Author Topic: What is a weapon?  (Read 7136 times)

Offline Mitch Powell

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What is a weapon?
« on: November 06, 2003, 10:00:36 AM »
When we think of a weapon, we usually think of a gun or a knife. The law defines a weapon as any instrument capable of bing used to cause great bodily injury (GBI) or death.

Given that definition, think of all the things around you right now that could be used to strike or stab someone to the point of causing GBI or death.

If you were to take a writting pen and shove it into someone's eye or throat, the pen would then be the instrument defined in court as your weapon.

If you were to take a heavy flower vase an smash it over someone's head causing GBI or death, then that would be the court's evidence against you.

Our environment offers many items that can be used as a weapon, but we don't often think of these items as weapons. When faced with a situation that requires the need for a weapon, it is wise to think outside the box and use whatever works to defend yourself- a lawn chair, garden rake, pencil, etc.

Just know, in the mind of the court, any instrument capable of being used to cause GBI or death is considered a weapon.
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Offline envisiontj

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Re:What is a weapon?
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2003, 10:16:36 AM »
Thank you Professor Powell -

The legal insight is definitely helpful - Also, I think your post may make some people think.  I find that most people don't see or realize all of the weapons in their environment.  I believe that some sort of realistic environmental training is necessary.  

Just last week or so, I had a couple of students over at my house.  One arrived before the other.  I let them come in and hang for a few minutes, then had him close his eyes and tell me about the "weapons" in his environment.  (I had set out various items)  I then asked him various questions about the enviroment he was in.  When the second guy got here we did the same thing.  They both enjoyed this and it gave me and idea of where there perception level was.

I have just been experimenting with various ideas, and would appreciate any insight into various environmental training methods.

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Greg Harper

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Re:What is a weapon?
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2003, 10:54:02 AM »
Weapon?
I know how I feel, I just want to see what you people think.
this is a 2 part  ???
1-if someone of high rank was mad and were to punch someone in the face, and then that person had to have surgery, would this be looked at as a deadly weapon
 ???

2- this brings to mind the question I hear quite often.
are your hands registered. (as deadly weapons)
I once heard a person talking (bragging) about this card he had that showed his hands were registered as deadly weapons, ::)
I did not know him or did he know anything about me,
so I asked him if i could see it, he said sure and started looking for it, but guess what ??? he could not find it.
I hear this question a lot, but have yet to meet anyone who is, unless it is do to being arrested.
do any of you have your hands registered ;D or know someone who is.

Offline kajudaddy

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Re:What is a weapon?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2003, 11:20:54 AM »
ive heard that stopped in the lat 70's.on the other hand ive never actually seen or met anyone who has actually registered.
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TODD

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Re:What is a weapon?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2003, 12:31:45 PM »
I've heard of the terminology but never have seen any written proof.  Almost anything can be or be made into a weapon.  Even toilet paper.  Have 3 suspects in custody currently who allegedly used a kitchen table chair leg to shove into a friends head....repeatedly, then used a fire extenguisher to smash his skull.  One out of the three have been convicted (gang bangers).

Offline KBOWARRIOR

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Re:What is a weapon?
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2003, 10:08:54 PM »
I have been in law enforcement for 15 yrs, and have never heard of having your hands registered as deadly weapons.  I have heard this in the movies, but not in real life in California.  That does not mean that your hands are not deadly weapons.  Like in the item posted by Prof Harper, if a high ranking martial artist hits someone and does damage requiring surgery, that is assault with a deadly weapon unless he or she was being attacked or protecting someones life.   8)
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Offline Chief Instructor

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Re:What is a weapon?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2003, 09:26:14 AM »
I posted this elsewhere and apologize for the reposting but this is a good answer to Professor Harper's question.

Do martial artists have to registering their hands and feet?

Here’s what I found at an urban legends archive…
Research has failed to reveal any statutory, regulatory or other requirement that anyone skilled in martial arts or boxing had to register their hands or any other body part as lethal weapons in the US, UK, Canada, or any other common law nation. However, a criminal defendant's experience in boxing or martial arts may be relevant to determining various legal issues.

