65 Laws (in 12 of 14 States) in Force at December 15, 1791, Restricting the Right of Individuals to Keep and Bear Arms.

A.

Restrictions on Arms

B.

Date

(A chapter or law number will be included with the date if it is available.)

C.

State

(In alphabetical order.)

D.

Legal Form (Law, Constitution, bill of rights, or declaration of rights.)

1. Regulates private use of firearms.

“An Act relating to Alarms. . . . Be it enacted . . . That if any person or persons in this State . . . shall cause any Alarm, by firing any Gun or Guns . . . in any Town or Plantation in this State, at any Time between the shutting in of the Evening, and break of Day, and shall thereof be legally convicted, shall each of them pay of Fine . . .”

Page 8, Acts and Laws of the State of Connecticut in America, 1786
1786 Connecticut Law
2. No person should come armed to any election.

“Art. 28. To prevent any violence or force being used at the said elections, no person shall come armed to any of them, and no muster of the militia shall be made on that day; nor shall any battalion or company give in their votes immediately succeeding each other, if any other voter, who offers to vote, objects thereto; nor shall any battalion or company, in the pay of the continent, or of this or any other State, be suffered to remain at the time and place of holding the said elections, nor within one mile of the said places respectively, for twenty-four hours before the opening said elections, nor within twenty-four hours after the same are closed, so as in any manner to impede the freely and conveniently carying on the said election: Provided always, That every elector may, in a peaceable and orderly manner, give in his vote on the said day of election.”

Constitution, Sept. 20, 1776
1776 Delaware Con
3. Prohibits any slave from being armed without a license from his master.

“An Act for the trial of Negroes. . . .
Sect. 6. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any Negro or Mulatto slave shall presume to carry any guns, swords, pistols, fowling-pieces, clubs, or other arms and weapons whatsoever, without his master’s special license for the same, and be convicted thereof before a Magistrate, he shall be whipt with twenty-one lashes, upon his bare back.”

Pages 102-104, Laws of the State of Delaware, Vol. 1: 1700-1797
1700 – Chap. XLIII a. Sect. 6 Delaware Law
4. Establishes deer hunting season.

“An Act to prevent the unseasonable killing of deer within this government. . . .
Be it enacted . . . That if any freeman within this government, (Indians excepted) shall kill or destroy, by guns or otherwise, any deer or fawns, within any of the counties of this government, between the first day of January and the first day of August in every year, and be thereof duly convicted, by the testimony of one or more credible witnesses, . . .”

Pages 191-192, Laws of the State of Delaware, Vol. 1: 1700-1797
1700 – Chap. LXXIV a. Section 1 Delaware Law
5. Prohibits dueling.

“An Act to prevent duelling, and fighting of duels within this government. . . .
Section 1. Be it enacted … That if any person within this government shall challenge any other person to fight with sword, pistol, rapier, or any other dangerous and destructive weapon, every such person so challenging, being legally convicted thereof, by bill, plaint, or information, in any Court of Quarter Sessions within this government, shall forfeit and pay the sum of Twenty Pounds, or suffer three months imprisonment in the common gaol of the said county.”

Page 240, Laws of the State of Delaware, Vol. 1: 1700-1797
1700 – Chap. XCIII a. Section 1 Delaware Law
6. Prohibits shooting matches when vending alcohol.

“An Act for the supression of idleness, vice, and immorality. . . .
Section 2. BE it enacted by the General Assembly of Delaware, That from and after the passing of this act, if any public house-keeper, or other retailer of strong liquors, or any other person or persons within this state, shall promote or encourage any such races, cock-fightings, or shooting-matches, or shall sell, or otherwise dispose of, directly or indirectly, any wine, rum, brandy, beer, cyder, or other strong liquors whatsoever, to any such person or persons so assembled together as aforesaid, he, she, or they shall forfeit and pay for every such offence, the sum of Ten Pounds, . . .”

Page 866, Laws of the State of Delaware, Vol. 2: 1700-1797
June 24, 1786 – Chap. CXL b. Section 2 Delaware Law
7. Shooting and hunting prohibited on the Sabbath.

“An Act for preventing and punishing vice, profanefs and immorality, and for keeping holy the Lord’s day, commonly called Sunday. . . .
IV. And he it further enacted, That no public sports, or pastimes, as bear baiting, bull baiting, foot ball, playing, horse racing, shooting, hunting or fishing, interludes or common plays, or other games, exercises, sports, or passtimes whatsoever, shall be used on the Lord’s day . . .”

P. 80-83, Watkins-A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia (1799)
March 4, 1762 – No. 88 Georgia Law
8. Slave patrols authorized to search “all negro houses” for “offensive weapons and ammunition.”

“VII. . . .And the said patrols shall have full power to search and examine all negro houses, for offensive weapons and ammunition, and on finding any such, contrary to the before recited act, shall proceed as in therein directed and if any patrol shall fee any fugitive slave or slaves, endeavoring to avoid them by hiding or running into, or shall hear of such being harbored in any dwelling house of a white person, the commander shall ask leave of the owner of the said dwelling house or of some white person then there, to search for, examine and apprehend the said fugitive slave, or that the said owner should deliver up such slave or slaves; and in case the said owner or other white person so entreated shall refuse to deliver up such fugitive slave or slaves, or to suffer search to be made for them, the said patrol or any other white person having seen such slaves enter, such persons so refusing shall forfeit the sum of five pounds for every such offence.”

P. 119-124, Watkins-A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia (1799); Amended by Act of 24 December 1768, #187 and is materially connected with act of 10 May 1770, #204, P. 163-179, Watkins-A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia. Perpetuated by Act of 1784 #287 “An Act for reviving and enforcing certain laws therein mentioned” – Watkins-A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia (1799)
Nov. 18, 1765 – No. 137 Georgia Law
9. No slave can carry or make use of a firearm or offensive weapon unless he or she is in the presence of a white person 16 or older or have a ticket or license from his master to hunt.

