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Federal Judge Strikes Down Long-Standing New York Weapons Ban

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Last Friday, a federal court ruled that the state of New York overstepped when it banned a particular weapon, a rule that was instituted back in 1974. James Maloney filed a complaint, looking to have the possession portion of the law removed. Judge Pamela Chen rendered the decision from a Brooklyn federal court, determining that law was largely unconstitutional.

In 1974, according to a report by The Hill, New York banned nunchucks. The rule was originally instituted after “Kung Fu” movies and television shows gained popularity and “various circles of the state’s youth,” and “muggers and street gangs” were “widely” using the weapons, causing “many serious injuries.”

The law ultimately applied to possession as well as other activities, like the manufacturing, transporting, and disposing of nunchucks.

In 2000, Maloney was charged with possession of nunchucks – a weapon that consists of two rigid rods connected by a rope or chain – after one was found in his home.

Maloney filed a complaint, aiming to have the portion of the law that bans possession of nunchucks, particularly when kept in private homes, overturned.

Maloney, a professor at State University of New York-Maritime College, stated that he was motivated to file the complaint due to his outrage over the ban itself.

“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,” said Maloney in an email.

Chen’s ruling didn’t just address the possession of the weapon, which was only one facet of the law.

Along with determining that the state law, in relation to the possession of nunchucks, was in violation of the Second Amendment, Chen also ruled that the law was unconstitutional in how it applied to disposing, manufacturing, and transporting the martial-arts weapon.