To most of us, brass knuckles are a relic of the past, the stuff of old gangster movies, used to intimidate or force someone to pay off a gambling debt or cough up extortion cash.
But they are still around. And come September will be legal for Texans to carry.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation Saturday removing brass knuckles from the list of prohibited weapons after the bill made it through both houses of the Legislature.
According to state law, brass knuckles include "any instrument that consists of finger rings or guards made of a hard substance and that is designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with a fist enclosed in the knuckles." And up until now possessing them was a Class A misdemeanor. Getting caught with brass knuckles could land you in jail for a year and cost you a $4,000 fine.
But no more. The move is similar to the state legalizing switchblade knives in 2013.
Also, the new list of prohibited weapons no longer includes clubs—which under Texas law takes in blackjacks, tomahawks and even medieval maces. That should make for some interesting bar fights. Maybe next session the Legislature could allow Texans to strap on swords. Oh wait they did that two years ago.
This bill's sponsor, state Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, says it's all about self defense. Maybe so. Or possibly it's just political pandering.
We really don't expect much of a problem with any of this. Most people concerned about self-protection will get a concealed carry permit—along with the required training—and responsibly carry a firearm. We can't imagine any sensible individual relying on brass knuckles or blackjacks. Criminals might, though. And where once they could be sent to jail for possessing such weapons they now will be able to sport them with impunity,
In any case, pick your fantasy: Wild West, Scarface or Game of Thrones. You can live them all in the Lone Star State.