Beginning in September, you’ll be able to carry brass knuckles to defend yourself if you get into a sticky situation in the Lone Star State.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 446 into law on Saturday, after it carried unanimously in both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate.
The bill removes “knuckles” from a group of weapons banned in a previous law that made it illegal to possess, manufacture, transport or sell a list of things that range from improvised explosive devices to homemade guns.
According to Texas Penal Code, knuckles are defined as “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.”
Rep. Joe Moody, a Democratic legislator from El Paso who sponsored the bill, told the Texas Standard that the bill was meant to protect people who wanted to protect themselves.
“A young woman who has a keychain for self defense, certainly fits the statute of knuckles,” he said. ” And she was arrested for that.”
Those types of arrests are “certainly antithetical to our rights to self-defense,” Moody added.
Knuckles are a ‘legitimate self-defense tool’
Up to this point, possessing knuckles was a class A misdemeanor punishable for up to a year in jail or by a maximum fine of $4,000, according to a bill summary published by the House Research Organization.
Supporters of the bill argued “knuckles are primarily a defensive tool,” the summary says, and shouldn’t be associated with “explosive weapons, machine guns, and other prohibited weapons.”
The law comes after lawmakers previously removed switchblades from that same banned list in 2013.
“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 says.