“An Act to amend and continue ‘An act for the establishing and regulating patrols, and for preventing any person from purchasing provisions or any other commodities from, or selling such to any slave, unless such slave shall produce a ticket from his or her owner, manager or employer. . . .
. . . Be it enacted, . . .it shall not be lawful for any slave, unless in the presence of some white person, to carry or make use of fire arms, or any offensive weapon whatsoever, unless such slave shall have a ticket or license in writing from his master, mistress, overseers, to hunt and kill game, cattle, or mischievous, birds or beasts of prey, and that such license be renewed every week, or unless there-be some white person of the age of sixteen years or upwards in the company of [such] slave when he is hunting or shooting, or that such slave be actually carrying his master’s arms to or from his master’s plantation by a special ticket for that purpose, or unless such slave be found in the day-time, actually keeping off birds within the plantation to which such slave belongs, loading the same gun at night, within the dwelling house of his master, mistress or white overseer: Provided always, That no slave shall have liberty to carry any gun, cutlass, pistol, or other offensive weapon, abroad at any time between Saturday evening after sun set, and Monday morning before sun rise, notwithstanding a license or ticket for so doing.”

Pages 153-154, A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia; Perpetuated by Act of 1784 #287 “An Act for reviving and enforcing certain laws therein mentioned” P. 289-290, Watkins-A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia (1799).
Dec. 24, 1768 – No. 187 Georgia Law
10. “Offensive weapons, fire arms and ammunition” seized from slaves contrary to this act shall become property of patroller if a judge agrees they were unlawfully possessed.

“II. And be it further enacted, That in case any or either of the patrols, established or to be established within this province, by virtue of the said act, on searching and examining any negroe house for offensive weapons, fire arms and ammunition, shall find any such, or in case any person shall fine any slave using or carrying fire arms or other offensive weapons, contrary to the intent and meaning of this act, such patrol, or person or persons, may lawfully seize and take away such offensive weapons, fire arms, and ammunition, but before the property thereof shall be vested in the person or persons who shall seize the same, such person or persons shall, within, three days next after such seizure, go before a justice of the peace, and shall make oath of the manner of taking thereof, and if such justice of the peace, after such oath made, or upon due examination, shall be satisfied that the said fire arms, offensive weapon, or ammunition, shall have been seized according to the directions, and agreeable to the true intent and meaning of this act, the said justice shall, by certificate under his hand and seal, declare them forfeited, and that the property is lawfully vested in the person or persons who seized the same; Provided always, That no such certificate shall be granted by any justice of the peace until the owner or owners of such fire arms, or other offensive weapons, so seized as aforesaid, or the overseer or overseers who shall or may have the charge of such slave or slaves from whom such fire arms or other offensive weapon so taken or seized, shall be duly summoned to shew cause why the same should not be condemned as forfeited, or in case of non-appearance until three days after the service of such summons, and oath made of the service thereof, before the said justice.”

P. 153-154, A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia, 1799
Dec. 24, 1768 – No. 187 Georgia Law
11. Church elders are obligated to search all male persons in or about such places of worship to ensure that they are armed.

“II. And for the better and more effectual carrying this act into execution, Be it further enacted, That the church warden or church wardens of each respective parish, and the deacons, elders, or select men, of other places of public worship, shall be obliged, and they are hereby empowered to examine all such male persons, either in or about such places of public worship, at any time after the congregation is assembled, on Christmas and Easter days, and at least twelve other times in every year, and if, upon finding any person or persons liable to bear arms, and bring them to places of public worship as aforesaid, without the arms and ammunition by this act directed, and shall not within fifteen days after such offence is committed, inform against such person or persons so offending, in order to recover the penalty as aforesaid, such church warden or church wardens, deacons, elders, or selectman shall, for every such neglect of duty, or giving information as aforesaid, forfeit and pay the sum of five pounds, to be recovered and applied as in this act is before directed.”

P. 157, Watkins-A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia (1799)
1770 – No. 191 Georgia Law
12. Slaves are not to “carry and make use of fire arms, or any offensive weapon whatsoever” unless accompanied by a white person 16 or older.

“An Act for ordering and governing slaves within this province, and for establishing a jurisdiction for the trial of offences committed by such slaves, and other persons therein mentioned; and to prevent the inveigling and carrying away slaves from their masters, owners, or employers. . . .
XXII. And be it further enacted, That it shall not be lawful for any slave to carry and make use of fire arms, or any offensive weapon whatsoever, unless there be some white person of the age of sixteen years or upwards in the company of such slave when he is hunting or shooting, or unless such slave be found in the day time actually keeping off birds, or killing beasts of prey within the plantation to which such slave belongs, lodging the same gun at night within the dwelling house of his master, mistress, or white overseer; and in case any person shall find any slave using or carrying fire arms, or other offensive weapon, contrary to the true intention of this act, such person may lawfully seize and take away such offensive weapon or fire arms, but, before the property thereof shall be vested in the person who shall seize the same, such person shall, within forty-eight hours next after such seizure, go before the next justice of the peace, and shall make oath of the manner of the taking thereof, and if such justice of the peace, after such oath shall be made, or if, upon any other examination, he shall be satisfied that the said fire arms, or other offensive weapon, shall have been seized according the directions and agreeable to the true intent and meaning of this act, the said justice shall, by a certificate under his hand and seal, declare them forfeited, and that the property is lawfully vested in the person who seized the same; Provided always, That no such certificate shall be granted by any justice of the peace until the owner or owners of such fire arms, or other offensive weapons so seized as aforesaid, or the overseer or overseer who shall or may have the charge of such slave or slaves from whom such fire arms, or other offensive weapons, so taken or seized, shall be duly summoned to shew cause why the same should not be condemned as forfeited, or until forty-eight hours after the service of such summons, and oath made of the service thereof before the said justice.”

