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Thread: state pre-emption and local laws

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    The city of Sunnyside makes "chako sticks" (nun-chukus) illegal. State preemtion says city laws can't be stricter than state. Does this clause from the RCW apply to non-firearm weapons too?

    "Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law, as in RCW 9.41.300, and are consistent with this chapter. Such local ordinances shall have the same penalty as provided for by state law. Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality."

    I noted that it said "firearms" at one point, but then it mentions "chapter" (9.41 - covering weapons in general) and then the general "Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted." Does this mean that since RCW 9.41.250 doesn't ban nunchucks, the city doing so is "more restrictive" and thus repealed?

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    cynicist wrote:
    The city of Sunnyside makes "chako sticks" (nun-chukus) illegal. State preemtion says city laws can't be stricter than state. Does this clause from the RCW apply to non-firearm weapons too?

    "Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law, as in RCW 9.41.300, and are consistent with this chapter. Such local ordinances shall have the same penalty as provided for by state law. Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality."

    I noted that it said "firearms" at one point, but then it mentions "chapter" (9.41 - covering weapons in general) and then the general "Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted." Does this mean that since RCW 9.41.250 doesn't ban nunchucks, the city doing so is "more restrictive" and thus repealed?
    They do not qualify as firearms anymore than a knife does. Therefore not covered by the state preemption.




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    Regular Member krazichinaman's Avatar
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    If I remember correctly, it only applys to firearms. For example, some cities like Seattle limit blade length to 3.5 inches, and ban of carrying fixed blades. While others allow carry of fixed blades.

    Edit* Bear beat me to it =P

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    Preemption is only for guns. IIRC most martial arts weapons are banned on the state level as well, with a few exceptions. Would make for an interesting court case given the protections on bearing arms...

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    Unfortunately, WA law does allow this for non-firearms. Counties and cities are all over the map on this one.

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    This is something I would like to challenge on a legal level, but have no idea how to get started.

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    cynicist wrote:
    This is something I would like to challenge on a legal level, but have no idea how to get started.
    The first step would be to get convicted for carrying an unlawful weapon under a municipal ordinance. Not quite sure it is worth it.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    joeroket wrote:
    cynicist wrote:
    This is something I would like to challenge on a legal level, but have no idea how to get started.
    The first step would be to get convicted for carrying an unlawful weapon under a municipal ordinance. Not quite sure it is worth it.
    That's what I was considering. But the city law also lists as a defense that if I'm a member of a martial arts association that uses them, it's okay under certain circumstances. I take Taekwondo, and as an extra precaution, I started my own martial arts association, which trains almost exclusively with nun-chukus and throwing stars.
    But I haven't been arrested yet, and would prefer not to.

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    cynicist wrote:
    joeroket wrote:
    cynicist wrote:
    This is something I would like to challenge on a legal level, but have no idea how to get started.
    The first step would be to get convicted for carrying an unlawful weapon under a municipal ordinance. Not quite sure it is worth it.
    That's what I was considering. But the city law also lists as a defense that if I'm a member of a martial arts association that uses them, it's okay under certain circumstances. I take Taekwondo, and as an extra precaution, I started my own martial arts association, which trains almost exclusively with nun-chukus and throwing stars.
    But I haven't been arrested yet, and would prefer not to.
    Does the city law say when you are at, on your way to, or on your way home from an authorized event or training?
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    Yep. But since I run the association, and practice whenever I want, it covers just about all the time, except when I'm at work.

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    cynicist wrote:
    Yep. But since I run the association, and practice whenever I want, it covers just about all the time, except when I'm at work.
    Gotcha. That would be a hard one for them to prove if you were arrested then.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

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    Bellingham bans "energy weapons" (stunguns and tazers). This is the dumbest limitation of weapons i know of. No restrictions on knifes or guns, but no less lethal tazers or stun guns. If i get assaulted and want to defend myself, i'm forced to use a weapon which will most likely kill someone. I'll never understand this ban, wish i had the money to take it to court.

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    Carry your gun in a library in Everett, and you might have that money

    Just kidding

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    cynicist wrote:
    The city of Sunnyside makes "chako sticks" (nun-chukus) illegal. State preemtion says city laws can't be stricter than state. Does this clause from the RCW apply to non-firearm weapons too?

    "Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law, as in RCW 9.41.300, and are consistent with this chapter. Such local ordinances shall have the same penalty as provided for by state law. Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality."

    I noted that it said "firearms" at one point, but then it mentions "chapter" (9.41 - covering weapons in general) and then the general "Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted." Does this mean that since RCW 9.41.250 doesn't ban nunchucks, the city doing so is "more restrictive" and thus repealed?
    This is definitely an interesting 2A question. The Constitution guarantees us the right to "keep and bear arms". Nowhere does it restrict that to firearms. You can arm yourself with a sword or a knife as well as with a gun.
    "All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke


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    joshcdc wrote:
    Bellingham bans "energy weapons" (stunguns and tazers). This is the dumbest limitation of weapons i know of. No restrictions on knifes or guns, but no less lethal tazers or stun guns. If i get assaulted and want to defend myself, i'm forced to use a weapon which will most likely kill someone. I'll never understand this ban, wish i had the money to take it to court.
    Do they use those exact words?... "energy weapons"?

    If so, it's easily repealed, as that affects firearms. Don't believe me? Talk to someone who's taken a year of physics. You can have electrical energy (what they're talking about), potential energy, chemical energy and kinetic energy (as in a bullet). So, by saying only "energy weapons", they are attempting to ban any weapon with energy... which is every weapon imaginable except mental/psychological/biological weapons.

