Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"The right to bear arms in self-defence is of course a natural and constitutional right which the statute cannot take away..."

A Wise King.

   The end of Mayer King's enforcement of the ordinances regulating the sale and use of explosives in Philadelphia go admirably crowned the work that he derives therefrom great moral reinforcement in his present avowed purpose to prosecute to punishment all violators of the statute law against carrying concealed weapons. He has positively enjoined upon officers that they use their best efforts to arrest and prosecute all persons who shall carry any firearms, slung-shot, or other deadly weapons about their persons, and to apprehend all these that they may have reason to believe are violating the law in that particular. The benefits resulting from a vigorous and thorough enforcement of this order would be immeasurably greater than even the wonderfully gratifying exhibit from the Hospitals of the philanthropic services performed by his regulation of the late Fourth of July observance. To the prevalence of the habit of carrying these weapons and the readiness which a large number of city loungers display in their use may be traced much of the crime, accident and disorder that distinguish city annals and put the life and limbs of all citizens in peril. There can be no doubt that if they were banished the police and hospital records would be greatly shortened and all the best interests of society conserved.

   It is true that in the enforcement of this order the mayor is confronted with the ruling of, we believe, Judge Allisen's court of quarter sessions of Philadelphia, that these acts are unconstitutional, so far as they apply to the carrying of arms for self-defence, and that it is competent for the accused to rebut the unlawful intent raised by the statutory provision. That ruling, if we recollect rightly, was made in the case of a negro who was disclosed on the witness stand to be carrying a concealed revolver. It was at a time of great excitement and when many people felt, and encouraged negroes in Philadelphia to feel, that their color put them at constant risk of assault. Under that pressure Judge Allisen made this ruling. If there was any occasion for it, that occasion has passed away, and such a remark expressed gratuitously at the time, would hardly be made new, to afford encouragement to the evil-disposed. The right to bear arms in self-defence is of course a natural and constitutional right which the statute cannot take away, but few people in Philadelphia or in any ether part of this state would need to carry arms in self-defence if all were stripped of them. It is against the rowdies with their slung-shots and billies, and dirks and pistols, that decent people have te arm themselves, and if the former were shorn of their weapons of offense, the latter class would be glad to lay down their defensive equipment, especially as most peaceably disposed people who have to carry a pistol are in constant dread of sheeting themselves, from inexpertness. Moreover, when the arms are borne in self-defense, that is a matter of evidence, which can be shown by testimony. There is nothing in our state of society to create a presumption that a man who carries a pistol carries it for self-protection. But if he does he ought to be able to establish it to the satisfaction of a court and jury. Only in that case is his constitutional right invaded by the prohibition. Even then it is a question whether his theory of self-defence would not be more manifest if he carried his shotgun over his shoulder, or were his dirk in a girdle, rather than by concealing his weapon and his purposes.

[The Lancaster Daily Intelligencer, Lancaster, PA., Saturday, July 16, 1881. Volume XVII---No. 272 Pg. 2]
   And it was just this type of presumptuous theorist which brought us to the situation that we have today. Which begs the question: Just what part of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall NOT be infringed". Does the treasonously minded people such as this author NOT understand?

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