“The first section of the bill of rights in the constitution of Pennsylvania declares that all men have the inherent and indefeasible right of enjoying and defending life and liberty of acquiring possessing and protecting property that no man can be deprived of his liberty or property but by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land Sect 9 That the right of citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the state shall not be questioned Sect 21 The second section of the fourth article of the constitution of the United States declares the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states. The tenth section of the first article prohibits any state from passing any law which impairs the obligation of a contract. The second amendment provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
"...We shall pursue this subject no further, in its bearing on the political rights of the states composing the union--in recalling your attention to these rights, which are the subject of this controversy, we declare to you as the law of the case, that they are inherent and unalienable--so recognised by all our fundamental laws. "The constitution of the state or union is not the source of these rights, or the others to which we have referred you, they existed in their plenitude before any constitutions, which do not create but protect and secure them against any violation by the legislatures or courts, in making, expounding or administering laws."--U.S. Supreme Court Justice BALDWIN, Circuit Court of The United States, PENNSYLVANIA, APRIL TERM, 1833. [Johnson v Tompkins, (13 F. Cas. 840 (C.C.E.D. Pa. 1833), and others.]
"...More especially, it cannot be believed that the large slaveholding States regarded them as included in the word citizens, or would have consented to a Constitution which might compel them to receive them in that character from another State. For if they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operation of the special laws and from the police regulations which they considered to be necessary for their own safety. It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went...."
"...A reference to a few of the provisions of the Constitution will illustrate this proposition.
"For example, no one, we presume, will contend that Congress can make any law in a Territory respecting the establishment of religion, or the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people of the Territory peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for the redress of grievances.
"Nor can Congress deny to the people the right to keep and bear arms, nor the right to trial by jury, nor compel anyone to be a witness against himself in a criminal proceeding.
"These powers, and others in relation to rights of person which it is not necessary here to enumerate, are, in express and positive terms, denied to the General Government, and the rights of private property have been guarded with equal care."--Chief Justice Roger Taney, United States Supreme Court, [Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1856).]
"...Inasmuch as the Constitution provides a peaceable and regular mode whereby it or the U. S. laws may be amended, there can be no other rightful mode of effecting that end known either to the Constitution or law. As it is both the right and duty of every citizen to become fully informed upon all governmental affairs, so as to discharge his many political obligations intelligently at the ballot-box, and in other legitimate ways; and the freedom of the press and of speech are guaranteed to him for that as well as other essential purposes; and as the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition for the redress of grievances, and to keep and bear arms, cannot be lawfully abridged or infringed, it is evident that an assemblage for the mere purpose of procuring peaceable redress of supposed grievances cannot be treasonable; nor can a free and full discussion of the acts of public men or public measures, whether such discussion be in private conversations, public meetings or the press; nor can a military gathering when assembled for no purpose or design of interfering, by force or intimidation, with the lawful functions of the government or of its constituted authorities, or of preventing the execution of any law, or of extorting its alteration or repeal, or of overthrowing the lawful supremacy of the United States in any State of Territory...."-- CHARGE TO THE GRAND JURY BY THE COURT, JULY 10, 1861. PRESENT: HON. JOHN CATRON, An Associate Justice of Supreme Court of United States. HON. ROB'T W. WELLS, District Judge of United States for Western District of Missouri. [ ST. LOUIS: PRINTED AT THE DEMOCRAT BOOK AND JOB OFFICE 1861.]
"...This statute is the law of the land, and it is your duty and mine in a proper case to enforce. Its purpose is the protection of all citizens of the United States, of every class and condition, in the exercise and enjoyment of their lawful and constitutional rights. Its operation is equal Its prohibitions are directed to all persons; its penalties fall upon all offenders against its provisions, of every race, condition, and party. No man who takes care not to invade the constitutional or lawful rights of another can be touched by it, and it protects alike the rights of all It applies to all parts of our country, and its provisions extend to every State and Territory in the Union.
"It is a just and wholesome act, designed to promote peace and public order, to protect every citizen, whether lofty or lowly, rich or poor, learned or ignorant, in the free exercise and enjoyment of all the privileges and immunities which are granted or secured to him by the Constitution and laws of his country. All classes of citizens whether white or black, without regard to race or previous condition, are interested in its enforcement...."
"...When in the vicinity they asked for a conference with the colored people, which was granted and took place, (Columbus C. Nash speaking for the white men, and Levin Allen, a colored man, for his side.) Nash demanded that the colored men should give up their arms and yield possession of the courthouse. This demand was not acceded to by the colored men, and thirty minutes were given them to remove their women and children. The colored men took refuge behind their earthwork near the court-house, and at about 10, 11, or 12 o'clock, as variously stated by the witnesses, the firing began. The white men had a small piece of artillery mounted on wheels which, with their small arms, was used against the colored men, who responded with their shot-guns and Enfield rifles; of the latter they had about a dozen. A change in the position of their gun, made by the white men, gave them an enfilading the on the blacks, which demoralized them, and their line broke. A portion of them, leaving their arms, fled down the Red River, in the direction of a strip of woods, at Cuny's Point, and were followed by mounted and armed whites, by whom many of them were overtaken and shot to death. The others, sixty or seventy in number, took refuge in the court-house...."
"...The second count charges a banding together of the indicted parties with the intent to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate Nelson and Tillman, with the purpose to hinder and prevent them in the free exercise and enjoyment of their constitutional right to bear arms for a lawful purpose..."
"...These are facts in this case as I understand them to be admitted. If these facts are conceded, or if you find them upon the evidence to be true, your range of inquiry will be much narrowed...."
"...The right of peaceable assembly is one of the rights secured by the Constitution and laws of the United Stares. If citizens come together for a lawful and peaceable purpose, their assembling is within the meaning of the Constitution. The fact that they assemble with arms, provided these arms are to be used not for aggression but for their protection, does not make the assemblage any the less a peaceable one..."
"...Next consider the intent of the banding and conspiring laid in the second count, which is alleged to be to intimidate, &c.. Nelson and Tillman, with the purpose to prevent their exercise of the right to keep and bear arms for a lawful purpos[e].
"The right to bear arms is also a right protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Every citizen of the United States has the right to bear arms, provided it is done for a lawful purpose and in a lawful manner. A man who carries his arms openly, and for his own protection, or for any other lawful purpose, has as clear a right to do so as to carry his own watch or wear his own hat."--Circuit court of the United States fifth circuit and district of Louisiana, The United States vs. William J Cruikshank et al. [United States v. Cruikshank, 25 F. Cas. 707 (1 Woods, 308) (C.C.D. La. 1874) (No. 14,897), aff'd, 92 U.S. 542 (1876). ]
"The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed, but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress. This is one of the amendments that has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government, leaving the people to look for their protection against any violation by their fellow citizens of the rights it recognizes, to what is called, in The City of New York v. Miln, 11 Pet. 139, the "powers which relate to merely municipal legislation, or what was, perhaps, more properly called internal police," "not surrendered or restrained" by the Constitution of the United States."--U.S. Supreme Court, United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875).