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Are nunchucks illegal in Nevada?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Apr 08, 2019 | 0 Comments

In Nevada, nunchucks are illegal for people to use or possess if they intend to inflict harm on someone else or if they take them on school property. Illegally possessing or using "nunchaku" (which is how Nevada law refers to "nunchucks") is typically a gross misdemeanor in Nevada. The penalty is:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines
nunchaku
Possessing nunchaku is legal in Nevada as long as the person has no intent to harm or brings the weapon to school.

Definition of nunchaku

Nunchucks are a weapon consisting of two sticks (usually wood) which are attached at one end by a chain or rope that is short in length. It originates from Okinawan martial arts. There have been popularized by Bruce Lee movies.

Users typically hold onto one of the sticks and quickly whips the adversary with the other. Being hit by nunchucks can cause serious harm and possibly fatal injuries.

Other names for nunchaku include:

  • chainsticks,
  • chuka sticks,
  • karate sticks, or
  • nunchuks

Legality of nunchaku in Nevada

It is perfectly legal in Nevada to possess or even to use nunchucks as long as the user has no intention of harming anyone else. (As discussed below, nunchucks are always prohibited at school.) However, NRS 202.350 makes nunchuck possession a crime if the person has the intent to inflict harm.

Example: Kurt keeps a set of nunchaku in his closet in his Las Vegas home. Once a week he does a solo workout where he practices maneuvering them. Since Kurt is not using the weapon to hurt anyone, Kurt's actions are lawful in Nevada.

If Kurt in the above example was angry at his neighbor and took the nunchucks with him next door with the intention of hurting the neighbor with them, then Kurt could be prosecuted. It makes no difference if the neighbor never ends up getting hurt. All that matters is Kurt's intention in possessing the weapon.

A first conviction of unlawfully possessing or using nunchucks is a gross misdemeanor. The punishment is:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

A second or subsequent conviction is a category D felony in Nevada. The punishment is:

  • one to four (1 - 4) years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

Nunchaku on school or child care grounds

NRS 202.265 completely outlaws nunchucks from school property, including:

It is irrelevant if no one is misusing the nunchucks or if no one gets hurt from them. Nevada law imposes a total prohibition on school grounds.

Possessing nunchucks on school property is a gross misdemeanor. The penalty is:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

Nunchucks as "dangerous weapons"

NRS 393.410 makes it illegal for someone with a "dangerous weapon" (which includes nunchucks) to do either of the following:

  • commit any nuisance in any public schoolhouse;
  • loiter on or near the school grounds; or
  • purposely and maliciously commit any trespass upon the grounds attached to a public schoolhouse, or any fixtures placed thereon, or any enclosure or sidewalk near the school

Violating this law is a gross misdemeanor. The penalty is:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

Finally, Nevada law makes it is a "public offense" for someone to possess a "dangerous weapon" (which includes nunchucks) while "willfully and maliciously injuring, marking, or defacing any public schoolhouse, its fixtures, books, or appurtenances." The value of the property damage determines what the defendant will be charged with:

If the property damage totals less than $250, defacing the school is a misdemeanor. The punishment is:

  • up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

If the property damage totals $250 to less than $5,000, defacing the school is a gross misdemeanor. The punishment is:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines

If the property damage totals $5,000 or higher, defacing the school is a category C felony. The punishment is:

  • one to five (1 - 5) years in prison, and
  • up to $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

If a pupil brings nunchucks to school, he/she must be expelled for a year. If the pupil does it again, then the expulsion must be permanent.


Legal References

NRS 202.350  Manufacture, importation, possession or use of dangerous weapon or silencer; carrying concealed weapon without permit; penalties; issuance of permit to carry concealed weapon; exceptions.

      1.  Except as otherwise provided in this section and NRS 202.3653 to 202.369, inclusive, a person within this State shall not:

...

      (c) With the intent to inflict harm upon the person of another, possess or use a nunchaku or trefoil; or

  ...

      2.  Except as otherwise provided in NRS 202.275 and 212.185, a person who violates any of the provisions of:

      (a) Paragraph (a) or (c) of subsection 1 or subparagraph (2) of paragraph (d) of subsection 1 is guilty:

             (1) For the first offense, of a gross misdemeanor.

             (2) For any subsequent offense, of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

  ...

      8.  As used in this section:

     ...

      (d) “Nunchaku” means an instrument consisting of two or more sticks, clubs, bars or rods connected by a rope, cord, wire or chain used as a weapon in forms of Oriental combat.

     ...

NRS 202.265  Possession of dangerous weapon on property or in vehicle of school or child care facility; penalty; exceptions.

      1.  Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not carry or possess while on the property of the Nevada System of Higher Education, a private or public school or child care facility, or while in a vehicle of a private or public school or child care facility:

  ...

      (c) A nunchaku or trefoil;

     ...

      2.  Any person who violates subsection 1 is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

...

      5.  For the purposes of this section:

      (b) “Nunchaku” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 202.350.

     ...

NRS 393.410  Damage to school property; nuisance; loitering; trespass; penalties.

      1.  It is unlawful for any person:

      (a) Willfully and maliciously to injure, mark or deface any public schoolhouse, its fixtures, books or appurtenances;

      (b) To commit any nuisance in any public schoolhouse;

      (c) To loiter on or near the school grounds; or

      (d) Purposely and maliciously to commit any trespass upon the grounds attached to a public schoolhouse, or any fixtures placed thereon, or any enclosure or sidewalk about the same.

      2.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3, any person violating any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a public offense, as prescribed in NRS 193.155, proportionate to the value of the property damaged or destroyed and in no event less than a misdemeanor.

      3.  Any person who is in possession of a dangerous weapon during his or her commission of a violation of paragraph (b), (c) or (d) of subsection 1 is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

      4.  As used in this section:

...

      (b) “Dangerous weapon” means:

...

             (3) A nunchaku or trefoil;

..

...

      (d) “Nunchaku” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 202.350.

...

       NRS 392.466  Suspension or expulsion of pupil for battery on employee of school, possession of firearm or dangerous weapon, sale or distribution of controlled substance or status as habitual disciplinary problem; modification to suspension or expulsion requirement; limitations for pupils with disabilities.

...

      2.  Except as otherwise provided in this section, any pupil who is found in possession of a firearm or a dangerous weapon while on the premises of any public school, at an activity sponsored by a public school or on any school bus must, for the first occurrence, be expelled from the school for a period of not less than 1 year, although the pupil may be placed in another kind of school for a period not to exceed the period of the expulsion. For a second occurrence, the pupil must be permanently expelled from the school and:

      (a) Enroll in a private school pursuant to chapter 394 of NRS, become an opt-in child or be homeschooled; or

      (b) Enroll in a program of independent study provided pursuant to NRS 389.155 for pupils who have been suspended or expelled from public school or a program of distance education provided pursuant to NRS 388.820 to 388.874, inclusive, if the pupil qualifies for enrollment and is accepted for enrollment in accordance with the requirements of the applicable program.

  ...
      9.  As used in this section:

  ...
      (b) “Dangerous weapon” includes, without limitation, a blackjack, slungshot, billy, sand-club, sandbag, metal knuckles, dirk or dagger, a nunchaku or trefoil, as defined in NRS 202.350, a butterfly knife or any other knife described in NRS 202.350, a switchblade knife as defined in NRS 202.265, or any other object which is used, or threatened to be used, in such a manner and under such circumstances as to pose a threat of, or cause, bodily injury to a person.

...

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

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