What knife can I carry in Texas (Harris County -Houston)
The knife laws in the state of Texas (and therefor in Harris County, Houston and surrounding cities and counties) are governed predominantly by chapter 46 of the penal code. That being said there are other areas of the law that apply such as federal law and other Texas code sections. This article will deal with chapter 46 of the Texas penal code. Chapter 46 is the weapons chapter and it falls under title 10 which is offenses against public health, safety, and morals.
Section 46.01 is the definitions section. It defines what is an illegal knife as (A) a knife with a blade over five and one-half inches; (B) hand instrument designed to cut or stab another by being thrown; (C) dagger, including but not limited to a dirk, stiletto, and poniard; (D) bowie knife; (E) sword; or (F) spear. It goes on to define a knife as: means any bladed hand instrument that is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by cutting or stabbing a person with the instrument. A switchblade knife is: any knife that has a blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle or sheath, and that: (A) opens automatically by pressure applied to a button or other device located on the handle; or (B) opens or releases a blade from the handle or sheath by the force of gravity or by the application of centrifugal force.
Section 46.05 talks about prohibited weapons. Section 46.05 says: (A) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs, or sells: …(5) a switchblade knife…. (B) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor’s conduct was incidental to the performance of official duty by the armed forces or national guard, a governmental law enforcement agency, or a correctional facility. ….(D) it is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the actor’s conduct: (1) was incidental to dealing with a switchblade knife, spring blade knife, ….. solely as an antique or curio.
There are certain people that do not fall within the above stated law. Section 46.15 is the non-applicability section. This section deals with law enforcement personnel, judges, and prosecutors.
So where does this leave us? What is legal to carry and what is not? Generally speaking the blade length needs to be less than five and one half inches (5 ½ inches.) I will leave how to measure to a different article. Watch out for throwing knives and stars. Then there are the other sections of 46.01 as set out above. Switchblades are a big no under state and federal law. A warning as well about switchblades: if you look under the definition of switchblade it states that if it opens or releases a blade from the handle or sheath by the force of gravity or by the application of centrifugal force you have a switchblade. That means no butterfly knives.