P. 163-179, Watkins-A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia (1799); Perpetuated by Act 25 February 1784, #287 “An Act for reviving and enforcing certain laws therein mentioned” P. 289-290, Watkins-A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia (1799)
May 10, 1770 – No. 204 Georgia Law
13. It is lawful for any person to apprehend “any negroe, or other slave” out without a pass and if armed, even with a pass, to disarm them.

“XXXVI. And, as it is absolutely necessary to the safety of this province that all due care be taken to restrain the wandering and meeting of negroes and other slaves, at all times, and more especially on Saturday nights, Sundays, and other holidays, and their using and carrying mischievous and dangerous weapons, . . . “

Page 163-179, Watkins-A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia (1799)
May 10, 1770 – No. 204 Georgia Law
14. A person cannot sell, barter, or exchange with any Indian including arms and ammunition outside of stores and licensed houses.

“An Act to regulate the Indian trade; and for other purposes therein mentioned. . . .
II. And be it further enacted . . .for better preventing disturbances among the Indians, by persons bartering with them in the woods, or hunting in their grounds, or in any other wise trespassing on the same, that from and after the passing of this act, it shall not be lawful for any person or persons to sell, truck, barter, or exchange with any Indian or Indians, any rum or other strong liquors, clothing, arms, ammunition, or any other thing whatsoever, privately in the woods, in their hunting grounds, or at cow-pens in the settlements, or at any other place other than at stores for houses licensed for that purpose, or shall hunt or trespass on the lands beyond the present temporary boundary line.”

Page 288-289, Watkins- A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia
Feb. 25, 1784 – No. 286 Georgia Law
15. Prohibits hunting deer with a gun at night by fire light.

“An Act to prevent the pernicious practice of hunting deer in the night time by fire light. . . .
I. Be it enacted . . .any person or persons who shall hunt with a gun by fire light or kill any deer so hunting by fire light in the night time without his or their own enclosures, every such person being thereof convicted, upon the oath of one or more credible witness, before any justice of the peace for the county where such offence shall be committed, shall for every such offence forfeit and pay, not exceeding the sum of five pounds, . . .”

Page 428, Watkins-A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia. Revised and re-enacted with alterations from earlier act on Dec. 10 1790, Act 444
Dec. 10, 1790 – No. 445 Georgia Law
16. Prohibits traders from selling “Arms or Ammunition to any Indians.”

“An Act concerning Trade with the Indians . . .
By this Act . . . (2.) No such Traders to sell any Arms or Ammunition to any Indians, or Quarrel with, or give just Occasion of Offence to the Indians, whereby the public Peace, . . .might be endangered; nor to enhance the Price of Corn, to the Prejudice of the People; nor to go out upon such Trade, too weak in Strength, or Arms, whereby the lndians might be emboldened to do them Mischief . . .”

Page 18, Laws of Maryland at Large, Archives: Vol. 75; 75:39
1676 – Chap. XXXI Maryland Law
17. Decrees that no “Negro or other slave,” shall be permitted to carry any Gun or any other offensive Weapon, from off their Master’s Land, without Licence from their said Master.

“An ACT relating to Servants and Slaves. Lib. LL. N° 4. fol. 246.
XXXIII. That no Negro or other Slave, within this Province, shall be permitted to carry any Gun or any other offensive Weapon, from off their Master’s Land, without Licence from their said Master: And if any Negro or other Slave shall presume so to do, he shall be liable to be carried before a Justice of Peace, and be whipped; and his Gun or other offensive Weapon, shall be forfeited to him that shall seize the same, and carry such Negro so offending, before a Justice of Peace.”

Vol 75, Page 268, Archives of Maryland, Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1885
June 3, 1715 – Chap. XLIV Maryland Law
18. Prohibits shooting of stray horses except within one’s own fenced property.

“An ACT ascertaining the Height of Fences, to prevent the Evil occasioned by the Multitude of Horses, . . . Lib. LL. N° 4. fol. 178. . . .
III. Provided always, That no Person whatsoever, though grieved or damnified, shall presume to shoot, kill or destroy any such Horse or Horses as aforesaid except upon his, her, or their proper inclosed Grounds, within his, her, or their lawful Possession, . . .”

Pages 227-228, Laws of Maryland at Large, Archives: Vol. 75; Archives of Maryland
June 3, 1715 – Chap. XXXI Maryland Law
19. Prohibits slaves from carrying “any Gun or any other offensive Weapon” off the master’s land without a license from his master.

“XXXIII. And be it enacted . . .That no Negro or other Slave, within this Province, shall be permitted to carry any Gun or any other offensive Weapon, from off their Master’s Land, without Licence from their said Master . . .”

Pages 262-268, Laws of Maryland at Large, Archives: Vol. 75
1715 – Chap. XLIV Maryland Law
20. Prohibits hunting with guns or dogs on enclosed properties without permission of the owner.

“An Act to encourage the Destroying of Wolves, Crows, and Squirrels. Lib. L. N° 5. fol. 209. . . .
VII. . . .That every Person that shall, during the Continuance of this Act, presume upon any Pretence whatsoever, to come to hunt with Guns or Dogs, within any inclosed Grounds, Islands, Peninsulaes, or Necks, fenced across from Water to Water, without Leave or Licence from the Proprietors thereof first had and obtained, shall, for every such Offence, forfeit and pay . . .”

