Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Knife Reform Bottled up by Texas Senate State Affairs Committee HB 956)


Texas Capitol image from wikipedia, cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten

Why are Texas Senate Republicans slowing a bill supported by most House Democrats?

In 2017, the Texas legislature passed a sweeping knife reform bill. It removed the criminal penalties for carrying most knives in Texas.  Because of a tragic and illegal knife attack on a college campus, at the last minute, amendments were added to the bill to make the possession of knives with a blade over 5.5 inches illegal in a small number of locations. 

This meant numerous people were kept at risk of arrest for using ordinary implements of the job, such as gardeners using knives to trim with or cooks using knives to prepare food in locations where 51% of the income came from liquor sales.

A cleanup bill to remove these restrictions passed the Senate in 2017, unanimously. It passed the House this year, with only two Democrats against it. 

It is in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

During recent testimony at the committee, objections were raised by Senator Eddie Lucio, wondering of any innocent person had ever been victimized by a ban of knives with blades larger than 5.5 inches in such circumstances. 

I recall such an instance, as related to me by college friends of my daughter at Texas A&M university, about 2005. 

One of the members of their "in" group of nerdy computer geeks was at a Science Fiction Convention, in March of the year. He purchased a replica sword at the convention, which was held on campus. 

One of the places 5.5 inch+ knives are still banned is on campus.

He went to class from the convention, and showed some classmates the replica. 

There was some animosity against the group of nerds in the class, and someone in the class called the authorities, an early example of cancel culture. 

The authorities pressed charges based on his possession of the replica sword. 

Being young and ignorant, I recall he agreed to a plea deal, and ended up with a felony conviction. It probably did not help that he has an Hispanic surname. I am withholding the name at present, while attempting to obtain permission to release it. 

When you are young, even if you have a computer degree from an excellent university, such as Texas A & M, a felony conviction with only probation, still limits your life choices.

Senator Lucio said he would support the bill, because of the people who asked him to support it. 

It is not so clear why a Republican majority committee is working to kill a knife rights bill supported by near unanimity. 

There was public testimony on 17 May. You can see the testimony from about 07:45 to 28:00 on the video. The bill was left "pending". 

That is a death sentence for knife law reform this session, unless the bill is voted out of committee. 

It is difficult to see why Republicans would oppose a clean-up bill such as this, which is also supported by most Democrats. 

©2021 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Take a look at how much police work is reduced when people defend themselves. calling the police after you have been criminally assaulted does not prevent crime. Stopping the criminal does. Each jerk removed lowers the crime rate. Stop the jerk and he does not repeat. after you have been attacked is too late for you. Personally I prefer to survive an attack and could care less if the attacker survives. The point of self defense is to save your own life and the lives of others. The jerks of this world just look for their next victim. Eliminate the jerks and reduce the crime rate. How many times has the jerk got away before attacking you? How many will the jerk attack after you until he or she is stopped? there will never be enough police for every one to carry one around and they eat too many donuts to carry very far a personal weapon is much less weight. unlike cops I only shoot to kill when I absolutely have to. There are few better shots with a pistol then me. If I shoot your ear off you will be earless the rest of your life. They used to cut one hand off of thieves The second offense the thief just starved to death. No hands.