Four days after a 21-year-old man stabbed one student to death and injured three others at the University of Texas in Austin, the state’s lawmakers plan to vote on a bill that would take long knives, spears, daggers, and swords off a list of banned weapons statewide.
The legislation, set to be debated Friday (May 5), would also let minors obtain knives—something previously banned by state law.
According to The Austin American-Statesman, which first reported on the legislation, the bill’s author said the timing was “unfortunate” but would not cause any delays in the state House debate. The exact knife used in the stabbing Monday, a Bowie knife with a blade longer than 5.5 inches, would be a legal weapon under the new legislation. The lawmakers told the Statesman that they would consider amendments to protect college campuses, but it is unclear what they would propose.
What they know they want is to have knives treated in state law in a similar way to guns. A controversial law introduced in Texas in 2016 allows students to carry guns on campus, including dorms and classrooms, as long as they have the appropriate license and are over 21.
The law, which was opposed by the University of Texas, took effect on the 50th anniversary of a campus shooting that resulted in 16 deaths. Texas is one of 11 states that allow students to carry guns—Georgia became the latest on May 4, when governor Nathan Deal signed a legalizing concealed weapons on campus.