Among the many issues Texans were scrambling to have pushed through the Legislature in 2019, it’s likely being able to walk around with brass knuckles in their purse wasn’t at the top of many people’s lists.
Of course, that didn’t stop legislators from pushing through a new law that legalized the weapon most associated with a loan shark’s enforcer under the representation of it being useful for self-defense.
The new law seems misguided, legalizing something that really there is no desire for and might only serve to make bar fights a little more one-sided.
On some level, it does make sense. If a person can walk around with a handgun thanks to open and concealed carry laws, why keep illegal something that can inflict nonlethal harm to fewer people?
But the tiny weapons can be so easily concealed, it makes any fight potentially deadly. The weapons were first made illegal in 1918 and have remained so in Texas ever since, according to The Texas Tribune.
What sparked the desire for a change in 2019, according to the Tribune, was a court case where a Dallas resident was charged over a keychain resembling brass knuckles. The case was dismissed, but State Rep. Joe Moody thought it wise to prevent abuses of the law that could assign owners with heavy fines and jail time.
But brass knuckles aren’t like guns. Guns have many uses, some recreational and others practical, that serve legitimate purposes. Guns can be used for self-defense from a distance and often are the ultimate leveler of playing fields in potentially deadly altercations.
Brass knuckles do not offer any of those benefits and are only useful in hand-to-hand combat. They can be easily concealed, and it can be difficult to disarm an attacker of the hardened weapon.
Moody described the law that outlawed the weapon as “relics of the system that we need to turn away from,” according to The Texas Tribune, going on to say the ban had potential for misuse.
Just because a law is old doesn’t make it not useful. The ban on brass knuckles wasn’t one of the antiquated prohibitions like it being illegal to milk a stranger’s cow or shooting a buffalo from the second floor of a hotel that, at last report, remained on the books in Texas. It served the purpose of giving someone a chance to defend themselves by ensuring the approaching fist was metal-free.
But the law of the land now removes that protection, so before you get in a heated argument, double-check that the jewelry being worn by your opponent is merely a wedding band or class ring.