Courts/Legal Upholding the Right

"29. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof: or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances [Amendments to the const. art. 1. [Pg. 72]

"30. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed [Amend to const. art 2] ib

- Laws of The United States of America, From The 4th Of March, 1789, To The 4th Of March, 1815, Including The Constitution Of The United States, The Old Act of Confederation, Treaties, And Many Other Valuable Ordinances And Documents; WithCopious Notes And References. Arranged And Published Under The Authority Of An Act of Congress. In Five Volumes. Vol. V. Published By John Bioren And W. John Duane, Philidelphia, And R.C. Weightman, Washington City. 1815.

Does any one see "militia" in that law? NO, you most certainly do NOT. Does everyone see "shall NOT be infringed" in that law?  YES, you most certainly DO.



TO INFRINGE, V. To encroach.


INFRINGE, from frango to break, signifies to break into.
VIOLATE, from the Latin vis force, signifies to use force towards.
TRANSGRESS, from trans and gredior, signifies to go beyond, or farther than we ought.
The civil and moral laws are infringed by those who act in opposition to them: treaties and engagements are violated by those who do not hold them sacred: the bounds which are prescribed by the moral law are transgressed by those who are guilty of any excess. It is the business of government to see that the rights and privileges of individuals or particular bodies be not infringed: policy but too frequently runs counter to equity; where the particular interests of princes are more regarded than the dictates of conscience; treaties and compacts are first violated and then justified: the passions, when not kept under proper control, will ever hurry men on to transgress the limits of right reason.

I hold friendship to be a very holy league, and no less than a piacle to infringe it. Howel.
No violated leagues with sharp remorse Shall sting the conscious victor. Somerville.

Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds pre-scrib'd To thy transgressions? Milton.


INFRINGEMENT and INFRACTION, which are both derived from the Latin verb infringo or frango (v. To infringe), are employed according to the different senses of the verb infringe: the former being applied to the rights of individuals, either in their domestic or public capacity; and the latter rather to national transactions. Politeness, which teaches us what is due to every man in the smallest concerns, considers any unasked for interference in the private affairs of another as an infringement. Equity, which enjoins on nations as well as individuals, an attentive consideration to the interests of the whole forbids the infraction of a treaty in any case.

- ENGLISH SYNONYMES EXPLAINED, IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER; WITH COPIOUS ILLUSTRATIONS AND EXAMPLES DRAWN FROM THE BEST WRITERS. BY GEORGE CRABB OF MAGDALEN HALL, OXFORD. SECOND EDITION, GREATLY ENLARGED AND CORRECTED. Sed cum idem frequentissime plura significent, quod ?????????? vooatur, jam sunt aliis alia honestiora, sublimiora, nitidiora, jucundiora, vocaliora. Quintil. Inst. Orat. lib. is. LONDON: PRINTED FOR BALDWIN, CRADOCK, AND JOY, 47, PATERNOSTER-ROW; AND T. BOOSEY, OLD BROAD-STREET. 1818. [Page 600]

"Also, the conditions and circumstances of the period require a finding that while the stated purpose of the right to arms was to secure a well-regulated militia, the right to self-defense was assumed by the Framers."--Chief Justice John Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court. [As quoted in Nunn v. State, 1 Ga. 243, 251 (1846); State v. Dawson, 272 N.C. 535, 159 S.E.2d 1, 9 (1968).]

   "Those then who controvert the principle that the Constitution is to be considered, in court as a paramount law, are reduced to the necessity of maintaining that courts must close their eyes on the Constitution, and see only law.

   "This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of all written Constitutions . . . It would be giving to the legislature a practical and real omnipotence, with the same breath, which professes to restrict their powers within narrow limits. It is prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure.

   "That it thus reduces to nothing what we have deemed the greatest improvement on political institutions--a written Constitution--would of itself be sufficient, in America, where written Constitutions have been viewed with so much reverence, for rejecting the Constitution."

   "All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution, are null and void."--Chief Justice Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court, Marbury v. Madison, 5, U.S. (Cranch) 137, 174,176.]

"Jackson, Miss., Nov. 28, 1895.
"Editor of The Times-Democrat;

   Reading your editorial on car[r]ying concealed weapons leads me to write that, after an experience of nearly a half century, in active connection with the enforcement of laws, my judgment is that all laws against carrying weapons are wrong and should be repealed. They cannot be enforced, and for that reason should not exist. They operate unequally and harmfully, by being a restraint on those in whose hands the weapons would be harmless and often useful, and imposing no restraint on those in whose hands they are dangerous and often destructive.

   "My view is that all should be free to carry arms, as they please, and that every girl especially should be taught to use them expertly. We would then hear less of rapes, and burglaries, and such crimes as so often occur, and there would not be a crime more by reason of the unrestrained right to carry arms.

   "It would prevent rather than promote crime. The man disposed to commit crime is never restrained by the law against carrying concealed weapons, while the good citizen ofted is, and is thus placed at a disadvantage, being at the mercy of the villain who assails him and is emboldened to do it by the confidence that his victim is unarmed.


[The St. Tammany Farmer, Covington, St. Tammany Parish, LA., Saturday, December 7, 1895. Vol. XX.--No. 50. Pg. 2]

* - Supreme Court of Mississippi Chief Justice J.A.P., (Josiah Arthur Patterson), Campbell. Chief Justice Campbell served 18 years on the Mississippi Supreme Court - 1876 to 1894. He wrote the Mississippi Code of Law which established legal and official White Supremacy. Chief Justice Campbell had both a white and black family, and spent most of the last 27 years of his life with his Black family teaching them how to break the system of White Supremacy. [See: The Father of White Supremacy by James Meredith, whom is the African American great grandson of Justice Campbell]

   "The primary principle; underlying an interpretation of constitutions is that the intent is the vital part and the essence of the law."--Rasmussen v. Barker, 7 Wyo. 117; 50 p 819.

   "There should be no arbitrary deprivation of Life or Liberty..."--Barbour vs. Connolly, 113 US 27, 31; Yick Wo vs. Hopkins, 118 US 356.

   "If, therefore, the act in question imposes any restraint on the right, immaterial what appellation may be given to the act, whether it be an act regulating the manner of bearing arms or any other, the consequence, in reference to the constitution, is precisely the same, and its collision with that instrument equally obvious.

   "And can there be entertained a reasonable doubt but the provisions of the act import a restraint on the right of the citizens to bear arms? The court apprehends not. The right existed at the adoption of the constitution; it had then no limits short of the moral power of the citizens to exercise it, and it in fact consisted in nothing else but in the liberty of the citizens to bear arms. Diminish that liberty, therefore, and you necessarily restrain the right; and such is the diminution and restraint, which the act in question most indisputably imports, by prohibiting the citizens wearing weapons in a manner which was lawful to wear them when the constitution was adopted. In truth, the right of the citizens to bear arms, has been as directly assailed by the provisions of the act, as though they were forbid carrying guns on their shoulders, swords in scabbards, or when in conflict with an enemy, were not allowed the use of bayonets; and if the act be consistent with the constitution, it cannot be incompatible with that instrument for the legislature, by successive enactments, to entirely cut off the exercise of the right of the citizens to bear arms. For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise...."

"...A blind enforcement of every act of the legislature, might relieve the court from the trouble and responsibility of deciding on the consistency of the legislative acts with the constitution; but the court would not be thereby released from its obligations to obey the mandates of the constitution, and maintain the paramount authority of that instrument; and those obligations must cease to be acknowledged, or the court become insensible to the impressions of moral sentiment, before the provisions of any act of the legislature, which in the opinion of the court, conflict with the constitution, can be enforced.

