Monday, April 13, 2015

Amazing Discovery

The English Bill of Rights (1689) has a very oddly worded guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms, one that the gun control crowd has always argued demonstrates that the right was so limited as to be meaningless..  So imagine my surprise at finding a statement from the royal prosecutor in a trial of revolutionaries in 1820 who asserted that carrying arms to a public meeting was protected:

Gentlemen, he refers to the Bill of Rights. You will see what the Bill of Rights says upon that subject. It provides that,

" The subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions, and as allowed by law-"

But are arms suitable to the condition of people in the ordinary class of life, and are they allowed bylaw? A man has a clear right to arms to protect himself in his housc. A man has a clear right to ' protect himself when he is going singly or in a small party upon the road where he is travelling or going for the ordinary purposes of business. But l have no difficulty in saying you have no right to carry arms to a public meeting, if the number of arms which are so carried are calculated to produce terror and alarm; and if you could be at liberty to carry arms upon an expectation that by possibility there might be an attack at the place, that would be an excuse for carrying arms in every instance when you went to a public meeting.(a.) Therefore, I have no difficulty in saying persons are not warranted in carrying arms to a public meeting, if they are calculated to create terror and alarm.[1]

Reports Of State Trials, New Series,1: 601-604 (1970)

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