“Dangerous weapons” bill would exclude nunchaku, swords from state regulation in some settings

Two words in a proposed bill are taking heat from state law enforcement leaders, who say they put police in greater danger on the job. The words “dangerous weapons” were added to a bill alongside firearms to describe what the government cannot restrict during an emergency — but what exactly are they?

State law says dangerous weapons include throwing stars, nunchaku, swords, daggers, bludgeons and several other weapons. They would be added to the list of what the state could not regulate, along with guns, when not at a public gathering, which is defined as a sporting event, school, church or public building.

Fargo’s police chief testified that the bill puts police at risk during other gatherings, like protests or marches, where any number of weapons could be legally carried.

“Some individuals are not committed to peaceful protest, but to riotous criminal behavior with utter disregard for the safety of others. They often use peaceful protest as camouflage for their true intentions. There is no need to further arm these individuals by allowing them to carry a variety of dangerous weapons,” Fargo Chief of Police David Zibolski said.

The bill initially passed the House 83-11, and the Senate Judiciary Committee has not yet voted on it.

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