First, in the United States at least, the question of whether hands (or other body parts) of a martial artist even qualifies as a "deadly" or "lethal" weapon depends largely upon how "deadly weapon," "lethal weapon," or "deadly force" is defined (usually by statute, which is then interpreted by the courts). Most statutes have been interpreted to require an object external to the human body before a "deadly weapon" element can be met. For example, in Minnesota v. Bastin, 572 N.W.2d 281 (Minn. 1997), the Minnesota Supreme Court overruled the trial court's conclusion that the left fist of the defendant, a former licensed professional prize fighter, was a "deadly weapon."

Some courts in the United States have concluded, however, that a criminal defendant's experience in boxing or martial arts should be considered when deciding whether s/he possessed a required intent to cause harm. For instance, in Trujillo v. State, 750 P.2d 1334 (Wyo. 1988), the Wyoming Supreme Court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the defendant's conviction for aggravated assault after he punched someone in the head. His history as a trained boxer was one bit of evidence supporting the jury's findings on his mental state. Likewise, in In the Matter of the Welfare of D.S.F., 416 N.W.2d 772 (Minn. App. 1988), the Minnesota Court of Appeals held that there was sufficient evidence to conclude that the actions of the defendant, who had "substantial experience in karate," were sufficient to demonstrate his knowledge that he was hitting the victim with sufficient force to break the victim's jaw.

Similarly, a criminal defendant's boxing or martial arts experience may be relevant to determining the validity of a self-defense claim. For instance, in Idaho v. Babbit, 815 P.2d 1077 (Idaho App. 1991), the defendant shot the victim and claimed self-defense. The trial court admitted evidence regarding the defendant's past training and experience as a boxer, concluding that it was relevant to a determination of whether the defendant truly believed it was necessary to shoot the victim in order to protect himself and others.
Sigung Andrew Evans, KSDI #888
Hokkien Martial Arts, Topeka, KS
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Offline Bautista's

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Re:What is a weapon?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2003, 01:21:20 PM »
What ever you put in your hand can be a weapon, from minor to fatal or even accidental injurys. As it was said, just look around you and the possability of tools surrounding you are capable of doing damage, There are weapons of distruction and weapons for protection.
Yet some weapons are of beauty, depends on whos is holding it in their hand. Just my thoughts.
Emil Bautista
Kajukenbo black belt (1966)

Offline Mitch Powell

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Re:What is a weapon?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2003, 12:42:25 AM »
Professor Harper,
Although the law may be able to charge you with assault with a deadly weapon based upon your martial arts skill and ability to cause great bodily injury using your hands, the courts would elect to charge you with aggravated battery.

The charge is a felony, as is assault with a deadly weapon, but aggravated battery is much easier to prove. The court would only have to prove you struck the person and their injuries were a result of the strike.

With assualt with a deadly weapon, the court would have to prove that your hands were a deadly weapon based upon your martial arts skill, knowledge and training. In YOUR case they would have no problem proving that, but they could get the felony conviction a lot easier with the other charge.

The whole register your hands thing-I've never seen anything around our department.
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Karazenpo