"Whether or not an act of the legislature conflicts with the constitution, is, at all times, a question of great delicacy, and deserves the most mature and deliberate consideration of the court. But though a question of delicacy, yet as it is a judicial one, the court would be unworthy its station, were it to shrink from deciding it whenever, in the course of judicial examination, a decision becomes material to the right in contest. The court should never, on slight implication or vague conjecture, pronounce the legislature to have transcended its authority in the enactment of law; but when a clear and strong conviction is entertained, that an act of the legislature is incompatible with the constitution, there is no alternative for the court to pursue, but to declare that conviction, and pronounce the act inoperative and void. And such is the conviction entertained by a majority of the court, (Judge Mills dissenting,) in relation to the act in question."--Bliss v. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. (2 Litt.) 90, 13 Am. Dec. 251 (1822).

   "The right of the people to carry arms, is little less than identic with their freedom. Without arms, they cannot vindicate their freedom. Without the right to possess, and wear them, they will very soon be without the spirit to use them, even in defence of their liberty. I feel no apprehension for the liberty of my country from that source. I fear nothing from the carrying of Bowie knives—brave men do not fear them, and cowards seldom use them. It is wrong to reason against the use of any good thing, from its occasional, or even frequent misuse. While our institutions are pure, and especially our Courts of Justice, we have nothing to fear; they will vindicate the just use, and punish the misuse of Bowie-knives or any other arms, which our free citizens may choose to wear."--Judge Rowan, addressing the jury, TRIAL OF JUDGE WILKINSON, DR. WILKINSON AND MR. MURDAUGH, IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF MERCER COUNTY, KY. Monday, March 4th, 1839.

   "But although a gun is an "unusual weapon," it is to be remembered that the carrying of a gun per se constitutes no offence. For any lawful purpose--either of business or amusement--the citizen is at perfect liberty to carry his gun. It is the wicked purpose--and the mischievous result--essentially constitute the crime. He shall not carry about or any other weapon of death to terrify and alarm, and in manner as naturally will terrify and alarm a peaceful people."--THE SUPREME COURT OF NORTH CAROLINA, STATE vs. ROBERT S. HUNTLY. June, 1843.[Reports of Cases At Law Argued and Determined in The Supreme Court of North Carolina From December Term, 1842, to June Term, 1843, both inclusive. By James Iredell. Vol. III. Raleigh: Published by Turner & Hughes. 1843. Pg. 418-423]

   "'It is not only the same in words, but the same in meaning, and delegates the same powers to the government, and reserves and secures the same rights and privileges to the citizen; and as long as it continues to exist in its present form, it speaks not only in the same words, but with the same meaning and intent with which it spoke when it came from the hands of its framers, and was voted on and adopted by the people of the United States. Any other rule of construction would abrogate the judicial character of this court, and make it the mere reflex of the popular opinion or passion of the day.'"--Mr. Chief Justice Taney in Scott v. Sandford, 19 How. 393, 426, 15 L. ed. 691, 709. As quoted by Mr. Justice Brewer deliver[ing] the opinion of the court, U.S. Supreme Court, [South Carolina v. US, 199 U.S. 437 (1905)]

"With regard particularly to the U.S. Constitution, it is elementary that a Right secured or protected by that document cannot be overthrown or impaired by any state police authority."--Connolly vs. Union Sewer Pipe Co., 184 US 540; Lafarier vs. Grand Trunk R.R. Co., 24 A. 848;- O'Neil vs. Providence Amusement Co., 108 A. 887.

"It is a rule of law that, in order to ascertain the import of a contract, the evident intention of the parties, at the time of forming it, is principally to be regarded. Previous to the formation of this Constitution, there existed certain principles of the law of nature and nations, consecrated by time and experience, in conformity to which the Constitution was formed."--Mr. Elliot, Debate in U.S. House of Representatives, Oct. 25, 1803. (The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution), [Elliot's Debates, Volume 4]

"...Baldwin J charged the jury...."

   "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. 

   "The nature of this case, its history, and the course of the argument, call on us to declare explicitly what is the effect of a constitutional protection or guarantee of any right, or the injunction of any duty. The twenty sixth section of the bill of rights in the constitution of Pennsylvania, is in these words; "to guard against transgressions of the high powers we have delegated we declare [we the people of Pennsylvania], that every thing in this article is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall for ever remain inviolate." A higher power declares this constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, shall be the supreme laws of the land, and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding" Const U.S., art. 6, clause 2.

   "An amendment of the constitution is of still higher authority, for it has the effect of controlling and repealing the express provisions of the constitution authorizing a power to be exercised, by a declaration that it shall not be construed to give such power. 3 Dall 382.

   "We have stated to you the various provisions of the constitution of the United States and its amendments, as well as that of this state; you see their authority and obligation to be supreme over any laws or regulations which are repugnant to them, or which violate, infringe or impair any right thereby secured; the conclusions which result are too obvious to be more than stated."

- U.S. Supreme Court Justice BALDWIN, Circuit Court of The United States, [PENNSYLVANIA APRIL TERM 1833 BEFORE Hon. HENRY BALDWIN, Associate Justice of the [U.S.] Supreme Court, Hon JOSEPH HOPKINSON District Judge, Johnson v Tompkins, (13 F. Cas. 840 (C.C.E.D. Pa. 1833)), and others.]

"...In addition to the original rights secured to him in the first article of amendments, [Fourteenth Amendment] he had secured the free exercise of his religious belief, and freedom of speech and the press. Then he had secured to him the right to keep and bear arms in his defense. Then, after that, his home was secured in time of peace from the presence of a soldier; and,still further, sir, his house, his papers, and his effects were protected against unreasonable seizure...."

"'Though originally the first ten Amendments were adopted as limitations on Federal power, yet in so far as they secure and recognize fundamental rights-common law rights-of the man, they make them privileges and immunities of the man as citizen of the United States, and cannot now be abridged by a State under the Fourteenth Amendment. In other words, while the ten Amendments, as limitations on power, only apply to the Federal government, and not to the States, yet in so far as they declare or recognize rights of persons, these rights are theirs, as citizens of the United States, and the Fourteenth Amendment as to such rights limits state power, as the ten Amendments had limited Federal power..."

- Adamson v. People Of State Of California, U.S. Supreme Court, (Justice Black, Douglas and Swayne in Dissent), June 23, 1947.

"If the Fifth Amendment confers its rights on all the world except Americans engaged in defending it, the same must be true of the companion civil-rights Amendments, for none of them is limited by its express terms, territorially or as to persons. Such a construction would mean that during military occupation irreconcilable enemy elements, guerrilla fighters, and "werewolves" could require the American Judiciary to assure them freedoms of speech, press, and assembly as in the First Amendment, right to bear arms as in the Second, security against "unreasonable" searches and seizures as in the Fourth, as well as rights to jury trial as in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments."-- MR. JUSTICE JACKSON, U.S. Supreme Court, [JOHNSON v. EISENTRAGER, 339 U.S. 763 (1950). Decided June 5, 1950. Page 339 U.S. 763, 784]

"The constitutional right to bear arms is intended to guaranty to the people, in support of just government, such right, and to afford the citizen means for defense of self and property. While this secures to him a right of which he cannot be deprived, it enjoins a duty in execution of which that right is to be exercised. If he employs those arms which he ought to wield for the safety and protection of his country, his person, and his property, to the annoyance and terror and danger of its citizens, his acts find no vindication in the bill of rights. That guaranty was never intended as a warrant for vicious persons to carry weapons with which to terrorize others. Going armed with unusual and dangerous weapons, to the terror of the people, is an offense at common law. A man may carry a gun for any lawful purpose, for business or amusement, but he cannot go about with that or any other dangerous weapon to terrify and alarm a peaceful people."--Chief Justice William T. Spear, Supreme Court of Ohio, State v. Hogan, 63 Ohio 202, 58 N.E. 572, 52 L.R.A. 863, 81 Am. St. 626 (1900).

"The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed -- where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once."--Judge Alex Kozinski, [Silviera v. Lockyer, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, 2003.]

"The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by ANY rule of construction be conceived to give to Congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both."--William Rawle, A View of the Constitution, 125-6 (2nd ed. 1829). (Appointed by President George Washington as U.S. District Attorney for Pennsylvania in 1791).

