Guns

Does a Medieval English Statute Supersede the Second Amendment?

New York takes a long shot at saving its firearm carry ban.

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In my first post, I cited St. George Tucker's comments about the commonality of arms carrying in the early American Republic. Tucker in the same discussion questioned whether English limitations on the right to keep and bear arms translated to America, "where the right to bear arms is recognized and secured in the constitution itself," and he elsewhere emphasized that, unlike in England, the right of the people to keep and bear arms recognized in the Second Amendment "was without any qualification as to their condition or degree." Tucker's writings indicate that the Second Amendment was understood to expand upon and strengthen the protection of the right to keep and bear arms in important ways.

It therefore will not do for opponents of robust Second Amendment protections to draw a one-to-one correspondence from restrictions on the right in England to the scope of the right in America. Yet that is what New York and its amici seek to do in their reliance on the 14th Century Statute of Northampton, enacted in 1328, during the reign of Edward III. Not even in England, however, was the Statute of Northampton the broad prohibition on carry that New York says it was, and it certainly was not understood to be so in Founding-era America.

The Statute of Northampton forbade any person to come before the King's justices or ministers "with force and arms," "nor bring no force in affray of the peace, nor to go nor ride armed" in fairs, markets, before the justices and ministers, "nor in no part elsewhere …."  2 Edw. III c. 3 (1328).  New York reads this archaic language as a prohibition on carrying arms in public places, even if done so peaceably, and contends that it was handed down as the kind of "reasonable regulation" that was acceptable when the Second Amendment was ratified.

But in the only significant judicial decision on the statute, Sir John Knight's Case, 87 Eng. Rep. 75 (K.B. 1686), the prosecution charged Knight for "going or riding armed in affray of peace."  Knight had carried guns on the street and into a church.  The Chief Justice said that the meaning of the Statute "was to punish people who go armed to terrify the King's subjects." The jury acquitted Knight because had did not go armed in a manner that terrified the subjects.

As we know from diaries not discovered until centuries later, Knight – a militant Protestant – went armed for self-defense after being attacked by Catholic partisans.

Another version of the decision, Rex v. Knight, 90 Eng. Rep. 330 (K.B. 1686), said that the statute had "almost gone in desuetudinem [disuse]," that an element of the crime was going armed "malo animo [with evil intent]," and that "now there be a general connivance to gentlemen to ride armed for their security) …."

Since nothing in the above supported a ban on peaceable carry, New York faults the petitioners for relying "exclusively on the cursory summaries in the English Reports."  Yet the decision was clear and was the only statement of the law at the time.  New York relies on a superficial article published in 2019 that couldn't figure out what the Knight case meant.

Based on the Knight case, William Hawkins wrote that "no wearing of arms is within the meaning of the statute [of Northampton] unless it be accompanied with such circumstances as are apt to terrify the people," from which it followed that "wearing common weapons" did not imply any intent "to commit any act of violence or disturbance of the peace."  2 Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown 21-22 (1716).  New York ignores the former statement – as if no one would notice – and quotes snippets of the latter to assert that Hawkins said that "rules attached even to the public carrying of 'common weapons' …."  But the "rule" was: don't carry in a way to terrify others.

Northampton analogs reappeared in America, and were on the books in the era that the Second Amendment was adopted, but they only applied to aggressive behavior with arms.  In 1786, Virginia enacted an act on affrays – drafted by Thomas Jefferson – forbidding a person to "go nor ride armed by night nor by day, in fairs or markets, or in other places, in terror of the country …."  Going armed peaceably was lawful, going armed in a manner to terrorize others was unlawful.

New York spins this law to ban arms carry at any place "where people congregated and where carrying firearms would be deemed 'in terror of the Country.'"  But if simply going armed in public was the crime, no need existed to recite the element of terror.  Criminal laws define crimes, they don't describe the effects of crime.  A prohibition on robbery would not forbid "taking of property from a person by force or threat of force, in terror of the country."

