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These trendy self-defense key chains are actually illegal in Texas

Key chains fall under knuckles weapon classification

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SAN ANTONIO – Cat-shaped self-defense key chains may be trendy, but in Texas, they're illegal.

Owners of the self-defense key chains can slip two fingers into the cutouts of the eyes and use the pointed cat ears to defend themselves in an attack. The key chains are illegal in Texas because they are considered a knuckles weapon, which are prohibited under Texas' prohibited weapons statute.

The key chains come in a variety of colors and can be purchased from online vendors for under $10, but the penalty for carrying a key chain can mean jail time and up to a $4,000 fine.

According to the Texas-based criminal defense firm Barnett Howard & Williams PLLC, the offense is a class A misdemeanor and carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

In 2015, a woman was arrested after accidentally bringing one of the self-defense key chains into the Bexar County Courthouse. The woman told KSAT she asked a deputy if she could just throw the key chain away and stressed that she wasn't a criminal, but the deputy detained her and she was booked on a charge that was later dismissed.