Pages 371-373. Laws of Maryland at Large, Archives: Vol. 75
Oct. 24, 1728 – Chap. VII Maryland Law
21. Authorizes temporarily taking away firearms “except pistols” of “nonjurors.”

“An Act to collect arms. . . .
The lieutenants, or any field officers, are empowered to take away all fire arms, except pistols, from *nonjurors. Any other persons likewise, on an emergency, may be thus disarmed by a lieutenant and two field officers. If arms are secreted, or attempted to be secreted, the offender shall forfeit them and £. 5 besides; otherwise the arms are to be valued by the lieutenant, and a certificate given for them, to be discountable in taxes; but when the occasion for which the arms are wanted shall cease, they may be restored at the election of any owner who is a nonjuror.”

Page 278, Laws of Maryland, Archives Vol. 203

(“Nonjurors” from the – 1792 Dictionary of the English language, by Samuel Johnson

  1. “Besides thus taking the oaths for offices, any two justices of the peace may by the same statute summon, and tender the oaths to, any person whim they shall suspect to be disaffected; and every person refusing the same, who is properly called a non-juror, shall be adjudged a popish recusant convict, and subjected to the same penalties that were mentioned in a former chapter; which in the end may amount to the alternative of abjuring the realm, or suffering death as a felon.”
    – William Blackstone’s Commentaries 1765-1769 – Book 4, Chapter 9
  2. “One who, conceiving James II. unjustly deposed, refuses to swear allegiance to those who have succeeded him.”)
1781 – Chap. X Maryland Law
22. Decrees that deer hunting season is Sep. 15 through Dec. 15.

“An ACT for the preservation of the breed of wild deer, and for other purposes therein mentioned.
. . . That it shall not be lawful for any person or persons whatsoever to shoot, or otherwise kill or destroy, wild deer, except from the fifteenth of September to the fifteenth of December yearly, . . .”

Page 367, Laws of Maryland, Archives Vol. 204; 204:367
Dec. 19, 1789 – Chap. V Maryland Law
23. All public entities belonging to the commonwealth must provide an official account of arms and ammunition every three months or whenever the governor requests.

“Art. XII.–All public boards, the commissary-general, all superintending officers of public magazines and stores, belonging to this commonwealth, and all commanding officers of forts and garrisons within the same, shall, once in every three months, officially and without requisition, and at other times, when required by the governor, deliver to him an account of all goods, stores, provisions, ammunition, cannon, with their appendages, and small-arms with their accoutrements, and of all other public property whatever under their care, respectively; . . .”

Constitution, Chap. II: Executive Power, Section I. Governor
Oct. 25, 1780 – Chap. II: Executive Power, Section I. Governor Massachusetts Con
24. Authorizes a fine for having loaded arms in houses and other dwellings.

“An act in addition to the several acts already made for the prudent Storage of Gun powder within the town of Boston . . . Whereas the depositing of loaded Arms in the Houses of Towns of Boston, is dangerous . . .

Sect. I. Be it enacted … That if any person shall take into any dwelling house … any … fire arm, loaded with or having gunpowder in the same, or shall receive into any Dwelling House … or having gun powder in the same, such person shall forfeit and pay . . . ”

Page 137-138, The Charter of the City of Boston, and Ordinances Made and Established by …
March 1, 1783 – Chapter XXIV Massachusetts Law
25. Loaded arms in houses and other dwellings are to be seized.

“An act in addition to the several acts already made for the prudent Storage of Gun powder within the town of Boston . . . Whereas the depositing of loaded Arms in the Houses of Towns of Boston, is dangerous . . .

Sec. 2 . . . Be it further enacted . . . That all . . . fire arms . . . that shall be found in any dwelling house . . . charged with, or having in them any gunpowder, shall be liable to be seized by either of the Firewards of the said town . . . ”

Pages 137-138, The Charter of the City of Boston, and Ordinances Made and Established by …
March 1, 1783 – Chapter XXIV Massachusetts Law
26. To protect firefighters, no one shall deposit loaded arms, including artillery, in any building in Boston. This prohibits only leaving them loaded or bringing into a building while loaded.

“An Act in addition to the several Acts already made for the prudent Storage of Gun-Powder within the Town of Boston.
I. Be it enacted . . . That if any person shall take into any dwelling… any cannon, swivel, mortar, howitzer, or cohorn, or fire-firm, loaded with, or having gun-powder in same, or shall receive into any dwelling . . . within the said town, any bomb, grenade, or other iron shell, charged with, or having gun-powder in the same, such person shall forfeit and pay the sum of ten pounds . . .”

Page 240, Perpetual Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1788
1788 Massachusetts Law
27. For men employed by Mount-Hope Furnace, their weapons, when not in service, shall be lodged in Magazine to be kept near the works. Workers will be trained in arms and taxed.

Oct. 7, 1777 – Chap. LII
“An Act to exempt a Number of Men to be employed at Mount-Hope Furnace … from actual Service in the Militia . . .
2. And be it further Enacted . . . That the said Men so enrolled shall be furnished and equipped . . . with Arms, Ammunition and Accoutrements . . . which Arms, Ammunition and Accoutrements, when not in actual service, shall be lodged in a Magazine . . . to be kept at or near the said Works … and that the said Men so enrolled shall be disciplined in Arms . . . and shall be subject to a Tax in the same Proportion . . . but shall not be called out from said Works on Musters or Reviews . . . unless the County in which they reside shall be invaded.”

Pages 115-116, Acts of the First General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, 1777, William Livingston, Governor
Oct. 7, 1777 – Chap. LII New Jersey Law
28. For men employed by Sharpsborough Iron-Works, their weapons, when not in service, shall be lodged in Magazine to be kept near the works. Workers will be trained in arms and subject to a tax.

