Nunchucks, also known as nunchaku, are traditional martial arts weapons consisting of two sticks connected by a chain or rope. They have gained popularity in mainstream culture through their use in movies, television shows, and the martial arts community. However, the legality of nunchucks varies widely across the United States, with some states imposing strict regulations on their possession and use.
In recent years, some states have loosened restrictions on nunchucks due to challenges on constitutional grounds. For instance, in December 2018, a federal judge in New York ruled that the state's ban on nunchucks was unconstitutional, violating the Second Amendment. Following this decision, New York lifted its long-standing ban on the weapon. Similarly, Arizona repealed its ban on nunchucks in 2019, California overturned its ban in 2021, and Texas lifted its ban in 2017.
Despite these recent changes, some states still maintain strict regulations on nunchucks. Massachusetts is the only state that still has a ban on the personal use of nunchucks. The state has regulations that classify nunchucks as "dangerous weapons," which can result in criminal charges for those found carrying them without proper authorization. Nunchucks can be used for martial arts, however.
On the other hand, many states in the U.S. have no specific laws regulating nunchucks, and their legality is determined by broader statutes governing weapons. In these states, possession and use of nunchucks are generally legal, though restrictions may still apply in certain situations, such as carrying them on school grounds or in government buildings. States with no specific nunchuck laws include Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.