A Brooklyn federal court ruled on Friday that a 1974 ban on nunchucks in the state of New York is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.
Judge Pamela Chen issued the ruling in favor of plaintiff James Maloney, who began his legal battle after being charged with possession of nunchucks in 2000.
First developed in Okinawa, nunchucks — a pair of wood, plastic or metal rods connected by a chain or rope also known as nunchaku — rose to popularity after appearing in Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon.”
Placed a year after the film’s release, the ban “arose out of a concern that, as a result of the rising popularity ‘of ‘Kung Fu’ movies and shows,′ ‘various circles of the state’s youth’ — including ‘muggers and street gangs’ — were ‘widely’ using nunchaku to cause ‘many serious injuries,’” according to the 27-page ruling.
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According to NBC News, Judge Chen determined that the ban is “an unconstitutional restriction on the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment and are, therefore, void.”
She also ruled that the defendant, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, “does not contradict the contention that the nunchaku’s primary use, which Defendant concedes is as ‘a tool from the sphere of martial arts’ … is a lawful one.”
Maloney, who first filed a complaint in 2003, reached as far as the Supreme Court when the case went against him. It was remanded in 2010 after a Second Amendment decision in another case, but he returned with an amended complaint.
“How could a state simply ban any and all possession of a weapon that had a long and proud history as a martial-arts weapon, with recreational, therapeutic and self-defense utility,” he told the Associated Press.
Because of the ban, Maloney could not teach his twin sons “Shafan Ha Lavan,” a form of martial arts he invested that uses nunchucks. He said that getting more relief from the ruling was “perhaps the most amazing thing” he could ask for.
However, the possibility of an appeal remains in the form of further evidence that may be used to support a ban or restriction of the weapon.
Arizona, California and Massachusetts are the three remaining states that both ban the possession and use of nunchucks after the ruling on Friday. Interestingly, they are the most common weapons used in martial arts classes in states that allow them, the Sacramento Bee noted.
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