“Self defense is justly called the primary law of nature, so it is not, neither can it be in fact, taken away by the laws of society.”-- William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765–1769.

“5. The fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject, that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defense, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. Which is also declared by the same statute . . . and is indeed a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.

“To vindicate the three primary rights, when actually violated or attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next, to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and, lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence.”-- William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765–1769.

"Those rights, then, which God and nature have established, and are therefore called natural rights, such as are life and liberty, need not the aid of human laws to be more effectually invested in every man than they are; neither do they receive any additional strength when declared by the municipal [or state] laws to be inviolable. On the contrary, no human legislation has power to abridge or destroy them...."-- William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765–1769.

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and this without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government...."

"....This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty....The right of self-defense is the first law of nature; in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Whenever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction."

"...In America we may reasonably hope that the people will never cease to regard the right of keeping and bearing arms as the surest pledge of their liberty..."

- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries,(1803). (Mr. Tucker was a Lawyer and Professor of law at the College of William and Mary. He was appointed one of the committee to revise the laws of Virginia, and he served with James Madison and Edmund Randolph as Virginia commissioners to the Annapolis Convention. In 1803 Tucker became a judge of the highest court in Virginia. In 1813 he was appointed by President James Madison to be the United States district judge for Virginia. Tucker also, as District Court judge, sat with Chief Justice John Marshall on the U.S. Circuit Court in Richmond.). Mr. Tucker was AT the debates concerning the Bill of Rights. To Wit:
"Mr. Tucker hoped the words would not struck out, for he considered them of importance; besides, they were recommended by States of Virginia and North Carolina, he noticed that the most material part by those States was omitted, which was, a declaration that the people should have a right instruct their representatives. He would to have those words inserted as soon as the motion for striking out was decided."--[U.S. House of Representatives, Amendments to the Constitution, August 15, 1789. [THE DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS IN THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES; WITH AN APPENDIX, CONTAINING IMPORTANT STATE PAPERS AND PUBLIC DOCUMENTS, AND ALL THE LAWS OF A PUBLIC NATURE; WITH A COPIOUS INDEX. VOLUME I. COMPRISING (WITH VOLUME II) THE PERIOD FROM MARCH 3, 1789, TO MARCH 3, 1791, INCLUSIVE. COMPILED FROM AUTHENTIC MATERIALS, BY JOSEPH GALES, Senior. WASHINGTON: PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY GALES AND SEATON. 1834. Pg. 760].

"And herein consists one of the great excellencies of our constitution: that no individual can be oppressed whilst this branch of the government remains independent, and uncorrupted; it being a necessary check upon the encroachments, or usurpations of power, by either of the other. Thus, if the legislature should pass a law dangerous to the liberties of the people, the judiciary are bound to pronounce, not only whether the party accused hath been guilty of any violation of it, but whether such a law be permitted by the constitution. If, for example, a law be passed by congress, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates, or persuasions of a man’s own conscience; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble peaceably, or to keep and bear arms; it would, in any of these cases, be the province of the judiciary to pronounce whether any such act were constitutional, or not; and if not, to acquit the accused from any penalty which might be annexed to the breach of such unconstitutional act. If an individual be persecuted by the executive authority, (as in any alien, the subject of a nation with whom the United States were at that time at peace, had been imprisoned by order of the president under the authority of the alien act, 5 Cong. c. 75) it is then the province of the judiciary to decide whether there be any law that authorizes the proceedings against him, and if there be none, to acquit him, not only of the present, but of all future prosecutions for the same cause: or if there be, then to examine its validity under the constitution, as before-mentioned. The power of pardon, which is vested in the executive, in its turn, constitutes a proper check upon the too great rigor, or abuse of power in the judiciary department. On this circumstance, however, no great stress ought to be laid; since in criminal prosecutions, the executive is in the eye of the law, always plaintiff; and where the prosecution is carried on by its direction, the purity of the judiciary is the only security for the rights of the citizen. The judiciary, therefore, is that department of the government to whom the protection of the rights of the individual is by the constitution especially confided, interposing its shield between him and the sword of usurped authority, the darts of oppression, and the shafts of faction and violence. Let us see in what manner this protection, is thus confided to the judiciary department by the constitution...."

- St. George Tucker, View of the Constitution of the United States with Selected Writings [1803]. (Mr. Tucker was a Lawyer and Professor of law at the College of William and Mary. He was appointed one of the committee to revise the laws of Virginia, and he served with James Madison and Edmund Randolph as Virginia commissioners to the Annapolis Convention. In 1803 Tucker became a judge of the highest court in Virginia. In 1813 he was appointed by President James Madison to be the United States district judge for Virginia. Tucker also, as District Court judge, sat with Chief Justice John Marshall on the U.S. Circuit Court in Richmond.).

“8. A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep, and bear arms, shall not be infringed. Amendments to C.U.S. Art. 4.

“This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. … The right of self defense is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction. In England, the people have been disarmed, generally, under the specious pretext of preserving the game: a never failing lure to bring over the landed aristocracy to support any measure, under that mask, though calculated for very different purposes. True it is, their bill of rights seems at first view to counteract this policy: but the right of bearing arms is confined to protestants, and the words suitable to their condition and degree, have been interpreted to authorize the prohibition of keeping a gun or other engine for the destruction of game, to any farmer, or inferior tradesman, or other person not qualified to kill game. So that not one man in five hundred can keep a gun in his house without being subject to a penalty....”

“...In England, on the contrary, the greatest political object may be attained, by laws, apparently of little importance, or amounting only to a slight domestic regulation: the game-laws, as was before observed, have been converted into the means of disarming the body of the people: the statute de donis conditionalibus has been the rock, on which the existence and influence of a most powerful aristocracy, has been founded, and erected: the acts directing the mode of petitioning parliament, &c. and those for prohibiting riots: and for suppressing assemblies of free-masons, &c. are so many ways for preventing public meetings of the people to deliberate upon their public, or national concerns. The congress of the United States possesses no power to regulate, or interfere with the domestic concerns, or police of any state: it belongs not to them to establish any rules respecting the rights of property; nor will the constitution permit any prohibition of arms to the people; or of peaceable assemblies by them, for any purposes whatsoever, and in any number, whenever they may see occasion.”-- St. George Tucker, View of the Constitution of the United States with Selected Writings [1803]. (Mr. Tucker was a Lawyer and Professor of law at the College of William and Mary. He was appointed one of the committee to revise the laws of Virginia, and he served with James Madison and Edmund Randolph as Virginia commissioners to the Annapolis Convention. In 1803 Tucker became a judge of the highest court in Virginia. In 1813 he was appointed by President James Madison to be the United States district judge for Virginia. Tucker also, as District Court judge, sat with Chief Justice John Marshall on the U.S. Circuit Court in Richmond.)

    "The right of the people to carry arms, is little less than identic with their freedom. Without arms, they cannot vindicate their freedom. Without the right to possess, and wear them, they will very soon be without the spirit to use them, even in defence of their liberty. I feel no apprehension for the liberty of my country from that source. I fear nothing from the carrying of Bowie knives—brave men do not fear them, and cowards seldom use them. It is wrong to reason against the use of any good thing, from its occasional, or even frequent misuse. While our institutions are pure, and especially our Courts of Justice, we have nothing to fear; they will vindicate the just use, and punish the misuse of Bowie-knives or any other arms, which our free citizens may choose to wear...."

