New York Judge Repeals Ban on Nunchucks

A federal judge has ruled that the New York state ban on possession of nunchucks is unconstitutional, as it violated the Second Amendment.

Judge Pamela Chen ruled on a case dating all the way back to 2000. The Associated Press reported that James Maloney filed a complaint against the state after he was charged for possession of nunchucks — or nunchaku, as they are traditionally known — in his own home. Maloney hoped to get this at-home ban lifted, but Judge Chen ruled that the state law was illegal altogether.

The ban on nunchaku was reportedly instituted by the state of New York in 1974. At the time, the growing popularity of Kung Fu movies had lawmakers afraid that "'various circles of the state's youth," such as "muggers and street gangs" were "widely" using the weapons. They noted that nunchaku can cause "many serious injuries."

The weapon consists simply of two sticks connected by a rope or a chain. The separation allows for a whip-like effect that can be devastating at short range. They were popularized in movies first by Bruce Lee, who learned to use the weapons from Filipino-American martial artist, Daniel Arca Inosanto.

Maloney, who is a professor at the State University of New York's Maritime College, first filed his complaint in 2003. He told the Associated Press that he was overwhelmed by Judge Chen's decision, and that "perhaps the most amazing thing" was getting the ban lifted entirely.

"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 said.

Maloney hoped to have nunchaku allowed in the home, but Judge Chen ruled that banning that manufacturing, transporting or disposing of nunchaku was unconstitutional as well.

The ruling quickly gained viral status online, where jokes about nunchucks, the second amendment and Kung Fu movie enthusiasts took over.

"I feel like I'm 14 years old again," joked The Daily Show's Trevor Noah.

"NYC made nunchucks legal?" wrote comic book writer Matthew Rosenberg. "Cool. I didn't think the MTA had a plan to make the subway worse in 2019."


"If you outlaw nunchucks, only outlaws will have nunchucks," added radio commentator Frank Morano.