Should Have Checked With Their Lawyers:

Kotaku reports:

Electronic Arts today contacted game writers around the country asking them to return the brass knuckles they were sent as part of a promotion for Godfather II....

Brass knuckles or metallic knuckles are illegal in many of the states that they were shipped to. They're also illegal in California, where EA is based....

UPDATE: After a little research we found that according to California Penal Code even shipping brass knuckles [back to the sender -EV] may be illegal.

Uh oh. Thanks to Eric Horbey for the pointer.

Brett Bellmore:
How I long for a country where you don't have to check with your lawyers before doing something. But our robed masters will never set us free.
4.14.2009 7:38am
Mr. Bellmore,

Do you know how ridiculous you sound? "Robed masters?" Really? Democratically-elected legislatures passed these laws... we may think they are unwise laws, but they were passed with the implicit consent of the people.
4.14.2009 7:51am
Found this on a Brass Knuckle sales site:

We cannot ship brass knuckles to FL,MA,MI,NY,DC,IL,RI or CA
This prohibition of brass knuckles strikes me as bizarre. There are more lethal weapons freely and legally available in each of these states.

Could these prohibitions be successfully challenged on 2nd amendment grounds that brass knuckles constitute "arms"?
4.14.2009 7:54am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
No more than you could for a short barrel shotgun or a butterfly knife.
4.14.2009 7:57am :

No more than you could for a short barrel shotgun or a butterfly knife.

Agreed. I'm still bitter that Scalia gave up so easily on the M-16, though. No analysis at all.
4.14.2009 8:44am
Second Amendment Sister:
And thank God the implicit consent of the people protects me from drive-by face-punching.

I'll never be assaulted or die again.
4.14.2009 9:12am
ruuffles (mail) (www):

I'll never be assaulted or die again.

Catwoman, is that you?
4.14.2009 9:19am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Saw a funny cartoon once. A sheepish-looking worker is telling his boss or another co-worker: "We waited too long to run it by legal; now we've got to run it by the judge." Wise words, those...
4.14.2009 9:20am
Houston Lawyer:
I own an Asp. They are carried by law enforcement all over. After I get my concealed carry license, under which I could legally carry a silenced submachine gun under my coat (assuming I paid the federal tax), I would be arrested for carrying my asp.
4.14.2009 9:26am
cirby (mail):
The funny thing is that, in some of the jurisdictions listed by Angus, it's possible to buy a short-barreled shotgun, but not a butterfly knife or brass knuckles.

There are legal short-barreled shotguns available if you have a Class III license and pay a minimal amount. They fall into the category of Any Other Weapon (AOW), and can be transferred with a $5 tax stamp.

This is a technicality, though - as long as the weapon has a short, smooth barrel and never had a stock, it falls into the AOW category. If it had a stock before it was shortened, it's a short barreled shotgun (SBS). If it has a rifled barrel of more than .5" bore, it's a destructive device (DD)...
4.14.2009 9:40am
ChrisIowa (mail):

Electronic Arts today contacted game writers around the country asking them to return the brass knuckles they were sent as part of a promotion for Godfather II....

Is this going to relieve the current shortage of Brass?
4.14.2009 10:13am
The Unbeliever:
The irony is that quite often the ban on these kinds of weapons (brass knuckles, butterfly knives, switchblades, etc) were enacted not because of the lethality of the weapon itself, but to target specific crime gang activity... exactly the kind depicted by the Godfather franchise.
4.14.2009 10:21am
...Max... (mail):
Houston Lawyer: I was under impression that the state of Texas has a prohibition on silencers that's quite separate from the Fed schedules. Wrong?
4.14.2009 11:37am
cirby (mail):
Heck, look at the old efforts to restrict nunchakus and other flashy martial arts weapons.

After seeing "Enter the Dragon," a whole lot of people ran out and bought them so they could be the current-model badass. They then whacked themselves in the head while playing around with the sticks-on-a-string (or accidentally neutered the cat with a badly-timed shuriken throw) and threw them in the trash or hung them on the wall (hoping, apparently, that a burglar would break in and try to subdue someone with the nunchakus, knocking themselves out in the process).

Some time later, a lot of lawmakers decided that these evil weapons must be stopped, and passed laws restricting the use and sale of things like nunchakus and throwing stars. Which unintentionally saved the population at large from many self-inflicted injuries, while doing approximately zero to reduce crime.
4.14.2009 11:46am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
I can somewhat see an argument that a weapon that is silent is more of a crime problem than a weapon that calls attention to itself (as discharging a firearm does in most cities). But I would find it more plausible that many of these "exotic" weapons were banned because they were identified with ethnic criminals when a lot of these laws were passed at the start of the 20th century.
4.14.2009 11:47am
Angus said:

Could these prohibitions be successfully challenged on 2nd amendment grounds that brass knuckles constitute "arms"?

