Wait, that’s illegal?

Dive into a Massachusetts law that illuminates a countrywide assumption of nunchucks as dangerous weapons

More stories from Julia Van Allen

Seeking Solace
May 13, 2019

Folks, let’s get this straight: Guns are not the only deadly weapons that require their bearer to have a concealed-carry permit. More than guns and knives are considered deadly in the government’s eyes — but they can regulate other weapons that cannot be carried in one’s back pocket.

With all of this in mind, it’s interesting to take a look at a weapon that some people may not see as deadly but can pack a punch. Just because the general population doesn’t think of a weapon as dangerous doesn’t mean that the government agrees.

According to the Massachusetts General Laws Part IV. Ch. 269, § 10, “(b) Whoever, except as provided by law, carries on his person, or carries on his person or under his control in a vehicle, any stiletto, dagger or a device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position…metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles, nunchaku, zoobow, also known as klackers or kung fu sticks, or any similar weapon consisting of two sticks of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather…when arrested upon a warrant for an alleged crime, or when arrested while committing a breach or disturbance of the public peace, is armed with or has on his person, or has on his person or under his control in a vehicle, a billy or other dangerous weapon other than those herein mentioned and those mentioned in paragraph.”

So, what does this mean?

Basically, for all of the nunchuck, or nunchaku as they’re called in this specific law, enthusiasts it’s illegal to carry those little things, even with a concealed-carry permit for other weapons. Nunchucks are often defined as dangerous, and their carry potential is strictly limited.

It varies from state to state on the status of nunchucks where concealed-carry laws come into play. Some states have banned concealed carry for nunchucks, as is the case in California, while others, such as the Massachusetts law I’m looking at this week, have specific punishments in mind for those who are arrested on other charges and found to have nunchucks on them.

This law isn’t a one-off. In the United States, it’s quite common for states to highly regulate which weapons are involved with concealed carry. In California, it’s illegal to have nunchucks outside of a martial arts studio. Imagine that!

With this in mind, one can better understand why the laws for nunchucks are touch-and-go. The United States is always protective of the right to carry a gun, but when other weapons come into the picture, things get a little foggy.

Part of the ban on lugging a nunchuk around the town stems from the ramifications of their use. If someone were to be injured by another person with a nunchuck, that would be felony assault with a dangerous weapon.

So, what does all of this boil down to? Although there are some sick nunchuck flows out there and devoted people spending their time mastering their use, the laws and regulations of the country just don’t line up. This law banning the concealed carry of nunchucks isn’t strictly a Massachusetts thing — rather, it is part of a larger array of laws that regulate what weapons can and cannot be carried around in the United States.

It definitely depends on the person whether or not they would want to carry a weapon of any kind. To me, the specificity of saying that nunchucks are illegal to carry, or in some states own at all, is the crazy thing about this law. Now, I have to admit that I’m a pacifist who is frankly scared of most weapons (Guess my secret is out now!), but if there are states that fight tooth and nail to protect the right to a gun, why wouldn’t there be similar zeal for other weapons?

That’s just my opinion.

Van Allen can be reached at [email protected].