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Monkey Fist in CA?

Discussion in 'Knife Laws' started by ASBOB, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. ASBOB

    ASBOB Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 8, 2008
    I posted this in Knife Laws but no response, so I figured I'd try here.

    Here's the inquiry:

    This is an interesting idea:


    With a cord attached it might make a great stand off device.

    Would it be legal in CA? To carry? If, heaven forbid, you had to use it? Or would you be booked for a felony?

    I seem to recall a thread discussing heavy blunt objects on a chain, with negative results, but I'm not sure.

    So in SoCal, is this a violation?
  2. The Logical One

    The Logical One Gold Member Gold Member

    May 31, 2011
    Link doesn't work. I googled monkey fist and it just looks like a lanyard decoration of some sort. :confused:
  3. Bastid

    Bastid Goat herding fool and resident vermin breeder. Staff Member Super Mod

    Feb 27, 2001
    Please reserve this forum for knife discussion.
    Moved to Knife Laws. Hope there is an answer there this time.
  4. ron_m80

    ron_m80 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 1, 2009
    It would likely be interpreted as a SAP or sand filled bludgeon if an Officer felt like it was or wanted to call it one. So keep in mind what you could use it for, and decide whether to carry it. 2008 Dangerous Weapons Control Act, section 12020(a)(1)
  5. Plasmio


    Jun 20, 2012
    Monkey fists are legal in California? I have one myself.
  6. Sidehill Gouger

    Sidehill Gouger

    Dec 29, 2007
    Any place they make reference to "slung shots" being illegal these will be to as that is what they are. I would be really surprised if California of all places didn't have that in their laws someplace. They certainly do in the state I live in.
  7. Plasmio


    Jun 20, 2012
    I guess they aren't considered slung shots, because every place I've seen sell them has no problem shipping them to California.
  8. ron_m80

    ron_m80 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 1, 2009
    Plasimo, what is legal to own, may not be legal to carry on your person.
  9. broe


    May 8, 2011
    Monkey Fists have always been considered 'slung shot' as long as they have a weight of any kind in it. If it has a wooden or foam ball would be the only time it is not. Sailors during the time of wooden ships started the practice of carrying monkey's fist with lead shot from the muskets as self defense in ports-of-call and most countries consider them illegal, and that includes the socialist state of Kalifornia. Use of a weight attached to a chain (''manriki" in Japanese) is also considered to be a weapon in Kalifornia. I suggest, if something in the line of self defense is in your mind, to take a heavy split key ring, add one foot of 5/32 blue steel (1500# test strength) and make a loop on each end. connect your keys to one end and a mini carabiner to the other. Clip the 'biner to your belt/belt loop and put the keys in your pocket. Unclip the keys when needed. Warning: this creates a flexible weapon and as such you can hurt yourself badly without training....

    Now the question needed to be answered is that if you defend yourself with this will you get arrested anyway....
  10. glistam


    Dec 27, 2004
    A Monkey's fist in and of itself is not considered a de jure weapon in any state. It is, after all, nothing more than rope with a knot in it. Furthermore, very few police I have spoken with know anything about it's history. It would only be an issue if it was sufficiently large, was weighted, and there was clear intent evidence by how it was carried that it was intended to be used as a weapon.

    It's all about impressions. If the knot is 1/2 inch diameter, filled with paper, and it's on your keys by a 3" loop, nobody is going to care. If it's tennis-ball sized, filled with a solid lead weight and carried in the pocket of a thug with a known gang history, that's going to get confiscated or result in an arrest.

    It pays to make or buy one where it's purpose is not evident. The item below is one of my own making, which I have dubbed a "Sailor's Amulet."
    It's a solid 1.25" solid copper sphere held by a 5-bight Turk's Head knot, topped with a diamond not, then a lanyard is formed using a simple daisy chain. It's worn around the neck, and nobody has never thought it was anything more than a quirky accessory. I designed it to make sure I had something when I was at work, as we have very tight weapon restrictions.
  11. FlyBittenSavage


    May 12, 2010
    Word of warning, by interpretation the monkeyfist "could" easily fall under the category of sap or blackjack (in the same manner as a billard ball in the toe of a long sock or some other homemade manrikigusari or suruchin--something like a big 25-33mm nut tied on a rope). Yeah, I'm in California and have all sorts of them in the process of tying my own. Too many experiences with aggro dogs (and their idiotic thug owners) at the local dog park has prompted me to carry a heavy one discretely attached as a counter-balance to my own dog's chuckit stick. I hope to never have to use it in self-defense (and if doing so would direct an aggressive dog's attention off of my dog and onto me...I'm accept that.)