"...But the wearing of arms whether bowie-knives, pistols, or whatever else, does not at all alter the rights of the citizens. For assault they should not be wanted, for defence, when occasion requires, they are of great value. The right of self-defence remains, under all circumstances the same. It is a primary element of our identity. Nature gave it, art cannot take it away--as derived from nature, it is limited to the use of no particular species of arms, and embraces every species. It is limited only by the obligation of benevolence on the part of the assailed, towards assailant--and benevolence does not require him love his fellow man more than himself. A man's right of self-defence does not result from the degree of criminality in the one who assails him. It is personal, inherent, and inseparably with his own exclusive individuality--a person may in many instances exert this right to the destruction of an innocent man. A madman (for instance) who is incapable of crime, but capable physically, of destroying a man, may be slain justifiably, in the exertion of this right--so may a somnambulist, under the same circumstances. In the case of a ship-wreck, when two of the passengers are struggling for a plank, which will sustain but one of them; one may justifiably kill the other to save his own life. This, gentlemen, is the law of nature, in relation to all animal existences, and the municipal law, in relation to man. See Grotius, p. 25."--Judge Rowan, addressing the Jury, Monday, March 4th, 1839. TRIAL OF JUDGE WILKINSON, DR. WILKINSON AND MR. MURDAUGH, IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF MERCER COUNTY, KY.

"...By far the most important largest of the rights of the Constitution appertain exclusively to the person of the citizen, and concern the inherent rights of life, liberty, and property. Many of these rights lie behind the Constitution, and existed antecedent to its formation and its adoption. They are embodied in its will, and organized by its power, to give them sanctity and effect. They are written, that they may be understood and remembered; and then declared inviolate and supreme, because they cannot be weakened or invaded without doing the Government and citizen manifest injustice and wrong. Among these rights, I hold, is the privilege of the people to keep and to bear their private arms, for the necessary defence of their person, habitation, and property, or for any useful or innocent purpose whatever. We derive this right from our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, and under the form of that government it has ever been regarded as sacred and inviolable. It is great antiquity and of invaluable price. Its necessary operation, in times of convulsion and of revolution, has been the only means by which public liberty or the security of free States has been vindicated and maintained. Here, the principles of equal and natural justice, as well as the obvious meaning and spirit of the Constitution, have placed it above legislative interference. To forbid a citizen, under the penalty of fine and imprisonment, to carry his own private arms about his person, in any manner that he may think proper for his security or safety, is, in my opinion an unauthorized attempt to abridge a constitutional privilege, and therefore I hold the law in question to be of no effect. [But the majority of the Court being of a different opinion, the judgment was reversed.]

- Justice Thomas J. Lacy, Arkansas Supreme Court, [Dissenting Opinion in State v. Buzzard, 4 Ark. (2 Pike) 18 (1842). Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Law and Equity of the State of Arkansas. By Albert Pike, Counsellor at Law. Vol. IV. Little Rock: Published by B.J. Borden. 1843. Pgs. 33-43.]

"...But although a gun is an "unusual weapon," it is to be remembered that the carrying of a gun per se constitutes no offence. For any lawful purpose--either of business or amusement--the citizen is at perfect liberty to carry his gun. It is the wicked purpose--and the mischievous result--essentially constitute the crime. He shall not carry about or any other weapon of death to terrify and alarm, and in manner as naturally will terrify and alarm a peaceful people."--Justice William Joseph Gaston*, SUPREME COURT OF NORTH CAROLINA, STATE vs. ROBERT S. HUNTLY. June, 1843. [Reports of Cases At Law Argued and Determined in The Supreme Court of North Carolina From December Term, 1842, to June Term, 1843, both inclusive. By James Iredell. Vol. III. Raleigh: Published by Turner & Hughes. 1843. Pg. 418-423]

* - William Joseph Gaston, (Sept. 19, 1778 - Jan. 23, 1844), was a lawyer, legislator, congressman, and jurist. His most notable decision was in 1834 in the case of State v. Negro Will. Gaston ruled that a slave had the right to defend himself against an unlawful attempt of a master, or agent of a master, to kill him. In the significant case of State v. William Manuel in 1838, his opinion held that a manumitted slave was a citizen of the state and thus entitled to the guarantees of the constitution. This opinion was cited as "sound law" in 1857 by Benjamin R. Curtis of the United States Supreme Court in his dissent in the Dred Scott case.

""The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed." The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is, that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right, originally belonging to our forefathers, trampled under foot by Charles I. and his two wicked sons and successors, reestablished by the revolution of 1688, conveyed to this land of liberty by the colonists, and finally incorporated conspicuously in our own Magna Charta! And Lexington, Concord, Camden, River Raisin, Sandusky, and the laurel-crowned field of New Orleans, plead eloquently for this interpretation!"--Chief Justice Collier, Nunn v. State, 1 Ga.(1 Kel.) 243 (1846).

   "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...."

"...The Territory being a part of the United States, the Government and the citizen both enter it under the authority of the Constitution, with their respective rights defined and marked out; and the Federal Government [60 U.S. 393, 450]   can exercise no power over his person or property, beyond what that instrument confers, nor lawfully deny any right which it has reserved.

   "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 any one 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...."--Mr. Chief Justice TANEY, U.S. Supreme Court, Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1856).

"...The appellant alleges that his rifle gun, being the only gun owned by him, has been levied upon; and the only question of any importance in the case is, whether the gun is exempt from execution.

   It is very extraordinary that there has not been express provision by statute to secure the arms of individuals against all claims of every description. It has been comparatively but a few years since the first settlements of Americans were made [581] in Texas. The whole country was then infested by savages. Subsequently there were hostilities with Mexicans, and the frontiers are still exposed to the incursions of Indians. The country has been settled, and still is settling, by, in a great measure, the force of arms. The people of Texas are now, and ever have been emphatically an armed population.

   The right to bear arms has always been considered by a free people, as of almost priceless value; so much so, that it is secured by an express provision of the constitution. The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state or republic, is declared by the constitution of Texas. And by the constitution of the United States it is declared, that a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. If militia laws were enforced, a citizen appearing without arms on the muster ground, would be fined for his delinquency.

   But, though the right to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed by legislation, yet, strange as it may be, it must succumb before the power of a creditor; at least it is not expressly protected by statute.

   There may be circumstances, perhaps, under which a man's rifle may be regarded as an article of household and kitchen furniture, or rather of the furniture of his tent or cabin, on the frontier. Formerly, when men went from the house to labor, with their servants or slaves, a gun was an implement as necessary as the axe, the scythe or the hoe.

   If a merchant's books, his iron chests and office furniture, are exempt, as being the necessary apparatus of his trade, I see no reason why the gun of a hunter or frontiersman, essential to his defense, and necessary in procuring subsistence for himself and family, should not also be exempt from execution...."--Chief Justice John Hemphill, Supreme Court of The State of Texas, Moses L Choate v. J.F. Redding [1857] [Reports of Cases Argued And Decided  In The Supreme Court of The State of Texas, During The Latter Part of Austin Session, 1856. And The Whole Of Galveston Session, 1857. By O.C. & R.K. Hartley. With Notes To Other Decisions. Vol. XVIII. St. Louis, MO.: The Gilbert Book Company. 1883.]

   "The Constitution and laws of the United States "are the supreme law of the land," anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary, notwithstanding." Their supremacy is thus declared in express terms: "Whatever conflicts therewith has no operative or obligatory force. Allegiance to the United States, and loyalty to the United States Constitution and laws, are the paramount duty of every citizen. Within their legitimate sphere, they command the obedience of all, and no State Constitution or statute can absolve any one therefrom....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...”--CHARGE TO THE GRAND JURY BY THE COURT, United States Circuit Court, DISTRICT OF MISSOURI, SPECIAL JULY TERM, PRESENT: HON. JOHN CATRON, An Associate Justice of Supreme Court of United States. 1861. JULY 10, 1861.