If going or riding armed was a crime, Jefferson would have been a notorious violator.  His saddle had a pair of pistol holsters, he traveled armed, and he recommended walking with a gun for exercise.  Two of his pocket pistols survive today. Guess where he carried them?  (Hint: In his pocket.)

Similarly, in 1795 Massachusetts enacted a law directing justices of the peace to arrest "all affrayers, rioters, disturbers, or breakers of the peace, and such as shall ride or go armed offensively, to the fear or terror of the good citizens of this Commonwealth …."  New York states that "the statutory phrase 'armed offensively' unquestionably encompassed carrying firearms."   But simply "going armed" would do so as well, so why add "offensively, to the fear or terror" of the citizens, unless they were elements of the crime that must be proven?

While New York's attempt to explain away the word "offensively" is bad enough, elsewhere it misleadingly omits the word altogether. It cites a legal reference work for the proposition that local officials were to "arrest all persons as in your sight shall ride or go armed." But what the source actually says is that officials were to "arrest all persons as in your sight shall ride or go armed offensively."

To understand the meaning of going armed in a manner to terrorize, consider the facts in State v. Huntley, 25 N.C. 418 (1843), which recognized it as a common law offense.  Per the indictment, the defendant went armed and threatened "to beat, wound, kill and murder" various persons, causing citizens to be "terrified."  By contrast, the court held that "the carrying of a gun per se constitutes no offence.  For any lawful purpose – either of business or amusement – the citizen is at perfect liberty to carry his gun."  New York cites Huntly but mysteriously leaves that part out.

New York strikes out in its attempt to portray the Statute of Northampton as a broad prohibition on public carry. For a more in-depth treatment of these issues, see pages 25–65 of my book, The Right to Bear Arms: A Constitutional Right of the People or a Privilege of the Ruling Class?, and the Firearm Policy Coalition's amicus brief.

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: October 12, 1977

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  1. “If going or riding armed was a crime, Jefferson would have been a notorious violator. His saddle had a pair of pistol holsters, he traveled armed, and he recommended walking with a gun for exercise. Two of his pocket pistols survive today. Guess where he carried them? (Hint: In his pocket.)”

    Well since the Second Amendment was NOT incorporated as against the states for at least another 200 years, Jefferson would not have been a “notorious violator” (of at least federal law, not sure of Virginia law at the time).

    It’s too bad a law professor doesn’t know this.

    FYI, I’m guessing NYC will lose this case unless the Supreme Court focuses on some extremely finding.

    1. Section 13 of Virginia’s Constitution of 1776:

      That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people,
      trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State; that
      standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to
      liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict
      subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

      That doesn’t even directly talk about a right of the people to keep or bear arms, yet Jefferson was not prosecuted. The rather obvious implication is that his actions were lawful.

      1. Or that Jefferson was too influential to prosecute. Who knows?

        1. That doesn’t even begin to explain why he would recommend people walk with a rifle as a form of exercise.

          Please do try to keep up.

          1. Jefferson certainly wasn’t immune to a fair amount of inconsistency/hypocrisy.

            1. Jefferson certainly wasn’t immune to a fair amount of inconsistency/hypocrisy.

              That should make him one of your personal heroes.

          2. Jefferson also gave that advice (to his teenage nephew) a year before the statute in question was passed.

    2. “not sure of Virginia law at the time”

      The second paragraph above the part you quoted reads ” In 1786, Virginia enacted an act on affrays – drafted by Thomas Jefferson – forbidding a person to “go nor ride armed by night nor by day, in fairs or markets, or in other places, in terror of the country ….” Going armed peaceably was lawful, going armed in a manner to terrorize others was unlawful.”

      1. Also Virginia law at the time: ” “If a free person, habitually, carry about his person hid from common observation, any pistol, dirk, bowie knife, or weapon of the like kind, he shall be fined
        fifty dollars.”

        https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1160&context=lu_law_review

        1. Not law at the time of the statute on affrays but I think under the Va Constitution of 1776 (it was modified in 1819 but I don’t think regarding arms rights).

