In Arizona, It's No Longer A Felony To Own Nunchucks

May 12, 2019

It's officially legal to own nunchucks in Arizona.

On Friday, the state's Republican governor, Doug Ducey signed a bill removing nunchucks from a list of prohibited weapons that includes bombs, gun silencers and automatic firearms.

Until Friday, people who practiced martial arts faced the risk of a felony charge for possessing nunchucks in public. Arizona only allowed the weapons to be used in preparation for martial arts competitions.

"The average person can do far more damage using a baseball bat than nunchucks," Arizona Rep. John Kavanaugh, a Republican, told the Associated Press before the legislation passed. "They're not dangerous to anybody. And we really should let kids and adults who want to do martial arts activities legally possess them."

Several states, including Arizona, adopted the ban in the 1970s as martial arts movies, like ones starring Bruce Lee, became popular, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Last year, a federal judge struck down a similar ban in New York ruling that nunchucks were protected under the Second Amendment, the Washington Post reported.

Supporters of the bill are celebrating, saying that the people who use the weapons for martial arts are unlikely to use them to commit a crime.

Phoenix karate instructor Shawn Sample told AZFamily.com that he's relieved nobody will get arrested for carrying nunchucks to their training. He said he never understood why they were illegal in Arizona.

"I find it interesting that a state that allows you to walk around with a gun on your hip worries about nunchucks being a problem," Sample said, referring to the state's open carry law.

But critics of decriminalizing nunchucks say the weapons are capable of causing a lot of harm.

Others have said that the time spent to decriminalize nunchucks could have been used on more pressing issues, like reducing gun violence.

"Instead of figuring out ways that we can save lives, we're wasting time on nunchucks," Arizona Rep. Athena Salman, a Democrat, told the AP.

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