The Texas open carry sword law went into effect today. As of September 1, adult residents can legally carry swords, knives, and other edged instruments with blades longer than 5.5 inches into most public places.
Originally introduced by Texas State Representative John Frullo, House Bill 1935 was signed by Governor Greg Abbot in June. While the law does expand the rules for blade size and open carry, the law also adds location and age restrictions.
Schools, churches, amusement parks, prisons, and racetracks are among the list of places where long, bladed knives are illegal. The open carry sword law also bans 5.5-inch or greater blades at sporting events, polling places, and some areas of airports. Unless under the watchful eye of a parent or guardian, no one under 18 years old can open carry in public.
Passage of the bill was initially delayed after a student was killed and three others were injured from a knife attack at the University of Texas at Austin in May. While debate of the bill was temporarily put on hold, lawmakers moved forward and approved the measure about a week after the incident. The new law strictly prohibits anyone from open carrying large knives on college campuses.
Law enforcement officials do not anticipate that the Texas law will cause any problems.
“We’ll see if there are any real issues that come up with it. I’m sure we’ll get people calling like they did with the long guns and we’ll go out and talk to them, but I don’t expect much more than people just trying to make a statement,” said James McLaughlin Jr. with the Texas Police Chiefs Association, as cited by Chron.
Violation of the Texas open carry sword law has some tough consequences. Not obeying the rules could come with a third-degree felony charge, with 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine as punishment.
The Texas law is being celebrated as a victory for advocate group Knife Rights.
“Now in 2017, we have removed all of the ‘illegal knives’ in Texas law, finally allowing Texans the right to carry a Bowie knife. But we are not yet finished,” per a statement from Knife Rights, as reported by TheBlaze. “We will be back in two years to see about striking those last remaining minor knife restrictions in Texas.”
Before passage of the new rules, any knife or sword longer than 5.5 inches could be purchased but not carried. The new Texas open carry sword law is similar to legislation in two other states, Montana and Oklahoma.
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