
(D) bowie knife; (Throwing knives, and knives with blades over 5.5" are already banned above--what is this section supposed to do? No one ever talks about it, but it could conceivably ban any fixed blade knife given the debate about what, exactly, constitutes a bowie knife. This section needs to go--it's just plain idiotic to have a prohibition that can't be defined.)
(E) sword; (Why is there a need to call out swords separately when knives with blades over 5.5" are already illegal and the definition of knife below clearly includes swords? Delete this--swords are already illegal under 6A combined with 7.) or
(F) spear. (No definition. If you lash a mini SWAK to a toothpick with a length of dental floss, you have undoubtedly created a spear--admittedly a very small and non-threatening spear--but still illegal. If this is to stay, there needs to be a definition provided.)
(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. (This definition is hopelessly general. An icepic, a screwdriver, a #2 pencil or any other "pointy object" with any length to it is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by stabbing. A #2 pencil is NOT a knife and neither is an icepic or a screwdriver.)
...
(11) "Switchblade knife" means any knife that has a blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle or sheath and that opens automatically by pressure applied to a button or other device located on the handle or opens or releases a blade from the handle or sheath by the force of gravity or by the application of centrifugal force. The term does not include a knife that has a spring, detent, or other mechanism designed to create a bias toward closure and that requires exertion applied to the blade by hand, wrist, or arm to overcome the bias toward closure and open the knife. (A loose Opinel can be swung open and has no bias toward closure. Therefore it is currently a switchblade in TX. Stupid, stupid, stupid. This prohibition needs to be totally deleted--apparently the legislature finally agrees.)
...

Sec. 46.05. PROHIBITED WEAPONS.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs, or sells:
...
(5) a switchblade knife; (There is no exemption I can see for possessing a switchblade in one's own home. Fortunately the prohibition seems to be going away.)
...

(d) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the actor's conduct:
(1) was incidental to dealing with a switchblade knife, springblade knife (There is no definition of what a springblade knife is. This is the only one of two mentions of it in TX law. The term needs to be defined or deleted--preferably deleted.) , short-barrel firearm, or tire deflation device solely as an antique or curio;

...

Sec. 371.179. DISPLAYS OF CERTAIN WEAPONS PROHIBITED. A pawnbroker may not display for sale in a storefront window or sidewalk display case or depict on a sign or advertisement in such a way that the item, sign, or advertisement may be viewed from a street:
...
(2) a dirk; (Define or delete!)
(3) a dagger; (Define or delete!)
...
(6) a sword cane;
(7) knuckles made of metal or any other hard substance; or
(8) a switchblade, springblade, or throwblade knife. (This is the only mention of "throwblade knife" in the TX statutes and therefore there is no definition of it. Define it or delete it!)

rcmodel
June 1, 2013, 10:55 PM
What's really hard to believe is, all the Federal level switchblade law BS started with movies like Blackboard Jungle, Rebel Without a Cause, and the West Side Story dance number!!

There was never any basis in fact that switchblades were any more likely to be used in crime then any other knife.
Like a kitchen junk drawer butcher knife for instance.

It reminds me greatly of present day 'evil black rifle' bans.


rc

SleazyRider
June 2, 2013, 06:43 AM
I hear ya, RC, it's always been a source of puzzlement for me as well. The paranoia has even found its way into our local school system, where last year a student was suspended for carrying a "switchblade" comb. Yes, that's right, a comb! Seems that the madness knows no bounds.

I EDC an inexpensive Schrade Smedy, a side opening push-button automatic that's well under 25 bucks. What a sweetheart of a knife! I'm spoiled by its simple, one-handed lightening deployment, and use it a dozen times or more during the day to open boxes, cut rope, or shave down a wooden shim. As a defensive weapon it one of the last things I'd reach for---it's a tool!

hso
June 2, 2013, 09:54 PM
If anyone whines about the switchblade law point out that the cheapest American made modern switchblades start at $60 and go up from there steeply and that imports aren't allowed. Criminals don't use expensive knives to commit crimes and any EMT will tell them that kitchen knives and box cutters and steak knives are what they overwhelmingly see used.

Sam Cade
June 2, 2013, 10:08 PM
<snip> and any EMT will tell them that kitchen knives and box cutters and steak knives are what they overwhelmingly see used.

In my very limited experience*, it is 7" Old Hicks and those stainless RADA paring knives.








