Requirement of firearms possession
paul-finkelman at UTULSA.EDU
Tue Aug 22 15:04:41 PDT 2000
I believe that John was referring to the Colonial period, as was I,
which as even Eugene knows, is before the Federal statutes were written!
"Volokh, Eugene" wrote:
> If the requirement of firearms possession was "mythical", it
> was a pretty realistic seeming myth, realistic enough to fool people
> who printed the federal statute books! The federal Militia Act of
> 1792, 2nd Cong. sess. I, ch. 33, provides that:
> Sec. 1. Be it enacted . . . That each and every free
> able-bodied white male citizen of the respective states, resident
> therein, who is or shall be of the age of eighteen years, and under
> the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall
> severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia . . . . That
> every citizen so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months
> thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a
> sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch
> with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges,
> suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to
> contain a proper quantity of powder and ball: or with a good rifle,
> knapsack, shot-pouch and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore
> of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder. . . .
> Sec. 2. [Exempting the Vice President, federal judicial and
> executive officers, congressmen and congressional officers,
> custom-house officers and clerks, post-officers and postal stage
> drivers, ferrymen on post roads, export inspectors, pilots, merchant
> mariners, and people exempted under the laws of their states.]
> Now I agree that this law was probably highly underenforced --
> but it would surprise me if it were enacted in an environment where
> private gun ownership was extremely rare. In any event, the
> requirement itself is no myth.
> Paul Finkelman writes:
> Two points; First, on Sandy's posting below, I do not want to
> speak for Michael
> Bellesiles, except to say that it is my understand that his
> research on gun
> ownership and regulation not begun with any political motivation;
> and in fact began
> accidentally. What he has concluded after that research began,
> and where he places
> that in modern political discourse, is a different issue.
> On John's point, most males apparently did not own a musket or
> rifle of any kind,
> they were VERY expensive and not pleantiful, and my guess is that
> the "requirement"
> is in part mythical and was rarely enforced or implemented,
> however it was written.
Chapman Distinguished Professor
University of Tulsa College of Law
3120 East 4th Place
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104-2499
paul-finkelman at utulsa.edu
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