George Roland | Denton Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Brass Knuckles Legal in Texas Effective Sept. 1, 2019

Last week, House Bill 446, which removes “knuckles” (i.e. brass knuckles) from the list of illegal weapons in Texas, was signed into law. As of September 1, 2019, it will be legal in Texas to possess “any instrument that consists of finger rings or guards made of a hard substance and that is designed, made of, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with a fist enclosed in the knuckles.” Or, put simply, brass knuckles will be legal to possess in Texas effective September 1, 2019.

With the forthcoming removal of brass knuckles from the list of prohibited weapons, and the removal of switchblades from that same list in 2013, the listing of prohibited weapons (weapons illegal to have in Texas) now only contains felony level offenses. Previously possession of a switchblade was a Class A misdemeanor; until September 1, 2019, possession of brass knuckles is a Class A misdemeanor. However, with the removal of both of these items, possession of any of the remaining items on the list is now a felony.

The items remaining on the list post-September 1, 2019 are: an explosive weapon (e.g. a grenade, a mine), machine gun, short-barrel firearm (e.g. a sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches in length or short rifle with a barrel less than 16 inches in length), armor-piercing rounds/ammunition, a chemical dispensing device, zip-guns, a tire deflation device, an improvised explosive device, and silencers (when not sold in compliance with federal law.)

With the rise in popularity of brass knuckles being sold as defensive weapons (“wild kat” keychains seem especially popular now), the removal of brass knuckles from the list of prohibited weapons is the right move to make. First, because these knuckles are almost exclusively being sold as defensive weapons (versus offensive), and Texans value the right to defend oneself. Additionally, whereas brass knuckles (and switchblades for that matter) might previously have been associated with 1950’s era (dancing?) street gangs and rough characters, that association has not existed (and, as the data suggests and as the legislature conceded in 2013, was totally misplaced and based on stereotypes about minorities) for decades now.

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