Second Amendment

You Can Now Legally Possess Nunchucks in Arizona

Nunchucks are technically protected by the Second Amendment.


Arizona's Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill on Friday to remove nunchucks from the state's list of deadly weapons.

The deadly weapons list is intended for items that are specifically "designed for lethal use." Because nunchucks were included on the list, their ownership was illegal for most Arizonans. While there was an "understanding," of sorts, that nunchucks were legal for martial arts competitions, nunchuck owners previously worried that a misunderstanding during transportation could lead to charges.

"It's good to know that nobody's going to get arrested for carrying their nunchucks to their training,"  Shawn Sample, a karate instructor in Phoenix, told AZfamily. Sample also observed that the ban made little sense in a state where open-carry of firearms is legal. 

Whether the Second Amendment protects nunchuck ownership is a hot question right now. In December 2018, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York overturned the state's 44-year-old nunchuck ban, citing D.C. v. Heller, which affirmed an individual's right to possess a weapon that was both "common use" and "typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes."

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  1. It’s now legal to hit yourself in the nuts in AZ.

    1. In most states only politicians can hit you in the nuts.

    2. Can’t say I’ve ever done that. The back of the head or my other arm’s elbow, now…

  2. Ummm…technically protected? Arms are arms, no?

    1. Not in constitutional law.

      Constitutional law is that highbrow area of study where “Shall make no law” is generally understood to mean “Shall make no law unless the courts agree that it is important”.

      By the same logic “shall not be infringed” means “Shall not be infringed by any amount more than what we feel like. Unless we happen to feel like infringing more. Then we can infringe more.”

      In a sane world, there would be no laws against shapes.

      Nunchucks are two sticks and a chain tying them together. Under no rational set of rules could it be illegal to attach two sticks with a string, chain or wire.

      The same goes for a lot of stupid things. Like banning dildos because they are obscene. It is a piece of rubber in an oblong shape. No way, no how does it make sense for there to be any laws about that whatsoever.

      But we don’t live in a sane world. We live in a world where the first amendment, which is specifically designed to protect political speech is found to be inapplicable more when speech is political. The idea of campaign restrictions applying to any sort of speech at all is beyond the pale… yet here we are. You might argue about funding speech being separate from speech (you’d be wrong, but at least it is an argument)… but finding that restrictions on political advertisements are in accord with the first amendment is straight-up insane. No rational person could possibly agree with that, even if you happen to hold that it is a good governmental policy.

      1. They get around “shall not be infringed” by saying “the right to keep and bear arms” has never been absolute, that it has always been understood to not cover felons, that it doesn’t cover backpack nukes or gallons of biological agents or sarin gas or rifles with bayonet lugs.

        They get around “shall make no law” by saying “freedom of speech” has always been understood to not be absolute, that it doesn’t allow slander or libel or true threats or military secrets.

        Almost everybody agrees with some of those exceptions, which turns it into a line-drawing exercise.

        1. That’s simply not true. At the time that the first amendment, along with the rest of the BOR was approved, private citizens owned war ships, complete with cannons, capable of sitting offshore and bombarding cities.

        2. The only one i have any serious objection to is nukes, and that is simply because, as the technology currently exists, a nuke cannot be used in a manner that doesn’t cause extensive, potentially irreversible damage to surrounding third-parties. Fix that, and personal nukes are a-okay with me.

        3. Rifles with bayonet lugs were exactly the arms the Second Amendment referred to. Individual citizens were expected to have arms of military usefulness.

  3. people were previously *not* owning chucks in Arizona because law?

    1. They may have owned “nunchuck paraphernalia” though. Which is highly dangerous…

      (namely, a broomstick and some twine. And a saw to cut the broomstick)

  4. “Whether the Second Amendment protects nunchuck ownership is a hot question right now”
    Read the second amendment.
    Shall not be infringed. No exceptions for any specific weapon. None.
    Period, as Emperor Hussein used to say.

    1. And felons? Backpack nukes? Biological and chemical agents?

      Then there are libel, slander, defamation of character, military secrets …. all unprotected by “shall make no law”.

      Where do you draw the line?

      1. Actually, it’s quite easy to draw the line when something is phrased “Congress shall make no law…”

        The line is right there. Congress can’t do it. Period.

        Individual state legislatures could potentially do it, but Congress can’t. Not a tough question at all. (of course you have to throw out the sham that is incorporation as well)

        1. Thanks to the 14th Amendment, neither can state Legislatures now.

          The 14A creates a minimum standard of rights for all American citizens of every state that states cannot infringe on.

          Every American in Commifornia has a constitutionally protected right to keep and bear Arms. All Armaments. Every gun control law is uncosntitutional and therfore illegal.

      2. Do you have any idea how expensive nukes are? Biological material? Do you know how easy it is to track who bought these things? (Who let loose this biological contaminant? Maybe the guy who just bought 2 million dollars worth of anthrax… And who sells anthrax anyhow?)

        How about fertilizer and diesel fuel? When will they ban those?

        The line is simple, the Feds can’t do it, ever.

  5. What about butterfly knives? I find the opening and closing soothing, like a sress ball… as long as I am in practice and not slicing my knuckles open….

