Of all the tools humans use, knives might be the most basic. For a long time Texas had many restrictions on what a citizen could legally carry, but in recent years the laws governing knives have been much less strict. In 2013 it became legal to possess a switchblade, and in 2015 a law was passed that removed all local knife ordinances more restrictive than Texas state law.
Recently, House Bill 1935 was signed into law, making it legal to carry pretty much any edged weapon (or tool, depending on who you ask) a person wants. It removes dirks, stilettos, daggers, swords, spears, poniards and Bowie knives from Texas statute, with only a small amendment added to prevent such items from being carried in places like bars and colleges.
This is a major victory for fans of knives, particularly those that are more…“exotic”…(I've always wanted to carry a poniard around like a renaissance duelist), and a pointy blow to anyone who gets nervous when a guy walks by carrying a broadsword. So what kind of “knives” can one easily carry come September 1, when the new law goes into effect? I headed down to a local sporting goods store to see.
Whether you want a huge knife to clear grass and jungle brush, or you're Jason Voorhees and need something to chop off camp counselors' heads, nothing fits the task like a machete. Fortunately, with the passing of H.B. 1935, there's nothing keeping a person from sensibly strapping one to his leg before heading to the grocery store. They come in a bewildering variety of styles, and for some reason, most of the ones for sale at Academy seem to be “tactical” black. There was even one shaped kinda like a Roman gladius, with a centurion on the package. It was black, for that added Roman tactical edge one might need…for something.
Hell, yes. Now you're talking. In September, prepare to see wannabe ninjas, RenFest warriors and well-armed dungeon masters leaving their houses with a sword or two strapped to their side. Texas is a badass state, teeming with people who want the world to know they're badasses, and what better way to accomplish that than by taking your katana along while you run your daily errands?
"Bad to the Bone"
Photo by Chris Lane
I found only a single spear for sale at Academy, but it was a good one. The “Talon M48 Survival Spear” says it's “Bad to the Bone” right there on the package, so it's a good bet that it'll prevail in any melee on the mean streets of Houston…unless the other guy has a gun, of course. But a spear! What could be more primal than that? And readily available at Academy. Convenience!
Photo by Chris lane
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1. Bowie Knives!
For years the knife associated with Jim Bowie was illegal for Texans to carry openly in the state he fought for. While Bowie knives were never legally defined, they were ambiguously listed with knives that were legal to carry. No longer! Now Texans can take their 14-inch Bowies almost anywhere they want to, honoring one of the fathers of the Texas Revolution while scaring almost everyone else around them.
How many folks will do the old Crocodile Dundee “That's not a knife. This is a knife” routine? Will there be a new form of etiquette established once people are free to walk into a McDonald's carrying their survival spear? There was a time when seeing a gun rack in a pickup truck was relatively normal. Will we see guys with their tactical gladius displayed in a window rack soon? Inquiring minds want to know. And what of the more humble pocket knives that many of us carry? Will they be abandoned, discarded in favor of swords or machetes? In September, Texas will definitely become a sharper, more edgy place.