You'd think given the size of the markets involved that companies that make brass knuckles would have enough of an economic incentive to file suit challenging the laws on Second Amendment grounds (and maybe some of the pro-2nd Am lawyers would help out pro bono). I'd expect to see these laws constitutionally tested sooner or later.
4.14.2009 11:57am
matt (mail):
brass knuckles, butterfly knives, switchblades, etc., tend to get banned because the wrong sorts of people were buying them. Typical legislative nonsense. Something must be done, this is something, so it must be done.

4.14.2009 12:22pm
Houston Lawyer:

Several of my friends have silencers. Nothing in Texas law prohibits ownership, you just have to deal with the feds. Now, don't get caught hunting with one.
4.14.2009 12:35pm
Bill Adams (mail):
Back when I was supporting my fiction-writing habit as a security guard, and had to patrol some dicy areas, I invested in a telescoping spring-steel baton illegal in the state I operated in, and was glad to have it. I say this to establish my creds as no fan of state efforts to inhibit self-defense.

That said, the brass knuckles ban doesn't bother me much. Most weapons can be either offensive or defensive, but brass knucks really are an aggressor's choice; if the other party is armed at all, you probably won't get to use them; they're for picking on someone who is unarmed.
4.14.2009 12:56pm
...Max... (mail):
Houston Lawyer: not even for pest control? Dang, there goes my Bane-o-Suburban-Bunnies...
4.14.2009 12:58pm
Houston Lawyer:

You can hunt unregulated game with them. A buddy of mine wants to go after feral hogs with his silenced AR-15.

Another friend has a suppressor on his son's bolt-action .22 rifle. I think that is what you are looking for.
4.14.2009 1:36pm
While I certainly don't think this was intentional, I'm reminded that "there's no such thing as bad publicity." How many of us would have heard of the game had this not occurred?
4.14.2009 1:37pm
...Max... (mail):
Houston Lawyer: thanks to your explanation, I'll be an even prouder Texan from now on :-)
4.14.2009 2:12pm
TD (mail):
My favorite in California is this one:
# 12582. Any person who knowingly manufactures, sells, offers for sale, possesses, or uses a blowgun or blowgun ammunition in this state is guilty of a misdemeanor.

We haven't had single case of a blow gun hold up or a blow gun drive by since this was passed. Way to go legislature!
4.14.2009 2:12pm
If I remember correctly, the prohibition on switchblade knives arose in the 1950s not because of crime involving them, but because they showed up too often in youth and Hollywood films in the era.
4.14.2009 2:46pm
David Welker (www):
Houston Lawyer,

What is wrong with silencers when hunting?

It is not as though you can go out shooting at whatever thinking, I am sure that if a person is around, they will hear me and dodge any bullets in their direction.

It seems to me, to safely hunt, you had better know where physics might take your bullet and not shoot if there is any chance that the bullet could go where a human is or might be. The fact that your weapon is not silenced doesn't render your shooting safer. I suppose there is the argument that you are safer from hunters who shoot a lot (because you can avoid the area) but does shooting a lot make sense when you are hunting?
4.14.2009 2:49pm
NaG (mail):
I would think that a silencer/suppressor would be good for hunting since it would minimize the chance of your quarry getting startled and running away if you happened to miss with your first shot. However, that same advantage would hinder a stray human's ability to realize that they are being fired upon by an unknowing hunter and act accordingly.

I don't hunt, though; this is just conjecture.

I agree that this is a pretty brilliant (by accident) advertising ploy. What's a better way of getting attention for a gangster game than by illegally trafficking a thuggy weapon?
4.14.2009 3:15pm
I like this part of the CA Penal Code: "any camouflaging firearm container,".

I guess my fanny pack holster is illegal in CA.
4.14.2009 3:45pm
ASlyJD (mail):

Just think -- now, even in light of Heller, they can completely prohibit concealed carry. If you can see the gun, it's brandishing; if you can't, it's use of an illegal weapon camouflaging container.

Pretty slick, actually.
4.14.2009 4:38pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
Houston Lawyer: I was under impression that the state of Texas has a prohibition on silencers that's quite separate from the Fed schedules. Wrong?
To amplify Houston Lawyer's correct response, "firearm silencers" are listed in Texas Penal Code 46.05 (a) as prohibited weapons (along with an explosive weapon, a machine gun, a short-barrel firearm, a switchblade knife, knuckles, armor-piercing ammunition, a chemical dispensing device, and a zip gun). However subsection (c) provides a defense to prosecution if possession was pursuant to NFA registration.

In reference to a later thread, here "chemical dispensing device" is defined so it doesn't apply to self-defense sprays.
4.14.2009 5:03pm

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