“An Act to exempt twelve Men, to be employed at the Sharpsborough Iron-Works, in the County of Sussex, from actual Service in the Milita . . .
2. And it is further Enacted . . . That the said Men shall be furnished and equipped . . . with Arms, Accoutrements and Ammunition and . . . which Arms, Accoutrements and Ammunition, when not in actual service, shall be lodged in a Magazine to be kept at said Works . . . and the said Men shall be disciplined in Arms . . . and shall be subject to a Tax in the same Proportion . . . but shall not be called out from said Works on actual Service as a Detachment of the Militia, unless the County in which they reside shall be invaded.”

Pages 117-118, Acts of the First General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, 1777, William Livingston, Governor
Oct. 10, 1777 – Chap. LIV New Jersey Law
29. Any person found carrying or transporting weapons of war to the enemy will be declared guilty of a felony.

“An Act to amend an Act, intitled, An Act for preventing an Illicit Trade and Intercourse between the Subjects of this State and the Enemy. . . .
5. And be it further Enacted . . . if any Person . . . with Firelocks, or other Weapons of War, be found carrying or conveying . . . of any Article or Thing prohibited by this or the before recited Act, such Person . . . shall be declared guilty of Felony . . .”

Pages 20-22, Acts of the Seventh General Assembly of the State of New Jersey
Dec. 21, 1782 – Chap. XIV New Jersey Law
30. Weapons of war are not allowed at elections.

“An Act to regulate the Election of Members of the Legislative-Council and General Assembly . . .
12. An be it further Enacted … or shall appear at such Election with any Weapons of War . . . or shall summons or request any Party of Militia to attend at the Time and Place of Election . . . for every such Offence, forfeit and pay the Sum of Twenty Pounds . . .”

Pages 669-675, Acts of the Fifteenth General Assembly of the State of New Jersey
Nov. 18, 1790 – Chap. CCCXXII New Jersey Law
31. Inhabitants of the state shall pay the state to arm the militia and store and maintain weapons proportionate to the number of citizens.

“XL. And whereas it is of utmost importance to the safety of every State that it should always be in a condition of defense; and it is the duty of every man who enjoys the protection of society to be prepared and willing to defend it; this convention therefore, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, doth ordain, determine, and declare that the militia of this State, at all times hereafter, as well in peace as in war, shall be armed and disciplined, and in readiness for service . . . That all such of the inhabitants of this State being of the people called Quakers as, from scruples of conscience, may be adverse to the bearing of arms, be therefrom excused by the legislature; and do not pay to the State such sums of money, in lieu of their personal service, as the same; may in the judgement of the legislature, be worth. And that a proper magazine of warlike stores, proportionate to the number of inhabitants, be forever hereafter, at the expense of this State, and by acts of the legislature, established, maintained, and continued in every county in this State.”

Constitution
1777 New York Con
32. Prohibits transfer of governmentally owned arms to private parties.

“An Act more effectually to prevent the purchasing or receiving Articles of public Property, from the Soldiery. . . .
Be it enacted . . . That if any person or persons whosoever, within this state, shall directly or indirectly purchase, of shall take or receive for his, her, or their own use, or for the use of any other person or persons, from an non-commissioned officer or private of the army of the United States of America, any arms, accoutrements, cloathing, or other munition of war the person or persons so purchasing, taking or receiving, shall forfeit treble the value of the same . . .”

Page 63, Laws of the State of New-York, Vol. 1
March 1783 – Chap. XLIII New York Law
33. Prohibits the shooting of guns on New Year’s Day to Jan. 2.

“An Act to prevent the Firing of Guns and other Fire-Arms within this State, on certain Days therein mentioned. . . .
Whereas great dangers have arisen, and mischief been done by the pernicious practice of firing guns, pistols, rockets . . . other fire-works, on the eve of the last day of December, and first and second days of January . . . Be it enacted . . . every such person or persons so offending and being therof convicted . . . forfeit the sum of forty shillings . . .”

Page 188-189, Laws of the State of New-York, Vol. 1
April 1785 – Chap. LXXXI New York Law
34. Prohibits the firing of arms in the city of New York to prevent fires.

“An Act for the more effectual Prevention of Fires in the City of New York. . . .
And whereas the firing and discharging of guns, pistols, rockets, crackers, squibs, and other fire-works in the city of New-York, may not only do personal injury to the inhabitants and others, but the city be in danger of being set on fire by such practices; for remedy whereof, . . .”

Page 271, Laws of the State of New-York, Vol. 1
April 22, 1786 – Chap. XLIII New York Law
35. Prohibits the discharging of guns, fireworks, and rockets, with a fine of twenty shillings (about five days’ wages for an unskilled laborer).

“II. And be it further enacted . . . That if any person or persons . . . shall fire . . . any gun, pistol . . . in any street, lane or ally, garden or other inclosure, or from any house, or in any other place where persons frequently walk, . . . shall, for every such offence, forfeit the sum of twenty shillings; . . .”

Page 272, Laws of the State of New-York, Vol. 1
April 22, 1786 – Chap. XLIII New York Law
36. This law requires observance of the Sabbath, prohibiting many pastimes, including shooting, fishing, and hunting and authorizes persons to be arrested for “hunting, gunning” and other sports on the Sabbath.

“An Act for suppressing Immorality. . . .
1. Be it enacted . . . That there shall be no . . . shooting, fishing, sporting, playing, horse-racing, hunting . . . on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday. . . . And further, That if any person shall be found fishing, sporting, horse-racing, hunting, gunning . . . on the first day of the week, called Sunday, . . . to be dealt with according to law.”