*Disgruntled lovers+methamphetamine+18" novelty baseball bat+2 cases of haemophilia+SAK=2 near fatalities and the biggest mess I have ever seen.

greyling22
June 3, 2013, 10:59 PM
hso, imports may not be allowed, but they're certainly here. Since apparently there are knife laws I knew nothing about, I certainly have not purchased a ganzo 707 off ebay as a "folding camping knife" for about 15 bucks. Because that knife, while being heavy as a brick, would certainly have been a medium-low quality automatic from china freely sold to any american anywhere.

JohnKSa
June 3, 2013, 11:06 PM
I just read the final text of the bill.

It does not delete the definition of switchblade from the law but it does remove all the prohibitions concerning them with one exception.

The reference to springblade, switchblade and throwblade knives was not removed from the section of law restricting pawnbroker display.

Texan Scott
June 4, 2013, 12:24 AM
"Switchblade knife" means any knife that has a blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle or sheath and that opens automatically by pressure applied to a button or other device located on the handle or opens or releases a blade from the handle or sheath by the force of gravity or by the application of centrifugal force.

Does eliminating this provision then also legalize balisongs/ butterfly knives?

JohnKSa
June 4, 2013, 12:52 AM
The portion of the law you quoted in your post (the legal definition of a switchblade per TX law) is still intact. What has been eliminated is a subsequent portion of law that says possessing, manufacturing, transporting, repairing, or selling the item described in the definition is a crime.

It's worth making the distinction that switchblades were never (and still aren't) "illegal knives", they were "prohibited weapons" under the old law. The new law defines them but does not restrict them beyond the display restrictions for pawnbrokers.

I can't find anything in the remaining law that would make butterfly knives illegal.

The change will not take effect until 1 September.

Below is the new law, as nearly as I can provide it. Basically any reference to switchblade knives was removed from 46.05.

I should point out that I have not included all the sections which spell out the circumstances under which carrying an illegal knife is an offense and what the specific penalty is. I figured that the issue is primarily which knives are considered prohibited weapons/illegal knives.


Sec. 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, stiletto, 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.
...
(11) "Switchblade knife" means any knife that has a blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle or sheath and that opens automatically by pressure applied to a button or other device located on the handle or opens or releases a blade from the handle or sheath by the force of gravity or by the application of centrifugal force. The term does not include a knife that has a spring, detent, or other mechanism designed to create a bias toward closure and that requires exertion applied to the blade by hand, wrist, or arm to overcome the bias toward closure and open the knife.

...

Sec. 46.15. NONAPPLICABILITY.
...
(e) The provisions of Section 46.02 prohibiting the carrying of an illegal knife do not apply to an individual carrying a bowie knife or a sword used in a historical demonstration or in a ceremony in which the knife or sword is significant to the performance of the ceremony.

...

Sec. 371.179. DISPLAYS OF CERTAIN WEAPONS PROHIBITED. A pawnbroker may not display for sale in a storefront window or sidewalk display case or depict on a sign or advertisement in such a way that the item, sign, or advertisement may be viewed from a street:
...
(2) a dirk; (Define or delete!)
(3) a dagger; (Define or delete!)
...
(6) a sword cane;
(7) knuckles made of metal or any other hard substance; or
(8) a switchblade, springblade, or throwblade knife.

Texan Scott
June 4, 2013, 01:14 AM
If/when this becomes law, would it make sense to ask Attorney General Abbott to clarify/ render an opinion on a few of these unclear points (e.g. are balisongs legal? What is a dagger? )?

hso
June 4, 2013, 01:25 AM
ftp://ftp.legis.state.tx.us/bills/83R/billtext/html/house_bills/HB01800_HB01899/HB01862H.htm

JohnKSa
June 4, 2013, 01:26 AM
It never hurts to get official rulings.

I think that if someone can make a good case for it and finds a willing representative, it would not be terribly difficult to get a lot of the TX knife laws reworked during the next legislative session to be more common sense.

Getting additional items off the prohibited/illegal list might be tricky, but I think it would be possible to get some proper definitions inserted in place of the undefined and ambiguous terms that now pepper the law.

hso
June 4, 2013, 01:31 AM
You'd be surprised.

The preemption attempt was blocked by one committee chairman so preemption stalled and was stripped from the attempt and switchblade repeal went through.

Just because laws are outdated and nonsensical to us doesn't mean they're easy to get rid of when there's a body of myth around knives.