  6. Also, the nunchuck is basically an improved staff, which is what the yeoman and other commoners used because swords were expensive and often banned for the non knightly class, and the actual beginning of the common law right to bear arms.

    1. nunchucks were a threshing device used by farmers in Okinawa. They were adapted as weapons like many of the farming implements after the Japanese invaders forbid the use of traditional weapons by the natives.

  7. This just another example of immigrants failing to assimilate.

    1. Fuckin Guatemalans and their exotic weapons. Actually, there is a style of Brazilian Jujitsu that Hoyt Gracie rode to championship.

  8. Ironically, its always been legal to own swordchucks and gunchucks.

    1. Indeed

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  10. For those that make the “Why not nukes? Where do we draw the line?…” argument, how about directed vs non-directed weaponry? In other words, things that can reasonably be shown to kill more than one intended target at a time? That is a sensible, bright line (as the courts are fond of saying) rules out explosives, biological, and chemical weapons.

    1. Checks Constitution….

    2. The Libertarian Defense Caucus was burdened with every 2A argument, and some thought fieldpieces were more militialike than individual. In ordinary law the germane concept of menacing is relied on to distinguish among weapons scenarios. Pointing a gun at someone for no good reason is a lot like aggression. First Responders™ take note.

  11. I have always found it ridiculous that people were free to own guns because of the 2nd… But various types of far less deadly weapons, like these, certain types of knives, throwing stars, etc were outright banned.

    Keep in mind I’m not saying guns should be banned, but that none of those other things should have ever been banned in the first place. What a dumb world we live in.

  12. Anyone realize that this ban was passed about the same time that Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris karate movies were big? Anyone who studied martial arts knows Nunchucks are hard to learn to use correctly and you are more likely to whack the crap out of yourself alot. The ban was passed because like they so often do, politicians were reacting to something they didnt understand but some group was freaking out about people owning.

    1. What about assault nunchucks?

  13. A friend got fined for driving to the martial art studio with chaku in Austin. Turns out you can have a 12 gauge shotgun loaded, cocked, with a shell in the chamber and the safety off and that is no big deal by comparison.

  14. Arizona in the news!

    Seems I was breaking the law all these years and didn’t know it.

  15. Nukes are entirely useless for self-defense, and judging by their non-use since 1945, aren’t even very useful as a military weapon. I have no problem with classifying them as not a militia weapon and unprotected by the Second Amendment.

    Chemical and biological weapons are also neither a self-defense weapon nor a militia weapon – unless killing children and terrorizing civilians is a proper role for the militia. Poison gasses failed to achieve their intended purpose in WWI – they killed soldiers, often including the side that deployed the gas, but failed to achieve a breakthrough or to put any large formation out of action. Since then have never been used except against civilians and irregular combatants. Any armed force with even minimal equipment is ready to protect itself against chemical weapons, so all that using them does is to force _both_ sides into protective gear, slow down all operations because of the burden of wearing that gear, and kill or injure a few of the least competent or unluckiest soldiers. Even when German scientists handed Hitler the first nerve gas, he saw no _military_ use for it.

    But civilians are usually unprotected, and keeping a gas mask on a small child would be nearly impossible. Biological weapons are similar, but with a much greater chance of coming back on the side that used them. If you are using these weapons, you are a terrorist – whether fighting for a government or against one.

    1. (part 2 of 3)
      Artillery has been used in self-defense in the past, against pirates and in collective self-defense of fortified frontier towns such as the eighteenth century Boonesborough. Even today, it might save a lot of trouble in the long run if it was known that American merchant ships passing through certain areas carried enough firepower to destroy a motor launch before it came within AK-47 range. But within the boundaries of the US in this era, if you need artillery, RPG’s, grenades, or machine guns to protect yourself, we’ve suffered such a social breakdown that the Constitution is no longer relevant. However, if the militia clause in the 2nd Amendment means anything, it’s that the tools of the common soldier should be allowed for any non-felonious citizen – including at a minimum selective-fire assault rifles and anti-tank weapons. The National Firearms Act puts a burden on the exercise of 2nd Amendment rights that would be disallowed for any other right listed in the Constitution, and some that are only hinted at.

    2. (part 3 of 3)

      Now, I’d support another amendment that banned such weapons, IF it also banned them for police and for any troops being used as police. And I’d need a few things in return:
      1) A clear statement that keeping and carrying in public any weapon similar to or of less power than the police are allowed to use is an individual right, that must not be infringed except for persons convicted of violent felonies. (That is, if any police department issues rifles, rifles, pistols, knives, nunchucks, etc. are protected.)
      2) Clear protection of the right to defend oneself. The authors of the constitution did not list this because they couldn’t conceive of officials who denied this right – but today, they exist.
      3) Penalties for officials that violate constitutional rights – no immunity for cops, prosecutors, and judges that violate rights, and legislators that write or vote for unconstitutional legislation will pay for the costs of overturning it. Such officials will be suspended from their jobs until restitution is paid in full.
      4) Any person that interferes with another’s right to self-defense or to carry the instruments of self-defense thereby becomes financially responsible for crimes committed against the person interfered with. Posting an area as no guns allowed puts the onus on the owner to prevent all crime within it.

    3. I woild simply cite the 2A here that all Americans had the constitutionally protected right to keep and bear Arms. All Arms.

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