          1. FWIW, the start of the para is “In 1838, Virginia enacted its first concealed-weapon restriction: …”

            Interesting tidbit from the same paragraph: “Law enforcement officers were not exempt-the Virginia high court affirmed
            the conviction of a constable who “drew out a pistol and dirk” against one merely to levy an execution”

        2. So, the Virginia lawmakers foresaw the invention of the Bowie Knife and wrote it into law 20 or more years before Jim Bowie created it? What far sighted legislators they must have been.

          Either that, or your “quotation” involves some creative writing.

          1. Under the same Constitution the measure was seen as acceptable.

        3. apedad:

          Jefferson [April 13, 1743-July 4, 1826] would not have been a “notorious violator” (of at least federal law, not sure of Virginia law at the time).

          Amalthea:

          Also Virginia law at the time [of Jefferson]: “If a free person, habitually, carry about his person hid from common observation, any pistol, dirk, bowie knife, or weapon of the like kind, he shall be fined fifty dollars.”

          You were flat wrong. Admitting it won’t kill you. I think.

          1. Whoops, left out the money quote. From your link:

            In 1838[!], Virginia enacted its first concealed-weapon restriction: “If a free person, habitually, carry about his person hid from common observation, any pistol, dirk, bowie knife, or weapon of the like kind, he shall be fined fifty dollars.

    3. The second amendment has always been intended to have been ‘incorporated’, because it implicates congress’ Article 1 responsibility to arm the militia.

      According to the Miller Court in 1939 the prefatory clause referring to a well regulated militia is justification for making the right to keep and bear arms a federal issue.

      1. The second amendment has always been intended to have been ‘incorporated…’

        Nonsense. The text in various State constitutions was substantially the same, and didn’t imply any “incorporation”. The Federal government was intended to have enumerated powers, and enforcing individual’s rights against their States was not one of them.

    4. In your rush to convince yourself that you’re smarter than the author you failed to understand the simple English phrase that began the quote you responded to:

      If going or riding armed was a crime…

  2. On an amusing tangent, Sir John Knight is a knighted Knight. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophesy in that name.

    1. Nominative determinism indeed…

  3. OK, NY. Now do women’s suffrage and slavery.

  4. I agree that no pre-1688 can possibly be relevant for this matter. And yet, this doesn’t strike me as a terribly accurate summary of a reasonable view today:

    “wearing common weapons” did not imply any intent “to commit any act of violence or disturbance of the peace.”

    1. Do you think police officers wear weapons with the intent to commit acts of violence or disturb the peace?

      1. Yes. What else would that weapon be for?

        But, as your example demonstrates, context is everything. A uniformed police officer with a weapon might not “terrify others” in the way any other person with the same weapon would.

        1. “What else would that weapon be for?”

          To deter acts of violence and/or breaches of the peace?

          1. …which works by creating a credible threat of the use of violence.

            1. No, it creates the capability to use violence in self defense if necessary, among other things, which is not remotely the same as “intent ‘to commit any act of violence or disturbance of the peace.’”

        2. Deterrence. Defense of self or others. Dealing with rabid animals. Target practice. Plinking cans. The list goes on.

          You are not empowered to impose your Fear Of Others’ Liberty through legislation. Most people are not, in fact, trying to terrify you.

          1. Of course a counter-argument is that one hopes that being armed will deter bad guys by indeed ‘terrifying’ them.

            1. The object is not to terrify the bad guys but to have them rationally decide to go elsewhere and pick on an easier target or if they find no easier target, go home and forget their criminal plans.

              1. Yes, to have them rationally decide that they’d rather not get shot. That’s what “intent to commit acts of violence” means.

                1. That’s not what “intent to commit acts of violence” means. I understand how you’re trying to get there, as if capability to mete out violent response in reaction to being criminally accosted is itself a threat to others broadly. But “Intent to commit acts of violence” is bound to mens rea, through and through.

                2. Yes, to have them rationally decide that they’d rather not get shot. That’s what “intent to commit acts of violence” means.

                  Are you being intentionally pedantic, or are you missing the “unlawful” part that is implied by “acts of violence” in this context?