JohnKSa
June 4, 2013, 01:45 AM
Well, I never cease to be amazed at what legislators will and won't go for, so you could be right.The preemption attempt was blocked by one committee chairman so preemption stalled...I can guess the committee chairman's district--or at least who he's friends with. This one was bound to get some opposition from specific districts that were going to be affected by the preemption law. It doesn't really surprise me that someone found a way to block it.

Things that I could see as possible would be changing the prohibition against dirks/daggers to a prohibition against double/multi-edged knives.

Another prime example is the prohibition against swords which doesn't actually prohibit anything at all since there are no swords with blades shorter than 5.5".

ugaarguy
June 4, 2013, 01:55 AM
Well, I never cease to be amazed at what legislators will and won't go for, so you could be right.
The info hso has provided came straight from the KR lobbyist. I was in on the same conversation at Blade. If you aren't a KR member already, PLEASE join them and support the cause. I was barely aware of the organization until a year ago, and now I've gone from joining to working as a volunteer at their booth at Blade over the weekend. KR is getting results.

hso
June 4, 2013, 11:45 AM
The old joke about how politics and sausage are made is pretty accurate. There are rules to the game, but they recognize that politics doesn't have to make sense and that many politicians can't be trusted.

lloveless
June 14, 2013, 11:44 AM
What does the preemption thing mean?
ll

Torian
June 14, 2013, 12:06 PM
I've lived in TX for awhile and carried a spring loaded / button activated Gerber for quite some time. I've never been entirely clear as to the legality of it either (use it as a duty knife, but also carry it in plain clothes). Even the MPs on our installation are unclear on this issue.

http://www.brownells.com/shooting-accessories/knives-amp-personal-defense/knives/gerber-applegate-fairbairn-covert-serrated-automatic-knife-prod45486.aspx

On a side note: it's a great knife with quality steel (S30V)

rondog
June 14, 2013, 01:48 PM
Wow! What kind of draconian laws/restrictions do they have on bayonets? A 10 to 16 inch double-edged manstabber mounted on the end of a rifle? Ermergawd!

ugaarguy
June 14, 2013, 02:09 PM
What does the preemption thing mean?
It means that state law preempts local law, so local municipalities cannot have laws more restrictive than those of the state.

hso
June 14, 2013, 06:20 PM
Torian,

Until KR got this bill through you were committing crime if you carried that Gerber Covert Auto in public.

Torian
June 14, 2013, 06:25 PM
Torian,

Until KR got this bill through you were committing crime if you carried that Gerber Covert Auto in public.
I should have mentioned that I'm a member of the armed forces (active duty). I'm tracking that there were exemptions in place for us, along with LEOs, for carrying this knife.

Of course, it does become problematic when I'm carrying it off duty in civvies. Either way, I'm glad for the fidelity now on the issue.

JohnKSa
June 14, 2013, 08:56 PM
...you were committing crime if you carried that Gerber Covert Auto in public.It's worse than that. Unless you owned/posessed the knife in question "solely as an antique or curio", or "incidental to the performance of official duty by the armed forces or national guard, a governmental law enforcement agency, or a correctional facility", it was illegal. Not just when it was carried in public although carrying it in public would likely make it impossible to try to claim that the knife was owned solely as an antique or curio.

Switchblades were/are NOT "Unlawful Carrying Weapons"--i.e. weapons which are legal to own but subject to carry restrictions in public.

Switchblades were/are "Prohibited Weapons". As such, it was/is illegal to "intentionally or knowingly possess, manufacture, transport, repair, or sell" a switchblade knife.

Why all the "were/are", "is/was" verbiage? The new law doesn't go into effect until 1 September. Don't jump the gun.

hso
June 14, 2013, 11:41 PM
I'm tracking that there were exemptions in place for us,

Not off base there isn't. That mistaken impression of special privilege only extends to while in uniform and only while on official business. Since there can't be much official business for military off base except in very limited extraordinary circumstances you could be charged just like anyone else. Moreover, you could also be charged with carrying a dagger with the Applegate Covert Auto in your pocket. A "two-fer".

Torian
June 15, 2013, 10:54 AM
Not off base there isn't. That mistaken impression of special privilege only extends to while in uniform and only while on official business. Since there can't be much official business for military off base except in very limited extraordinary circumstances you could be charged just like anyone else. Moreover, you could also be charged with carrying a dagger with the Applegate Covert Auto in your pocket. A "two-fer".
Yikes. You are right about that "mistaken impression" thingy. I had no idea that it was restricted to on post activities.

