Sunday, April 27, 2008


(Excerpted from the N.Y. Times Archives Monday June 23, 1902)
Citizens Reminded of the City Ordinances Against Firearms.
All Quiet Throughout the Streets -- The Military in Control -- Weavers Divided as to Question of Returning to the Mills.
PATERSON, N.J., June 22. -- This has been an excedingly quiet day. The fine weather caused a large portion of the citizens to take trips to resorts, and, although there were many visitors from out of town attracted to see the soldiers on duty, there was nothing like a crowd gathered at any point during the day. When there was any manifistation on the part of the curious to stop and watch the soldiers, the police on patrol were quickly on hand with requests to move on.
During the early morning hours the police searched two buildings on Straight Street for arms. During the last week the supply of firearms in all the stores handling such goods in this city has been cleaned out. Almost anything in the shape of a pocket firearm has commanded a ready sale. Probably the greater part of the purchasers have been men bent on protecting themselves in case of trouble in the city, but still it is reasonable to suppose that the disorderly element has also been preparing for a possible collision with the authorities.
A frequent source of annoyance to the police during the last few days has been the setting off of firecrackers and similar noise-producing agencies in the streets. These, when set off out of sight of a policeman, cannot be told from a pistol shot, and there have been several scares caused by the too early celebration of the coming Fourth of July.
With these facts and others in view, the city to-night was placarded with the following proclamation:
Whereas, In consequence of the conditions at present existing in our city, and of the efforts that are being made by the authorities of the Municipal, County and State Governments to establish and to preserve law and order in this city, it is deemed advisable that the citizens and residents of this city should co-operate and render every assistance: and
Whereas, At this season of the year the explosion of firearms and fireworks is more frequent than at any other time: and
Whereas, The frequent explosion fireworks, firearms, firecrackers, torpedoes, and other explosives in the streets and public places of our city is likely to cause persons to assemble together in crowds and create public disorder: and
Whereas, Under the ordinances of the City of Patterson, all persons are prohibited from firing or discharging any cannon, gun, fowling piece, revolver, pistol, or fireworks of any description, in the streets or public places of said city: and
Whereas, It is also provided by ordinance that it is unlawful to manufacture or store gunpowder, nitroglycerin, or other explosive material within the limits of said city: and
Whereas, also, It is provided by statute that it is unlawful for any person not a police officer or other peace officer to carry concealed upon his person any offensive or dangerous weapon, without permission of the police authorities of said city.
Now, therefore, I, John Hinchliffe, Mayor of the said City of Paterson, do hereby command that all persons within the limits of the said City of Paterson do observe and do refrain from violating the provisions of the ordinances and laws above mentioned: and I do hereby further direct and order that all police officers, constables, and other peace officers shall be vigilant and active in enforcing the said ordinances and laws, and in apprehending all persons guilty of violating the same, that they may be dealy with according to law.
Given under my hand and seal, this twenty-first day of June, A.D. 1902.
There has been considerable fear expressed that, under the guise of an early celebration of the Nation's birthday, a crowd might be gathered and trouble started.
Hmmmm, reminds me of similar scenario along the same lines from the early 1800's:
A PROCLAMATION, Mayor's Office, Washington, Dec. 23, 1828


Anonymous said...

He's just instilled MARSHALL LAW. Interesting...

Wendy Weinbaum said...

As a Jewess in the US, I support the right of store-owners and good people everywhere to be armed. Criminals are stopped by FIREARMS, not by talk. And America wasn't won with a registered gun! That is why all REAL Americans put our 2nd Amendment FIRST!

E. David Quammen said...

anonymous - Yeah, apparently the 'mayor' thought being 'safe rather than sorry' justified violating the "SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND". Much like what our current 'servants' do today....

Wendy - ALWAYS good to see something from you! Thanks for stopping in. Keep up the good works!