                  1. He is also misinterpreting the “intent” part. Police officers are not supposed to start a shift with the intent to do violence. They (ideally) merely stand ready in case doing so becomes legal and appropriate.

                  2. Of course I didn’t miss that. That’s why I wrote:

                    But, as your example demonstrates, context is everything. A uniformed police officer with a weapon might not “terrify others” in the way any other person with the same weapon would.

                    1. …the way any other person with the same weapon would.

                      Whether someone with the same weapons as the police normally carry would terrify “any other person” depends on the situation, their demeanor and actions, etc. You know this perfectly well, so why are you trolling us with this shit?

                    2. Of course I didn’t miss that.

                      Then you were being intentionally dishonest…as usual.

        3. A uniformed police officer with a weapon might not “terrify others” in the way any other person with the same weapon would.

          That depends on if said others are black, I guess.

          1. I thought that, for a change, I’d not go there, but yes. This “terrify others” has spectacular potential for discriminatory consequences.

            1. If blacks are terrorized by their fantasies rather than objective reality that is the fault of propagandists like you and not caused by the police carrying weapons.

          2. A uniformed police officer with a weapon might not “terrify others” in the way any other person with the same weapon would.

            That depends on if said others are black, I guess.

            “Hands up, don’t shoot!”

            1. Spreading lies like that might indeed instill unnecessary terror, but a lot of blacks who get shot by cops don’t appear to have been afraid enough to not do things that earn them getting perforated.

    2. Any trial from 1686 concerning rights of Englishmen should be suspect anyway because James II was attempting to completely do away with the traditional rights of Englishmen.

      His Lord Chancellor Baron Jeffreys died in the Tower of London where he was thrown because he was notorious for using the courts to judicially murder James opponents. He would go so far as to throw jurors in jail for not reaching the desired verdict.

      Jeffreys was most notorious for The Bloody Assizes.

      1. I had that once. Thank God for antibiotics.

    3. And yet, this doesn’t strike me as a terribly accurate summary of a reasonable view today:

      “wearing common weapons” did not imply any intent “to commit any act of violence or disturbance of the peace.”

      What is unreasonable about it?

  5. Wasn’t the second amendment specifically written because we didn’t want to have England’s laws on allowing citizens to bear arms.

    1. You mean laws like this?

      That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.

      https://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/WillandMarSess2/1/2/introduction

      1. Yes. Note how it explicitly limits that to members of a particular religion.

    2. It’s almost as if people forget that the Bill of Rights was written to prevent the abuses visited upon the nation by the British from happening again.

      1. You’re going to forget that, if you mean to visit them upon the nation again yourself.

    3. LOL. Wishing for the “like” button.

  6. Here’s what I don’t get. The article shows that it was legal to bear arms peaceably in England and at our country’s start. How does that prove that the Second Amendment was intended to prohibit the federal government or, thanks to its incorporation, the states, from regulating that practice or even banning it?

    1. Because that was the goal of every other amendment in the Bill of Rights?

      1. I think what he’s getting at is that often Amendments had the plain goal of changing English practices (think 3rd Amendment), if gun control was relatively unheard of in English practice known to the Framers why pass an Amendment to prevent it?

        1. The British sought to disarm the colonial Americans. They dispatched troops to seize the colonials’ weapons at Concord.

          They were (briefly) stopped by Minutemen at Lexington on April 18, 1775.

          Perhaps you’ve heard of the incident?

          1. Yes, but that could really be argued as a militia right (they weren’t so much going home to home, perhaps you’ve heard of the incident?).

        2. To avoid the top of the slippery slope.

      2. But no other amendment begins with, “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State.” Or did Mcdonald take care of that?

        1. So what? At the time, it wasn’t uncommon for sentences that way. When you look at other legal writings at the time, every single one of them was and is read to where the prefatory clause does not diminish or restrict the operative clause.

        2. And even read in full, it is the militia that is to be “well regulated” not the right to keep and bear arms.

        3. But no other amendment begins with, “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State.”

          How many years has it been since Heller? And still this stupid, ignorance-based argument refuses to die.

