Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mandatory Leather Bucket Ownership Laws

At Archives of Maryland 204:202:
WHEREAS the calamity of fire breaking out in so populous a town as Baltimore is greatly to be dreaded, and every preparation ought to be made by the inhabitants to prevent its spreading whenever it doth break out;

II.  Be it enacted, by the general assembly of Maryland, That ever householder within the said town, whose real property therein is assessed to one hundred pounds or upwards current money, shall be obliged to keep him or herself provided with two good and sufficient leather buckets marked with the owner's names, and hung up near the front door of their dwelling house, which buckets shall be used for no other purpose but handing water at fires; and every such householder now residing within the said town, shall be allowed six months from the end of this present session of assembly, to procure the said buckets, and every such person, who shall hereafter come to reside in the said town, shall be allowed three months from the time of their residence and assessment as aforesaid to procure their said buckets.
Analogous to the mandatory gun ownership laws of the period and, dare I say it, analogous to a state mandatory health insurance law.  (A federal law is obviously a rather different situation.)


  1. Running this out on a tangent, I wonder how many old laws are still on the books that a city could use to "generate revenue" by fining people.

    For example, if there's a fine associated with this, even a small one, Baltimore could basically fine *EVERYONE* in the city for it these days.

  2. The fastest way to get an unpopular or antiquated law repealed is to start enforcing it vigorously. Idaho still has laws on the books prohibiting adultery and fornication. They are probably not enforceable post-Lawrence (as much as I find the reasoning of the Lawrence decision incorrect), but if a county prosecutor did make that attempt, it would lead to a rapid repeal, even if the courts did not rule in unconstitutional. Look at what happened when Connecticut was still enforcing its criminal statute against adultery in 1990.

  3. Increasingly, frustrated with how the greed of a small number of lawyers is making life unreasonable for ordinary people.

    百分之九十九 的 律师 打 坏 其馀 百分 之一 的 名声 。


    This came up in my exercises. "Ninety-nine percent of all lawyers give the rest a bad name."