Under a new state law, people in Texas can now openly carry huge swords, knives, machetes, spears and daggers.
The law, HB 1935, makes it legal for Texans to brandish blades longer than 5.5 inches most anywhere, with some restrictions. It went into effect on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017.
All kinds of knives and knife-like items are included under the new law, according to the San Angelo Standard-Times.
The list includes Jim Bowie knives, daggers, throwing knives, swords, katanas, machetes and spears — you name it, really.
Texas House Rep. John Frullo, a Republican from Lubbock, introduced the new law earlier this year.
The bill encountered opposition this summer after a 21-year-old man, Kendrex J. White, stabbed four people — killing one of them — with a hunting knife on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin in May.
As a compromise, state legislators added several location restrictions to the bill.
Places in Texas where people must not openly carry huge knives and swords include school campuses, polling places, bars, amusement parks, churches and prisons. The legislation also bars such weapons from sporting events (though there is an exception for event participants if the events involve large bladed weapons).
The law also stipulates that Lone Star state residents under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian with them when openly carrying huge knives and swords.
People who carry Jim Bowie knives, daggers, swords, machetes and spears in forbidden places will face third-degree felony charges, which provide maximum sentences of 10 years in prison and maximum fines of $10,000.
Amarillo ABC affiliate KVII-TV turned to the proprietor of a local sporting goods store called The Knife Guys for analysis of the new law.
“It’s going to make it easier for hunters and people that have professional jobs where they use over-sized knives for their particular tasks,” the store owner, Phillip Watkins, told the station.
As examples, Watkins suggested “lawn care and chefs, or these traveling chefs going to festivals, and then your hunters that go hog hunting and carry a tougher knife than just your general public.”
Amarillo Police Department spokesman Jeb Hilton said he does not expect the new law to bring about dramatic changes.
“Most people in Texas carry a knife,” Hilton told KVII-TV, “and it is going to be a little bit of a shock to see someone carrying a machete or sword around. But once the law gets out and people know that that’s okay, I don’t think we will get a lot of calls on it.”