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Open Carry For Swords, But Not At The Texas Renaissance Festival

A state law removing most restrictions on carrying bladed weapons in public takes effect September 1.


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"Open Carry for Swords" goes into effect this Friday.

The Legislature passed the law in May. It removes most of the restrictions on carrying large, edged weapons in public. That includes swords and spears, as well as their more modern cousins like machetes and Bowie knives.

But there are still a few places around Texas where you'll need to keep your blade sheathed. The law prohibits carrying what it terms a "location-restricted knife" – anything with a blade longer than five and a half inches – in schools, hospitals, and polling places. And open carrying will remain forbidden in one place where swords are regularly on display.

The legend goes that Medieval Europe was for blades what the Old West was for guns. "You can have my broadsword when you pry it from my cold, dead hands." But that's never been the case at the Texas Renaissance Festival.

"We've had patrons for years that have come with, you know, swords, rapiers, battleaxes, daggers, as part of their costuming," says Travis Bryant, the festival's marketing director, "and the requirement that we've always had was that you could wear it as part of your costume, but it had to be what we would term as ‘peace tied.'" Peace tied, meaning it has to be secured inside a scabbard or sheath in such a way that it can’t be removed and openly brandished.

"As a privately held business, according to state law, we can determine whether or not we allow weapons, whether concealed or openly carried," says Bryant.

You can also buy swords from vendors at the festival. You have to keep them boxed up until you leave, but after that, you can wear them openly almost anywhere.

The Texas Renaissance Festival opens its 2017 season on September 30.

Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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