September saw some new laws on the books in Texas, including one that now makes it legal to carry brass knuckles to defend yourself in the event you are in trouble. Back in May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 446, which overturns an existing ban on certain weapons, including brass knuckles, clubs, and self-defense keychains. The law passed unanimously in both the Senate with a vote of 31-0 and the House of Representatives with 147 – 0.
The original law was passed back in 1918, banning certain weapons and prohibiting someone from knowingly manufacturing, possessing, repairing, transporting, or selling brass knuckles or a club. Other weapons on the list range from homemade guns to improvised explosive devices.
Definition of Brass Knuckles and Clubs
Under the Texas Penal Code, brass knuckles are defined as “any instrument that consists of finger guards or rings made of a hard substance and that is made, designed, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking someone with a fist enclosed in the knuckles.” The bill was designed to protect those who want or need to protect themselves.
Clubs are included in the new law, and these are defined as “instruments that are specially made, designed, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking someone with the instrument,” including a nightstick, blackjack, mace, or a tomahawk.
Previous Law on Brass Knuckles
Before the law passed, carrying or possessing brass knuckles was considered a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or up to a maximum fine of $4,000. Those who supported the bill argued that brass knuckles are primarily used as a defensive tool. They should not be associated with prohibited weapons like machine guns or explosive weapons.
Back in 2013, switchblades were removed from the banned list, so it is long overdue that knuckles were removed. In some cases, people carry knuckles that are part of a keychain in the event they need protection. They should not be subjected to a large fine or time in jail for carrying a tool that is legitimately used for self-defense.
Current Texas Penal Code
The Texas Penal Code Section 46.02 (a)(1) has now been amended to read that prohibited weapons include items like:
- Chemical dispensing device
- Armor-piercing ammunition
- Improvised explosive device
- Tire deflation device
- Zip gun
- Firearm silencer, unless it is declared a relic or curio by the United States Department of Justice, or the person manufactures, possesses, repairs, transports, or sells the silencer in question in accordance with federal law
- Explosive weapon, machine gun or short-barrel firearm unless it is registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record that is maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or is otherwise not required to be registered, or unless the U.S. Department of Justice has declared it as a relic or curio
Contact a Travis County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime in connection with defending yourself, it is important to speak with a skilled Austin criminal defense attorney today. Contact Granger and Mueller PC today to schedule an initial consultation.