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News Link • Self-Defense

Texas Gov. Abbott signs law lifting ban on brass knuckles, kitty keychains and clubs

•, Lauren McGaughy

Abbott signed House Bill 446 on Saturday; the new law will go into effect on Sept. 1, 2019. Bill author Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, said lifting the ban was "another step" toward getting rid of" antiquated laws regarding weapons."

"We did it with switchblades. We did it with knives and now with knuckles," Moody said on May 15, when the Texas Senate gave the bill final passage. "Hopefully, now, with this on the way to the governor, we can ensure these types of laws aren't being used inappropriately to go after folks who have legitimate tools of self defense."

It's legal to openly carry handguns (with a license) and rifles in Texas, and in 2017, lawmakers eliminated a 145-year-old ban on carrying knives in public. But brass knuckles remain illegal. Simply possessing something that fits this description — including plastic "kitty keychains" and other self defense items — is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to $4,000 in fines and a year in jail.

Moody's bill would lift that ban and also legalize the carrying of clubs. In 2017, 93 people were convicted under the state's knuckles ban, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

Moody filed the legislation after The Dallas Morning Newspublished a story about Kyli Phillips, a Carrollton resident who was arrested for "possession of a prohibited weapon" because she had a plastic kitty keychain in her purse. She has not been formally charged with a crime, but the case has not been dropped.

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