Injury Laws

Are Nunchucks Illegal?

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Are Nunchucks Illegal?


What is a Nunchuck?
A nunchuck is a traditional martial arts weapon of Asian origin consisting of two stick at their ends with a short chain or rope.  Nunchucks are most commonly associated with martial arts and martial arts films. 
Are nunchucks illegal?
In the United States nunchucks vary in legal status from state to state.  In Massachusetts, Arizona, New York and California, not only the use, but the possession of nunchucks are illegal.  One case in California involved the police entering the home of a martial arts instructor and, upon sight; the police confiscated a pair of nunchucks hanging as a display on a wall.  The man was cited for 6 counts of misdemeanor possession. 
Statutes
In California the statute states that anyone caught with the intention of "manufacture or cause to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, or possesses" any nunchucks will be subject to prosecution.  The penalty for the violation consists of "imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison."
Statutes in New York, Massachusetts and Arizona are similar in their criminalization of nunchucks.  New York courts have upheld the law by citing the use of nunchucks as dangerous weapons and that it is "has no purpose other than to maim or, in some instances, kill."
Use of a nunchuck is to injure or the use of a nunchuck in another crime is considered a felony and classified as a "deadly weapon."
Case Law
In a federal suit challenging the legality of the bans and attorney in New York has argued the constitutionality of the ban based on the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.  The trial court dismissed the action stating that the 2nd Amendment applied only to federal intrusions on the right to bear arms and the decision was affirmed in an appellate case.  However, in 2010 a Supreme Court decision held that the appellate decision ruled improperly and held that the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms is applied to the states through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.   As of right now the case is pending in the appellate court system and the legality of nunchucks in some states is still illegal.
What if I own nunchucks?
If you own nunchucks in any of the four states listed above it is considered a misdemeanor which essentially means that you cannot be sentenced to prison for more than one year.  If you have been caught possessing nunchucks in any of those states it is imperative that you contact a criminal lawyer to represent you.  The law in those states is still valid, even with the Supreme Court's decision.  The ban on nunchucks may not be valid for much longer but as far as today is concerned it is the law in some states.

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