The knife control craze seems set to cross the Atlantic. A mother who lost her son in a vicious knife attack went to the Texas capital of Austin to lobby Governor Greg Abbott for more restrictions on bladed weapons. As with gun control, she seems focused more on restricting access to the weapon the murderer used than on enabling victims to defend themselves.
“Bottom line: It should have never happened that day. It should not have happened. [White] should have not been allowed to have an illegal knife on him and use it to murder somebody,” Lori Brown, the mother of University of Texas at Austin student Harrison Brown, told KXAN News. Her son died in a stabbing attack on campus in May 2017, and she has decided to channel her grief into restricting the type of knife used to kill him.
“I have nothing to lose. I will not take ‘no’ for an answer,” Brown declared. “If something like [the stabbing attack] happens again, I just don’t know what I would do.”
Kendrex White, 21, has been charged with murder and aggravated assault in the stabbing spree that killed Brown’s son. Police said he used a “Bowie-style” hunting knife to stab four male students.
A little over a month after the stabbing, Abbott signed H.B. 1935 into law. The bill made it legal to carry Bowie knives and other large bladed weapons in more places around the state. Knives like the one used to kill Brown’s son are still illegal on K-12 and college campuses, however.
“In my opinion, [H.B. 1935] totally disregards Harrison and how he died and his murder,” Brown told KXAN. “It really did feel like a slap in the face.”
“I’m hoping to maybe repeal, or amend, or maybe poke some holes into House Bill 1935,” Brown announced. “In addition to that, I’d also like to see some changes made — on college campuses, university campuses and with this House Bill — that prevent knives, Bowie knives, swords, machetes from getting into the wrong hands and coming onto campus.”
H.B. 1935 expanded access to knives that were illegal to carry publicly in Texas previously. The law made Bowie knives, daggers, dirks, stilettos, poniards, swords, and spears legal to be carried throughout Texas, but it also forbade knives with blades over 5.5 inches in certain areas. Such weapons are illegal in establishments that receive more than 51 percent of their revenue from alcoholic sales, high school, college or professional sporting events, correctional facilities, medical facilities, amusement parks, or places of religious worship.
“People in Texas really need to be aware of what their representatives are voting for,” Brown told KXAN. “I just really feel like a lot of people don’t realize what that House Bill means.”
The advocacy group Knife Rights, which supported H.B. 1935, said they have no plans for 2019 as of yet. “Knife Rights is always looking for ways to allow law-abiding citizens to carry whatever knife it is they want to carry and carry it wherever it is they want to carry it,” Todd Rathner, the group’s director of legislative affairs, told KXAN. “But we don’t make plans for 2019 right now.”
“On the day that the stabbing happened on the UT campus, the knife that was used by the mentally defective person that used it was illegal to carry anywhere in the state of Texas. So, the law obviously didn’t stop this mentally defective person from hurting people and killing a person,” Rathner explained. “So, there’s no law that’s going to affect people that are bent on committing horrific crimes.”
The Knife Rights leader emphasized mental health efforts over any attempts to restrict access to knives or guns. “If people want to have an effect on crimes committed by mentally defective people, they should focus on the mental health system and figure out ways to keep people like the person who committed this horrific, unspeakable crime off the street,” he said.
Rathner added that law enforcement groups told him it is far more likely for a crime to be committed with a kitchen knife than any other knife type. “So, unless we are prepared to heavily regulate kitchen knives, then we are not going to have any effect on crime.”
“Kitchen knives are definitely frequent. We’ve had everything from hunting knives, to pocket knives to box cutters. I really don’t think it would be fair to say kitchen knives are the majority,” the Travis County Sheriff’s Office told KXAN.
That said, knife regulation can become extremely broad. Earlier this month, London Mayor Sadiq Khan responded to violence throughout Britain’s capital by declaring that no one in London should carry a knife.
“No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife,” Khan tweeted. “Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law.”
No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law. https://t.co/XILUvIFLOW
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) April 8, 2018
Khan has pushed knife control in response to the rising knife attacks, which pushed London ahead of New York City in homicides for the first time in history this year.
Leftists have often suggested that restricting weapons like guns will prevent murderous attacks like mass shootings. Unfortunately, the solution is not that simple. If murderers cannot access guns, they will find knives. Would-be murderers also care less about following the law, and black markets enable access to illegal weapons.
The very fact that Kendrix White killed Harrison Brown with an illegal knife suggests that knife control would not have prevented this attack. If Brown had a weapon to defend himself, however, things might have been different.
The gun control debate enjoys a powerful advantage over knife control in that while firearms are used for hunting and other forms of recreation as well as self-defense, guns are only used for a limited range of activities. Knives, however, prove essential not just for self-defense, but also in cooking, eating, whittling, and many professions seemingly not knife-related, like moving and bar-tending.
There are many “excuses” to carry a knife, and expanded access to knives may actually equip people to protect themselves.
Conservatives often mocked gun control activists, suggesting that after they outlaw guns, they would come after knives, and then perhaps even pencils. As with many slippery-slope arguments, the Left seems bent on making the Right’s worst fears into a “progressive” reality.