The notion that individuals skilled in hand-to-hand combat must register their hands as lethal weapons has lingered in the realm of pop culture and urban legends for years. You’ve probably heard it in movies, seen it in media sessions with professional fighters, or come across it in some obscure corner of the internet. But is there any truth to this claim?
Before we dive into the specifics, it’s essential to acknowledge that the world rarely offers straightforward yes/no answers. The topic of registering hands as lethal weapons in the United States is no exception. The intricacies of the law, jurisdiction, and historical context all play a role in shaping the truth. So, let’s dissect this issue one layer at a time.
To begin with, is it necessary for individuals with extensive training in hand-to-hand combat to register their hands as lethal weapons in the United States? The simplest part of this puzzle is that, in most of the U.S., the answer is no. However, there is a notable exception—Guam, a U.S. territory.
Guam’s regulations regarding this matter are detailed in Chapter 62 of Title 10: Health and Safety, Division 3: Public Safety. According to these regulations, anyone proficient in a martial art that employs the hands and feet lethally, such as judo or karate, must register with the Department of Revenue and Taxation.
An important exemption exists for personnel of the United States military or law enforcement. For such individuals, registration is not mandatory, and they are not required to renew their registration annually. The cost of registration in Guam is a nominal $5, but failure to register when required can lead to criminal charges if authorities discover the omission.
The Registration Process and Its Implications
Once an individual registers their lethal hands, the Department of Revenue and Taxation maintains a record of these registered individuals. If someone who has registered their lethal skills is subsequently charged with using their combat expertise in a physical assault, they may face legal consequences.
According to section 62106, if a registered martial arts expert is found guilty of committing aggravated assault using their skills, they can be subject to legal penalties. However, it’s crucial to note that the law does not specify a timeframe for registration upon arriving in Guam. Registration appears to require an in-person visit, creating a delay between an individual’s arrival in Guam and their actual registration.
To clarify who must register, the law in Guam considers an expert as someone who has achieved at least one level of training in a martial art, such as karate or judo, or any other combat form that involves using body parts as weapons. Additionally, an expert must have been awarded a belt or other symbol signifying proficiency in their chosen martial art.
Now, before we continue, let’s clarify that our intention here is not to advocate for or against this registration requirement. Rather, we’re pointing out the potential revenue opportunity for Guam by modernizing the registration process. This could involve online registration, elevated fees, and globally shipped officially embossed and laminated registration cards. Such a move could make Guam an enticing destination for martial arts students aiming to reach specific levels of expertise, whether or not they plan to visit the territory.
Limited Registration Opportunities
For those outside of Guam, the possibility of registering their lethal hands is exceedingly limited. The only locations where registration even remotely resembles the Hollywood version are at specific fighting schools. These schools may offer novelty certificates to students who complete certain levels of training, but this is far from the legal registration depicted in movies and urban legends.
So, in a nutshell, the answer to the question of whether you need to register your hands as lethal weapons depends largely on your location and your affiliation with the military or law enforcement. Now that we’ve tackled the yes/no aspect, let’s delve into the subtleties of this intriguing myth.
While it’s evident that most countries do not require individuals to register their hands as lethal weapons, possessing extensive combat training can have significant legal implications in various jurisdictions. This is where the subtleties of the matter come into play.
Having martial arts expertise can be a double-edged sword in a courtroom, as demonstrated infamous cases like the fictional portrayal of Cameron Poe in “Con Air.” In the movie, Poe’s combat skills become a central element in a court case involving a brawl on an airplane. While this scenario is fictional, it mirrors the potential legal consequences that skilled fighters may face in real life.
The Origins of the Myth
The widespread belief that skilled fighters must register their hands as lethal weapons is a curious misconception that has left many pondering its origins. While the exact inspiration remains elusive, some former professional fighters have claimed that they felt compelled to perpetuate this myth.
Boxers, in particular, played a significant role in popularizing the idea of registering their fists as lethal weapons. It was not uncommon for a boxer to boast at a press conference that they had registered their fists as deadly weapons upon arriving in a new town. The theatricality of such declarations added an element of intrigue to their upcoming matches. Audiences would eagerly await the spectacle on fight night to see if the registration held any merit.
In reality, the legal requirements for registering one’s hands as lethal weapons are far from the glamorous depictions seen in movies and public statements. As we’ve established, Guam stands as a unique exception with its registration process. However, for the vast majority of individuals worldwide, such registrations are nonexistent.
So, while the myth of registering lethal hands continues to circulate, it’s crucial to recognize the distinction between fiction and legal reality. Skilled fighters may not need to register their hands, but they must be aware of the potential legal consequences if their combat expertise is used inappropriately.
The myth of registering one’s hands as lethal weapons is a captivating tale that has persisted through the years. However, the truth behind this myth reveals a far more nuanced and region-specific reality. While it may not be a requirement in most places, the legal implications of possessing lethal combat skills are worth understanding, as they can vary widely depending on jurisdiction. So, the next time you hear this myth, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to separate fact from fiction.