Each state in the United States has specific laws that govern the carrying of knives in public, and Texas is no exception. It’s important for you to be aware of these laws to avoid legal questioning.
Continue reading to learn more about the Texas knife laws.
What Is a Knife Under the Texas Knife Law?
In Texas, a knife is an instrument that has a sharp edge. So even if it’s not commercially sold or designed to be a knife, any object with a sharp, pointy edge can be classified as a knife.
An example of that is paper cutters. These tools aren’t intended to be knives, but they can be used to commit crimes.
History of the Texas Knife Laws
In 1871, the government of Texas issued a law that prevented citizens from carrying weapons like swords, canes, bowie knives, and slingshots. However, in 2017, many of these restrictions were lifted, with most regulations being effective only in specific locations. Additionally, any penalty that was related to possessing a knife was removed.
Nevertheless, a last-minute change to the law has placed certain restrictions on knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches. This was due to a famous knife attack on a college campus.
See also: Missouri Knife Laws
What Kind of Knives Are Legal in Texas?
In Texas, you can carry a knife anywhere you want in public, as long as its blade is shorter than 5.5 inches. These rules apply to both adults and minors.
On the other hand, adults can carry knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches, but not in all locations. Here’s a list of locations that restrict 5.5 inch+ blades:
- Polling locations on election days
- Government courts or offices
- Gated areas in airports
- Companies that manufacture alcoholic beverages
- Schools and collegiates
- Vehicles that transport school students or staff
- Professional sporting or interscholastic events
- Correctional facilities
- Public and private hospitals, including mental hospitals and nursing facilities, unless authorized by the hospital’s or facility’s administration
- Amusement parks
- Churches or other worship locations
However, minors may not carry knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches under any circumstances.
It’s also worth mentioning that carrying knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches is OK in restricted locations as long as it’s in a concealed manner. Concealed means that no one around you can identify that you’re carrying a knife.
For example, you can put it in your pocket or clip it to your boot. Just make sure that it’s hard to tell you’re carrying a knife.
Can People Carry Switchblades in Texas?
Until 2013, possessing switchblades in public was strictly prohibited. However, the law has changed, and anyone can now carry a switchblade, whether it’s concealed or opened.
What About Trading Knives in Texas?
Buying and selling knives in Texas is legal, and there aren’t any restrictions, except that knives can’t be sold to minors. Other than that, knife trading in Texas isn’t any different from trading normal goods.
There are exceptions for citizens whose jobs or circumstances require them to carry a knife with a blade longer than 5.5 inches. The list includes:
- Peace officers
- Special investigators
- Parole officers
- Judicial officers
- Honorably retired law enforcement officers
- Federal criminal investigators
- Former reserve law enforcement officer who served more than 15 years
- Assistant United States attorneys
- Juvenile probation officer
- Assistant attorney general
- Assistant criminal district attorneys
- Assistant county attorneys
- Personnel engaged in emergency services
- Licensed gun carriers
- Security officers
What Self-Defense Weapons Can You Carry in Texas?
Other than knives and switchblades, here are some self-defense weapons that you can legally carry in Texas:
- Pepper sprays
- Brass knuckles
- Stabby cats
How Strict Are the Texas Knife Laws?
Generally speaking, the Texas knife laws aren’t that restrictive. In fact, some states define pocket knives as those with blades shorter than 4 inches instead of 5.5 inches.
So, it’s much easier to comply with knife laws in Texas than in other states. However, they’re not as forgiving as Arizona’s knife laws, for example.
Also, the consequences of carrying a knife in Texas are fair and not too aggressive.
For example, if a minor carries a location-restricted knife, they’d be fined a maximum of $500. However, in the event of unlawful possession of a knife in a school location, the case is considered a felony.
So that was everything you needed to know about knife laws in Texas. There’s nothing to worry about if you’re carrying a switchblade or a knife with a 5.5-inch blade or shorter.
If the blade is longer than 5.5 inches, you must be 18 years old or older and avoid specific restricted locations like schools and amusement parks.