AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas residents will soon be allowed to openly carry most guns, but state law still bars the carrying of many types of knives and other weapons.
Rep. Harold Dutton, a Houston Democrat, has been in favor of the Legislature having a broader conversation about Texas’ weapons law. But he tells the Houston Chronicle that, “This whole idea about Second Amendment rights has pushed everything else into the shadows.”
Residents can already openly tote rifles or other long guns in public without a license. Under laws approved earlier this year, properly licensed gun owners will be able to openly carry pistols in public starting on Jan. 1, and residents with concealed handgun licenses will be able to carry their weapons on campuses next August.
But there is no similar license for Texans to legally carry most knives, clubs or other weapons. Dutton failed this session to pass a bill that would have legalized the unlicensed carrying of knives.
State law prohibits Texans from carrying around clubs, including blackjacks or nightsticks; several types of knives, including those with a blade over 51/2 inches long; or brass knuckles, except at home or while walking to or from a vehicle.
“If we’re going to set guns free, I think the first thing we could do is set knives free,” Dutton said. “If the purpose is public safety, clearly I’d rather defend myself against some criminal that has a knife than somebody that has a gun.”
Knife rights advocates scored one victory this year when Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a bill co-sponsored by Dutton to prohibit cities from placing any restrictions above limits set by state law on the carrying of knives. Switchblades were legalized in Texas under a 2013 law that Dutton authored.
Todd Rathner, a lobbyist with the national advocacy group Knife Rights, said certain types of knives have been banned in Texas “since the mid-1800s.” Rathner said his group will continue to push until state lawmakers give more attention to the state’s knife laws.
Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com