Do professional boxers have to register their hands as lethal weapons?
I can’t tell you about all 50 states but round these parts the only weapons that must be registered are handguns. You can have knives, swords, catapults or pointed sticks without registering. You’re hands are safe from government control.
In short, no. Boxers have to be licensed by the state to compete professionally, but the old story about boxers and martial artists having to “register” their hands and/or feet as lethal weapons is an urban legend. If nothing else, there would be a problem with the state’s burden of proof that one had reached such a level of ass-kicking ability such that one is no longer merely dangerous but must register as truly lethal, not to mention the question as to whether one must file for a concealed-carry permit to wear mittens. Your average pocketknife is many times more lethal than than your fists, and you don’t even need to show ID when you buy it, much less register it.
That’s not true. I personally know an amateur boxer in New York City and he had to register his hands. Of course, he didn’t want to do it and tried to put it off as long as possible. If he is involved in an altercation and hits someone with a fist his culpability increases dramatically. It’s not an urban legend.
They’ll take my hands when they pry them from…um…
One’s own, attached body parts are not included in the legal definition of “weapons” in my jurisdiction.
Are you sure he wasn’t just talking about getting his boxing license? I know dozens of amateur boxers, kickboxers, and MMA fighters, including a former IKF national heavyweight champion, and never met a one who had to register their hands as “lethal weapons” just to walk around in broad daylight. There’s no such law in Texas or any other state I’m aware of. It’s possible to have a deadly weapon finding in an aggravated assault case in which only hands or feet are used, but that applies to everybody, not just sport fighters. If New York State has a law that boxers must register their hands as deadly weapons, I’d sure love to see it.
Did you personally witness some police or government official telling him that he had to do this, or did he tell you (or did a FOAF tell you) that he had to do this?
According to this urban legend site, it’s an urban legend:
However a person’s expertise in unarmed combat can be a factor if they are involved in some kind of fight, but that’s not the same thing.
I did find plenty of martial arts discussion boards where police officers said that if someone came in to “register their hands as a lethal weapon” they would definitely remember the person as a nutjob.
I searched all over the place including the NY State Athletic Commission (which governs boxing in NY state) and various boxing websites and wikis and found zero mention of any requirement to register yourself as a weapon. The logistics of this kind of thing boggle the mind…is a master of Tai Chi more or less lethal than a good boxer? How about arts that don’t use belts to track progression?
Boxers certainly have to be registered to compete (professionals need a license, for example) but that’s a totally different issue.
SpartyDog, got a cite for this?
I was at a lawn party some years ago when this woman whom I did not know was bragging about how her son had a black belt (which I later learned to be true) and she was required to go into the police department and register his hands as lethal weapons. I immediately burst out laughing and said “that was you? Officer so&so told me about this woman who came in last week insisting it was the law for her son to register his hands, and then argued like crazy when they told her it wasn’t”. Boy, did she get pissed, asking how we could call ourselves cops when we didn’t know what the law was! That was a funny, funny encounter!
Can you imagine how that would go with modern-day flight security? “I’m sorry, sir, but you are not allowed to bring those into the passenger cabin. We’re going to have to confiscate them.”
The short answer: no.
I’ve been doing martial arts for about half my life and the only people I’ve heard who talk about this are the same kind of weirdoes who give martial arts a bad image.
No, he didn’t.
I’ll join everyone else in calling BS on this. Can you produce a cite, such as a New York state or city law, that requires such a registration? When a friend tells you something is true without support, that is pretty much the definition of an urban legend.
“There exists a popular American belief that martial artists must register their hands as deadly weapons with the police department. Whatever the source of this “modern myth,” its survival and propogation has been adided by uninformed martial artists as well as uninformed laypersons. A 1968 survey categorically and unequivocally denied that karateka had to ‘register their hands as deadly weapon.’” Brown, Carl, American Law and the Trained Fighter (1983)
I’m probably guilty of overstatement. My understanding is that in the state of New York, a boxer that participates in a promoted bout has to register with the NY State Athletic Commission. No, the “hands” are not registered per se, but the hands are usually attached to the combatant.
The point being that the registration can influence a civil or criminal case. Many of these fighters are from environments and neighborhoods that are not all that desirable. They do not want to be automatically portrayed as a dangerous instigator in the event that they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. In a legal dispute the other side will use the registration as evidence to convince a judge or jury that the registered individual had the capability of being highly dangerous.
People v. Owusu,
93 N.Y.2d 398; 712 N.E.2d 1228; 690 N.Y.S.2d 863; 1999 N.Y. LEXIS 1135 (1999): http://www.law.cornell.edu/nyctap/I99_0080.htm
Of course, fighting ability can sometimes influence the proportionality of the respons if the defendant claims self defense. Cf., http://ittendojo.org/articles/general-4.htm
Hehe, no, you are just completely wrong.
I’m a 5th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. Please believe me when I tell you that the hand registering thing is an urban legend.
And it ain’t cool bein’ no jive turkey, so close to Thanksgiving.