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Did You Know? Nunchuck Possession a Felony in California

January 9, 2019

New York recently struck down a ban on nunchucks.

Did You Know? Nunchuck Possession a Felony in California

For anyone who is a fan of martial arts (or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), nunchucks are a key piece of weaponry. It is a traditional martial arts weapon from Okinawa consisting of two sticks connected at one end by a short chain or rope. In the United States, nunchucks (also referred to as nunchaku) are most often used in martial arts classes.

A United States federal court recently ruled that New York’s ban on the possession of nunchucks was unconstitutional. This decision was based on a 2010 Supreme Court ruling, McDonald et al v. Chicago, that extended the reach of the Second Amendment into state laws. According to the court, nunchucks are protected under the Second Amendment. Previously, nunchucks had been banned in New York since 1974.

However, California is one of three states that still bans the possession and use of nunchucks (along with Arizona and Massachusetts). According to a Riverside criminal defense attorney, California specifically bans nunchucks: “…any person in this state who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, or possesses any nunchaku is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year…” Possession of nunchucks is a felony offense under California law.

There have been instances where California police have charged individuals with felony nunchuck possession. For example, Anthony Lemon Paris — the man charged with the September 2018 murder of Sacramento Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Stasyuk — was convicted in 2010 of felony possession of nunchucks. In a 2008 search, officers had found a number of items, including a loaded handgun, ammunition, marijuana, an illegally modified Ruger rifle, and a set of handmade nunchucks. The jury was hung on most counts, but convicted him of the nunchuck charge.

According to statistics from the California Department of Justice, between 2001 and 2006, most aggravated assaults involved the use of firearms. Aggravated assaults using “other dangerous weapons” reduced each year that statistics were collected, from a high of 51,000 in 2001 to approximately 29,300 in 2006. The Department of Justice does not further break down categories of “other weapons” (such as knives, fists, bats, etc).

While it may seem like a small thing, being charged with a felony for possessing a weapon that is most often used for martial arts classes can have a serious impact on your life. That is why it is so important to retain an experienced Riverside criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with any type of crime, including possession of a weapon.

Given that it was a federal case based on the Second Amendment, the New York case may lead to California’s ban on nunchucks being overturned as well. Until that time, it is best to avoid the use, possession or manufacture of nunchucks.

If you have been charged with a crime, the Chambers Law Firm can help. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or dchambers@clfca.com to schedule a free initial consultation with a seasoned Riverside criminal defense attorney.

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