Second Amendment: In The Case Of The NYRPA Versus Bruen

HERSCHEL SMITH, The case is before the Supreme Court now.  Also, the document linked below was written to the Second Circuit.  However, having stumbled upon this, it would be wise to convey what an interesting document it is.  It’s full of historical information you might not have otherwise seen.

“The Second Amendment places the right to bear arms on equal footing with the right to keep arms. As dictionaries from the founding era attest, to “bear arms” includes public carriage for lawful purposes. Americans were the first Englishmen to have a written guarantee of arms rights. From the earliest colonial days, they carried arms to church, court, public assemblies, travel, work in the field, and most everywhere else they pleased—starting in childhood. After the 1689 English Bill of Rights, peaceable carry was constitutionally protected in England and America. Still, Americans saw the English right as subject to abuse, so they deliberately constitutionalized a broader right. Nineteenth-century sources and case law, including those relied on by this Court for original understanding, support the right of ordinary citizens to carry for self-defense beyond the home.”

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“1. John Adams John Adams, as a 9-or-10-year-old schoolboy, carried a gun daily so that he could go hunting after class. 3 DIARY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN ADAMS 257-59 (1961). 2. Patrick Henry Patrick Henry would “walk to court, his musket slung over his shoulder to pick off small game.” Harlow Giles Unger, LION OF LIBERTY: PATRICK HENRY AND THE CALL TO A NEW NATION 30 (2010). 3. Daniel Boone “When Daniel was almost thirteen he was given his first firearm, a ‘short rifle gun, with which he roamed the nearby Flying Hills, the Oley Hills, and the Neversink Mountains.’ ” Robert Morgan, BOONE 14 (2007). 4. Meriwether Lewis Meriwether Lewis’s neighbor Thomas Jefferson observed that young Lewis “when only eight years of age . . . habitually went out, in the dead of night, alone with his dogs, into the forest to hunt the raccoon & opossum.” 8 WRITINGS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON, at 482.  5. Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson himself carried as a lad. “When he was ten he was given a gun by his father and sent into the forest alone in order to develop self-reliance.” 1 Dumas Malone, JEFFERSON AND HIS TIME: JEFFERSON THE VIRGINIAN 46 (1948). As an adult, Jefferson wrote about a holster he made for one of his Turkish pistols, “having used it daily while I had a horse who would stand fire,” and he noted another holster he made “to hang them [the Turkish pistols] at the side of my carriage for road use.” 10 THE PAPERS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON, RETIREMENT SERIES 320-21 (2004). Jefferson advised his fifteen-yearold nephew to “[l]et your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.” 8 THE PAPERS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON 407 (2004). 6. James Monroe Every day, “[w]ell before dawn, James left for school, carrying his books under one arm with his powder horn under the other and his musket slung across his back.” Tim McGrath, JAMES MONROE: A LIFE 9 (2020). 7. Ira and Ethan Allen Ira and Ethan Allen regularly carried multiple arms at once. For example, in 1772 Ira, Ethan, and a cousin went to purchase land near New York’s border “armed with holsters and pistols, a good case [pair] of pistols each in our pockets, with each a good hanger [sword].” 1 James Wilbur, IRA ALLEN: FOUNDER OF VERMONT, 1751-1814, at 39 (1928). The next year, during land disputes between the Allen trio and the Royal Governor of New York, Ira wrote that the three men “never walked out without at least a case of pistols.” Id. at 44. 8. Joseph Warren Joseph Warren was targeted by the British as tensions rose in April 1775. After spotting the British watch, one of Warren’s friends “advised Warren not to visit his patients that evening. But Warren, putting his pistols in his pocket, replied, ‘I have a visit to make to Mrs. ___, in Cornhill, this evening, and I will go at once.’ ” Richard Frothingham, LIFE AND TIMES OF JOSEPH WARREN 452 (1865). 9. William Drayton When traveling throughout South Carolina in 1775 to promote the Patriot cause, “Drayton always had about his person, a dirk and a pair of pocket pistols; for the defence of his life.” 3 AMERICAN ARCHIVES, 4th ser., at 258 (Peter Force ed., 1840). 10. General Population Recalling the Boston Massacre, British Captain Thomas Preston—commander of the Redcoats stationed in Boston—noted the admonition of a trial judge prior to the incident: “that the inhabitants carried weapons concealed under their clothes, and would destroy them [Redcoats] in a moment, if they pleased.” THE ANNUAL REGISTER, OR A VIEW OF THE HISTORY, POLITICS, AND LITERATURE, FOR THE YEAR 1766, at 215 (4th ed. 1785). On the annual commemoration of the Massacre in 1772, Bostonians attended Dr. Joseph Warren’s stirring oration. Expecting the speech to upset the Redcoats in attendance, “almost every man [in the audience] had a short stick, or bludgeon, in his hand; and . . . many of them were privately armed.” Frederick MacKenzie, A BRITISH FUSILIER IN REVOLUTIONARY BOSTON 37 (Allen French ed., 1926). Writings from early American history mention people carrying firearms as part of everyday life. See, e.g., 1 Isaac Weld, TRAVELS THROUGH THE STATES OF NORTH AMERICA 233-34 (2d ed. 1799) (1796, on the roads from Kentucky/Tennessee to and from Philadelphia/ Baltimore, “the people all travel on horseback, with pistols and swords.”); 8 THE WORKS OF WASHINGTON IRVING 83 (1866) (In 1808 St. Louis, “[n]ow and then a stark Kentucky hunter . . . with rifle on shoulder and knife in belt, strode along.”). “