Legality of Ninja Filmography

A group of kids from my college enjoy shooting amateur and self-parodying movies. Another interest of ours is in martial arts, but specifically, oriental weapon usage. We each own and train regularly a different weapon as well as padded variants for use in sparring. Anyway, recently we’ve taken to combining the too, making ultra low budget movies involving a fair share of coreographed swordplay, battles, and parodies of anything we could drag out of the collective unconcious. Now, the question.

I am in Pennsylvania. I personally own the most questionable of the weapons, two cheaply made flea market bought katanas with 30" or so blades. I’ve attempted to look up the state laws about this but they’ve been consistently dodgy. What I want to know is the legality of using those weapons in isolated places (assuming not private property or anything) to film a movie. Does that count towards the clauses I’ve seen before requiring “A lawful purpose that can be manifested?” Especially because someone would be there, actually filming it? Also, if we were to be pulled over in travel, would searching the car (with us of course declaring what we had in it and cooperating fully) bring up trouble for us because of those cheapo imitation samurai blades?

Also involved in the movie would be a pair of padded nunchaku. I know there are prohibitions against carrying around nunchaku, but certainly the $2 foam pair that are seen in practically every toy store and martial arts shop in the county aren’t a problem?

Thanks in advance for any help on this burning and essential question.

Are the katans sharp (as in could they seriosly hurt someone)? If they are sharp I would imagine they would be treated as if they were real katan’s. If they are not sharp, and are obviosly for practice, or play only, then I don’t think there would be as much of a problem. As far as having them in the car, first of all I would keep them in the trunk, second don’t do anything in the car that would cause it to be searched. Don’t drink, don’t smoke pot, don’t leave anything out.

I can run my finger on the edge without it being cut. They’re duller than you’d want a kitchen knife to be, though still capable of causing harm in the eyes of some random authority figure having a particularly bad day. They look fairly real but also the cheap construction is obvious enough. I’m hoping the same way actors doing stage fighting would be excused, random people filming amateur fighting movies will be, but I’m unsure of what the law would think. And thanks for the advice, they will definitely be trunked during any time but filming.

Then hopefully you’ll be okay if you have cameras out. So at least it doensn’t look like people are actually fighting. If a cop would show up, explain what your doing, and show that the katan’s are not sharp. I’d bet that you’d be safe if you told them that they are imitation katan’s meant for practice and for use on stage, but nothing that’s sharp enough to hurt anyone. If they are really cheap, and you’re not planning to use them for anything but this and you’re worried about getting stopped by an officer, you could also file the edges down to the point that they couldn’t even be mistaken as being sharp.