          1. I don’t get why this foolish argument remains either.

            The Supreme Court throughly rejected it in detail over 100+ pages. The current 6-3 Conservative Court will not revive it.

            The only way to revive it is 2 conservative justices die under a Democrat President.

            And even then, the justices would know overruling Heller hands conservatives ammo to overrule Roe in the future.

            The left wouldn’t dare.

            In short, this militia argument is dead. The dog will never hunt. Let it go gracefully. . .

          2. If they didn’t have stupid, ignorance based arguments, they’d have no arguments at all.

            Literally, you’ve got a perfectly on point, explicit amendment in the Bill of Rights, whose meaning is extensively documented from contemporary sources, and it forbids what they want to do. They’re stuck, it’s bad arguments, or none at all.

        4. The original wording of the amendment didn’t start that way either.

          “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military services in person.”

          https://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=001/llac001.db&recNum=227

          Second paragraph up from the bottom, left hand column of text.

          1. And then they didn’t adopt that wording, presumably because it didn’t accurately reflect what they wanted to do. Instead they opted for a drafting that put the “well-regulated militia” literally front & centre.

            1. It’s been discussed before: The 2nd amendment was written before the regulatory state, “well regulated” just meant well equipped and trained; If you were raising your militia from an armed populace, they’d already have guns, and be familiar with their use.

              But, again, it still says “right of the people”, and the Court has rightly observed that phrase always indicates an individual right.

    2. Scalia writes on this subject in Heller. The Anti-Federalists were concerned that the new constitution would permit the growth of a too-powerful central government, and much of the Bill of Rights was targeted in part to assuage those concerns. They were particularly worried about the creation of a national standing army that could justify the disarming of the States and then potentially be used against them, and the Second Amendment was proposed to safeguard the right to arms inherited from English law against that threat.

    3. Because the amendment specifically states that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” (by the federal government and post-incorporation, by the state governments).

    4. How does that prove that the Second Amendment was intended to prohibit the federal government… from regulating that practice or even banning it?

      You could read it, and consider its context and history.

    5. How does that prove that the Second Amendment was intended to prohibit the federal government or, thanks to its incorporation, the states, from regulating that practice or even banning it?

      The preamble to the Bill of Rights indicates this:
      https://drexel.edu/ogcr/resources/constitution/amendments/preamble/

      “THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its [the Constitution’s] powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses [on government] should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”

  7. The post’s title doesn’t appear consistent with the post’s arguments. The post argues, not that the English statute is irrelevant, but that it is relevant because as interpreted by the English courts, it covers only carrying arms in a manner that terrifies the populace or disturbs the peace, thereby demonstrating that ordinary carry was lawful.

  8. I don’t think the 2nd amendment protects concealed carry. The right to keep and bear arms is related to well regulated militias. And well regulated militias, by longstanding laws of war, bear arms openly.

    1. I think the idea here is that if the citizenry have a right to carry you can’t ban open carry and concealed carry both. So if you ban open carry because reasons, you must allow concealed carry. If you ban concealed carry, you must allow open carry. But banning both proscribes the right to “bear arms” entirely, which is a bridge too far.

      That you believe the protection applies only within the context of a militia is an entirely different discussion. The debate about limitations on carry begins with the presumption that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right, not a collective right. If you disagree with the individual right vs collective right presumption, the debate about bearing arms would be moot to you. At this point though, the supreme legal venue of the land has decided that the 2nd Amendment, like the others in the BoR, protects an individual right, not a collective one.

      1. You’ll basically search in vain for evidence of a collective right interpretation of the 2nd amendment prior to the 20th century: It was something gun controllers invented once they started pursuing gun control at the federal level, and needed a way to explain the 2nd amendment away.

    2. I don’t think…

      That much is made obvious by your repetition of this idiotic trope:

      The right to keep and bear arms is related to well regulated militias.

    3. I don’t understand why people keep making this argument (that the “right to keep and bear arms” is tied to a militia).

