This Article seeks to answer what may seem a silly
question: How widespread were private party transfers (both sales and
lending) and commercial sales of firearms in the Bill of Rights and
Fourteenth Amendment periods of American history. In U.S. v. Hosford
(D.Md. 2015), the decision held: “Neither party has attempted to provide
comprehensive evidence of the state of the law at the time of
ratification concerning the commercial sale of firearms.” This paper
provides such evidence. There was a thriving trade in arms of all
types, especially firearms, no restrictions on the general (commercial
and private) transfer of arms, and few on the transfer of particular
items (e.g., bowie knives) or to particular persons (e.g., negros).
This is still a draft, so suggestions, corrections, gratefully accepted.