On the morning of May 1, 2017, a 21-year-old man walked onto the campus of the University of Texas at Austin carrying a Bowie knife described as having a 15-inch blade by some outlets and started indiscriminately stabbing students.
In the attack, three students were injured and a fourth student named Harrison Brown was killed.
Now the Texas Tribune is reporting that the mother of the student killed on that fateful day is working to get the repeal of a knife ban on nearly all knives in Texas reinstated.
“I would love to see that bill completely repealed,” Lori Brown told reporter Emma Platoff. “Let’s come up with a license, a timeframe, a background check. Mental health issues are also a big problem.”
Texas Knife Ban Repeal Passed Easily
A full repeal of all knife laws was going up for vote around the time of the attack last year, which put the legislation in doubt at the time. It was later brought back with an amendment that restricted some locations on large Bowie knives in direct response to the incident at UT. It passed almost unanimously and was signed by the governor.
As a father and human being, I can barely imagine the grief and pain she must face on a daily basis. Unfortunately, a license and background checks for knives is simply not the answer.
As you can expect, Doug Ritter of Knife Rights does not agree either.
“We cannot begin to comprehend Mrs. Brown’s grief,” Ritter said in a statement. “It is understandable that this grieving mother would want to do something to address the cause of her son’s murder, but restricting the freedom of law-abiding Texans by reinstating clearly irrational and ineffective bans on some particular type of knife is not a solution.”
Not only was the knife the man used to stab others on campus illegal at the time but it remains illegal to carry a knife of that size on campus. (Though Knife Rights has suggested it will work toward getting those restrictions removed in the future.)
Brown Suggests Knife Licensing and More
In a phone conversation with Knife Rights’ Todd Rathner, Brown suggested “she would seek restrictions on sales of some types of knives and perhaps licensing of individuals and/or background checks to purchase or possess certain types of knives.”
The reality is that knives are utilitarian tools. You can find them in abundance in every single household (in kitchens) at various sizes. Some knives like the Kanetsune Gyuto Professional Chef’s Knife feature blades at more than 9 inches. Countless people use pocket knives for work every day.
Attempting to ban or license knives is a waste of resources that could go toward the actual problem of mental illness. Although the student who committed the stabbing was acting normal at the time, he had suffered from mental issues in the past and may not have received the care or attention he deserved.
“We can only hope that Mrs. Brown can be persuaded to channel her determination to do something positive towards the real cause of her son’s murder, not towards an unreasonable and ineffective attack on law-abiding Texans,” Ritter said. “Knife Rights will oppose any effort to reinstate any knife ban and will continue to fight to repeal ineffective and irrational knife bans throughout America.”
At this point, her bid at a reinstatement of certain knife bans seems like a long shot.