19 Jun Are Brass Knuckles Illegal in Texas?
UPDATED July 18, 2019
Possession of Brass Knuckles will be legal on September 1, 2019
For years, the Texas penal codes prohibited possession of “brass knuckles” (including plastic self-defense keyrings often shaped like animal heads) and classified the offense as a Class A Misdemeanor. That meant people in possession of brass knuckles faced up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000. But many people argued that in a state that allows open carry of firearms and other weapons, that punishing brass knuckles seemed disproportionate.
After the bill allowing the possession of brass knuckles was carried unanimously in the state House of Representatives and state Senate, Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 446 into law this May. Republicans and Democrats reached across the aisle to make the bill a reality, citing the importance of self-defense and personal protection and the history of Texas encouraging this freedom.
HB 446 did not stop at legalizing brass knuckles, however. The bill also makes tomahawks, nightsticks, maces, and blackjacks legal to carry in the state. The law goes into effect on September 1, 2019.
The Texas Penal Code Section 46.02 (a)(1) now reads to only include the following as prohibited weapons:
(1) any of the following items, unless the item is registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives or otherwise not subject to that registration requirement or unless the item is classified as a curio or relic by the United States Department of Justice:
(A) an explosive weapon;
(B) a machine gun; or
(C) a short-barrel firearm;
(2) armor-piercing ammunition;
(3) a chemical dispensing device;
(4) a zip gun;
(5) a tire deflation device;
(6) a firearm silencer, unless the firearm
silencer is classified as a curio or relic by the United States Department of Justice or the actor otherwise possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs, or sells the firearm silencer in compliance with federal law; or
(7) an improvised explosive device.
For additional information about the new law, check out this source:
In Texas today, possession of brass knuckles or security keychains (often shaped like cat or dog ears) is illegal and can leave offenders being charged with a class A misdemeanor.
Brass Knuckles are Illegal in Texas, But This May be Changing
But recently, Texas legislators have been discussing the possibility of legalizing the weapon. In a state that allows open carry of firearms and the possession of swords, representatives such as Democrat Joe Moody say that it does not make sense to keep brass knuckles on the prohibited weapons list. The bill has enjoyed bipartisan support with Republicans arguing that the bill would expand the personal freedoms they feel Texans should enjoy. For more information about the bill, check out this article from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Texans: Carry brass knuckles, security key chains and you break the law — for now”.
What are the Current Penalties for Brass Knuckles in Texas?
Currently, the Texas Penal Code, Section 46.05 includes brass knuckles as a prohibitive weapon, and having them in your possession, repairing, or selling them is considered a Class A Misdemeanor. In Texas, Class A Misdemeanors include a punishment range of up to a year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. “Knuckles” are defined in the penal code as any instrument that consists of finger rings or guards that are made of a hard substance and are used for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death.
Contact Attorney Craig Dameron for More Information
If you or someone you know has been charged with having brass knuckles or any prohibited weapon, you need expert defense. The Dameron Firm regularly handles these cases and can provide you with representation for Tarrant County cases.