In regards to the dagger charge: the Covert Auto looks like it has a double-edge in the photo, but it doesn't (just decorative...dull edge). Would the dagger charge still hold?

hso
June 15, 2013, 11:27 AM
Yep

They don't care if it is sharpened or not. Only if it has the profile of a dagger making it a "stabby thing". Considering the fact that crimes are almost exclusively committed with a kitchen or steak knife or box cutter that can be thrown down most knife laws are grossly antiquated. That's why KR is fighting these silly and outdated laws to keep guys like you from getting tossed in jail for carrying a knife they can by in many places and that a criminal won't spend the money on.

JohnKSa
June 15, 2013, 09:40 PM
There's no official definition of dagger in the TX law. So there's no way to know for sure that any particular knife is or isn't a dagger.

I've not heard of it being based specifically on blade profile, but that doesn't mean anything. You're almost certainly in trouble with a double-edged knife, but there's nothing saying you're in the clear if it's not double-edged.

rondog
June 15, 2013, 11:56 PM
Seriously - are bayonets legal to own in TX? I have no clue, but from what you guys are saying about the laws, I'm curious.

I mean, they're long, double-edged, stabby things, and only good for wall hanging or killing men. Not really useful for anything else, except maybe probing for landmines

JohnKSa
June 16, 2013, 02:03 AM
It's legal to own bayonets, but you can't carry them off your own property unless they aren't daggers/dirks/bowie knives/swords/spears and don't have blades over 5.5". Knives that fit one or more of those mostly undefined categories are "unlawful carrying weapons".

Switchblades (for another few months) fall under the category of "Prohibited Weapons". That category includes machine guns and explosive weapons and has an entirely different set of restrictions. In general, ownership of items in that category is not legal.

Torian
June 16, 2013, 03:54 PM
I appreciate the well-researched responses to the question about TX switchblades (HSO, JohnKSa). I can now see why there are groups fighting so hard to remove these absurd laws from the books.

Since I have moved to AZ since in the last week, I will no longer directly benefit from the changes in the law, but I'm glad my fellow Texans will.

Wolfebyte
June 16, 2013, 07:59 PM
There is case law on the definitions in Texas.. as usual, in different places..

“Illegal Knife” means a:
(A) knife with a blade over five and one half inches;
Rainer v. State, 763 S.W.2d 615 (Tex. App.-Eastland 1989, pet. ref’d) To determine
length, measure entire length of blade past handle, not just the sharpened portion of the
blade. Same result in McMurrough v. State, 995 S.W.2d 944 (Tex. App.-Ft. Worth 1999).
(B) hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown;
Albert v. State, 659 S.W.2d 41 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1983, pet. ref’d) Martial
arts throwing star qualifies as “a hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being
thrown”.
(C) dagger including but not limited to a dirk, stiletto, and poniard;
Armendariz v. State, 396 S.W.2d 132 (Tex. Crim. App. 1965) A knife slightly over seven
inches in length when open, equipped with a double guard, blade that locks open and is
sharpened on both sides of blade for over an inch meets the definition of a dagger.
(D) bowie knife;
Mireles v. State, 192 S.W. 241 (Tex. Crim. App. 1917) A knife in a scabbard with a blade
nine inches long and a handle four or five inches long described as a butcher knife was
embraced in the term “bowie knife” as defined by the Penal Code.
_________________

JohnKSa
June 16, 2013, 08:39 PM
Very interesting--thanks for posting.

Unfortunately while the case law provides some useful information it doesn't really provide definitions.

The dagger/dirk/stiletto/poniard definition, for example tells us one type of knife that qualifies as illegal, but doesn't tell us whether or not a knife that fails to meet one or more of those qualifications might still be an illegal knife. So, while we know that a knife that is:
Over seven inches in length when open
equipped with a double guard
blade that locks open
sharpened on both sides of blade for over an inch

...is an illegal knife, we still don't know if a knife that is:

Exactly seven inches in length when open
equipped with a single guard
blade that locks open
sharpened on one side of blade for over an inch but only for 0.75" on the other side

...is an illegal knife.