“...For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution....”--Bliss vs. Commonwealth, [12 Ky.(2 Litt.) 90, at 92, and 93, 13 Am. Dec. 251 (1822)]

“The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”--Joseph Story, U.S. Supreme Court Justice and Constitutional scholar, [Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833; Book III at 746, § 1890)]

"301. Among the defects which were enumerated, none attracted more attention, or were urged with more zeal, than the want of a distinct bill of rights, which should recognise the fundamental principles of a free republican government, and the right of the people to the enjoyment of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. It was contended that it was indispensable, that express provision should be made for the trial by jury in civil cases, and in criminal cases upon a presentment by a grand jury only; and that all criminal trials should be public, and the party be confronted with the witnesses against him; that freedom of speech and freedom of the press should be secured; that there should be no national religion, and the rights of conscience should be inviolable; that excessive bail should not be required, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted; that the people should have a right to bear arms; that persons conscientiously scrupulous should not be compelled to bear arms; that every person should be entitled of right to petition for the redress of grievances; that search warrants should not be granted without oath, nor general warrants at all; that soldiers should not be enlisted except for a short, limited term; and not be quartered in time of peace upon private houses without the consent of the owners; that mutiny bills should continue in force for two years only; that causes once tried by a jury should not be re-examinable upon appeal, otherwise than according to the course of the common law; and that the powers not expressly delegated to the general government should be declared to be reserved to the states. In all these particulars the constitution was obviously defective; and yet (it was contended) they were vital to the public security. [1]
[1] 2 Amer. Museum, 423 to 430; Id. 435, ; Id. 534, 536. 540. & 553, 557; 3 Amer. Museum, 62; Id. 157; Id 419, 420, The Federalist No. 38.]

“One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offence to keep arms, and by substituting a regular army in the stead of a resort to the militia. The friends of a free government cannot be too watchful to overcome the dangerous tendency of the public mind to sacrifice, for the sake of mere private convenience, this powerful check upon the designs of ambitious men."--Joseph Story, U.S. Supreme Court Justice and Constitutional scholar, [Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States (1840)]

“In England...A large proportion of the most valuable of the provisions in Magna Charta, and the bill of rights in 1688, consists of a solemn recognition, of limitations upon the power of parliament; that is, a declaration, that parliament ought not to abolish, or restrict those rights. Such are the right of trial by jury; the right to personal liberty and private property according to the law of the land; that the subjects ought to have a right to bear arms...”--Jospeh Story, U.S. Supreme Court Justice and Constitutional scholar, [Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833; Book III at 718, § 1858)]

Section IV.-- The Right To Keep And Bear Arms

The Constitution.--By the Second Amendment to the Constitution it is declared that "a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

   "The amendment, like most other provisions in the Constitution, has a history. It was adopted with some modification and enlargement from the English Bill of Rights of 1688, where it stood as a protest against arbitrary action of the overturned dynasty in disarming the people, and as a pledge of the new rulers that this tyrannical action should cease. The right declared was meant to be a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers, and as a necessary and efficient means of regaining rights when temporarily overturned by usurpation. [1 ]
   "The Right is General.--It may be supposed from the phraseology of this provision that the right to keep and bear arms was only guaranteed to the militia; but this would be an interpretation not warranted by the intent. The militia, as has been elsewhere explained, consists of those persons who, under the law are liable to the performance of military duty, and are officered and enrolled for service when called upon. But the law may make provision for the enrolment of all who are fit to perform military duty, or of a small number only, or it may wholly omit to make any provision at all; and if the right were limited to those enrolled the purpose of this guaranty might be defeated altogether by the action or neglect to act of the government it was meant to hold in check. The meaning of the provision undoubtedly is that the people from whom the militia must be taken, shall have the right to keep and bear arms, and they need no permission or regulation of law for the purpose. But this enables the government to have a well regulated militia; for to bear arms implies something more than the mere keeping; it implies the learning to handle and use them in a way that makes those who keep them ready for their efficient use; in other words, it implies the right to meet for voluntary discipline in arms, observing in doing so the laws of public order."
[1] Tuck. Bl. Com. App. 300.
- Thomas McIntyre Cooley, The General Principles of Constitutional Law in the United States of America, Third Edition. 1898. (Thomas McIntyre Cooley, LL.D., was the 25th Justice and a Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, and Dean of the University of Michigan's Law School, and a nationally recognized scholar).

   "As to what will constitute reasonable grounds of belief in such cases, sufficient to justify taking life, must depend, to a considerable extent, on the circumstances of each particular case. And the reasonableness of the appearances under which a party claims to justify, may very properly be left to a jury, under the instructions of the court. And, I think, it is going too far to lay down the general rule, that an actual assault must be committed; for such a rule would take away, or, at least, render almost unavailable, the right of self-defence, when fire-arms are used."--Associate Justice Reuben P. Boise, Supreme Court of the State of Oregon, Goodall V. State Of Oregon. July, 1861.

   "Under the constitutional guarantee of the "right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defence of himself and the government," an evil has arisen to which I invite your especial attention--while that constitutional guarantee must be observed; the abuse of that right is liable to prosecution and punishment. If, for instance, the "arms" are used for the purpose of making an assault, with the intent to inflict upon the person of another a bodily injury, within the distance which such arms will carry, or to put him in fear, or to compel him by fear or threats to obey an unlawful order or command, where no considerable provocation appears, or where the circumstances of the assault show an abandoned and malignant heart, then, in any such case, the offender is liable to indictment and punishment. The privilege is given him alone for protection; not for infringement upon the rights of others.--Judge [William Thompson] Howell*, U.S. District Court, Charge to the Grand Jury of the First Judicial District, at Tucson, May Term, A.D. 1864.
[Arizona Miner, Prescott, Arizona, Wednesday June 22, 1864. Volume I. Number 7. Pg. 1]
* - William Thompson Howell, July 8, 1810 – April 3, 1870, was an American jurist and politician. Born and educated in New York, the majority of his career was spent in Michigan were he held a variety of state offices. Howell also served as a judge in the newly formed Arizona Territory where he was a principal author of the territory's first legal code, the "Howell Code".

   "If, then, the arms-bearing right of the people is, as Blackstone says, an integral and inseparable part of their absolute rights as individuals, it follows that any and every constitution which assumes to protect life, liberty and property, necessarily insures the right of all the people to keep and bear arms, unless the contrary intention is clearly expressed, Hence the right is in nowise dependent upon the clause asserting that a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. The right exists whether the constitution contains that clause or not. Our state constitution does not contain it, but nevertheless includes the right as part of the personal outfit of every freeman when it says, almost in the very language of the Declaration of Independence:

   "All men are by nature free and independent, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights and the protection of property, governments are instituted among men:" Bill of Rights, Section 1...."--Opinion of Judge William Henry Barnum, Illinois--Cook County Circuit Court. People, Ex. Rel. Bielfeld, v. Affelt. [1879] 

    "This was a very close case, and, in our opinion, the court did not correctly and aptly state the law applicable to the real question upon the determination of which the guilt or innocence of the accused depended. If, at the very time of drawing his pistol, Fussell actually intended an attempt to take Dorminy's life, the latter was justifiable in immediately drawing and using his pistol in self-defence; or if, when Fussell drew his pistol, his manner and conduct, and all the attending circumstances, were calculated to excite in Dorminy the fears of a reasonable man that an immediate deadly attack upon him was intended, he was likewise justifiable in drawing and using his pistol for his own protection, whether an attack upon his life was actually intended by Fussell or not. In either event, Dorminy would have been justifiable in promptly drawing and using his own pistol. If he was justifiable in firing at Fussell, the latter could not return the fire and legally claim to be acting in self-defence, for, by his own conduct, his right of self-defence would have been forfeited."--Justice  Lumpkin, SUPREME COURT OF GEORGIA, Fussell v. State, [(Ga.) 19 S.E. Rep. 891, 1894.]

