Friday, January 09, 2015

Chief Justice John Bannister Gibson: “A man has a right to keep whatever arms he pleases . . . This is a freeman’s privilege."

   “A man has a right to keep whatever arms he pleases in his house, and to introduce men to use them. And he can take them when he pleases, whether he apprehends danger or not. This is a freeman’s privilege. Any man who cannot arrest another in the perpetration of a felony, has a right to take his life, as a measure of necessity.”–Chief Justice John Bannister Gibson, Pennsylvania Supreme Court [Indiana State Sentinel, Indianapolis, January 2, 1845. Volume IV – Number 28. Pg. 4]
   The Chief Justice had also stated:
    "Now, in questions of this sort, precedents ought to go for absolutely nothing. The constitution is a collection of fundamental laws, not to be departed from in practice nor altered by judicial decision, and in the construction of it, nothing would be so alarming as the doctrine of communis error, which offers a ready justification for every usurpation that has not been resisted in limine. Instead, therefore, of resting on the fact, that the right in question has universally been assumed by the American courts, the judge who asserts it ought to be prepared to maintain it on the principles of the constitution."--Chief Justice John Bannister Gibson, in dissent in Eakin v. Raub, 12 Sergeant and Rawle 330, Pennsylvania 1825.

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