I saw this headline from the New York Daily News:
Nunchuck ban lifted in Arizona, where guns are allowed to be carried without license
Good, it’s about time that stupid anti-weapon laws got overturned.
Martial art fans can finally show people what they’re working with.
On Friday, Arizona’s governor Doug Ducey signed a law lifting the longtime ban on nunchucks, which were on the state’s list of “prohibited weapons,” along with automatic firearms, sawed-off shotguns, grenades and IEDs.
Fantastic, not can we have automatic weapons, sawed-off shotguns, and grenades removed from the prohibited weapons list?
According to reports, the martial arts weapons — which grew in popularity during the 1970s after being seen in Bruce Lee films — were described in the legislation as “two or more sticks, clubs, bars or rods to be used as handles, connected by a rope, cord, wire or chain, in the design of a weapon used in connection with the practice of a system of self-defense.”
Nunchucks were banned in the 1970’s or 1980’s in most places because of a moral panic. Moral busybodies decided that kids who saw those movies were going to become hooligans and felt the need to ban martial arts weapons as a precaution.
This is exactly the same motivation for banning switchblades across the country in the wake of movies like Rebel Without a Cause and 12 Angry Men.
This is why I universally support overturning all of these idiotic weapon laws. They are all passed by politicians wanting to get elected using fear by pushing a solution to a non-issue that strips other people of their rights.
I have covered New York City’s overzealous use of anti-gravity knife laws to prosecute working class New Yorkers who have jobs to do and are not hurting anybody. NYC politicians can show off tables full of lockback pocket knives and talk about arrest figures like they were cracking down on MS-13 carrying machetes when really they were arresting electricians, construction workers, and contractors carrying Buck 110s and Leatherman Waves.
Arizona residents are allowed to carry guns without permits or licenses.
That’s the Second Amendment for you. To be honest, nunchucks are protected by the Second Amendment too. That’s not my opinion, that’s the opinion of a judge in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York.
In my wildest fantasies, New York City’s knife laws get overturned by the Supreme Court, who go on to say that the Second Amendment doesn’t just apply to guns but to all weapons and that most knife, crossbow, slingshot, and other weapon bans are void.
“It’s good to know that nobody’s going to get arrested for carrying their nunchucks to their training,” Shawn Sample, a Phoenix karate instructor told KTVK/KPHO.
Yes, it is. Now only if New York City could do something about arresting carpenters on their way to work with a folding utility knife in their jeans.
“I find it interesting that a state that allows you to walk around with a gun on your hip worries about nunchucks being a problem,” the Phoenix-based Karate instructor added.
That’s what happens when people elect moral busybodies who run on campaigns of moral panics.
Nunchucks — or nunchaku, as they are also known — are traditional Japanese martial arts weapon consisting of two sticks, usually made of wood, connected at one end by a short chain or rope.
“The average person can do far more damage using a baseball bat than nunchucks,” Arizona Rep. John Kavanaugh told the Associated Press before the legislation passed. “They’re not dangerous to anybody. And we really should let kids and adults who want to do martial arts activities legally possess them.”
That’s not entirely true. They are weapons. They are intended to and can hurt people. But that is the point. People have the right to own weapons for defense, and if they choose to use nunchucks that way, they have that right.
Last December, U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen struck down a similar ban in New York ruling that nunchucks were protected under the Second Amendment.
That is what I wrote about last year in the link above.
What gets me about this article, and the interview in it, is the logic that since nunchucks are banned it’s ridiculous that people can walk around with guns.
One weapon ban should not beget another.
Many states recognize that the right to carry guns is protected by the Second Amendment. Other non-firearm weapons have not been recognized to have the same protections, probably because at the time of our nation’s founding, not a lot of Minute Men were running around with nunchucks. Swords and large knives have also been banned and overlooked as having Second Amendment protection.
I believe the correct logic is, end most weapon bans. If you have a problem with stabbings, you don’t solve that by arresting guys hanging drywall carrying utility knives. The kids who want to practice with nunchucks at Karate Camp are not using them to rob liquor stores.
Most people who carry switchblades are not Sharks or Jets or looking to stab Marlon Brando in a leather jacket.
We need more of these laws overturned, lest we turn into Mediocre Britain and ban people from buying plastic pie servers and gardening towels.
9 thoughts on “The New York Daily News doesn’t get it about nunchucks or guns”
As others have pointed out, the AZ “no nunchucks” law is so broadly and vaguely written, that it was a Class 4 Felony for a child to use a jump rope outside (“two or more sticks … connected by a rope…”).
And AZ Rep John Kavanaugh is correct: The average person CAN do more damage with a baseball bat. Nunchaku are dangerous in untrained hands … mostly to the user him- or herself. Unless swung correctly, the “business” end can rebound and hit the user with the same amount of force as the person he/she is trying to hit, and that says nothing about the inherent risks in the various catches, holds, and hand/grip changes.
Speaking from experience there…. 😉
Bruce Lee made them look cool, but Bruce Lee was intentionally making them look cool. Almost none of what you see on-screen is viable for self-defense; it’s all flair, for exposition or showing off. Really using nunchaku does not look anywhere near as cool.
Bruce Lee was the only man that made nunchucks look cool. When anybody else uses them, they look like a tool.
A bit of history – nunchakus as they are properly termed (not nunchucks or numbchucks) were originally an Okinawan farm implement. After weapons were outlawed by the samurai and their masters – the disarmed peasants turned them (and other items – bo staff and tonfas) into defensive weapons. Hmm, seems like peasants will figure out a way to protect themselves and their families………………
More correctly, the Okinawan peasants built self-defense systems around common farm implements. That way they have no “weapons”, but can still defend themselves.
That puts nunchaku (as well as kama, tonfa, bo, etc.) squarely into the “weapon of opportunity” category, not a purpose-built weapon. Better than harsh words, certainly, but nearly always less effective (barring a LOT of practice) because by definition they’re not designed to be weapons.
After posting this reply, something has been niggling in the back of my mind all day, and I just put my finger on it.
“Weapons of opportunity” is incorrect. Replace that with “improvised weapons”.
Other than that minor correction, I stand by it. Nunchaku (and other traditional karate weapons) are improvised weapons, and improvised weapons are not as effective as purpose-built ones without extensive training and practice.
It’s probably the second weapon I ever made as a kid (after rubbing a stick against the concrete to make it a pointy stick). You can’t effectively ban something that’s easy enough for a child to make out of parts found in the garage.
[…] Yesterday I wrote a post about the New York Daily News being snarky about the legislative end to a nunchuck b…, and how New York City was the last place that should snark about this because of their knife laws. […]
I never understood the logical disconnect of you can carry around a gun legally but it is impossible to legally carry a switch blade, taser, brass knuckles, knife over X inches, nunchuks ,etc. (at least in my state).
Expecting laws to be logical is a fool’s quest.
I remember that NH had laws disallowing things like “poignards” and “dirks”. Without defining what those terms mean, of course.
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