"There are some injuries which, once committed, cannot be adequately redressed. The taking of life is an extreme case of this kind. Against the commission of such injuries, therefore, every person should not only have the protection of government, when practicable, but should also have a right to defend himself. The right of self-defence would of course exist in a state of nature, and the social compact does not take it away; but the right of avenging an injury already committed is taken away. This is a fundamental distinction. You may prevent an injury from being done, by all proper means; but when done, you may not take redress in your own hands. The social compact provides a tribunal to which you are bound to resort; and abundant provision is made for securing the redress to which you may be entitled. Thus the right of self-defence and the right of redress are two distinct things; but both are equally guaranteed by the constitution. We have already seen that "the enjoying and defending life and liberty," is declared to be an inalienable right. Also, "that the people have a right to bear arms for their defence and security." (b) In England, this right is qualified by the condition, that the arms must be suitable to the condition and degree of the bearer; but here, there is no qualification."
(a) See 2 Story, Const. 1896; 1 Black. Com. 148.[A party may use reasonable force to defend the possession of his property, but he cannot use force against the person in regaining or obtaining the possession of property to which he is entitled. 3 Black. Com. 4, 179; Sampson v. Henry, 11 Pick. 387; 1 Bishop, Crim. Law, 397; 1 Hilliard on Torts, ch. v. ss 12, pp 196, 197.] (b)[This provision is not infringed by a statute prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons. State v. Jumel, 13 La. An. 399.]

   "Mr. Corbin. If the court please, if there is any right that is dear to the citizen, it is the right to keep and bear arms, and it was secured to the citizen of the United States on the adoption of the amendments to the Constitution, had never been held directly to be a restriction, only upon Congress or upon Federal power as against the citizen, but the same argument, probably, which was used by the court in the case of the lessees of somebody against Maryland, that the amendments were intended generally to be a restriction upon the United States Congress, as against the citizen of the United States. In other words, that the citizens were not--the right of the citizen was not--to be encroached upon by Congress in this respect, and that they do not--these amendments did not--apply to the States, But, if the court please, the fourteenth amendment changes all that theory, and lays the same restriction upon the State that before lay upon the Congress of the United States, viz; That as Congress heretofore could not interfere with the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms, now, after the adoption of the fourteenth amendment, the State cannot interfere with the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms. That is included in the fourteenth amendment among the privileges and immunities of the citizen that were not referred to."--U.S. District Attorney D.T. Corbin,  Testimony Taken by the Joint Select Committee to Inquire into the Condition of affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States South Carolina, Volume 3, 1872, Start Page 1615, Trials at Columbia, South Carolina, Circuit Court of the United States, 1871. U.S. Circuit Judge Hon. H.L. Bond of Maryland, U.S. District Judge Hon. George S. Bryan of South Carolina.]

"...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...."

". . . 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."--Judge Woods,[later associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1880–87)], charge to the the jury, 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 question here presented is one not free from difficulty and has given rise to some diversity of opinion. The right to keep and bear arms, thus secured to the people, has in this country always been regarded as one not to be slightly interfered with or infringed upon; and there can be no question but that any legislative enactment which deprived them of this right, would be obnoxious to the provision of the constitution which guarantees it, and would be absolutely null and void.

   "In 2, Story on the Con., ss 1897, the author in speaking of a kindred provision in the constitution of the United States, which declares that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" shall not be infringed upon, observes that "the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms, has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of the republic, since, it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers, and will in general, if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph in the end.""--Missouri Supreme Court, State of Missouri vs. Frank Reando, [The State Journal, Jefferson City, MO. Friday, April 12, 1878. Vol. 6, No. 14. Pg. 2] 

   "It had long been firmly established by the common law that every individual member of the community or nation possessed by nature, and as the gift of God, three primary rights; namely, the right of personal security, right of personal liberty, and the right to acquire, hold, transfer property.

   "These three great rights may be regarded as the upon which the whole superstructure of our laws is built; for it is the very object and aim, not only of the form of government we have adopted, but of the great body of laws, both civil and criminal, to maintain and enforce them.

   "These rights are termed by the common law absolute rights, because they were supposed to be held and enjoyed independently of the government. The people, in giving up a portion of their natural liberty to establish a government, in consideration of receiving the advantages of mutual association and protection, retained these rights absolutely, considering them of so sacred a character that they should never be given up for any purposes whatever.

   "It has always been most firmly and jealously insisted by our English ancestors that none of these rights could ever, on any pretence, be alienated, taken away, or infringed in the slightest degree, except by their own consent freely given, either immediately or through the medium of their representatives, and then only in the particular mode and manner which they prescribed. Nor was it ever doubted that such was the law; but we find in the history of our race that attempts were frequently made by ambitious kings and others to whom the governmental authority was intrusted, to violate or subvert them.

   "Such attempts were, however, always resisted, even by force of arms; and it may with truth be said that every civil war and revolution which has occurred in England for many hundreds of years has been occasioned by tyrannical attempts of kings and parliaments to infringe these great natural rights. Finally, it is well known an attempt of this kind brought on the conflict which resulted in the separation of the American colonies from the parent state.

   "A keen remembrance of the arduous contests which had been maintained by our ancestors for so long a period in the preservation of these great rights, is quite perceptible in several of the provisions introduced in our national and state constitutions. For though it is clear that no department of government in this country has any power given it to infringe or violate these rights, the framers of our constitutions, and especially of the earliest of them, were not content with merely withholding powers that might be dangerous, but insisted on inserting clauses positively prohibiting such arbitrary and unlawful acts as in their experience they had found so much difficulty in opposing.

   "The right of personal security, as established by the common law, consists in a person's legal right to the uninterrupted enjoyment of life, health, and reputation. As an additional safeguard for the preservation of this right, and in remembrance of oppressions that had been experienced in England, the constitution of the United States provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that their right to be secure in their persons and houses against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated; and that no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

   "Life, being the gift of God, is a right inherent by nature in every individual, and it follows, as a necessary consequence, that the right to the enjoyment of life includes a right to the means necessary to support it. Thus every individual is entitled to a sufficient portion of the fruits of the earth to preserve life, and no one and no class of persons are entitled to acquire or possess all to the entire exclusion of others. Upon this principle the indigent are supposed to be entitled to a support from the more opulent portion of the community. So also, every individual is entitled to be protected in the preservation of his health, and from such practices as may prejudice it. And as, in a state of society, the value of life depends much upon the reputation or good name of the individual, he is entitled to protection from slander and detraction."--Indiana Supreme Court Judge Thomas L. Smith

   "The constitutional right is to bear arms openly, so that when one meets an armed man there can be no mistake about the fact that he is armed. When we see a man with musket to shoulder, or carbine slung on back, or pistol belted to his side, or such like, he is bearing arms in the constitutional sense. Of course there are other examples. These are but illustrations."--Chief Justice Manning, Louisiana Supreme Court, The State of Louisiana vs. Lacy Bias. [Cite as State v. Bias, 37 La. Ann. 259 (1885).] No. 9310.

"...And here in the year 1900 I am safe in saying that the majority of the youth of our country carry arms. No doubt there is a difficulty in the way of our legislation--our Constitution--the Federal Constitution--secures to the citizen the right to carry arms . . . It was to preserve the right to defend home, property, person and family, and to defend the country, and the right to hunt game.

   "It was for this purpose and similar purposes that the constitutional provision was inserted...."--Judge [W.C.] Benet, [The Abbeville Press And Banner, Abbeville, S.C., Wednesday, April 11, 1900. Pg. 1] (Judge William Christie Benet, (1846-1930), the son-in-law of Gen. Samuel McGowan, was a teacher, lawyer, and judge; a native of Scotland, Benet came to Abbeville, S.C. shortly after the Civil War. Mr. Benet was elected Judge of the First Circuit by the House of Representatives of South Carolina by an almost 2-1 margin on Feb. 16, 1894.)

"It is the duty of the courts to be watchful for the Constitutional rights of the citizen and against any stealthy encroachments thereon."--Boyd vs. United States, 116 US 616.

"The courts are not bound by mere form, nor are they to be misled by mere pretenses. They are
at liberty -- indeed they are under a solemn duty -- to look at the substance of things, whenever they enter upon the inquiry whether the legislature has transcended the limits of its authority. If, therefore, a statute purported to have been enacted to protect ... the public safety, has no real or substantial relation to those objects or is a palpable invasion of Rights secured by the fundamental law, it is the duty of the courts to so adjudge, and thereby give effect to the Constitution."-- Mulger vs. Kansas, 123 US 623, 661.

