Since 1974, the possession of nunchaku has been defined as a crime in the State of New York. The mere possession of a nunchaku within one’s own home for peaceful use in martial-arts practice by a person with no criminal record is classified as a misdemeanor that may carry up to a one-year prison sentence. The draconian nature of these laws is made all the more ironic by virtue of the historical fact that the nunchaku, which was originally an agricultural implement, was adapted for use as a weapon by the People of Okinawa after oppressive governments disarmed them, making it illegal to possess a sword or other weapon. Based upon research I have conducted, it appears that New York and California are the only states in the U.S. that have ever defined and prosecuted as a crime the simple possession of nunchaku within one’s own home.
On February 18, 2003, I brought a constitutional challenge to those provisions of the New York Penal Law that criminalize the mere possession of nunchaku within one’s own home. For details about the case, including documents viewable in pdf and/or as web pages, visit: