My son has been actively involved in fencing since he was 7, and he is a junior coach for Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) camps during the summer. While his current arsenal of weapons consists of epees, we are in the process of ordering him a long sword to use in his historic weapons program.

Therefore, it was with great interest that I learned that a new Texas law will permit the open carry of swords and other long-blade weapons.

The phrase “everything’s bigger in Texas” is about to become even more clear-cut.

On Friday, Texans will legally be allowed to carry blades longer than 5.5 inches in most — but not all — places.

This includes openly carrying the famous Jim Bowie knife, as well as daggers, dirks, throwing knives, stilettos, poniards, swords, machetes and spears.

According to the proponents, the new measure will make doing work within certain professions (e.g., HEMA coaches) easier to conduct.

Phillip Watkins, owner of The Knife Guys, said the law is going to make it easier on people with jobs requiring the use of larger knives.

“It’s going to make it easier for hunters and people that have professional jobs where they use oversized knives for their particular tasks,” Watkins says, “like lawn care and chefs, or these traveling chefs going to festivals, and then your hunters that go hog hunting and carry a tougher knife than just your general public.”

However, long knives will still not be allowed in locations including bars, colleges, correctional facilities, government buildings, hospitals, places of worship, polling places, public and private schools, secured areas in airports and sporting events.

…”Most people in Texas carry a knife,” {Amarillo Police Department Public Information Officer Jeb] Hilton says, “and it is going to be a little bit of a shock to see someone carrying a machete or sword around, but once the law gets out and people know that that’s OK, I don’t think we will get a lot of calls on it.”

Interestingly, similar laws are now on the books on Oklahoma and Montana.

In the era of Live Action Role Playing (larping) and legalized marijuana, historic weapons enthusiasts are expressing their concerns.

Hunter Follett, owner of Dallas-area sword shop Swords of Might, said the law might give a bad name to those who collect and train with medieval weaponry.

“I think it’s an OK law,” Follett said. “Swords have been carried for 5,000 years, but I don’t want people going out in the streets who don’t know what they’re doing or don’t have training in carrying a sword and potentially frightening people.”

So, if you are going to wield a sword, make sure to be trained by professionals…like my son, who is the San Diego Junior Cup Fencing Champion in Men’s Epee!

Eastman Original

Those of you who are interested in enjoying this new found freedom should check out HEMA Alliance for more information.