"It is well settled that the Constitutional Rights protected from invasion by the  police power, include Rights safeguarded both by express and implied prohibitions in the Constitutions."--Tiche vs. Osborne, 131 A. 60.

"The claim and exercise of a Constitutional Right cannot be converted into a crime."--Miller v U.S. 230 F 486, at 489.

"No state shall convert a liberty into a privilege, license it, and attach a fee to it."--Miller v U.S., U.S. Supreme Court,[319 U.S. 105 (1943).

"If a state converts a liberty into a privilege the citizen can engage in the right with impunity."--Shuttlesworth v Birmingham, U.S. Supreme Court.[394 U.S. 147 (1969).]

"Constitutional rights cannot be denied simply because of hostility to their assertions and exercise; vindication of conceded Constitutional Rights cannot be made dependent upon any theory that it is less expensive to deny them than to afford them."--Watson v. Memphis, 181 N.C. 574, 107 S.E. 222, at 224 (1921).

"Personal liberty, or the Right to enjoyment of life and liberty, is one of the fundamental or natural Rights, which has been protected by its inclusion as a guarantee in the various constitutions, which is not derived from, or dependent on, the U.S. Constitution, which may not be submitted to a vote and may not depend on the outcome of an election. It is one of the most sacred and valuable Rights, as sacred as the Right to private property ... and is regarded as inalienable."--16 C.J.S., Constitutional Law, Sect.202, p.987.

"If the legislature clearly misinterprets a constitutional provision, the frequent repetition of the wrong will not create a right."--Amos v. Mosley, 74 Fla. 555; 77 So. 619.

"No public policy of a state can be allowed to override the positive guarantees of the U.S. Constitution."--16 Am.Jur. (2nd), Const. Law, Sect. 70.

"It is the peculiar value of a written constitution that it places in unchanging form limitations upon the legislation and thus gives a permanence and stability to popular government which otherwise would be lacking."--Muller v. Oregon, 208 U.S. 412.

"The courts cannot rightly prefer, of the possible meanings of the words of the constitution, that which will defeat rather than effectuate the constitutional purpose."--United States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299.

"The power to tax the exercise of a privilege is the power to control and suppress its enjoyment. . . . A State may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a Right granted by the federal constitution. . . . Thus it may not exact a license tax for the privilege of carrying on interstate commerce. . . . This tax is not a charge for the enjoyment of a privilege or benefit bestowed by the State. The privilege in question exists apart from State authority. It is guaranteed the People by the federal constitution."--Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105 (1943).

"The constitution is an instrument from the people and a construction thereof should effectuate their purpose from the words employed in the document; and the courts may not color it by the addition of words or the ingrafting of their views as to how it should be written."--Ervin v. Collins, Fla. 85 S. 852; 59 ALR 706.

"Disobedience or evasion of a Constitutional Mandate cannot be tolerated, even though such disobedience may, at least temporarily, promote in some respects the best interests of the public."--Slote vs. Examination, 112 ALR 660.

"The basic purpose of a written constitution has a twofold aspect, first the securing to the people of certain unchangeable rights and remedies, and second, the curtailment of unrestricted governmental activity within certain defined fields."--DuPont v. DuPont, Sup. 32 Ded. Ch. 413; 85 A 2d 724.

"Constitutions are not primarily designed to protect majorities, who are usually able to protect themselves, but rather to preserve and protect the rights of individuals and minorities against arbitrary action of those in authority."--Houston County v. Martin, 232 A 1 511; 169 So. 13.

"The maintenance of the right to bear arms is a most essential one to every free people and should not be whittled down by technical constructions."---State vs. Kerner, 181 N.C. 574, 107 S.E. 222, at 224 (1921).

"QUARLES, C. J. - "...The second amendment to the federal constitution is in the following language: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The language of section 11, art. 1, Const. Idaho, is as follows: "The people have the right to bear arms for their security and defense, but the legislature shall regulate the exercise of this right by law." Under these constitutional provisions, the legislature has no power to prohibit a citizen from bearing arms in any portion of the state of Idaho, whether within or without the corporate limits of cities, towns, and villages. The legislature may, as expressly provided in our state constitution, regulate the exercise of this right, but may not prohibit it. A statute prohibiting the carrying of concealed deadly weapons would be a proper exercise of the police power of the state. But the statute in question does not prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed, which is of itself a pernicious practice, but prohibits the carrying of them in any manner in cities, towns, and villages. We are compelled to hold this statute void. The statute being void, the said justice's court had no jurisdiction of the subject-matter of the action, and the said judgment of conviction, and the commitment which issued thereon, and the detention of the petitioner under said commitment and judgment of conviction, are illegal and void."(p.610)

"The said judgment being void, habeas corpus will lie, and the prisoner should be discharged from custody, and it is so ordered.


[Supreme Court of Idaho. Nov. 15, 1902. In re Brickey, 8 Idaho 597, 70 P. 609, 101 Am. St. Rep. 215, 1 Ann. Cas. 55 (1902).]

"The national government is one of enumerated powers, and a power enumerated and delegated by the Constitution to Congress is comprehensive and complete, without other limitations than those found in the Constitution itself...."

"...The Constitution is a written instrument, and, as such, its meaning does not alter. Its language, as a grant of power to the national government, is general and, as changes come in social and political life, it embraces all new conditions within the scope of the powers conferred.

"In interpreting the Constitution, recourse must be had to the common law and also to the position of the framers of the instrument and what they must have understood to be the meaning and scope of the grants of power contained therein must be considered...."---U.S. Supreme Court, South Carolina v. United States, 199 U.S. 437 (1905).

   "I will hold that the men watching the machines had a right to have arms," interposed Judge Anderson. "They should have curried more arms than they had."--United States District Court Judge A.B. Anderson, [The Tacoma Times, Tacoma, Wash., Wednesday, March 24, 1915. Vol. XII. No. 81. Pg. 8]

"The provision in the Constitution granting the right to all persons to bear arms is a limitation upon the power of the legislature to enact any law to the contrary. The exercise of a right guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be made subject to the will of the sheriff."--People v Zedillo,{219 Mich. 635, 189 N.W. 927, at 928 (1922).

"When any court violates the clean and unambiguous language of the Constitution, a fraud is perpetrated and NO ONE is bound to obey it."--State v Sutton,[Source: 63 Minn 167, 65 NW 262, 30 LRA 630]

"Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them."

"...In some unknown number of cases, the Court's rule will return a killer, a rapist or other criminal to the streets and to the environment which produced him, to repeat his crime whenever it pleases him. As a consequence, there will not be a gain, but a loss, in human dignity. The real concern is not the unfortunate consequences of this new decision on the criminal law as an abstract, disembodied series of authoritative proscriptions, but the impact on those who rely on the public authority for protection, and who, without it, can only engage in violent self-help with guns, knives and the help of their neighbors similarly inclined..."--Miranda vs. Arizona, U.S. Supreme Court, 384 US 436, 491, (1966).

"There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of this exercise of Constitutional rights."--Snerer v Cullen 481 F. 946.

"We find it intolerable that one Constitutional rights should have to be surrendered in order to assert another."--Simmons v U.S.,[390 US 389 (1968)].

"The state cannot diminish Rights of the people."-- Hurtado vs. California, 110 US 516

"'[T]he fundamental principle [is] that a government and its agents are under no duty to provide . . . police protection, to any particular individual citizen.'

“. . . The duty to provide public services is owed to the public at large, and, absent a special relationship between the police and an individual, no specific legal duty exists."-- Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App. 1981).

