Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Revolutionary Era Email?

I am searching for the Test Acts that some states passed disarming those who would not swear an oath of loyalty to the Revolutionary governments.  This was in response to the Continental Congress' request:


That it be recommended to the several assemblies, conventions, and councils or committees of safety of the United Colonies, immediately to cause all persons to be disarmed within their respective colonies, who are notoriously disaffected to the cause of America, or who have not associated, and shall refuse to associate, to defend, by arms, these United Colonies, against the hostile attempts of the British fleets and armies; and to apply the arms taken from such persons in each respective colony, in the first place to the arming the continental troops raised in said colony; in the next, to the arming such troops as are raised by the colony for its own defence, and the residue to be applied to the arming the associators; that the arms when taken be appraised by indifferent persons, and such as are applied to the arming the continental troops, be paid for by Congress, and the residue by the respective assemblies, conventions, or councils, or committees of safety.[1]


[1] Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 (1906), 4:205.

In this brief submitted by two law professors in the DC v. Heller (2008) case:
The right to keep and bear arms was not infringed by laws, such as those in  Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, which banned possession of a firearm by any person who failed to swear a loyalty oath. See Act of Apr. 1, 1778, ch. LXI, 2, 5, 1777-1778 Pa. Laws 123, 126; Act of Mar. 14, 1776, ch. VII, 1775-1776 Mass. Acts 31.
I am still looking for this law in official journals.  That's impressive performance,   A request from the Continental Congress in Philadelphia made it to Massachusetts fast enough for the Massachusetts legislature to pass a law the same day.  I guess Ben Franklin texted the request to Sam Adams,  Or, as usual, the anti-gunners are just sloppy on their scholarship.

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