With Texas about to throw open the doors allowing gun owners to wear their hand guns in the open beginning in three months, fanciers of knives are pushing lawmakers to liberalize laws allowing open carry of their weapon of choice, the Beaumont Enterprise reports.
“I’ve always said to people that Texas is not quite as ‘Texas’ as people think it is,” explained lobbyist Todd Rathner, who represents national advocacy group Knife Rights. “I think the gun laws in Texas are good and improving. In terms of the knife laws, Texas still has a little catching up to do. They’ve got certain types of knives banned literally since the mid-1800s.”
Starting in January, any hand gun owner with a concealed-carry license can parade around with their weapon displayed, while owners of knives with blades longer than five and a half inches cannot take them out in public without fear of arrest.
Texans are already allowed to open carry rifles or shotguns without a license.
But in a state associated with the long knife carried by Jim Bowie, the Alamo hero would be looking at a Class A misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both for carrying his namesake knife in public.
According to State Rep. Harold Dutton (D), his pleas to liberalize knife laws in Texas have fallen upon deaf ears.
“If we’re going to set guns free, I think the first thing we could do is set knives free,” the Democrat from Houston explained. “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 did score a small victory this year when Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill prohibiting cities from placing additional restrictions on knives. Prior to Sept. 1 — when the bill went into effect — it was illegal to carry a pocketknife with a locking blade in San Antonio, and Corpus Christi banned knives with blades longer than three inches.
Calling the Texas laws “antiquated and stupid,” lobbyist Rathner said he is not giving up on the Lonestar State.
“We’re coming back every single session until this gets done, or I die, whichever comes first,” he promised.