"As a general principle, state actors cannot be held liable for private acts of violence under a substantive due process theory. DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 489 U.S. 189, 196 (1989); see also Castle Rock, 545 U.S. at ___, 125 S. Ct. at 2810. We recognize two exceptions to this rule: (1) when the state has a special relationship to the victim, and (2) when the state creates the danger that led to the victim’s harm. Jones v. Union County, 296 F.3d 417, 428 (6th Cir. 2002)."-- Hudson v. Hudson, United States Court of Appeals - 6th Circuit, Jan. 16, 2007.

"Bearing arms for the common defense may well be held to be a political right, or for the protection and maintenance of such rights, intended to be guaranteed; but the right to keep them, with all that is implied fairly as an incident to this right, is a private individual right, guaranteed to the citizen, not the soldier."-- Andrews v. State, 50 Tenn. at 156, 3 Heisk. at 182. (1871).

"... to prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm ... is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege."--WILSON V. STATE, 33 Ark. 557 (1878).

"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."--John Bannister Gibson, in dissent in Eakin v. Raub, 12 Sergeant and Rawle 330, Pennsylvania 1825.

"As a rule, fundamental limitations of regulations under the police power are found in the spirit of the Constitutions, not in the letter, although they are just as efficient as if expressed in the clearest language."--Mehlos vs. Milwaukee, 146 NW 882.

"The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government. A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power."-- Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394 (1859).

"One is not obliged to retreat but meet any attack made upon him with deadly weapon in such way and with force as he honestly believes and has reasonable grounds to believe necessary to his own life or to protect himself from bodily injury when he is rightfully in a place and another without provocation advances upon him in a threatening with a deadly weapon."

"The duty to retreat before killing in self defense does not arise in case of one who knowing of repeated threats to kill him made by the person killed went at the latter's request to his place taking his rifle with him in accordance with the custom of the country to settle a dispute over a crop of hay and shot and killed the deceased while he was attempting to get his gun which was near at hand as an attempt to escape would have been futile."

"One who is without fault is not to fly from an assailant who by violence surprise maliciously seeks to take his or do him enormous bodily harm."

"One knowing his life to be threatened and believing himself to be in danger death or great bodily harm need not at home to avoid assault but may arm himself sufficiently to repel anticipated and pursue his legitimate avocation and if without fault he is compelled to take justifiable to save himself the homicide is justifiable."--State v Gardner, 2 LRA (N.S) 49, 96 Minn. 318 104 NW 971.

"One assaulted by a trespasser with deadly weapon when within a few feet his doorstep is not bound to retreat but may meet force with force even though the result is the death of his adversary."--State v Brooks, 17 LRA NS 483 79 8 C 144 60 SE 518

"One assaulted in a public street where he has a lawful right to be is not bound to retreat before taking measures to defend himself."--State v Bartlett, 59 LRA 756 170 Mo 658 71 SW 148.

"That an attempt to kill or inflict bodily harm is made in resisting a trespass against personal property does deprive the person assaulted of the right kill his assailant without retreating declining or making known to his his willingness to decline the strife the assault is so sudden and perilous as render retreat and declination impossible but as he is the first wrongdoer his wrong does not justify the attack upon him he must retreat and decline the combat if possible before resorting to his adversary."--People v Hecker, 30 403 109 Cal 451 42 Pac 307.

"Retreat is not an essential of the right of a person feloniously assaulted without provocation to kill his assailant if the assault is sudden and the danger or apparently great and under such circumstances he may pursue and slay adversary if apparently necessary for safety."--People v Hecker, 30 LRA 403 109 Cal 451 42 Pac 307.

"One may kill when necessary in defense of himself his family or his home and he has the same right when not actually iireessary if he believes it to be so and has reasonable ground for the belief."--State v Gray, 45 LRA NS 71 162 NC 608 77 SE 833.

   "The first instruction the members of the organized militia should receive should be that they are citizens first and soldiers next; that whether as citizens or soldiers they are and must always be in strict subordination to the civil power and responsible to the civil and criminal law for their acts; that in active service they are nothing more than people, with not even as extensive powers as municipal police that the order of a superior in excess of his lawful authority will not and cannot protect them from the consequences of the law should they violate it; that their uniform represents the dignity of the state and that the wearing of it calls for more courtesy toward fellow citizens than they ordinarily exercise; that they have no right to arrest without warrant unless an offense be committed in their presence; that they have no right to invade private premises for any purpose unless armed with a search warrant or In aid of civil process; that they cannot dispossess persons lawfully in possession of buildings or premises without violating the law and rendering themselves liable in damages and perhaps criminally; that as the right to keep and bear arms (not concealed on the person) is guaranteed by the constitution to every citizen they have not the right to take or confiscate weapons nor to search for them without warrants; that, in short, they must not be misled by the dazzling uniforms of staff colonels or deluded by the pomp and panoply of war with which latter day vanity surrounds their duty into believing they are for a moment above or beyond the law which they are called on to uphold and vindicate."--[Colorado District] Judge Frank W. Owens, [Willmar Tribune, Willmar, Minnesota, July 11, 1903. Vol. 9. No. 42. Pg. 6]

"There is more democracy wrapped up in a musket than in all the oratorical and academical platitudes ever spoken . . . as men were not born equal intellectually or physically the majority had been able to escape the rule of the brainier minority only by the development of firearms. . . . Free government Is not wholly due to an ethical sense of Justice," he said. "Man has always yearned for it, but he never could have it until he could get It and keep it by resort to arms. Physical potentiality is the main thing, after all."--United States District Court Judge Robert Walker Tayler, [The Citizen, Honesdale, Wayne Co., PA., Friday, April 01, 1910. 67th Year. No. 26 Pg. 2]

   "The part of the instruction of Judge Wilson's which went to the crux of the issue said: "The collection of arms to be used in self defense of person or property is of itself proper and lawful . . . But the mere collection and presence of arms is not sufficient Weheron to place information guilt on any of them, nor proof of conspiracy." --Judge John Wilson of Olympia, WA. Grays Harbor County Superior Court. "The Centralia Massacre Trial" [The Bisbee Daily Review, Bisbee, Arizona, Saturday, March 13, 1920. Vol. 24.--No. 58. Pgs. 1 & 2] (The killings had taken place on Tuesday, November 11, 1919.)

""They were reluctant to ratify the Constitution without further assurances, and thus we find in the Bill of Rights Amendments 2 and 3, specifically authorizing a decentralized militia, guaranteeing the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and prohibiting the quartering of troops in any house in time of peace without the consent of the owner. Other Amendments guarantee the right of the people to assemble, to be secure in their homes against unreasonable searches and seizures, and in criminal cases to be accorded a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury after indictment in the district and state wherein the crime was committed. The only exceptions made to these civilian trial procedures are for cases arising in the land and naval forces. Although there is undoubtedly room for argument based on the frequently conflicting sources of history, it is not unreasonable to believe that our Founders' determination to guarantee the preeminence of civil over military power was an important element that prompted adoption of the Constitutional Amendments we call the Bill of Rights.""-- Chief Justice Warren, (N. 5, supra, at 185.), U.S. Supreme Court, as quoted by Justice Douglas, with the concurrence of Justice Marshall, (in dissent), Laird v. Tatum, 408 U.S. 1 (1972). Decided June 26, 1972.


“Both Heller and McDonald suggest that First Amendment analogues are more appropriate, see Heller, 554 U.S. at 582, 595, 635; McDonald, 130 S. Ct. at 3045, and on the strength of that suggestion, we and other circuits have already begun to adapt First Amendment doctrine to the Second Amendment context.”--Circuit Judge Diane S. Sykes, July 6, 2011, United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit, [RHONDA EZELL, et al., v. CITY OF CHICAGO]

   "But on the other side of this case is another feature of government: certain fundamental rights are protected by the Constitution, put outside government’s reach, including the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense under the Second Amendment. This right must also include the right to acquire a firearm . . ."--Judge Edmond E. Chang, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION, [Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers v. The City of Chicago and Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of the City of Chicago. No. 10 C 04184, Jan. 6, 2014.]

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