Beginning on Sept. 1, people in Texas won’t be criminally charged for possessing brass knuckles. The bill, HB 446, signed by Governor Abbott, will remove knuckles from the Penal Code’s definition of prohibited weapons.
Right now, “it is an offense to intentionally or knowingly possess, manufacture, transport, repair or sell certain items, including knuckles. Illegally possessing knuckles is a class A misdemeanor” of up to one year in jail or a maximum fine of $4,000, according to a bill analysis by the House Research Organization.
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott signed the bill, HB446, into law on May 25.
The bill, sponsored by Democratic State Rep. Joe Moody, was approved unanimously through votes in both the state’s House and Senate.
The Texas Penal code defines knuckles 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.”
Up until Sept. 1, knuckles will sit alongside other banned items, such as “explosive weapons” and “machine guns.”
Supporters of the bill argued that “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 bill follows another one signed in June 2013 that removed switchblades from the banned weapons list. HB 446 will apply to offenses committed on or after Sept. 1.
In the Texas House Research Organization bill analysis, the “supporters” section says “Knuckles are primarily a defensive tool and should not be classified with explosive weapons, machine guns, and other prohibited weapons.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety released data the reveal 93 individuals were convicted of brass knuckle violations in 2017.