Page 679-680, Laws of the State of New-York, Vol. 2
Feb. 23, 1788 – Chap. XLII New York Law
37. Prohibits persons from storing more than 28 pounds of gunpowder anywhere except the public magazine, with a fine of 50 pounds (about 150 days’ wages for an unskilled laborer) per 100 pounds of gunpowder unlawfully stored.

“An Act to prevent the storing of Gun-Powder, within certain Parts of the City of New-York. . . .
Whereas the practice of storing gun-powder within certain parts of the city of New-York, is dangerous to the safety of said city . . . Be it enacted . . . That it shall not be lawful for any person or persons, to have or keep any quantity of gun-powder exceeding twenty-eight pounds in weight, in any one place . . . except in the public magazine at the fresh-water, . . . he . . . shall forfeit all such gun powder so kept . . . and shall also forfeit the sum of fifty pounds . . .”

Page 191, Laws of the State of New-York, Vol. 2
March 15, 1788 – Chap. LXXXI New York Law
38. Proclaims regulations on how gunpowder may be transported through the city to reduce the risk of explosion.

“III. And to prevent any evil consequences which may arise from the carriage of gun-powder, Be it further enacted . . . That all gun-powder which shall be carried through the streets . . . shall be in tight casks . . . and shall be put into bags or leather cases . . . so that no powder may be spilled or scattered in the passage thereof . . . “

Page 192, Laws of the State of New-York, Vol. 2
March 15, 1788 – Chap. LXXXI New York Law
39. Any person who at any time takes arm against America or abets the enemies of the U.S.or the state should take an oath of Allegiance and submission before a certain day or will be considered an enemy.

“An Ordinance to empower the Governor to issue a Proclamation requiring all Persons who have at any Time, by taking Arms against the Liberty of America, adhering to, comforting or abetting the Enemies thereof, or by Words disrespectful, or tending to prejudice the Independence of the United States of America, or of this State in particular, to come in before a Certain Day therein mentioned, and take an Oath of Allegiance and make Submission, on Pain of being considered as Enemies, and treated accordingly . . .”

Pages 985-1000, Ordinances of Convention, 1776, Provincial Congress, Nov. 22, 1776 – Dec. 23, 1776, Vol. 23
1776 (ORDINANCES OF CONVENTION) North Carolina Law
40. Persons refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the government are prohibited from having “Guns or other Arms within his or their house.”

“An Act to amend an Act for declaring what Crimes and Practices against the State shall be Treason, and what shall be Misprison of Treason, and providing Punishments adequate to Crimes of both Classes, and for preventing the Dangers which may arise from Persona disaffected to the State. . . .
IX. And be it further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That all Persons failing or refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance, and permitted by the County Courts, as immediately aforesaid, to remain in the State, shall be adjudged incapable and disabled in Law to have, occupy or enjoy, any Office, Appointment, Licence, or Election of Trust or Profit, civil or Military . . . and shall not keep Guns or other Arms within his or their house, . . .”

Page 89, The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. XXIV – 1777-1788
1777 – Chap. VI North Carolina Law
41. John Easton to take and keep in his possession, until directed, all public guns and ammunitions that are with soldiers at Ocracock.

“On motion resolved that Mr. John Easton of Carteret County do take and keep in his possession until directed all guns, ammunitions and other arms belonging to the public now in the hands or possession of the Officers and Soldiers of the Independent Companies lately stationed at Ocracock and Beaufort Inlets . . .”

Page 177, The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. XII – 1777-78
Dec. 6, 1777 North Carolina Law
42. The Commissary of Stores shall remove the supply of public gun powder to some convenient house in Halifax.

“ . . . the Resolve of your House empowering the Commissary of Stores to remove the public powder to some convenient House in the Town of Halifax . . .”

Page 548, The State Records of North Carolina, Vol. XIII – 1778-79
1779 North Carolina Law
43. Hunting in the night with a gun and fire light is prohibited except on the hunter’s own plantation.

“An Act to prevent hunting in the night time with gun and fire light, and other purpose therein mentioned. . . .
I. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, . . . that from and after the passing of this Act, if any free person or persons shall be found hunting in the night, except on his own plantations, with gun and firelight, upon conviction of such offence on sufficient testimony, shall be turned over into the Continental service for the term of eighteen months, or during the war; and the person so informing shall be exempt from any kind of military duty or draft for the space of twelve months, . . .”

Page 268, The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. XXIV
1779 – Chap. III North Carolina Law
44. Searchers of slave quarters are to search for “guns and other weapons” at least once per month.

“An Act to amend an Act, entitled, An Additional Act concerning Servants and Slaves, passed at New Bern In the year One Thousand Seven hundred and fifty three, and other purposes therein mentioned. . . .
III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the searchers in their respective districts shall search once in every month for guns and other weapons, as the before recited act directs, and shall make return on oath of all such guns, or other weapons, which they shall so find, to the succeeding county court, to be applied to the use of the county, or returned to the owner, as the court may direct . . .”

Page 276, The State Records of North Carolina, Vol. XXIV
1779 – Chap. VII North Carolina Law
45. If the Justice of the Peace is taken prisoner without his consent, he will be pardoned if he does not bear arms or willingly give provisions or aid to the enemy in any way.

“An Act of Pardon and Oblivion. . . .
V. Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to exclude a justice of the peace from executing the duties of his office, who shall make it appear to the satisfaction of the court of his county, by oath or otherwise, that he was taken prisoner without his consent and privity, and that after his capture he had not voluntarily stayed with the enemy, nor taken an active part in any manner, by furnishing them wilingly with provision, bearing arms, or accepting any appointment in their civil regulations.”