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Re:What is a weapon?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2003, 09:02:00 AM »
Hi Guys. Great posts. I can only tell you Massachusetts law and Rhode Island. In Mass. under Mass. General Laws C.269-S.10 different weapons are listed as illegal, such as double edged knives, switch blades, stillettos, nunchuka, shurikens, black jacks, sap gloves, etc. Of course the dangerous weapon statute can be applied to anything used as a weapon in a fights as some have already stated. Rhode Island is more liberal as the martial arts weapons mentioned above and others aren't illegal to possess by statute. As far as assault and battery goes, martial arts experience, boxing and so forth is not listed anywhere in the books as to have any bearing on charges if used in a fight. Of course a kick used with a heavy boot or shoe considered a shod foot and can be charged with a felony (dangerous weapon-shod foot) rather then a misdemeanor. Years ago, shod foot, the felony could be charged with any covering over the foot,  ex. moccasins, sneakers. However, with the popularity of the martial arts many were kicking much more often on the street and many were charged with felonious A&B (D/W-dangerous weapon-shod foot) so in the early 80's the District Attorney's Office started reducing the charge to a misdemeanor if the shoe worn was like a sneaker or moccasin. As cops, we simply made that decision ourselves and went with the lesser charge. In Rhode Island it's a little different. In the late 70's when John Dino Dennis was the New England heavyweight boxing champ he got into a fight at a nightclub and tuned up a few people and Rhode Island opted to charge him with 'Violent" Assault and Battery (felony) instead of simple assault & battery, a misdeameanor which they would normally charge in a fight. In Mass. we do not have that option.
  As far as registering your hands, this is how it was explained to me many years ago. No police department anywhere has such a law, it's a myth that grew, however, from some truth. When American servicemen were stationed in Okinawa, as we know, many took the martial arts. We all heard stories of drunk'n brawls in gin mills on their free time. Most wore those paratrooper like, police-type boots. If they kicked someone in the fight, they were charged with Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon-the shod foot, the boots. Back then, before computers, there were file cards in police departments which included your personal information, the date of your arrest, the charges-ex. Assault & Battery with a dangerous Weapon, the arraignment and the final disposition of the case. Now, they go back home to the mainland and the myth is born. Do you know John Smith? He took karate in Okinawa and his hands are registered at the police department as dangerous weapons! ;) Don't know if this is true but this is the most reasonable explaination I've heard of how this myth was born. Respectfully, Shihan Joe Shuras :)


Offline KBOWARRIOR

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Re:What is a weapon?
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2003, 01:18:00 AM »
Shihand Shuras....
     What would you charge the subject with in the situation described by Prof Harper.  A high ranking martial artist punches a person for no reason other than he is mad.  The punch causes damage that requires surgery to fix.  In California you have to types of battery.  Simple battery, black eyes, bloody noses, ect. and Aggravated battery, causing great injury.  Simple is a misd. and Aggravated is a felony.  
     On a side note, I was looking forward to seeing you in Mass. at Grandmaster Griffin's event.  We are going to be there next year also, come join us.  I think we could have a lot of fun.   8)
Sifu Mark Wallace
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Karazenpo

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Re:What is a weapon?
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2003, 08:44:39 AM »
Aloha Sibak, I'm sorry I missed you guys but it was due to circumstances beyond my control that I could not get down there, I sent Professor Harper a private e-mail on that. As far as what to charge with in your question I have just called an Assistant District Attorney who is going to research the current law on that In Mass. and as soon as he gets back to me, I will post it. I rather go through them since they would be the highest authority and the final word on this in Massachusetts. ;) Shihan Joe

Karazenpo

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Re:What is a weapon?
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2003, 09:08:00 AM »
Okay Sibak Mark, he just called back. He stated if it were a serious enough beating he would be charged with 'aggravated assault & battery' and his training background would be submitted to the judge to influence sentencing. It appears California and Massachusetts are very similiar if not the same.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2003, 09:59:43 AM by Shihan Joe Shuras »

Karazenpo

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Re:What is a weapon?
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2003, 09:55:38 AM »
I'd like to add something. In Massachusetts (where I live and work), at least the beating has to be significant enough before it is upped to the more serious felony charge, however, In Rhode Island (where I train, it's just over the line), the police and/or courts can just decide to charge you with the felony charge of 'violent' A&B like what was done to the boxer I mentioned. I may be wrong, it was a long time ago but I don't remember the beating being a bad one, I think he just popped him during the altercation and he was charged due to his reputation. A good friend of mine is dating him so I can look into it.  The D.A. did just tell me that in Mass. the beating has to be 'substanial' and he emphasized that or the charge is a misdemeanor, Simple A&B. ;)