Brass Knuckles, Clubs, and Wild Kat Keychains to Be Legal in Texas for ‘Self-Defense’

May 31, 2019 Updated: May 31, 2019

Starting September, carrying brass knuckles, clubs, and self-defense wild kat keychains will be legal in Texas, according to reports.

Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott signed off on House Bill 466 over Memorial Day weekend, which will legalize carrying certain items of self-defense starting Sept. 1, KSAT reported.

Prior to the date of the law change, any individual who carries or has carried the weapons mentioned in the bill will face up to $4,000 in fines or up to one year behind bars.

Anyone who has committed, or commits an offense by carrying the weapons before Sept. 1 will still held accountable for committing a crime, the bill specifies.

The bill was passed on April 9 at the Texas House of Representatives with a 147-0 vote. On May 15, the Senate passed the bill unanimously with a 31-0 vote.

Knuckles are “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 enclosed in the knuckles,” according to the Texas Penal Code.

The weapons were removed from a list that previously made it a criminal offense to possess, manufacture, or transport the soon-to-be legalized items.

It was previously considered a class A misdemeanor to possess knuckles, according to a summary of the bill published by the House Research Organization, CNN reported.

Some of the items that remain illegal under the bill include machine guns, zip guns, tire deflation devices, and explosive weapons, among others.

In 2017, 93 people were convicted for breaching the brass knuckle ban, according to figures from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Speaking to the Texas Standard, Rep. Joe Moody, a Democratic legislator from El Paso and a sponsor of the bill, said it would ensure a means of self-defense for those who want to protect themselves.

He explained that many people carry the items for self-defense reasons.

“We aren’t living in “West Side Story.” Maybe at one point this was used to identify criminal elements, but it’s just not the case anymore,” Moody said, according to Newsweek.

“A young woman who has a keychain for self defense, certainly fits the statute of knuckles. And she was arrested for that.”

Moody added that to be arrested for carrying an item for personal protection is “certainly antithetical to our rights to self defense.”

Meanwhile, other bill supporters said knuckles shouldn’t be placed in the same category as “explosive weapons, machine guns, and other prohibited weapons,” arguing that they are primarily a “defensive tool,” reported CNN.

“Law abiding Texans who carry knuckles, perhaps as part of a novelty key chain, should not be vulnerable to jail time for possessing a legitimate self defense tool,” the summary reads.

The move comes after switchblades were removed from the list of banned items in 2013.

This month, another supporter of the bill, Texas Rep. Jonathan Stickland, said the bill shows the state’s commitment to the Second Amendment, reported Newsweek.

“For me, the Second Amendment is really about the right to exist and I think that everyone has the right to defend themselves,” he said.

“I think it sends a good message and the Texas House has always tried to work across the aisle whenever we can, a lot different than DC.”