Featured Image for A judge has ruled New Yorkers have a constitutional right to nunchucks

A judge has ruled New Yorkers have a constitutional right to nunchucks

Rejoice! A US federal judge has torn down a 40-year ban against nunchucks in New York City, stating the weapon is protected under the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment guarantees US citizens the right to keep and bear arms, and the ruling is the result of a four-decade-long legal battle fought by lawyer and martial artist, James M Maloney.

Back in the ’70s, the US went through a serious Kung Fu craze. A flurry of martial arts films invaded the American box office, with titles like Enter the Dragon and Drunken Master becoming cult hits.

Martial arts fever became a huge cultural phenomenon that spilled over to all kinds of media. Carl Douglas recorded the disco hit “Kung Fu Fighting”, Bruce Lee became one of the most popular performers of his time, several martial arts TV series debuted and even Marvel Comics jumped on the bandwagon with their Master of Kung Fu series.

Droves of young martial arts enthusiasts were inspired to twirl a pair of nunchaku and learn its secrets. I assume many loud face-smacks ensued in backyards across America as a result.

In the late ’70s, New York lawmakers were concerned teenagers might use nunchucks for criminal purposes. They were especially worried that muggers and street gangs would be tempted to add the weapon to their arsenal (did they watch The Warriors?). Out of concern for public safety, a law was passed to ban them from the streets.

Among those early enthusiasts was James M. Maloney, a kid from suburban New Jersey, who began studying and developing a passion for nunchucks. Now 60 years old, Maloney is the man who fought and won a legal ordeal in order to tear down a 40-year prohibition.

“I’m still digesting it, honestly,” Maloney told the New York Times.

Judge Pamela K. Chen ruled “the centuries-old history of nunchaku being used as defensive weapons strongly suggests their possession, like the possession of firearms, is at the core of the Second Amendment.”

Judge Chen’s ruling went further than Maloney had initially sought. It overturns the ban on the weapon as well as a companion law that prevented nunchucks from being manufactured or transported in the city.

I bet Daredevil is now a happy camper.

About the author

Filmmaker. 3D artist. Procrastination guru. I spend most of my time doing VFX work for my upcoming film Servicios Públicos, a sci-fi dystopia about robots, overpopulated cities and tyrant states. @iampineros

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