Brass knuckles are now legal in Texas

If legal definition is your thing, here’s an article that cites a number of legal cases affirming that brass knuckles do not constitute legally protected “arms” in relation to the second Amendment.

One of the earliest is “English v. State”, 1871. The court-affirmed argument against such weapons’ supposed protection under the Second Amendment reads in part

No kind of travesty, however subtle or ingenious, could so misconstrue this provision of the constitution of the United States, as to make it cover and protect that pernicious vice, from which so many murders, assassinations, and deadly assaults have sprung, and which it was doubtless the intention of the legislature to punish and prohibit. The word “arms” in the connection we find it in the constitution of the United States, refers to the arms of a militiaman or soldier, and the word is used in its military sense. The arms of the infantry soldier are the musket and bayonet; of cavalry and dragoons, the sabre, holster pistols and carbine; of the artillery, the field piece, siege gun, and mortar, with side arms.(p.477)

The terms dirks, daggers, slungshots, sword-canes, brass-knuckles and bowie knives, belong to no military vocabulary. Were a soldier on duty found with any of these things about his person, he would be punished for an offense against discipline.


Even in many states where it is legal to OWN them, it is still illegal to carry them. While I’ve personally never heard of anyone owning actual brass knuckles, I know people who have carried those cat kubotans, which is WHY this law was changed.

Just because we can’t find example of someone using them for defense (with short google searches, hardly exhaustive), the number of examples of people fending off others with keys shows it is a viable defense method. How is one able to dismiss that the concept can work?

How can one defend a law that makes carrying these cat kubotans illegal with the potential of lock up and/or fine or a tacked on charge because they bought a $10 key chain on Amazon “just in case”?

Perhaps a compromise would be keeping actual brass knuckles illegal, and allowing the cat kubotans to be illegal. But I find it absurd that a woman can get in trouble for carrying a pointy bit of plastic to feel safer.

Yeah. While it never hurts to remind people that the whole system is racist, that doesn’t automatically invalidate whatever law we’re discussing. No one is going to suggest we repeal murder laws because black people are disproportionately like to be convicted (even though they are).


Because “brass knuckles used to assault innocent people” is a real and documented phenomenon, whereas “brass knuckles used as a defensive weapon” is still a hypothetical.

Well, I could tell you an anecdote about a woman I knew back in college who used a pair to slug a guy who was trying to take advantage of her after a frat party, but it’s just that; an anecdote.

I know that it happened because I listened to her story, where she admitted that she’d just gotten really lucky with her punch… and then that following Monday, the perp in question showed up to our lab class, late wearing dark sunglasses to cover up the huge shiner he was sporting. But no one ever reported anything to my knowledge, and no official complaints were registered, so there’s nothing on record.

It seems the woman in question didn’t want to deal with the misogynistic judgement that automatically comes with even an attempted sexual assault, nor did she want to be penalized for defending herself with a weapon that wasn’t legal in the state at that time. The would-be rapist likely didn’t want to have to explain to the authorities what his intentions had been, or to admit that he was bested by a woman whom he’d been trying to overpower. (Nevertheless, his rep as a predator still preceded him for the rest of his time at my alma mater.)

Because of the questionable legality of certain weapons and the unquestionable disparity of the US legal and penal system, you’re unlikely to find much if any concrete documentation that those aforementioned weapons are ‘useful for self defense.’


Of course, those precedents are completely destroyed by the simple fact that the USMC issued brass knuckle weapons as arms for soldiers in WWI making them officially arms of a soldier. Simply put, it’s not hard to find ignorant judges.

And you will find just as many upholding the idea that arms are not specific to the duty of your soldier.

OK - Fair point that brass knuckle attacks are real.

What also is a real thing is people getting in trouble for carrying a pointy bit of plastic to feel safer. Can we at least acknowledge that?

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Any resistance to an occupying force will probably be an underground “resistance”, not pitched battles of men lining up to shoot redcoats in the woods.

Small, silent, concealable weapons would absolutely be useful resisting an occupying force.

Really stretching the definition of “a well regulated militia” here.


“I insist we stick to the legal definition of ‘arms’ as they relate to rulings on the second amendment! Wait, not THOSE rulings…”

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And you’re stretching your interpretation of the constitution since the supreme court has definitively ruled for personal right to own firearms

The Second Amendment provides Americans a fundamental right to bear arms that cannot be violated by state and local governments, the Supreme Court ruled Monday

Needs a taser.

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Talk about your unwelcome immigrants!


The court has made no such ruling protecting the right to own brass knuckles, however.

Why are you mansplaining the law to me? The constitution says arms, not firearms.

Yes, and courts have interpreted that to mean specific kinds of arms which exclude nukes and brass knuckles alike.

You apparently disagree with court rulings that say brass knuckles aren’t protected. Likewise, I disagree with court rulings affirming many gun rights.

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I think you misunderstand my argument.

These laws were specifically enacted because of a fear of gang violence, here “gang” being used in the traditional “any non white youths” manner. The law has never been about protecting people, it was about giving police officers another reason to duck over black and Hispanic people.

When a law is specifically created to mess with minority people then it is the responsibility of non racist people to call for it’s elimination.

“During the early ‘50s, the white middle class became obsessed with the alleged danger posed by gangs of ethnic minorities allegedly roving America’s cities. That’s one reason for suburbia and the hysteria is what led to the Switchblade Knife Act, as well as the bans by individual states.”

Note that this is from Gizmodo in 2015, before the… Gawker unpleasantness.

This deals with switchblades, but it fairly much covers all banned knives and martial arts dodads…

I’m pretty sure if tasers had existed in the 19th century, they would have added it. Just because.

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Amendments are designed to prohibit the government from certain actions not to enumerate what you and I can and cannot do. Therefore, the ruling would have to be that the 2nd does not cover them and not that they are protected. They are protected until SCOTUS says they are not.

Brass knuckle advocates are certainly welcome to make that argument in court.

For the time being the courts have affirmed that laws banning brass knuckles are not unconstitutional.

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