Thursday, January 17, 2008

"... then the act itself was an infringement of the constitutional rights of the people to keep and bear arms..."

...This Court, in Nunn vs. The State, 1 Kelly, 243, in passing upon the Acts of 25th December, 1837, "To guard and protect the citizens of this State against the unwarrantable and too prevalent use of deadly weapons." Held,

That, so much of that Act as prohibited the citizen from bearing arms openly, was in conflict with the Constitution and void; that while the Legislature had the right to prescribe the mode of carrying arms, yet, if in doing so, the manner prescribed amounted to a prohibition, then the act itself was an infringement of the constitutional rights of the people to keep and bear arms. That decision has been constantly adhered to from that time to the present, and must continue to stand as the law of this Court on that subject. Yet, if the charge of the Court below is right, that decision is wrong; for it is impossible for one to have and bear about his person a pistol or weapon of any kind, without having some part of the weapon concealed from view. If one holds it in his hand, some part of it is hidden from the view, yet it is not concealed. So, if the barrel be pushed behind a belt or waistband of the pants, the whole pistol can not be seen by a third person; yet, such person, from the parts of the pistol exposed to view, can see at a glance that it is a pistol. To enforce the law, as the Court construed it to the jury, would be to prohibit the bearing of those arms altogether, and to bring the act within the decision in Nunn's case. This, the Legislature did not intend to do....

- Stockdale v. State, 32 Ga. 225 (1860).

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