Pages 489-490, The State Records of North Carolina: Laws, 1777-1788
1783 – Chap. VI North Carolina Law
46. Sheriffs are to hold auctions of public property such as ammunition that is no longer useful.

“An Act for appointing Commissioners to take into their possession sundry Articles of Public Property, and to secure the same from embezzlement and further waste. . . .
II. Be it therefore enacted . . . That the sheriffs for the time being of the respective counties in this State, . . . to collect and get into their possession all the cattle, . . . ammunition, . . . and every other article of public property, which may be running at large or in the hands or possession of any other person whatsoever in his said county, other than such property which may be in the hands of the commissioners of confiscated property . . .”

Page 495, The State Records of North Carolina, Vol. XXIV – Laws 1777-1788
1783 – CHAP. XIII North Carolina Law
47. Hunting at night with firelight is prohibited and enforced with a fine of twenty pounds.

“An Act to prevent the several species of hunting therein mentioned. . . .
I. . . . That if any person or persons shall be discovered hunting in the woods with a gun in the nighttime by firelight, such person or persons so offending shall upon conviction by indictment or presentment in any court of record in the State be fined by such court twenty pounds current money, . . .”

Page 595, The State Records of North Carolina, Vol. XXIV
1784 – Chap. XXXIII North Carolina Law
48. Decrees a penalty for unlicensed use of firearms.

An Act for preventing accidents that may happen by fire . . .
“Section IV. Be it therefore enacted . . . That if any person or persons . . . from and after publication herof, shall fire any gun or other firearms, or shall make or cause to be made, or sell . . . rockets or other fireworks . . . without the governor’s special license . . . such person or persons so offending, and being thereof convicted . . . for every such offense . . . forfeit and pay the sum of five shillings . . .”

Page 252-254, The Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania from 1682 to 1801, Volume 3
Aug. 26, 1721 – Chap. CCXLV Pennsylvania Law
49. No person can fire a gun on December 31-January 2 without paying the penalty of ten shillings.

“An Act to suppress the disorderly practice of firing guns, etc. on the times therein mentioned.
Be it enacted . . . any person . . . on any 31st day of December, or first or second day of January . . . without any reasonable occasion to discharge and fire off any hand-gun, pistol or other fire-arms . . . every person so offending, and being thereof convicted . . . the sum of ten shillings . . .”

Page 118-119, General Laws of Pennsylvania 1700-1852
Dec. 24, 1774 Pennsylvania Law
50. Orders those who had not joined a militia to turn over their arms.

An Ordinance respecting the arms of non-associates. . . .
“[Section I.] Be it therefore ordained by the authority of this Convention, That the colonel or next officer in command of every battalion of militia In this state is hereby authorized, empowered and required to collect, receive and take all the arms in his district or township nearest to such officer which are in the hands of non-associators in the most expeditious and effectual manner In his power, and shall give to the owners receipts for such arms, specifying the amount of the appraisement . . .”

Pages 11-12, The Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania from 1682-1801, Vol. 9
July 19, 1776 – Chap. DCCXXIX Pennsylvania Law
51. Arms seized are to be used by the militia and will be returned to the owners at a later time.

“[Section III.] And it is further ordained, That the colonels aforesaid shall arm the associators with the said arms and keep an account to whom they are delivered and return the same to the council of safety; and every associator shall be answerable for such arms or the value unless lost or destroyed by some unavoidable accident or in actual service.”
Pages 11-12, The Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania from 1682-1801, Vol. 9

July 19, 1776 – Chap. DCCXXIX Pennsylvania Law
52. Those who don’t take the oath mentioned in the statute are to be disarmed.

An act obliging the male white inhabitants of this state to give assurances of allegiance to the same . . .
“Section III . . . And it be further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every person above the age aforesaid refusing or neglecting to take the aforesaid oath or affirmation shall during the time of such neglect or refusal be incapable of holding any office of place of trust in this state, serving on juries, suing for any debts, electing or being elected, buying, selling or transferring any lands . . . and shall be disarmed.”

Page 110-112, The Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania from 1682 to 1801, Volume 9
1777 – Chap. DCCLVI Pennsylvania Law
53. It is not permitted to keep more than twenty-five pounds of gunpowder.

An Act for Erecting the Town of Reading . . .
“Sect. XLIII . . . That no person . . . within the limits of said borough, shall, from and after the publication of this act, keep in any house, shop cellar, store, or other place . . . any more or greater quantity than twenty-five pounds weight of gunpowder . . . under the penalty of ten pounds . . .”

Page 418-435, Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: From the Fourteenth Day …, Volume 2
1783 – Chapter MXX Pennsylvania Law
54. Prohibits hunting or shooting (among other diversions) on the Sabbath.

An Act for the prevention of vice and immorality, and of unlawful gaming, and to restrain disorderly sports and dissipation. . . . “Sect. I. Be it enacted . . . That from and after the first day of August next, if any person shall do or perform any worldly employment or business whatsoever on the Lord’s day, commonly called Sunday, works of necessity and charity only excepted, or shall use or practice any unlawful game, hunting, shooting, sport or, diversion whatsoever on the same day . . .every such person so offending . . . forfeit and pay the sum of thirty shillings . . .”

Pages 313-314, The Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania from 1682-1801 …, Volume 12
1786 – Chap. MCCXLVIII Pennsylvania Law
55. Prohibits prison inmates from possessing weapons or arms while incarcerated.

An Act amending the penal laws of the state.
“(Section XII. P. L.) And to the end that the opulence of the offender or of his friends or the indiscreet bounties of individuals may not disarm the public justice or alleviate those sufferings which making part of the punishments intended by the law should be incurred equally by all, and also to render escapes more difficult, their keeper shall take particular care that no such malefactor use or receive any clothing other than what shall be provided by the public as is before directed, nor receive, nor have in their own keeping any weapon, [arms], money or other property, . . .”

