Dec. 3, 2018
A lawmaker has filed a bill to undo the state’s ban on brass knuckles, a law that also prohibits Texans from carrying the kitty-shaped key chains that have become fashionable self-defense items with women.
Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, filed House Bill 446 on Monday. A former prosecutor who chairs the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, Moody was spurred to action after The Dallas Morning News reported that possessing self-defense key chains is also prohibited under the law that bans knuckles.
“Maybe there was a time when these kinds of laws addressed a legitimate threat, but that hasn’t been true for a long time,” Moody told The News. “In practice, we’re now criminalizing novelties and legitimate self-defense tools, which is sticking mostly very young people with serious criminal charges they don’t deserve.”
Current law bans “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.” Simple possession of such an item is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to $4,000 in fines and a year in jail.
In 2017, 93 people were convicted under the state’s knuckles ban, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. It’s unclear how many were like Kyli Phillips, a Carrollton resident who was arrested for “possession of a prohibited weapon” — the kitty key chain.
Phillips, 21, has not been formally charged with a crime, according to her mother, who welcomed the news that Moody is trying to overturn the ban.
“That’s actually really awesome, and hopefully that would assist Kyli’s case in getting dropped,” Kelly Broeker said Monday. “It’s still hanging over her head.”