In other words, the case law provides examples of illegal knives and that lets us know for sure (in at least some cases) that a given knife is illegal. But those examples still don't provide enough information to let us know for sure if a knife is legal if it doesn't fully meet the qualifications that resulted in one particular instance of prosecution.(D) bowie knife;
Mireles v. State, 192 S.W. 241 (Tex. Crim. App. 1917) A knife in a scabbard with a blade
nine inches long and a handle four or five inches long described as a butcher knife was
embraced in the term “bowie knife” as defined by the Penal Code.Which is ridiculous... A knife with a blade 9 inches long is already illegal under the blade length limitation in the law. I have no idea what the point of the bowie knife restriction in TX is.

Wolfebyte
June 16, 2013, 09:04 PM
I've got the LexisNexis print outs of the original case and the re-hearing. Along with the Hernandez v State in June 1893.

It leads a very bumpy path from an assault with a "bowie" knife, that was later determined to be a 'butcher' knife.

Then to the 1917 case of Mireles v The State the "Carrying Bowie Knife - Definition refers to Article 1027, Penal Code, "a bowie knife is defined to be a knife intended to be worn upon the person which is capable of inflicting death, and not commonly known as a pocketknife and where the knife carried by the defendant in a scabbard and the blade was about nine inches in length and a handle four or five inches long, such character of knife is embraced in the statutory definition of a bowie knife. Following Hernandez v State, 32 Tex. Crim. 271"

I've got the 3 cases on .pdf files.. Got our city atty to look print them for me as I couldn't find a good source online. Google had some the the Southwestern Reporter, but they were poor copies. I've attached them here.

hso
June 16, 2013, 11:12 PM
Wolfebyte,

I don't grasp the point you're trying to communicate.

Wolfebyte
June 17, 2013, 06:54 AM
Morning hso,

Sorry about that, the above court cases set for the definition of "bowie" knife in the Texas courts. The case law for a bowie knife refers back to Mireles v State, when actually the first case was Hernandez v State in 1893. These were just the original case law and how they shaped our weird knife laws in Texas.

hso
June 17, 2013, 08:02 AM
Thanks for the explanation.

The history of prohibition of carrying "Bowie" and "Arkansas Toothpick" is interesting and dates back to the period of mad popularity of so-called Bowie knives and "dueling". From Texas to Tennessee laws were enacted to stop the honor fights by the attempt to stop the carrying of these weapons. Like so many outdated laws, these are still on the books in many places.

FuzzyBunny
June 30, 2013, 12:07 PM
While working as a chef I was taking my knifes to the sharpening guy and got pulled over. Cop freaked out and finally the head cop on duty pulled up and got the other cops and my story and let me go as they were "Tools".

He went on to say that even in I had a dozen machetes in the cab of his truck he could claim them as tools if he was going to or from a place to use them as tools.

Another odd note on Tx law. It is either legal or a defense to prosecution to have a switchblade if you only had one arm.... sorry do not have a cite for that but did read it 20 years ago.

ps.40 years ago I had a officer tell me a blade over 3.5" long was illegal. I said I think my boy scout knife is over that length. He said thats ok because your a boy scout. Some things the police tell you are just strange as heck!

RetiredUSNChief
June 30, 2013, 12:45 PM
If anyone whines about the switchblade law point out that the cheapest American made modern switchblades start at $60 and go up from there steeply and that imports aren't allowed. Criminals don't use expensive knives to commit crimes and any EMT will tell them that kitchen knives and box cutters and steak knives are what they overwhelmingly see used.

Careful...next thing you know you'll be advocating UK-style knife laws!

;)

JohnKSa
June 30, 2013, 10:39 PM
It is either legal or a defense to prosecution to have a switchblade if you only had one arm.... sorry do not have a cite for that but did read it 20 years ago.Hadn't heard that one--but at any rate, that exemption must have been taken out a long time ago. Until September 1st, don't get caught with one even if your upper limb count is nonstandard.While working as a chef I was taking my knifes to the sharpening guy and got pulled over. Cop freaked out...It's good that common sense prevailed, but you could have been (and still could be if it happened today) cited for violating the law if you have knives with blades over 5.5" in your posession in public. Put them in the trunk or lock them in a container so they're not readily accessible to you....I had a officer tell me a blade over 3.5" long was illegal.I have found that LEOs are, generally speaking, only slightly better sources for information regarding the law than the random man on the street. They do tend to have better knowledge than the average joe, but it's virtually moot since you still have to check everything they tell you if you want to know the truth.

