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  • Writer's pictureJustin Sparks

Are Brass Knuckles Legal in Texas?

Most of the United States considers brass knuckles as dangerous weapons that increase violence. However, most people can find them on a novelty keychain, just like any other self-defensive tool.

Moreover, many states prohibit the weapon altogether, and others require a permit to carry one. Spark Law Firm can provide information on the age of consent in Texas too.

Since 1918, Texas law made brass knuckles illegal. However, new legislation changed the rules to suit what weapons inflict the most harm. Representatives such as Joe Moody explained that these mechanisms fit better for self-defense. As such, citizens should not face misdemeanor charges for their possession.

Continue reading to learn more about the legality of brass knuckles in Texas and the other self-defense weapons House Bill 446 legalizes.

What are Brass Knuckles?

What are Brass Knuckles?

According to the Texas penal code, brass knuckles are instruments with finger rings or guards made of a hard substance that serves to exact serious bodily injury or death by striking a person.

Despite their name, brass knuckles often consist of other metals or even plastic. Still, they contain a hard substance and act as a legitimate self-defense tool.

To handle the device, users insert their fingers in the finger rings. With their fist enclosed, they can swing their arm with the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury.

Is It Legal to Possess Brass Knuckles in Texas?

As of September 2019, possessing brass knuckles is legal in Texas. The bill to allow citizens to carry them passed unanimously in the state House of Representatives with a vote of 147-0 and in the state Senate with a score of 31-0. Texas governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law in May 2019.

The passage of House Bill 446 is a feat for both political parties, stating that self-defense is a critical part of Texas history and the everyday protections of its citizens.

Have Brass Knuckles Always Been Legal in Texas?

September 2019 marked the first time that brass knuckles have not been considered prohibited weapons in the Texas penal code since 1918.

The pre-prohibition-era law saw certain weapons banned, prohibiting people from manufacturing, selling, repairing, or transporting brass knuckles or clubs. Other weapons that were forbidden include homemade guns and explosives.

Before September 2019, anyone in possession of the device would be subject to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000. They would also be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor. Other self-defense items, such as self-defense keychains, would be included in this punishment.

Why Were Brass Knuckles Made Illegal?

In 1918, a bill made certain weapons, including brass knuckles, illegal. They're often associated with violence, as they fit around an enclosed fist to enhance the force of a punch. Using the tool can lead to more severe damage than a regular punch, including broken bones and lesions.

Additionally, brass knuckles are considered to encourage violent acts as many relate them to robberies and gang violence. They make confrontations more intense and lead to dangerous consequences.

While Texas used to classify possession of the weapon as a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year and a fine, other states can have harsher punishments. The device is considered illegal in some states and others require a permit to carry brass knuckles.

Though most states consider the weapon completely illegal, even without a permit, Texas considers brass knuckles as mechanisms that enforce safety and self-defense.

Why Are Brass Knuckles Legal In Texas?

The push for House Bill 446 to go to Texas legislation began with a 21-year-old north Texan woman in 2018. After a fender bender, police found her possessing brass knuckles, which led to her arrest. State Representative Joe Moody filed legislation in support of the legitimate self-defense tool. From there, the process to legalize brass knuckles started.

Many state representatives saw the previous law as having no grounds for authority. Brass knuckles were considered prohibited weapons on the same level as machine guns and explosive devices in Texas law.

Additionally, in 2013, lawmakers removed switchblades from the banned weapons list in the Texas penal code. The year 2017 saw the removal of the ban on carrying a knife in public, making it possible for people to carry lethal weapons, including a machete. As such, representatives felt it made no sense to keep brass knuckles, a self-defense tool, on the list of prohibited weapons.

What Is the Current Penal Code for Weapons Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury?

Brass knuckles often look like a novelty key chain. There are other self-defense items similar to this that House Bill 446 allows law-abiding Texans to legally carry for self-defense purposes. Alongside brass knuckles, the bill legalizes any of the following:

  • Mace

  • Nightsticks

  • Tomahawks

  • Blackjacks

Though the bill allows people to carry brass knuckles, several weapons are still banned in Texas. Contact Sparks Law Firm if searching for a Fort Worth violent crimes lawyer.

The Texas Penal Code section 46.02 explains that some weapons are still considered prohibited unless registered by the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, deemed a curio or relic by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), or not subject to registration.

The following weapons do not fit these categories and are banned in Texas:

  • Machine guns

  • Improvised explosive devices

  • Short-barrel firearms

  • Armor-piercing ammunition

  • Zip gun

  • Chemical dispensing device

  • Tire deflation device

Firearm silencers are also prohibited unless registered as relics or curios by the DOJ or handled in compliance with already established Texas law.

Carrying a Self-Defense Weapon

Carrying a Self-Defense Weapon

Citizens of the United State have the right to protect themselves from harm. When another person poses bodily injury or death, victims can utilize tools for the purpose of inflicting serious retaliation to keep themselves protected.

Brass knuckles were considered illegal for their connections to violence and causing physical harm to others. However, when used properly, they can help protect people from danger.

Contact Sparks Law Firm

Brass knuckles are a vital self-defense tool but are still newly recognized as legal. Anyone who has been subject to punishment by the law should receive skillful defense to uphold their rights.

Contact Sparks Law Firm for secure representation.


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