      It makes no sense as a matter of grammar, logic, history, or even that it is the 2nd Amendment in a Bill of Rights specifically designed to restrain the new federal government.

      Even if all that was false, just read 10 U.S.C 26 and you’ll learn everyone over age 17 is part of the “militia.”

      Even if all that wasn’t true, the Supreme Court throughly rejected this argument in detail at length in the Heller decision. The current 6-3 conservative Supreme Court is not going to revive it.

      So why make the argument?

      1. That the right isn’t limited to militia service is, as you say, done and done and isn’t reviving soon.
        But I think ReaderY is on the track of something different, that is using the prefatory clause to help define the scope of the right. Before you object to that, it is what Scalia did in Heller when he supported the holding of U.S. v. Miller that the militia clause limited the types of weapons protected by the amendment to those suitable for militia use (in the case of Miller, to the exclusion of a sawed-off shotgun).

        1. that is using the prefatory clause to help define the scope of the right

          That’s not what he did. He attempted to tie the right to service in a militia (an argument soundly rejected in Heller), as was obvious from the totality of his post.

        2. 1. The law at issue in miller prohibits short barreled shot guns, not, “sawed-off” shot guns. Whether the barrel was cut down or the shot gun was manufactured in the first instance with an overly short barrel is irrelevant.

          2. The Miller court got the facts wrong on the military utility of short barreled shot guns. They were standard issue by the US army in WWI, used for trench clearing, and would still be useful today in a bunker clearing situation.

          1. They got the facts wrong because the case was a set up job, deliberately manipulated to produce a trial in abstensia at the Supreme court, where only the government’s side would be heard. Miller scooted as soon as he was cleared at the district court level, and by the time the case was heard, was nowhere to be found, and might already have been dead.

            So nobody before the Court pointed out that use.

            Personally, I think we lucked out in that regard. US v Miller was heard after “the switch in time”, and there was precisely no chance the Court wasn’t going to rule in favor of the government. The circumstances allowed them to rule in favor of the government on the narrowest grounds imaginable: That nobody had told them the obvious.

            Suppose Miller had been available, and ablely represented. The Court would have heard every argument in his favor, and would have predictably shot every one of them down, because a ruling in favor of the government was predetermined.

            The precedents that would have been set would have been horrific, it would have been to the 2nd amendment what the Slaughterhouse decision was to the 14th.

            I’m not too happy with Scalia in Heller, though. He completely memory holed the Miller Court’s emphasis on military utility, in order to arrive at the conclusion that the government could ban civilian ownership of military weapons, precisely the class of arms the Miller court held protected.

            1. They got the facts wrong because the case was a set up job, deliberately manipulated to produce a trial in abstensia at the Supreme court,

              There are no trials at the Supreme Court, Brett.

              Suppose Miller had been available, and ablely represented. The Court would have heard every argument in his favor, and would have predictably shot every one of them down, because a ruling in favor of the government was predetermined.

              More made-up bad-faithing from Brett.

              1. You’re a tremendous liar, as usual.

                Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Western District of Arkansas.

                Mr. Gordon Dean, of Washington, D.C., for the United States.

                No appearance for appellees.[!]

                https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/307/174

              2. “There are no trials at the Supreme Court, Brett. ”

                What, you prefer “hearing in abstensia”?

                “More made-up bad-faithing from Brett.”

                The ‘switch in time’ is history. The Supreme court really did start letting stuff through it would previously have struck down.

      2. You mean 10 USC 246, where only able-bodied males 17-44 are (plus NG members of both sexes as the ‘organized’ militia).

        1. 10 USC 246 does not state ‘only’.
          There is is no exclusion.
          And don’t forget the unorganized militia, which is basically everyone else.

  9. Well if the enforcement of the law depends on whether people are in terror, then even having a picture of a gun, or pointing your finger at someone with your thumb up will lead to prosecution.

  10. I wonder if NY is going to argue that these days people in NYC are indeed terrified by anyone besides a cop carrying a gun. Seems to be the case. Anyone carrying a gun who’s not clearly a cop or security guard is going to trigger an avalanche of 911 calls and a large police response.

