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Knife rights

With all the talk about guns this year, it should be noted that they are not the only weapons under consideration in the Legislature.

HB936 by Rep. Harold Dutton would decriminalize the possession, manufacture, transfer, repair, or sale of switchblade knives in Texas by amending Sections 46.05 (a)(d)(e) of the Penal Code. At the same time, it would reaffirm that switchblade knives could not be brought into the very same areas defined as “no go” areas for CHL holders with weapons.

HB1299 by Rep. Jonathan Stickland is a pre-emption law; it would forbid cities, towns, and Counties from writing anti-knife laws more restrictive than State of Texas knife laws. Again, this normalizes knife laws, and makes them more like gun laws in Texas. For example, Travis County does not get to ban AR-15s, though I’m sure some of the denizens there would like to.

Molly Ivins used to say “I’m not anti-gun, I’m pro-knife”. I wonder what she’d have to say about all this. As for me, I favor HB936. I’ve never quite understood why switchblades are treated differently than other kinds of knives. It makes sense to me to make the code more uniform, and to decriminalize that which didn’t need to be criminalized in the first place. As for HB1299, I don’t feel particularly strongly about it one way or another. I do find it interesting that a politician who would fiercely resist the federal government telling a state what it can and can’t do, as Rep. Stickland is, would have no trouble using the power of the state to tell cities what they can and cannot do. I don’t quite get the theory behind that, but then I’m not one of those people that thinks the federal government is per se a bad thing. Your mileage may vary. In any event, you might want to keep an eye on these bills. See here for more.

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6 Comments

  1. Peter Wang says:

    Kuff, HB 1299 is very simple. In the course of a day, we may travel through many city boundaries. If Bellaire were to outlaw pepper spray, which Hb 1299 treats, a worker going to the Med Center could be arrested and charged for having pepper spray, or an illegal knife. It is wrong in the same the Memorial Villages bicycle ban is wrong. Stickland’s bill will be heard in Dutton’s committee, by the way.

  2. Peter Wang says:

    We need bike law preemption too, and statewide safe passing. Waiting for Perry to retire…

  3. Peter, you make a fair point, and as I said, I don’t oppose HB1299. I’m just amused by how some lawmakers can be so vehement about preemption and supremacy when it comes to the federal government while having no issues at all with it when it comes to the state government.

  4. Peter says:

    I don’t see the hypocrisy. States has always been places where power is concentrated; we have never been a nation of City-States, like Italian hilltop towns. Therefore, it seems correct to me that the main power struggle is Federal-State, and Cities just always get the short end of the stick. But… I’d hate to see there emerge a “Doge of Baytown”.

  5. Joel says:

    the underlying rationale for state sovereignty is both: that states exist as a bulwark against national overreaching; and that states are better suited to regulate us and represent us because they are closer to us – they know our circumstances and our interests better than some far off government located in washington.

    the hypocrisy comes in when you deny that this very same logic (on both counts) should apply to an argument for cities: as a bulwark against overreaching states (after, what else is there, once you’ve argued for states’ rights at the expense of the national government?); and because cities are closer to us and understand us better than a far off government i n austin.

    put a different way: proponents of federalism are generally culpable of favoring the sovereignty of whatever level of the heirarchy supports their position – no higher OR lower.

  6. Ross says:

    Cities exist because the state allows them to exist. That’s not true of the relationship between the Federal government and States.

    There’s also the Constitutional limits on the power of the Federal government. The Feds can only do what’s specifically allowed, although that’s getting far fuzzier than it should be. Those limits don’t apply to states.

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