Open carry for knives, spears and ... swords?

All too often I run across a story which reminds me that I’m not nearly as well informed about subjects of interest here as I thought I was and today was no exception. This is a Second Amendment story… sort of, I guess, and it comes from Texas. Starting in roughly six weeks, Texans will be able to openly carry knives of pretty much any size, spears and even swords. The reason I felt a bit out of touch on this one was that I’d assumed that if carrying a sword was going to already be legal anywhere it would have to be Texas. But apparently not. (Time Magazine)

Texans will soon be able to carry a whole host of new weapons, including swords, spears, daggers and more.

The Lone Star state has passed a law that will allow residents to openly carry knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches, CNN reports. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill in June, but it does not go into effect until Sept. 1.

People could already carry knives with blades under the 5.5-inch limit, but they generally could not purchase or carry longer weapons. Now they will be able to take many more weapons with them when they run errands, for example, or when acting out their favorite scenes from Game of Thrones in the local park.

One local ABC station has a nice, brief video report covering it.

After a bit of checking, I see that plenty of people have debated this subject in terms of Second Amendment rights in the past and a number of states already have laws on the books providing various restrictions. I honestly hadn’t given it a lot of thought myself, primarily because when I think of the Second Amendment, I’m generally thinking of firearms. I checked in at FindLaw and they’ve got a few basic tips for you there.

One interesting factoid is that California already makes it legal to carry a sword (no length prohibitions mentioned) provided it’s carried “in the open.” If you’ve got a fixed blade knife, that can be worn in a sheath without running afoul of that law. On the opposite coast, New York also allows you to carry a sword, but if you have a “cane sword” you can be charged with a misdemeanor.

Is that a good idea? Why not? It’s rather difficult to be in favor of Constitutional Carry for firearms and then turn around and try to deny someone the right to pack a knife. Just for the record, I have a bowie knife which has followed me around since my late teen years, and I have a sheath for it, but I’ve never really felt a compunction to walk around with it on my belt except when I used to go hunting. It’s sort of a pain in the side… literally. We also have a sword in the house. It’s 40″ long, made of steel and yeah, you could probably take somebody’s head off with it if you have the strength to swing it. (The thing is ponderously heavy.) I just took it outside to take a picture for you to evaluate. (Click for full size.)

Once again, while I’m not yelling for the government to jump in and regulate it, is that something you want to carry around in public? At a minimum it’s not terribly practical. (And I don’t have sheath for it anyway. It’s strictly for display.) But then again, if you ran into more people who were obviously carrying something that at least approached the size of a bowie knife, perhaps people might be less likely to start trouble. There’s an old saying about an armed society being a polite society. Does that apply to edged weapons as well?

Just some food for thought on Saturday night.