    For more proof, try to order one as part of your next BladeHQ order. They will not ship their monkeyfists to CA, and the item must be removed before you can complete your knife order.
  12. TOM1960


    Nov 5, 2007
    I never even heard of one until a lady that I work with showed up one day with a "monkey fist" attached to the handle of her handbag. Being young, she thought it looked cool! So...I guess the question is: effective weapon or just another accessory for fashionistas like her?
  13. Danzigs MISFITS

    Danzigs MISFITS

    Oct 14, 2014
    Sorry for resurrecting an old thread but I've been looking for a solid answer to this. Found a good one with People vs Golden. From what I read he had a monkeys fist under his car seat and was arrested...the case was dismissed because a monkeys fist didn't fall under the prohibited weapons definition of black jack, slungshit etc.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
  14. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    A very good case law to read on this matter is People of California v Fannin (2001).

    In that case Mr. Fannin was waiting at a bus stop. A cop thought he looked suspicious, approached Mr. Fannin, asked him some questions, and asked him if he would consent to a search. Mr. Fannin did consent to the search (his first mistake).

    Upon searching Mr. Fannin the cop found a length of chain with a padlock attached. Mr. Fannin originally told the officer that it was for his bicycle back home, but he eventually told the officer that he was carrying the item for self-defense (his second mistake). Mr. Fannin was arrested and charged with carrying a slungshot.

    Mr. Fannin was convicted of that charge and appealed his conviction arguing that the item did not qualify as a weapon because it had a legitimate purpose (locking his bicycle, which was at home), and that the item was neither designed nor modified in any way to make it a weapon.

    But since Mr. Fannin said that he was carrying the chain and padlock for self-defense, that statement was seen by the court as an admission that the item was being carried as a weapon, and Mr. Fannin's conviction was upheld.

    Mr. Fannin convicted himself with his own words by saying that he was carrying the item for self-defense. Unlike Mr. Golden in People v Golden, where Mr. Golden was originally convicted of possessing a "slungshot", but his conviction was overturned on appeal because he made no mention of the item being a weapon. Instead he said that he merely found the item in question and put it in his car.

    Although an item may have ordinary, legitimate, and innocent uses, the state of mind of the person carrying/possessing the item can cause that item to be regarded as a "weapon" in court. To say "I'm carrying it for self-defense" indicates ones state of mind. Likewise, if an LEO asks you "Are you carrying any weapons?", and if in your attempt to be honest and forthright you say "Yes, I have this right here", then whatever this is WILL be regarded as a "weapon" in court. And if that "weapon" falls under the definition or description of an "illegal" weapon, then you are screwed.

    Mr. Fannin also screwed himself by waiving his 4th Amendment rights and consenting to a search.

    There are many cases in California where people were carrying ordinary items, but were convicted of weapons offenses because they admitted that they were carrying/possessing them for "self-defense".

    This is why many people, like myself, advise others to NEVER tell an LEO that you are carrying an item for "protection" or "self-defense". Carrying a "monkey's fist" is not illegal in and of itself in California, but if you were to tell an LEO that you were carrying it for self-defense, you would be confessing to a felony, and you could wind up in prison.
  15. zzyzzogeton

    zzyzzogeton Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 17, 2013

    Any chance you could repost this pic? Looks like the link died sometime during the last 4 years :D I'd like to see what you rigged up. TY.
  16. glistam


    Dec 27, 2004
    Sure, it's right here: http://s443.photobucket.com/user/glistam/media/SailorsAmuletII.jpg.html
    Since making this, I've made other items with old bits of salvaged tungsten, which is both heavier than lead and non-toxic. Anything I carry has a story behind it, non-weapon of course.

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