On Friday, a U.S. district court in New York struck down a four decade-old state law banning the possession of nunchucks. Judge Pamela K. Chen declared in a 32-page ruling Friday that the 1974 law is unconstitutional, violating the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to bear arms.
The law was first enacted as a response to state lawmakers’ fears that the popularity of martial arts a la Bruce Lee was inspiring hoodlums to get creative in their choice of weapons. The ban not only applied to would-be criminal nunchuckers on the street, it even banned the weapon’s use in martial arts training facilities. As The Washington Post points out, “They were so dangerous, lawmakers believed, that not even karate teachers could keep them in a locker at home.”
Enter plaintiff James Michael Maloney, a martial arts enthusiast, whose case against the law finally made it the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in January 2017. When the trial began, Maloney underscored the significance of the case in a blog post.