Texas Passes Open-Carry Sword Law

In Texas, people have taken a step back in time and defined the appropriate places where one can openly carry a sword. On Sept. 1, courts ruled that Texans are legally allowed to openly carry blades longer than 5.5 inches. To compare, in Pennsylvania, blade laws are much stricter and vary from county to county. Some counties require blades to be no longer than the length of the horizontal part of your palm, usually about 3.5 inches. Others allow fixed blades to be carried up to 6 inches. Texas State Representative John Frullo introduced the bill earlier this year. After the bill was introduced, but before legalization, an incident occurred at the University of Texas where one student was killed and three others were wounded by a student wielding a hunting knife. This created resistance to the bill, which was pacified by the “location restricted” passage on the bill. Monica Park ’19 said, “I don’t think that this law is a good thing. Just because the lawmakers could enact such a policy doesn’t mean that they should.” Open carry of blades longer than 5.5 inches is barred from places such as bars, polling locations, racetracks, airports, high schools, hospitals, jails or correctional facilities, churches and amusement parks. Punishments for offenses to the laws in place to guide open carry of long blades have parameters of up to 10 years in prison along with a $10,000 fine. The response to this bill has been varied. Many are taking skeptical or lighthearted stances on the new laws. Most do not see a legitimate reason to openly carry a long fixed blade. Patrick Fullerton ’19 says, “I don’t know why such a law is necessary. I also think it will encourage people to take more risks and could potentially cause harm.” This opens a new front on gun control issues and open and concealed carry laws, especially in light of the incident at the University of Texas.