Wednesday, July 18, 2007

From "John Cockrum v. The State"....

"...The article of the code which provides that a homicide, which would otherwise be a case of manslaughter, if committed with a bowie-knife or dagger, shall be deemed murder and punished as such, is not in violation of the constitutional right of every citizen to bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the state; but is in restraint of an abuse growing out of such right.

"But the legislature could not affix such a punishment to the abuse, as, in its nature, must deter the citizen from its lawful exercise; for that would be tantamount to its prohibition...."

"...It is contended, that article 610 of the penal code, is in violation both of the state and federal constitution, which contain substantially the same provision, securing the citizen from any infringement on the right to keep and bear arms. 1st. It is asserted that any law prohibiting a citizen from keeping or bearing any knife, which is intended to be worn upon the person, which is capable of inflicting death, and not commonly known as a pocket-knife, would be unconstitutional. To prohibit absolutely the keeping and having of an ordinary weapon, is certainly to infringe on the right of keeping and bearing arms..."

"...It has been held, that even a law prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons, is unconstitutional. Bliss v. Commonwealth, 2 Litt. 90. The court there say, that whatever restrains the full and complete exercise of the right, is in violation of the constitution. Such laws have, however, been sustained in other states. See State v. Reid, 1 Ala. 612; State v. Mitchell, 3 Blackf. 229; Nunn v. State, 1 Kelly, 243. The attention of the court is particularly called to the case of Nunn v. State, as bearing more directly on the proposition above asserted. The legislature of Georgia had passed a law, prohibiting the keeping, sale, or carrying of certain kind of knives or pistols. Judge Lumpkin held it to be unconstitutional, in so far as it prohibited the carrying of a pistol (or other weapon) openly. It is held, also, in that case, that the provision in the constitution of the United States, is applicable to state legislation...."

(Read full case here).

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