Sep. 1, 2017 – New Laws in Texas

OK, I’m a day late, but as of September 1, 2017 a whole bunch of new laws go into effect in Texas.

I’m going to highlight a few, that would be particularly relevant to typical readers.

HB 1935 – knife changes

Knife Rights actually has the best summary and coverage of these changes.

All “illegal knives” (Penal Code Sec. 46.01(6)) that were previously prohibited to carry (Penal Code Sec. 46.02) will be removed from Texas statute:  This list includes: knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches, hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown, daggers, dirks, stilettos, poniards, swords, spears and Bowie knives. 

NOTE: Knives that incorporate “knuckles” as part of the handle (Penal Code Sec. 46.01(8)), such as the iconic Model 1918 WWI Trench Knife and similar, remain illegal to possess in Texas (Penal Code Sec. 46.05(2)). 

NOTE: Tomahawks remain classified as “clubs” (Penal Code Sec. 46.01(1)(D)) that are still illegal to carry (Penal Code Sec. 46.02) in Texas.

BOTTOM LINE Summary: Any adult can carry any knife legal to possess anywhere as long as it is not over five and a half (5.5) inches.  You can carry longer knives almost everywhere, except as noted below.  There is no separate rule for concealed carry, you may carry open or concealed, however you want.  There is no limit on the number of knives you can carry.

The interesting thing that happened was just as this bill was to be voted on, there was a horrific stabbing on the campus of the University of Texas. A compromise was added to the bill to create a new term: “location restricted knife” which is defined as a knife with a blade over 5.5″. The restricted locations mirror a lot of the concealed carried restricted locations like racetracks, polling places, 51% signs, etc..  There are some additional restrictions for people under the age of 18.

SB16 – Reduced LTC fees

That’s it – LTC fees are reduced. So long $140, hello $40.

SB263 – removal of LTC qualification caliber requirement

This removes the minimum .32 caliber requirement for the LTC qualification. Note: the law only ever pertained to the qualification/test – you could carry a .22, you just couldn’t qualify with it. But now you can.

Personal note: I hope people won’t use this as a way to make up for lack of skill. That was the whole reason for it: so someone couldn’t come in and pass with a .22 then think they could carry a .44 — gaming the system. And believe me, people would (I’ve even seen some embarrassing behavior during Instructor qualifications). But it was always a problem because there are just some people that cannot handle even a .32 but can a .22 (think handicapped, elderly, etc.). I am happy for the removal of this requirement, and I can only hope people will do right by it. Because if you “cheat the system” well… you’re truly only cheating yourself.

HB 435 helps out volunteer first responders.

HB 1819 updates Texas law should the Hearing Protection Act pass on the Federal level. As a nice side-effect, it fixes some weirdness in the law and yes the Mossberg 590 Shockwave is now legal in Texas. Yes, I want one of these.

HB 3784 allows for online LTC to become a thing. This has generated some controversy – or perhaps more accurately, resentment – amongst the LTC Instructor base. I can’t blame them, but on the same token welcome to the modern era. Perasonaly, I feel like this could become a better thing in the long run. It could allow for more uniform curriculum results with some better assurance that the citizenry was getting good information (I’ve heard horror stories about how some LTC Instructors behave). It could also bring an uptick in license-holders, because now they can take the course at their convenience (e.g. late night, after work). Also, there will still be a required range time, and now there’s requirement to actually spend some time working with the students on safety and proficiency (before, it was only really required to shoot the test). So I have hopes in the long run this will mean better things for the program. Time will tell.

HB 421 helps places of worship regarding voluntary security services. Note it didn’t pass, but did make it as an amendment to SB 2065.

HB 1692 permits the storage of a handgun in a school parking lot by an LTC holder. But it didn’t pass as-is, but made it as an amendment to SB 1566.

It may not have been the legislative year that a lot of people were hoping for, but while small changes, they were good changes.

Me? I’m happy about the knife changes, and eventually buying a Shockwave. 🙂

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