Court Rules on Weapon Made Famous by Bruce Lee

Judge Pamela Chen rules in light of the Second Amendment
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 17, 2018 6:30 PM CST
Court Rules on Weapon Made Famous by Bruce Lee
In this April 6, 2017, file photo, objects confiscated from passengers' carry-on luggage, including nunchucks, bottom, are displayed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

A 1974 New York state ban on nunchucks that was put into place over fears that youth inspired by martial arts movies would create widespread mayhem is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment, a federal court has ruled. Judge Pamela Chen issued her ruling Friday in a Brooklyn federal court on the martial arts weapon made famous by Bruce Lee, the AP reports. The plaintiff, James Maloney, started his legal quest after being charged with possession of nunchucks in his home in 2000. He initially filed a complaint in 2003, and appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court when the case went against him. The Supreme Court in 2010 remanded the case back down to be reconsidered in light of a Second Amendment decision it had made in another case, and Maloney filed an amended complaint later that year.

Maloney had been focused on getting the part of the law overturned that banned nunchucks, two rigid rods connected at one end by a chain or rope, even in private homes. In her ruling, Chen says the court can't simply take that part out, and ruled that the state's law as it pertained to possessing nunchuks as well as to manufacturing, transporting, or disposing of them was in violation of the Second Amendment. The ruling goes over the history of the ban, and says it "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.'" (Meanwhile, a court cited Dr. Seuss in a pipeline ruling.)

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