    1. Used to be the case here in Washington state. WA state is, for the record, an open carry state. The open carry movement started a decade or so ago for the sole purpose of normalizing firearm carry in the mind of the public. We had run ins with the police, we won the court cases, we helped write the new training bulletins. Never was the intent to terrify the public but to engage with them. And it worked. Now I occasionally open carry because it is too hot to wear a jacket, or I’m just wearing a t-shirt because I forgot my over-shirt, or whatever. I never get a second glance.

      1. That’s always been the best justification for open carry: Desensitization therapy is a standard treatment for phobias, and a generation of gun control propaganda has a lot of people phobic of guns. Seeing them in a peaceful context is a useful way to cure that, which is why the gun control movement is so opposed to it.

        1. Yes, why wouldn’t you want people to get used to living in a permanent low-level civil war?

          1. Says the phobic guy, who irrationally thinks simply carrying a gun and not doing anything with it is “civil war”.

            Maybe you could reflect on the civil war-like nature of the government passing laws against the exercise of an explicit civil liberty, and violently enforcing them.

    2. If they try it, the other side should argue that the general public in NYC is just as terrified by cops carrying guns.

      1. I don’t think that would be as much of a winning argument for conservatives as you seem to think it is…

        1. You are tiresome beyond belief. Just upthread you claimed that blacks are terrified of police carrying guns. Yes, it’s a shitty argumnent, but it’s suggested as a response to a shitty argument you apparently approve of as a proof that your side’s arguments are shitty. And you know all this, but stupidly think you’re trolling us.

  11. Everything leftists touch they turn to crap, and the modern anti-gun jurisprudence is no exception.

  12. “If going or riding armed was a crime, Jefferson would have been a notorious violator. His saddle had a pair of pistol holsters, he traveled armed, and he recommended walking with a gun for exercise. Two of his pocket pistols survive today. Guess where he carried them? (Hint: In his pocket.)”

    Pockets as we know them today did not exist. Jefferson had a pair of pistols, and he did carry one of them. Jefferson’s pistols had twenty-inch-long barrels. The records show that he had a “holster” built for his horse because that is the way a “horseman’s pistol” was carried while traveling.

    There is some dispute as to whether or not Jefferson’s letter was actually referring to an actual firearm but that does not matter given that his nephew would not have had a pants or coat pocket to carry a “pocket pistol” in since they did not exist.

    Saddlebags did exist but that is a modern term for them. Historically saddlebags were called saddle-pockets because the word “pocket” meant a small sack or bag. And so if Jefferson’s letter to his nephew was referring to a firearm, the “pocket” was most likely a saddlebag or possibly a satchel.

    But putting all of that aside, it was not the carrying of a concealed weapon that was per se a crime ca 1791. It was the use of a concealed weapon to kill one’s opponent that was a crime punished by death, without the possibility of clemency.

    And just because something was not a crime, that does not mean that it was recognized as a right.

    If one were engaged in a fight and then produced a concealed weapon and killed his opponent then it was murder, even to save one’s life.*

    A concealed carrier was required to present (display) his previously concealed weapon to his opponent and cease to engage in combat. The opponent was then allowed to decide whether or not he would similarly arm himself or decline to engage in mutual combat.

    The concealed weapon did not have to be carried on one’s person. If the weapon were concealed nearby and then used to kill someone then the use of that concealed weapon was likewise punished with death, with no possibility of a pardon.

    * American courts would eventually allow one to use a concealed weapon to save his own life. Unfortunately, that has descended to the point where, under California law, a kidnapper has the right to murder his victim if his victim somehow turns the tables on the kidnapper, placing the kidnapper in a position of serious bodily harm and the kidnapper is unable to retreat or surrender.

    But that is today. That is not what Federal or state laws regulating the use of weapons or the common law right to use weapons in self-defense recognized in 1791.

    But such is the nature of the lawyers on both sides of NYSRPA v. Bruen. In a profession (law) where one is paid to lie, there is little incentive to expend the effort to learn what the truth actually was or is.

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