Good discussion

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Good discussion

Postby Van Canna » Sat Feb 24, 2001 5:47 am

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Good discussion

Postby Alan K » Mon Feb 26, 2001 6:22 pm

Van, sensei

This was an interesting forum even involving foreign law.

The basic premise for the law of self defense does not change with an edged weapon or any other dangerous weapon in Massachusetts.

There were a lot of inreresting scenarios presented which included one person assaults as well as persons engaged in fighting but too extensive to comment on anything but the novel idea of drawing a knife and having it hidden in the hand, one the one hand (pun intended) and palming a knife with the blade enclosed in the closed jack-knife position.

Comments were made as to how the various actions would be interpreted in foreign law of another country and how it would be in one of our state jurisdictions.

Obviously these vary from state to state, but Massachusetts has a lot of common threads with the law of other states.

Was it self defense or a fight, the latter of which could convict both parties of A & B with a dangerous weapon depending on the finder of fact as to whether or not each was guilty under the circumstance.

Secondly the right to defend would require a finding that the action of the defendant was under the facts found, placed in a position that would give rise to defendant's right to use force, even though it was the first actual force to be used, ergo a defensive one.

Here again the aggresive action of the BG would be weighed against the reasonable right to defend in the circumstances with no emphasis on the mental apprehension of the defendant. The judgment is made outside of the head of the defendant and determined on the circumstances provoking the defensive strike.

If it meets the test to justify the force, was the force reasonable and proper, "the reasonable man theory" applied and judged by the finder of fact.

I am posting here for copy by any MA's or readers the Massachusetts Statute which by the publication hereunder makes many devices dangerous weapons. Firearms fall into section (a) not set forth herunder.

The following is the statute:

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 10 deals with the carrying of dangerous weapons. The first part deals with licensing and carrying of firearms.

The section quoted hereunder deals with other dangerous weapons.

Subsection (b) provides: “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 device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position, any ballistic knife or any knife with a detachable blade capable of being propelled by any mechanism, dirk knife, any knife having a double-edged blade, or a switch knife, or any knife having an automatic spring release devise by which the blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches, or a slung shot, blowgun, blackjack, 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 robe, chain, wire, leather, a shuriken or any similar pointed starlike object intended to injure a person, when thrown, or any armband, made with leather which as metallic spikes, points or studes or any metal or other substance and worn on the band, a manrikigusari or similar lengh of chain having weighted ends; or whoever, when arrested upon a warrant for an alleged crime, or when arrested while committing a breach or disturbance of the public peace, is armed or has on his person, or on his person or under control in a vehicle, a billy or other dangerous weapon toher than those mentioned and those mentioned in paragraph (a) shall be punished by inprisonment for not less than two and one-half years nor more than five years in the state prison, or for not less than six months nor more than two and one half years in a jail house or house of correction, except that, if the court finds that the defendant has not been previously convicted of a felony, he may be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars or by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction.”

Note: the paragraph (a) mentioned above requiring a mandatory two and one half year sentence

I will place this statute as a post for persons wanting to copy the same.

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Good discussion

Postby Panther » Mon Feb 26, 2001 6:46 pm


Please comment on the legality of "martial arts schools" selling/having nunchakus and other "martial arts weapons in light of this statute. I maintain that under MGL, these devices are illegal to carry in Massachusetts. Even though the statute says "except as provided by law", but I don't see "who" they seem to think is/are qualified "as provided by law" to own/carry these items. Many companies have also interpreted this statute to mean that it is also illegal to sell or own these devices in the Commonwealth. This is the only statute that speaks to "double-edged knives, switch-blades, and brass knuckles" and case law is pretty prevalent on the fact that these items are strictly verboten in Massachusetts. With that indication on these other named "dangerous weapons", it seems the same would hold for the mentioned martial arts weapons... which is where the interpretation that those are also "strictly verboten" comes from. Yet, walk into most dojos and you can see nunchakus, three-section staffs, manrikigusari, and/or shuriken...

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Good discussion

Postby Alan K » Mon Feb 26, 2001 9:21 pm


I agree that if we take the statute literally, and the fact that Massachusetts Statutes are to be strictly interpreted, it is difficult to think of anything which woud except this strict interpretation with the exception of constitutional questions concerning keeping these weapons in one's home as part of your beliefs in them as art forms.

The statute says having them on your person or under your control in a vehicle.

The version I typed out is the most current in the pocket part of the statute book.

I saw nothing that prohibited them from being used in a dojo, and even though I typed this out personally, and re-read it a couple of times, maybe I missed something which says its a crime to own these weapons.

The trick is to get them to the dojo without transporting the same.

I remember in the early days of the statute, that Nunchuku was kept at the dojo for practice with your name on it and never transported.

How about a Samauri Sword (Katana)?

(Nice collection of the same at Boston Museum of Fine Arts) as well as short sword or knife (Tanto).

Are they in violation?

I am concerned because of the Felony attribute and the sentences prescribed.

Alan K
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