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House Bill 446, filed by Representative Joe Moody, would change the current laws surrounding the possession of brass knuckles and self-defense key chains that are both currently prohibited by Texas law.

According to the Dallas News, the previous Texas law bans “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 enclose in the knuckles.” Possession of such an item was previously considered a Class A misdemeanor, and could include a year in jail plus a fine of up to $4,000.

Dallas News reports that 93 people were convicted in 2017 due to the brass knuckles ban, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, including at least one report of someone getting in trouble for having a “kitty keychain”. These key chains are marketed as a self-defense tools that are commonly carried by women on their keychains for protection against potential assault, and come in the shape of either dogs or cat with hard plastic pointy ears.

House Bill 446 gained support from both the Texas House and Senate with no votes against the bill, and is now on its way for review by Governor Greg Abbott. If approved by Governor Abbott the new law allowing possession of brass knuckles and similar self-defense weapons would take affect September 1st, 2019, according to Fox 7 Austin.

Republican Representative Jonathan Stickland signed on to the bill as a joint author, and is reported as saying in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “I want to be consistent on the idea of personal protection. Whatever someone wants to use for their personal protection – whether it’s brass knuckles, a gun or anything – we need to expand freedom.”

This expansion of legal self-defense weapons follows a 2016 law that allows licensed gun-owners in Texas to openly carry handguns, as well as a 2017 law that allows Texans to carry bowie knives, daggers, swords, machetes or any knife with a blade longer than 5 ½ inches.

If the brass knuckles ban in Texas is lifted, the only other states that would have laws against the use of brass knuckles include California, Illinois, Michigan and Vermont. South Carolina only considers them illegal if they are used with the intention of committing a crime. There is currently no federal law surrounding the use and sale of brass knuckles or similar weapons, and is left up to the discretion of the individual states.

Thank you for visiting the Jarvis, Garcia & Erskine blog. We write to inform Austin locals about law changes, events and news.