    {Leave it to the chemist to get all "technical", huh?... *chuckle*}
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    Supreme courts definition of arms in the heller decision-

    "b. “Keep and bear Arms.” We move now from the holder of the right—“the people”—to the substance of the right: “to keep and bear Arms.”
    Before addressing the verbs “keep” and “bear,” we interpret
    their object: “Arms.” The 18th-century meaning is no different from the meaning today. The 1773 edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary defined “arms” as “weapons of offence, or armour of defence.” 1 Dictionary of theEnglish Language 107 (4th ed.) (hereinafter Johnson). Timothy Cunningham’s important 1771 legal dictionary defined “arms” as “any thing that a man wears for his defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast at or strike another.”

    Text of the bellingham law-

    City of Bellingham Municipal Code
    Title 10 CRIMINAL CODE
    Chapter 30 WEAPONS CONTROL 10.30.020 - STUN GUNS, TASERS AND SIMILAR DEVICES
    A. Possession, sale or use prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any individual, person, firm, corporation, or similar entity to sell, give, lend, rent, or otherwise transfer to any other individual, person, firm, corporation, or similar entity a stun gun, TASER, or similar electronic or energy device or weapon which, upon coming in contact with a person, is capable of inflicting injury or an electric or energy shock to such a person. It shall further be unlawful for any person to possess, fire, or discharge such electronic or energy device or weapon within the Bellingham City limits.

    B. Exceptions. This section shall not apply to any member of the Bellingham Police Department or other authorized law enforcement officer while in the performance of his or her official duties or to any electronic or energy device or weapon designed solely and exclusively for animal control purposes.

    C. Penalties. Any violation of this section is a misdemeanor.

    [Ord. 2005-10-006]
    all bold print mine for ease of reading.




    I think that this law is unconstitutional and against the heller decision, any lawyers on here that may want to comment? oh and what does just_a_car think about the term "energy devices"? seems to me that they are pretty specific about which type of energy devices are regulated. sorry about the long post wanted to collect the exact text of teh relevant legal statements.



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    The City admits it is "Weapons Control" because that is the tiltle of the section. Weapons are arms, so they know they are in violation and just plain don't care. Pretty much like any other government entity.

    Webster difines weapons as:

    "something (as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy"



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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    Well, they say "...energy device ... which, upon coming in contact with a person, is capable of inflicting injury..."

    So, does that then mean I can't carry a bat?... a wrench?... a pencil?

    Cuz, doggarnit, I do believe I am quite capable of inflicting injury on a person by coming in contact with them with the above mentioned devices, if imparted with enough KINETIC ENERGY.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    just_a_car wrote:
    Well, they say "...energy device ... which, upon coming in contact with a person, is capable of inflicting injury..."

    So, does that then mean I can't carry a bat?... a wrench?... a pencil?

    Cuz, doggarnit, I do believe I am quite capable of inflicting injury on a person by coming in contact with them with the above mentioned devices, if imparted with enough KINETIC ENERGY.
    I've done it in the past with my bare hands. So are hands illegal in Bellingham?

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    The law in Sunnyside states: "It is unlawful for any person to possess or have within an area of dominion and control throwing stars and chako sticks. For the purpose of this section, chako sticks are defined as an instrument consisting of two or more sticks, clubs, bars or rods to be used as handles, connected by rope, cord, wire or chain, in the design of a weapon used in connection with the practice of a system of self-defense, such as karate. In addition, for the purpose of this section, throwing stars are defined as an instrument consisting of a metal plate having three or more radiating points with one or more sharp edges and designed in the shape of a polygon, trefoil, cross, star, diamond or other geometric shape for use as a weapon."

    And goes on:"The provisions relating to the possession of chako sticks or throwing stars should not apply to or affect regularly employed members of clubs and associations organized for the practice, instruction, or demonstration of self-defense arts involving chako sticks or throwing stars, while such members are at, or are going to and from their place of residence, a practice session, an instruction session, a demonstration or place of repair or while such members are going from the place of purchase, providing that chako sticks or throwing stars are in a carrying case in the possession of the owner."

    If they are for "self-defense," does this not contradict the WA state Constitution where it says that we have the right to bear arms in defense of self or other?

    And can anyone put up a link to the Heller case?

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    durn i'm a mid level kung fu practitioner i guess im in violation :shock: better turn myself in since my hands definitely are an "...energy device ... which, upon coming in contact with a person, is capable of inflicting injury..." never read the law like that

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    Title 10 CRIMINAL CODE
    Chapter 30 WEAPONS CONTROL

    10.30.020 - STUN GUNS, TASERS AND SIMILAR DEVICES

    A. Possession, sale or use prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any individual, person, firm, corporation, or similar entity to sell, give, lend, rent, or otherwise transfer to any other individual, person, firm, corporation, or similar entity a stun gun, TASER, or similar electronic or energy device or weapon which, upon coming in contact with a person, is capable of inflicting injury or an electric or energy shock to such a person. It shall further be unlawful for any person to possess, fire, or discharge such electronic or energy device or weapon within the Bellingham City limits.


    this has has got to be taken off the books or re written. look VERY carefully at the useof the word "or". As written this includes ANY weapon capable of inflicting injury.

    here is the relevant part with out the Ors

    A. Possession, sale or use prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any individual, person, firm, corporation, or similar entity to sell, give, lend, rent, or otherwise transfer to any other individual, person, firm, corporation, or similar entity a weapon which, upon coming in contact with a person, is capable of inflicting injury to such a person. It shall further be unlawful for any person to possess, fire, or discharge such a weapon within the Bellingham City limits.



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    You guys need to read more careful. This little part covers the butts "which, upon coming in contact with a person". If you don't need contact from the weapon for it to workit isn't covered.

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    I do not like the last part...after the last or....this covers guns.



    "It shall further be unlawful for any person to possess, fire, or discharge such electronic or energy device or weapon within the Bellingham City limits."


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