A Right to Bear Arms: State and Federal Bills of Rights and Constitutional Guarantees

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1989 - Law - 163 pages
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The right to keep and bear arms was considered a fundamental, individual right in the original 14 states (the 13 colonies and Vermont) from the pre-Revolutionary period through the adoption of the federal Bill of Rights in 1791. A Right to Bear Arms is the first book to demonstrate the deprivation of this right as a causal factor to the American Revolution. The book also examines the significance of the right to bear arms in each of the first states and the state influences on the adoption of the Second Amendment to the federal Constitution.

This is the first book ever published on the immediate origins of the right to bear arms in the state and federal bill of rights. The work relies primarily on original sources such as period newspapers, constitutional convention debates, and the writings of the framers of the first state constitutions. The epilogue, Constitutional Conventions in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, accounts for changes in the bills of rights that have affected the issue of the right to bear arms. Considering the bicentennial of the federal Bill of Rights, being celebrated in 1989-1991, and the current gun control controversy, this book is a valuable source to historians, political scientists, law libraries, and special interest groups.

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The Right to Bear Arms in the State Declarations
A Well Regulated Militia in the State Declarations
Constitutions Without Bills of Rights
Charters Without Constitutions
State Constitutional Conventions in
Selected Bibliography

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Popular passages

Page 52 - That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defence of a free State; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
Page 51 - That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot by any compact deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
Page 27 - ... time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military shall be kept under strict subordination to and be governed by the civil powers.
Page 54 - Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.
Page 36 - That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and, as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.
Page 22 - No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner; nor, in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Page 7 - A few days after receiving this answer, the house, in a message to him, declared 'the use of the military power to enforce the execution of the laws...
Page 91 - The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be. the established religion of this State. That all denominations of Christian Protestants in this State, demeaning themselves peaceably and faithfully, shall enjoy equal religious and civil privileges.

About the author (1989)

STEPHEN P. HALBROOK, an attorney at law, is a member of the Virginia and D.C. Bars, the U.S. Supreme Court Bar, and several federal appellate court bars. His previous books include: That Every Man Should Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right and Social Philosophy. Halbrook has written articles that appeared in the Journal of Air Law and Commerce, George Mason University Law Review, Vermont Law Review, Law and Contemporary Problems, and various Congressional reports.

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