A new bill introduced in the Texas legislature last week would place some pretty stringent restrictions on the display of knives in a retail setting. HB 4415 aims to make it so that “A retail establishment that displays a knife at the establishment shall keep the knife in a locked transparent case accesible only with the assistance of an employee of the establishment.”
As is often the case with legalese, there’s a veneer of specificity here which belies a certain underlying vagueness. In a recent news blast, Knife Rights lays out the problems. “For purposes of this bill, ‘knife’ is very broadly defined as ‘any bladed hand instrument that is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by cutting or stabbing a person with the instrument,'” they write. “‘Retail establishment’ is also very broadly defined as ‘a place of business open to the general public for the sale of goods or services.'”
This means that HB 4415 affects, not just cutlery stores, but any place that sells even a small selection of knives. Now, knives are often kept behind display cases in stores anyway, of course, but those cases are not always locked – and many knives are sold in blister pack-style packaging that can hang on shelf pegs like any other product. And, as Knife Rights points out, knife shows themselves also fall under HB 4415’s definition of “retail establishment.” If passed into law it would totally change the tenor of future knife shows in the Lone Star state.
At this point, HB 4415 has only been introduced for consideration. It still needs to pass the Texas House and Senate and get signed by the governor before it becomes law. If it manages to clear these hoops, HB 4415 will go into effect on September 1, 2021.