SleazyRider
July 1, 2013, 04:06 AM
If anyone whines about the switchblade law point out that the cheapest American made modern switchblades start at $60 and go up from there ...
By the way, what is the least expensive American-made switchblade that is not an assisted opener?

hso
July 1, 2013, 10:53 AM
I think the least expensive is made by Colonial. The MSRP is $69, but are commonly available for $50 (and they're a remarkable value at that price with a modern blade material and a surprisingly tough design).

BTW, assisted opening knives are as different from auto knives as a typical AR semi is from an M-16 machinegun and it is important to not confuse people about their operation. IOW, you have to "push start" an AO while you only have to hit the GO button on an Auto.

greyling22
July 1, 2013, 10:45 PM
kershaw makes one called the breakout for under 90. http://www.bladehq.com/item--Kershaw-Breakout--4679 can't think of a cheaper amerian made quality one that I would buy.

SleazyRider
July 1, 2013, 11:25 PM
Thanks for the replies! Looks like the "value priced" American-made switchblades are out of stock everywhere.

Tyrock57
July 23, 2013, 03:24 PM
So I am a little confused. Most switchblades have double edged blades. (Benchmade infidel). Will these be still illegal?

hso
July 23, 2013, 04:55 PM
Most switchbladed do not have double edged blades. The laws on daggers would apply regardless of mechanism.

Detritus
July 25, 2013, 04:22 AM
I'm so glad to hear about this.

after 13 years I can replace the Colonial Auto I passed to a friend, when told that carrying it in Texas would get me in hot water. Though this time I'm buying one with black or OD green scales instead of day-glo orange.

also going to look for a more "upscale" auto for my EDC in the near future

hso
July 25, 2013, 01:16 PM
I just received an email on this from KnifeRights the other day.

July 24, 2013: Knife Rights has recently received numerous emails and calls seeking clarification of the new Texas law (HB1862) repealing the ban on automatic (switchblade) knives that Knife Rights passed this year. This new law goes into effect on September 1.

The Texas Legislature will be back is session in 2015 and Knife Rights will be there working to remove the remaining restrictions and to get Knife Law Preemption passed. In the meantime there are still limitations that Texas owners of automatic knives must be aware of.

Click on "Read More >>>>" for all the critical details.

First, the definition of an Illegal Knife in Sec. 46.01(6)(C) still includes "dagger, including but not limited to dirk, stilletto and poniard." That has not changed. None of these type knives, dagger, etc., are defined in Texas law, but based on case law generally you should assume that a "dagger" covers any double-edged blade. This would include automatic knives with double-edged blades.

Some have suggested that you might make a case for the position that when the legislature repealed the ban on switchblades, that repeal covers any automatic knife, regardless of blade style. That is referred to technically as a "presumptive repeal" defense. However, unless you want to be a test case, spend thousands and thousands of dollars and possibly still end up in jail if you lose, that could be a very risky position to take. We do not recommend testing the law by carrying a double-edged knife.

It is also noted that Section 46.15(b)(1) provides an exception to possession of an illegal knife if a person is on their own premises. There is also Texas case law with regards to firearms that supports the notion that a person who purchased a firearm that they would have been illegal to carry, is allowed to transport that firearm from the place of purchase directly to their premises. It would seem that this case law would support that same argument regarding an otherwise illegal knife, but, this has not ever been tested in court. It certainly would be unlikely to succeed if you were found to not have transported it DIRECTLY home.

There is also an exception for use if you are "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." Note the last part of that exception. You might find it a challenge in court supporting the contention that the otherwise illegal knife was "commonly used in the activity." Also, as with the previous paragraph, case law is clear that you cannot use this argument if you are not actually traveling directly to or from the activity.

You can find all of Texas Penal Code, Chapter 46 WEAPONS here: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.46.htm (Note that this official version doesn't include the repeal as it is not yet the law)

Also, as noted in previous emails, Knife Law Preemption was not passed this year, so existing local laws more restrictive that state law remain in effect in places such as San Antonio.

We sincerely appreciate everyone's support that enabled us to repeal the ban on automatic knives in Texas.

In conclusion:

We would caution all our Texas members and supporters to be careful with their newly enacted freedom to possess and carry an automatic knife. We fully intend to come back to Texas in 2015 and finish the job we started, but for now Texas law has some limitations that we strongly urge you take note of and abide by.

NOTE: Knife Rights cannot provide legal advice. Always consult with an Attorney licensed in the jurisdiction under question to get legal advice.

- See more at: http://www.kniferights.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=221&Itemid=1#sthash.Qtuat3oO.dpuf

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