Wednesday, June 30, 2010

McDonald v. Chicago Wasn't The Only Case Sent Back For Retrial

Snowflakes in Hell noticed that the nunchaku possession case from New York was ordered retried in light of the McDonald decision.  Now, I don't much care about nunchakus, but they are certainly "arms," within the meaning of the Second Amendment.  Yes, I wouldn't want criminals carrying them around--but I don't see any strong case for why banning nunchakus makes any great sense for the law-abiding.  A co-worker in California mentioned to me one that her husband often carried them when out running, to defend himself from dogs--and she was shocked to find out that possessing them (even in your home) there was a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail or prison.  There's an exemption for martial arts studios, but for the average person?  It's more serious than carrying a gun without a permit.


  1. Interesting. The supposed "common use" test might be a problem for nunchaku, considering it would be hard to consider them common in most of the US. Then again, it could be a good test for the question of what happens to weapons that are uncommon because they have been banned.

  2. Oh, I think it would be easy to prove that nunchaku are common in most of the US, at least since the mid-Seventies. I think every kid who ever saw a Bruce Lee movie bought a set.

    I like the imaginary "shobi-zue" on the banned list. It appears to be a typo from an old "secrets of the ninja" book. They apparently were trying to ban "shinobi-zue" (stealth/ninja staff), which may or may not have actually existed before movie ninjas became cool. Much like the ban on butterfly knives, nunchaku, etc...


  3. Stupid "moral panic" laws, as jgreely intimates.

    There was never an issue with criminal use of nunchucks, just like switchblades weren't causing death and destruction in the streets in the 50s, but that's never stopped a legislator from wanting to Appear To Be Doing Something About Something.

  4. As one of the Oregon Supreme Court decisions from the 1980s put, the evidence cited in defense of switchblade laws was "impressionistic." (They struck down the ban on possession and carrying for violating the Oregon Const. RKBA provision.)

  5. Possession of nunchuks in MA is a felony. Another pointless law.

    It's interesting, that all of the debate around the Second Amendment seems to revolve around firearms, but the wording of the Amendment says "arms", not "firearms".

    This would seem to open a lot of territory for litigation to overturn other, non firearms, restrictions.