The day has finally come. You passed your red sash test, and you are ready to start your first weapons form. Kung Fu weapons! How cool is that? Well, you need to keep in mind that your Kung Fu training weapons are indeed weapons, and that makes you subject to Florida’s “Weapons and Firearms” statute.
Under Chapter 790, your Kung Fu training weapons, namely the staff, the saber, the knifes, the three-section staff and other weapons, can be considered by the police as “deadly” weapons by the manner in which you carry or display them.
Florida’s law is quite clear that weapons cannot be carried in a concealed manner unless you are licensed in this state to carry a concealed weapon. A concealed weapon is any deadly weapon that is carried on or about a person in such a manner as to conceal the weapon from ordinary sight of another person. So, carrying your “double daggers” tucked inside of your belt or back pocket or in a backpack may be considered by the police as concealed, or readily accessible for immediate use. If the police cannot ordinarily see your weapon, or if you have it in such close proximity and in such a manner that it can be retrieved and used as easily and quickly as if carried on your person, then you might be placed under arrest for committing a first degree misdemeanor, and you may face up to one year in county jail.
Another Florida law that you should be aware of is “Improper Exhibition of a Dangerous Weapon”. Under this law, if you exhibit a Kung Fu weapon in the presence of one or more persons in a rude, careless, angry or threatening manner, not necessarily in self-defense, then you commit a second degree misdemeanor crime, punishable by up to sixty days in county jail.
If you are a public or private school student, and you bring a Kung Fu weapon to school, or within 1,000 feet of the school, or carry a weapon on a school bus, not approved in advance by your school Principal for a school-sponsored event or school-sanctioned activity, you may be suspended or expelled from your school. If you are at school or within 1,000 feet of a school or on a school bus, and you display the weapon in a rude, careless, angry or threatening manner, you commit a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Now, here’s something even worse. If you commit a felony crime in Florida, and use a weapon or possess a weapon during the time that you commit the crime, then the crime is reclassified to a higher felony, meaning you face more prison time under the “minimum mandatory 10-20-Life” rule.
So, here is some advice from someone who spent twenty years on the streets serving the public. As soon as you leave the Kung Fu Connection premises, place your Kung Fu weapon in the trunk of your car, and leave them there until you get home. Then, take them inside your home and leave them there until you are ready to practice with them, and practice with your weapons in the privacy of your home.
Remember this. If you are stopped by the police during a traffic stop, and your saber or daggers are sitting on the front or back seat or are hidden under your seat, you risk being arrested and taken to jail. It’s just not worth the trouble and aggravation.
By Alan Graham (Retired Police Chief)