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Stickland Sharpens Self–Defense Laws with Municipal Knife Preemption Bill

February 25, 2013


Which of these two common–style pocket knives is illegal in the City of San Antonio?

The answer is the one on top. It is illegal because it has a locking blade. Section 21–17 of the San Antonio Code of Ordinances states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally or knowingly carry on or about his person a knife with a blade less than five and one-half (5½) inches in length, which knife is equipped with a lock mechanism so that upon opening, it becomes a fixed blade knife.”

To address this problem and other municipal ordinances aimed at self–defense weapons, I filed House Bill 1299 which, if enacted, would preempt cities from regulating knives, personal defense sprays, and stun guns to a greater extent than the state regulates them. The bill would add a new section to a law preempting municipal regulation of gun ownership which has been on the books since being enacted by the 69th legislature in 1985.

We owe it to Texans to have clear laws regarding self–defense weaponry. Men and women have a God–given right to protect themselves. The rules on what types of weapons they can use to protect themselves and which kind are prohibited should be clear and easy to find.  No Texan should risk walking themselves into a criminal charge because they happened to cross a city boundary without consulting the city ordinances for any bizarre regulations.

A locking mechanism is a common feature on pocket knives and is designed to improve safety by protecting the user from accidental blade closure while cutting.

The San Antonio lock blade ordinance is just one example of overbearing municipal regulations that risk turning regular citizens—even ones who have consulted state laws to ensure they are in compliance—into criminals. The city of Corpus Christi bans three inch blades as well. We shouldn’t demand that every citizen check every municipal code to determine whether a five inch blade or some other legitimate tool or self–defense weapon which is legal under state law is illegal due to a municipal ordinance.