Judge Strikes Down New York Nunchucks Ban Citing Second Amendment

Bruce Lee would be psyched.


A federal judge has struck down the New York state law banning nunchucks that dated back to the 1970s, when Bruce Lee inspired countless kids to play with the iconic martial arts weapon consisting of two sticks linked by a chain.

NBC News reports:

U.S. District Court Judge Pamela Chen sided with an amateur martial artist who opposed the ban, reasoning that the right to bear arms protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution applies not just to firearms but also to nunchucks.

The 44-year-old law that makes possession of “chuka sticks” a crime is “an unconstitutional restriction on the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment and are, therefore, void,” Chen wrote in a judgment rendered on Friday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

While we’re pretty sure throwing stars are still banned, martial arts fans have got to be psyched that the weapon so memorably employed by Lee to destroy entire dojos of hapless opponents as well as play ping pong with them is once again legal on the not-so mean streets of modern day New York. 

The law was challenged by James Maloney, who claimed the ban prevented him from teaching his twin sons a martial arts form that employed nunchucks. So basically, this guy pretty much singlehandedly made nunchucks legal again and is officially a hero. 

Nunchucks were developed in Okinawa and popularized in America via Lee’s 1970s martial arts movies. The connected sticks, made of heavy wood, plastic or even metal, can be whipped around or, held in each hand, used to choke an opponent. (Just make sure not to accidentally hit yourself in the babymaker.)

Despite their legal standing, nunchucks have remained popular. Evidence introduced for the trial showed that at least 64,890 wood or metal nunchucks were sold in the U.S. alone in the past 23 years.

In her 27-page ruling, Chen said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, the defendant in Maloney’s lawsuit, had failed to provide sufficient evidence that possession of nunchucks, also known as nunchakus, should not be protected by the Second Amendment.

“Simply put, Defendant 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,” the judge wrote.

Well, at least kids can get back to practicing Lee’s nunchucks moves in viral videos like this gem: