Texas– we love you, but you really need to address this, because it’s really dumb.
Why yes. It is a plastic keychain shaped like a cat! Better not carry it around in Texas though, because it could land you in jail.
Texans legally can walk down any street carrying their long swords, Bowie knives and guns.
But plastic self-defense key chains — particularly those shaped like cats or dogs with pointy ears — are off-limits and illegal.
“It’s a prohibited weapon,” said Shannon Edmonds, a staff attorney with the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. “Unlike a firearm … these are always and everywhere prohibited.”
These key chains, which have been in the news recently in Texas, can cost less than $10 — unless you’re caught with them in Texas.
If you’re caught with one, you could face jail time or a $4,000 fine.
For some reason, the keychains are categorized alongside brass knuckles, which is absurd because they are most definitely NOT brass knuckles. But since they currently fall under that category, they’re illegal too.
These key chains fall under the state’s ban on brass knuckles, which are defined as instruments made of a hard substance with finger rings or guards that are used to inflict injury on another person “by striking a person with a fist.”
It’s so so so SO stupid.
“It is odd to have a situation where a person carrying a plastic pink kitty cat key chain could be arrested and sentenced to a year in jail while the person carrying a 9mm handgun next to them is free to do so,” said Mark P. Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston. “But, at the same time, the person carrying the 9mm has a (license) … whereas the person with the key chain may not.
“This is a case where a well-intentioned law to prevent the use of brass knuckles and similar weapons was written before the existence of” self-defense key chains, he said. “It would not be surprising to see the Texas Legislature address this issue during the upcoming 2019 legislative session.”
The Texas Legislature really needs to address that. It’s really stupid. But for now, you’re going to have to save your kitty keychain purchase for another day. Pack the gun instead.