Thursday, September 16, 2010

Maybe you do have a right to own a chuka stick

More than a year ago, the Second Circuit rejected the argument that the Second Amendment affords you the right to own a chuka stick. In summarizing that decision, I headlined the blog post, "You have no right to own a chuka stick." That was before the Supreme Court breathed life into the Second Amendment.

The case is Maloney v. Cuomo, decided on August 13 by summary order. As I wrote in January 2009, "A chuka stick (also known as a nunchakus) is a crude weapon that 'consist[s] of two or more lengths of a rigid material joined together by a thong, rope or chain in such a manner as to allow free movement of a portion of the device while held in the hand and capable of being rotated in such a manner as to inflict serious injury upon a person by striking or choking. At least that's how the New York Penal Law defines it." The Court of Appeals rejected Maloney's case because, at the time, the Second Amendment did not apply against the States, only the Federal government.

In McDonald v. Chicago, the Supreme Court ruled in June 2010 that the Second Amendment does apply to the States. Maloney had the foresight to file a petition for Supreme Court review after he lost in the Second Circuit. When the Supreme Court issued its ruling in McDonald, Maloney rode that wave. The Supreme Court granted Maloney's petition for the purposes of immediately sending it back to the Second Circuit. The Court of Appeals now sends it to the trial court without analysis. So maybe we really do have a right to own a chuka stick.

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