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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2001 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 493
Location: Framingham, MA USA
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 which include those used by many martial artists who enjoy developing skills in these classical weapons.

I published this statute several months ago on this forum, but because of what appears to me to be a great interest in the use of martial arts weapons in tournaments, seminars, summer camps and the like that go right on until at least the fall of each year

Knowledge of this section is a must for martial artists because it deals with many of our classical weapons which are harmlessly used in the dojo or carried in vehicles enroute to the dojo, dojang, kwoon, or what have you. The penalties are severe. Our use of weapons was attacked in the Bruce Lee era in the early 1970’s, because the popular MA movies had kids in the street going bonkers with some of the weapons, and principally nunchaku (defined below in the statute for readers who are not familiar with this weapon). The legislators over reacted because of the usual media hype.

In any event we are stuck with this law which not only affects the MA aspect of your life, but further affects what kind of a pocket knife (or other types) you may carry on your person or transport.


Subsection (b) provides of the above statute is as follows: “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 rope, 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 studs or any similar devise made from any other substance or a cestus or similar material weighted with metal or other substance and worn on the hand, or a manrikigusari or similar length 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 other than those mentioned and those mentioned in paragraph (a) shall be punished by imprisonment 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 is for firearms carrying crimes, which section is not copied in this report.

I will post the firearms section when I can find the time to type it.

Alan K


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2001 11:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 181
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Alan K.

California has a similar prohibition on nunchakus, with the exception that one who is licensed (that would be a business license) may possess them on the premises (what is not clear is how the heck one gets them to the premises). The weapons prohibition, found in our Penal Code, also includes throwing stars.

As an interesting aside, and perhaps worth mentioning for those in California, and perhaps other states, there is an Attorney General's opinion on deadly weapons, that makes the carrying and possession of almost any stick like weapon suspect. My Deputy A.G. martial artist friends and I have discussed both the statute and the A.G. opinion, and we believe it places one at risk for carrying a bo, jo, tonfa, kama, and eaku. Amazingly, it probably doesn't cover sai, but I wouldn't want to put that to a test.

My point, if I have one, is it is not enough to read most states' deadly weapon statutes. Check out the case law, and the attorney general opinions. The bottom line is, if you are carrying a kobudo or other martial arts weapon, you are carrying a weapon. And yes, I realize the lunacy of this, and I recognize that most people could do a heck of a lot more damage with the typical aluminum softball bat than they can with an inexpensive bo (they are easy to break, aluminum bats are very hard to break), but the softball players have a better lobby than we do.

Maybe some day we will get our act together and convince the legislatures of our respective states that there is more to fear from a crazy with a crutch (apparently the crutch manufactures have better lobby than us as well, and yes, a crutch is harder to break than an inexpensive bo) than there is to fear from a person practicing kobudo.

Thanks for the heads up Alan.
Peace
Robb in Sacramento


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2001 2:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2000 6:01 am
Posts: 493
Location: Framingham, MA USA
Thanks for the post, Robb. It is great to know that Massachusetts is not the only state with regressive legislation.

What gets me fired up is the cold blooded manner in which they mandate punishment.

An 18 year old karateka on his/her way to the dojo could be stopped by an LEO who felt that the tonfa carried by the student looked too much like his baton, and was an obvious dangerous weapon.

You alluded to the only way, which in my opinion, can inject reason and sanity into some of these statutes or regulations, is by the use of lobbyists.

In Massachusetts, the stongest lobby is the insurance industry followed by financial institutions. It follows the flow of the money.

Many people, when they think of lobbyists, think of payola or clandestine activity.

In actuality the biggest part of the budget goes into the process of educating Reps and Sens on the negatives and the positives of the bill before the houses and senates.

Weak pockets make unfavorable legislation.

The firearms lobby is certainly stronger than any that MA's may field.

Perhaps GEM can contribute to this, but as I can best recollect, only a very small contingent appeared to give voice to the amendment which included MA weapons, and I believe that was in 1973 or 1974.
I remember that some of the fears of dojo owners was that if too much pressure was applied, this might prompt licensing or registration for dojo.

In any event, if MA's can't be cohesive in their own style, and fail to have the funds that industry can produce, how can they lobby effectively?

I thought last Summer, after taking a couple of lessons at GEM's Summer Fest, that the combat cane would be the safest bet as an MA weapon to carry. After your post, I even doubt that.

Alan K

------------------
"The Goddess of Justice is Blind"


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2001 7:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 6:01 am
Posts: 986
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Alan K stated "The Goddess of Justice is Blind" as his signature. And I like the quote.

However - it does NOT mean that Justice should be stupid. I always took the quote to mean that Justice was blind as to who is in front of Her and that justice (not legality, but the just imposition of the Law) was why the Goddess was blindfolded.

Mitigating circumstances can enter into such situations in my experience. Illinois is another state that has extremely repressive laws regarding MA weapons. My home town, Oak Park, actually managed to BAN HANDGUNS and make it STICK! They even got a conviction on that one, several years ago - in a self-defense situation, no less!

However, with regards to non-projectile weapons, cops often will look the other way IF the person is carrying a bag with their do-gi in it and have a school membership card and are not involved in anything else of a questionable nature. But not always.

My suggestion - have practice weapons at the dojo, your own set at home, don't carry and, if attending a tournament, ship the equipment to the site or have a responsible senior belt transport them for you. Notification of the various law enforcement agencies via registered mail is another hedge that has worked for some, asking for a letter of permission from the State's Attorney's office is another. This particularly applies to Dojo owners.

Just my 2% worth.

Respectfully,

Lee Darrow


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