Pages 280-290, The Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania from 1682-1801, Vol. 12
Sept. 15, 1786 – Chap. MCCXLI Pennsylvania Law
56. Revises existing gunpowder storage law . . .  although the limit of thirty pounds in any building remains unchanged.

An Act for securing the city of Philadelphia and the neighbourhood thereof from damage by gunpowder. . . .
“II. That from and after the passing of this act no person shall keep in any house, store, shop, cellar, or other place, within the city of Philadelphia, nor the country adjacent within two miles of the said city, (except in the public magazine, in the square to the south of Vine-street, between Sixth and Seventh streets of the said city,) any greater quantity of gunpowder, at one time, than thirty pounds weight thereof, under the penalty of forfeiture of the whole quantity . . .”

Pages 53-59, Ordinances of the Corporation of the City of Philadelphia
March 28, 1787 – Number XVI Pennsylvania Law
57. Existing quantities exceeding thirty pounds of gun powder already present must be immediately moved to the powder house.

“V. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all gunpowder by land into the said city, or the adjacent country, within two miles of the said city, if above thirty pounds weight at one time, shall be immediately carried to the said magazine, and delivered to the superintendent thereof, or his deputy, within the hours hereinafter prescribed for his attendance at the said magazine, under the same penalties as if brought by water, and not delivered, as in such case is herein directed at the said magazine.

Pages 53-59, Ordinances of the Corporation of the City of Philadelphia
March 28, 1787 – Number XVI Pennsylvania Law
58. Quantities exceeding thirty pounds of gun powder moved through, in, or near the city are to be transported so as to reduce risk of powder spilling.

“VI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no person shall convey in any dray, cart, wagon or other carriage, any greater quantity of gunpowder than thirty pounds weight, In or through the said city, or the adjacent country within two miles of the said city, without securing it in a good bag or bags, or putting a sheet or canvas under and around the said powder, sufficient to prevent the same from scattering from the said carriage, under penalty of forfeiture of the said gunpowder, and, for every such offence the sum of twenty pounds, to be paid by every person so offending.”

Pages 53-59, Ordinances of the Corporation of the City of Philadelphia
March 28, 1787 – Number XVI Pennsylvania Law
59. Lieutenants will collect all public arms, have them repaired, and return them to council, with the accounts and vouchers for payment.

“ . . . proceedings of the Supreme Executive Council, on subjects referring to Washington County . . . Resolved, That the Lieutenants of the city and the several counties within the State, be directed to collect all the public arms within their respective counties, have them repaired, and make return to council, with the accounts and vouchers necessary for payment.”

History of Washington County: from its first settlement to the present time, Alfred Creigh, 1810, “History of Washington County,” page 74
Dec. 4, 1787 Pennsylvania Law
60. “Negros and slaves” cannot carry fire arms unless carrying a ticket or license or in the presence of a white person.

“An Act for the better ordering and governing of negroes and slaves . . .
XXIII. . . . be it further enacted . . . that it shall not be lawful for any slave, unless in the presence of some white person, to carry or make use of fire arms . . . unless such negro or slave shall have a ticket or license . . .”

Pages 397-417, Statutes at Large of South Carolina, Vol. Seventh
May 10, 1740 – No. 670 South Carolina Law
61. Residents of Charleston are required to store large quantities of gunpowder in public magazines.

April 7, 1770 – No. 997
“An Act for building a Powder Magazine at Hobcaw Point, and another on Charleston Neck, and for other purposes therein mentioned. . . .V. That persons living in Charlestown shall store their gunpowder, except the quantity which by law they are allowed to keep in their houses, in one or other of the said magazines hereby directed to be built . . .
VI. . . . that whenever there shall be ten thousand pounds weight of public powder in the said magazines, the powder receiver for the time being shall receive from vessels money in lieu of powder . . .”

Pages 319-320, Statutes at Large of South Carolina, Vol. Fourth
April 7, 1770 – No. 997 South Carolina Law
62. Nighttime fire-hunting is prohibited.

“An ordinance for the preservation of Deer; to prevent the mischiefs arising from Fire Hunting and Setting Fire to the Woods. . . .
I. . . .That any person or persons who shall hereafter hunt with fire in the night time, for every such offence shall forfeit and pay a sum not exceeding two pounds . . .

Pages 124-126, Statutes at Large of South Carolina, Vol. Fifth
March 13, 1789 – No. 1463 South Carolina Law
63. Hunting is prohibited between Mar. 1 and Sep. 1.

“IV. . . . That any person or persons convicted of killing does at any time between the first day of March and the first day of September, shall be liable for fines . . .”

Pages 124-126, Statutes at Large of South Carolina, Vol. Fifth
March 13, 1789 – No. 1463 South Carolina Law
64. Presents stipulations for when and where people can hunt.

“XXXVII. The inhabitants of this State shall have liberty, in seasonable times, to hunt and fowl on the lands they hold, and on other lands not enclosed; and in like manner to fish in all boatable and other waters, not private property, under proper regulations, to be hereafter made and provided by the general assembly.”

Constitution, Declaration of Rights, The Oath or Affirmation of Office
July 4, 1786 – The Oath or Affirmation of Office–XXXVII Vermont Law
65. No slave can carry arms of any kind unless he has written orders from his master.

“An act concerning slaves. . . .
IV. No slave shall keep any arms whatever, nor pass unless with written orders from his master or employer, or in his company with arms, from one place to another.”

Page 182, Statutes … Laws of Virginia, Vol. XII
1779 – Chap. LXXVII (reinforced in 1787) Virginia Law