AUSTIN, Texas - A new law in Texas will allow people over 18 to carry knives with blades longer than 5 ½ inches in public.
That means after September 1, people possessing anything from daggers to swords will not be breaking any laws.
“What this law does is it gets rid of all that grey area and simplifies the law,” said AJ Postell, co-founder of Lone Star Gun Rights.
Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed House Bill 1935 into law, removing size restrictions on knife blades carried publicly by adults.
“The way the law currently is is that any knife with a blade length over 5 ½ inches is prohibited, so with the new law, it basically takes all that prohibited language off the books thus allowing knives over 5 ½ inches of blade length, also daggers, double-edged knives, dirks, even swords will soon come legal September 1,” Postell said.
Part of the reason knife activists fought for the bill is because they feel Texans were being unfairly labeled as criminals for carrying knives.
“We were seeing a lot of Texans get in trouble for the mere possession of something that they were legally allowed to own and to buy, but they were getting in trouble for possessing that item,” said Postell.
Even after September, long knives will not be allowed in several places; including bars, schools, churches, airports, government buildings, hospitals, correctional facilities, sporting events and polling locations.
“If someone goes into a business and the business owner or an employee is not comfortable with what they're carrying, they can ask them to leave or ask them to go place it in their vehicle and, again, law abiding people are going to do that,” Postell said.
Even though carrying swords or machetes may soon be legal, Austin police don't expect many will take advantage of the opportunity.
“We're looking at this in the same light that we saw from going to open carry from concealed carry. There was a lot of concern prior to the bill being passed that was going to allow people to carry firearms on their sides versus being concealed and what we saw was very little of that going on in actual practice,” said Austin Police Department Assistant Chief Frank Dixon.
As for any possible increases in crime, police said the new law will not make knife violence any less punishable.
“It's going to be a cultural shift in how we think and how we conduct business, but, at the end of the day, I don't think it's going to impact public safety a bit,” Dixon said.
Minors will still be unable to possess knives over 5 ½ inches unless they are in a car, watercraft or supervised by a parent or guardian.
Austin police want to remind the public that even after September 1, if you see someone suspicious carrying any length knife it is okay to report it to authorities.