Texas Alert – Details & Cautions Regarding Switchblades

Double Bladed Automatic Dagger
Double Bladed Automatic Dagger: We do NOT recommend testing the law by carrying a double-edged knife.

Gilbert, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- Knife Rights has recently received numerous emails and calls seeking clarification of the new Texas law (HB1862) repealing the ban on automatic (switchblade) knives that Knife Rights passed this year.

This new law goes into effect on September 1 2013.

The Texas Legislature will be back is session in 2015 and Knife Rights will be there working to remove the remaining restrictions and to get Knife Law Preemption passed.

In the meantime there are still limitations that Texas owners of automatic knives must be aware of and they are:

First, the definition of an Illegal Knife in Sec. 46.01(6)(C) still includes “dagger, including but not limited to dirk, stilletto and poniard.” That has not changed. None of these type knives, dagger, etc., are defined in Texas law, but based on case law generally you should assume that a “dagger” covers any double-edged blade. This would include automatic knives with double-edged blades.

Some have suggested that you might make a case for the position that when the legislature repealed the ban on switchblades, that repeal covers any automatic knife, regardless of blade style. That is referred to technically as a “presumptive repeal” defense. However, unless you want to be a test case, spend thousands and thousands of dollars and possibly still end up in jail if you lose, that could be a very risky position to take. We do not recommend testing the law by carrying a double-edged knife.

It is also noted that Section 46.15(b)(1) provides an exception to possession of an illegal knife if a person is on their own premises. There is also Texas case law with regards to firearms that supports the notion that a person who purchased a firearm that they would have been illegal to carry, is allowed to transport that firearm from the place of purchase directly to their premises. It would seem that this case law would support that same argument regarding an otherwise illegal knife, but, this has not ever been tested in court. It certainly would be unlikely to succeed if you were found to not have transported it DIRECTLY home.

There is also an exception for use if you are “engaging in lawful hunting, fishing, or other sporting activity on the immediate premises where the activity is conducted, or is en route between the premises and the actor’s residence, if the weapon is a type commonly used in the activity.”

Note the last part of that exception. You might find it a challenge in court supporting the contention that the otherwise illegal knife was “commonly used in the activity.” Also, as with the previous paragraph, case law is clear that you cannot use this argument if you are not actually traveling directly to or from the activity.

You can find all of Texas Penal Code, Chapter 46 WEAPONS here: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.46.htm

(Note that this official version doesn’t include the repeal as it is not yet the law)

Also, as noted in previous articles, Knife Law Preemption was not passed this year, so existing local laws more restrictive that state law remain in effect in places such as San Antonio.

We sincerely appreciate your support that enabled us to repeal the ban on automatic knives in Texas.

In conclusion:

We would caution all our Texas members and supporters to be careful with their newly enacted freedom to possess an automatic knife. We fully intend to come back to Texas in 2015 and finish the job we started, but for now Texas law has some limitations that we strongly urge you take note of and abide by.

NOTE: Knife Rights cannot provide legal advice. Always consult with an Attorney licensed in the jurisdiction under question to get legal advice.

Knife Rights (www.KnifeRights.org) is America’s Grassroots Knife Owners Organization, working towards a Sharper Future for all knife owners. Knife Rights is dedicated to providing knife owners an effective voice in public policy. Become a Knife Rights member and make a contribution to support the fight for your knife rights. Visit www.kniferights.org

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when are they going to make switch blades legal in Illinois?

R Klemptner

Follow up: From the link in the “Alert”: “(11) “Switchblade knife” means any knife that has a blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle or sheath and that opens automatically by pressure applied to a button or other device located on the handle or opens or releases a blade from the handle or sheath by the force of gravity or by the application of centrifugal force. The term does not include a knife that has a spring, detent, or other mechanism designed to create a bias toward closure and that requires exertion applied to the blade by hand,… Read more »

R Klemptner

I’m confused, the knife shown in the picture is neither a switchblade nor a double edged blade. It is instead a “flipper” an assisted opening design that used a manual “flipper” to open the blade as opposed to a swithblade which opens via a button on the side or spleen of the knife with no manual force needed by the operator. Also while the blade is “dagger” shaped it is not a double edged blade as that would make closing it by hand a “cutting” experience. It is my understanding that single edged, flipper opening knives are not covered under… Read more »