Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"The constitutions of the United States and of North Carolina both guarantee to all citizens the right to bear arms...."


   The carrying of concealed deadly weapons is the result of pure cowardice--for no brave man will conceal a weapon about his person under ordinary circumstances--and mean liquor. Both practices are against the laws of North Carolina. Public sentiment against liquor is sufficiently aroused, in many localities, to prevent its use by the better class of young men. But public sentiments not sufficiently aroused to prevent the carrying of deadly weapons concealed about the person. The constitutions of the United States and of North Carolina both guarantee to all citizens the right to bear arms. That is, to bear arm openly and above board, so that all can see that the arms are there, ready for use. But there is no such guarantee in favor of bearing arms concealed. Why? Because the fathers of our fundamental law knew that the concealment of weapons is done for a mean and cowardly advantage, and so set their sturdy faces rigidly against it. If they could not settle their quarrels with their fist, they went to the courts. The man who really is in fear of his life carries his gun openly. The coward, who hopes to gain some advantage over any chance opponent he may encounter, conceals his. Liquor makes him a coward, for liquor tells him that he must swagger and bully and bluff, and curse and use vulgar language, and be overbearing, in Order to appear brave--things he would never do in his right senses--and that such conduct invites resentment. If he is armed, secretly, and the one who resents his insolence is not, then he has the advantage in the sense of superior physical force. Hence the deadly pistol in the concealed hip pocket.

   The legislature and juries are not to blame for carrying concealed weapons. It is right that the legislature should give the judges some discretion in the punishment inflicted for violations of the law against concealed weapons, for there are often mitigating circumstances. But. if the judges would impose prison sentences on the kid-gloved cowards who come before them even one day in jail the same cowardice which prompted them to conceal their weapons would, restrain them from the stigma of a term in jail. For they would be afraid for the community to know them in their true characters as criminals and cowards. On the other hand, the low-down element, which carries its weapons concealed, usually cannot pay a tine, and is not disgraced by a term in jail or on the roads. Yet, it is the this class our judges sentence to prison while they impose a fine only on the kid-glovers, to whom a fine is no punishment at all. Juries seldom get a chance to try concealed weapon cases, which are usually "fixed up" between the defendant's attorney and the Solicitor, payment of the costs being generally the only penalty imposed, witnesses for the State having been dismissed, and the judge being ignorant of the facts.

   And the pulpit--is it altogether blameless? Whoever heard a preacher denounce the carrying of concealed weapons from the sacred desk? And the newspapers? What editor handles this subject with gloves off? What one calls a spade a spade and a coward a coward?

   What we all need, criminals, judges, editors and preachers is not a little more backbone, but some backbone--for really, we have had none whatever about this appalling and bloody business.

[The Watauga Democrat, Boone, Watauga County, Thursday, June 4, 1914. Vol. XXV No. 45. Pg. 2]
   And there is yet another putrid example of how the press has been historically employed in the destruction/diminshment of our right. In all my years of study concerning the right to bear arms. I have yet to read ANYTHING from ANY of the founders that decried carrying weapons concealed. That was something that only appeared later on, in the local and state legislatures as well as the courts.

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