Note: These pdf files are quite large. You will likely have great difficulty viewing them from a mobile device, if at all. I suggest that you download the pdfs to your desktop computer and view them locally if you are unable to view them online.
State Court Decisions from 1822 to 1924
Many make the frivolous argument that concealed carry is a right under the Second Amendment because the Second Amendment does not explicitly say that concealed carry is not a right. The First Amendment does not explicitly say that human sacrifice is not a right under the First Amendment nor does it explicitly say that libel, slander and death threats are not a First Amendment right. Only a fool would claim that these are protected rights.
The rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights are defined by what the right was understood to mean at the time by the people who voted to enact the Bill of Rights (1791) or, when a state or local law is being challenged, what the law meant at the time the 14th Amendment was enacted (1868).
When the Second Amendment was drafted, The People of the United States had lived their entire lives under English law, as had their fathers and their fathers before them. Since 1603, English law had made it a crime to use a concealed weapon to kill another person unless he was defending himself from someone who had first stabbed at him or taken a shot at him. Even then, if that stab, or shot, had taken place during an otherwise fair fight one was still guilty of murder should he suddenly produce a concealed weapon and stab or shoot his opponent and his opponent died within six months.
If one were confronted by another person while carrying a concealed weapon then one was required to produce that weapon and give his would be opponent the opportunity to similarly arm himself, or decline mutual combat. If he did not then he was guilty of willful murder and could not be pardoned or otherwise given the “benefit of clergy.” He was executed.
Concealed carry in and of itself was not prohibited but the use of a concealed weapon entailed grave consequences except in the rarest of circumstances. Even if one were not the initial aggressor, once one entered into mutual combat then he could not use his concealed weapon to save even his own life.
Just because the mere carriage of a weapon was not prohibited in 1791 does not mean the Framers of the Second Amendment or those who voted to enact the Second Amendment into law believed concealed carry to be a right under either the Second Amendment or under common law. Persons who carried a concealed weapon had always been suspect. Within 25 years of the enactment of the Second Amendment states began prohibiting the mere carriage of a weapon concealed and prohibited the mere carriage of concealable firearms even if they were not carried concealed. By the time the 14th Amendment was enacted, the mere carriage of a weapon concealed was understood by the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment and those who voted that amendment into law that the Second Amendment right to bear arms did not protect concealed carry, with the exception of travelers and those persons actually on a journey.
For a brief introduction, and as a basis for a starting point, refer to the following books: Beginning at page 180 in the 1819 edition and beginning at page 744 in the 1841 edition. Both under the heading of “MURDER ON THE STATUTE OF STABBING” 1 Jac 1. c 8
This page contains links to pdf files of legal books from the past. There are many people out there who claim that there is a right to carry weapons concealed in public beyond that of a traveler while actually on a journey. Bear in mind (pun intended) that these same people cannot point to a single legal precedent or historical authority which has ever held that there is a right to carry weapons concealed under the Second Amendment.
One would think that if these precedents or historical authorities existed then the many lawyers who have brought these failed concealed carry lawsuits across the country would have mentioned at least one of them in their equally numerous legal briefs filed in their failed concealed carry lawsuits.
They didn’t because they do not exist.
There is, however, at least 400 years of legal decisions and historical authorities which prove that there is generally no right to carry a weapon concealed in public. Under English common law, which the United States operated under since the first colony was formed to the establishment of the United States and the enactment of the Second Amendment, the use of a concealed weapon to kill one’s opponent was murder whereas the use of an openly carried weapon, under the identical circumstances, was eventually manslaughter and, unlike a murder conviction, pardonable.
Unless one understands the evolution of English common law regarding armed self-defense leading up to the enactment of the Second Amendment as well as understanding American common law leading up to the enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment which applies the Second Amendment right as applied to the states, then you have an uninformed opinion.
One common knee-jerk response is that the Second Amendment does not say there is no right to carry arms concealed. Well, the First Amendment does not say that there is no right to make death threats, commit fraud, or sacrifice a human being. The people who voted for the First Amendment knew that these acts fell outside the scope of the First Amendment as assuredly as concealed carry fell outside the scope of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
This link will take you to one hundred years of American state court legal decisions from 1822 to 1923. If you don’t read the debate which went on within the American States regarding the Second Amendment right then where does your knowledge of what the Second Amendment means as defined by the courts come from? I can tell you right now the claimed Second Amendment right made by the lawyers from the so-called gun-rights groups has never existed.
The Parliament Rolls for 1272–1503 were first published in the eighteenth century, as Rotuli Parliamentorum; ut et Petitiones, et Placita in Parliamento (London, 1767–77), under the general editorship of John Strachey.
The Statutes of the Realm is an authoritative collection of Acts of the Parliament of England from the earliest times to the Union of the Parliaments in 1707, and Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain passed up to the death of Queen Anne in 1714. It was published between 1810 and 1825 by the Record Commission as a series of 9 volumes, with volume IV split into two separately bound parts, together with volumes containing an Alphabetical Index and a Chronological Index.
Alexis De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America has been cited in Second Amendment cases.