65 restrictions on arms in place on Dec. 15, 1791

I. Overview

II. Summary of Letter Codes

III. Pie Chart of the Letter Codes

IV. 65 Laws Restricting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Force at Dec. 15, 1791

V. 143 Arms Laws and 280 Letter Codes

VI. Summaries of the 143 Militia & Arms Laws and their 84 additional Sections of those laws

 

I. Overview

This overview shows the 65 restrictions on arms, with other related information, contained in 143 State militia and arms laws, and in 84 additional Sections of those laws (in 12 of the 14 states), in force at Dec. 15, 1791. In addition to the restrictions on arms, other related information is shown in several different formats.

The restrictions, and related information, are categorized by six Letter Codes from each of the 143 arms laws and the additional 84 Sections of those laws, and the U.S. Constitution.

Those Letter Codes are defined as follows:

M+A = militia/ military + arms; = militia/ military, no arms; = restrictions on the right to keep and use arms; = hunting; S = slaves; = individual right unconnected with militia/military.

Also please note that a law or section of a law may have multiple Letter Codes.

II. Summary of Letter Codes

This summary shows that of the 275 Letter Codes (275 from the States not counting 2 from the U.S. Constitution) found in the 143 State arms laws, and 84 Sections of those laws, there were 65 laws restricting the right to keep and bear arms. Those 65 restrictions are bolded in column “R” in the chart below.

The chart shows there were 65 legal restrictions on arms on Dec 15, 1791, in 12 of our 14 states, and two laws (the state Declarations of Rights of Vermont and Pennsylvania) giving individual rights to arms, unconnected with the militia or military.

This chart also shows that state restrictions on the individual use of arms were numerous and spread geographically throughout our new country when the Second Amendment was ratified.

Source [1] M+A M R H S I Totals
Militia / military + arms Militia / military restrictions on arms hunting slaves individual right unconnected with militia/military
1. Connecticut 10 5 1 0 0 0 16
2. Delaware 4 1 5 2 1 0 13
3. Georgia 12 3 8 5 6 0 34
4. Maryland 1 1 8 7 4 0 21
5. Massachusetts 10 5 4 0 0 0 19
6. New Hampshire 10 8 0 0 0 0 18
7. New Jersey 22 21 4 0 0 0 47
8. New York 6 2 8 1 0 0 17
9. North Carolina 13 4 9 2 1 0 29
10. Pennsylvania 5 0 12 1 0 1 19
11. Rhode Island 5 1 0 0 0 0 6
12. South Carolina 10 0 4 2 2 0 18
13. Vermont [2] 4 1 1 1 0 1 8
14. Virginia 8 0 1 0 1 0 10
State Subtotal 120 52 65 21 15 2 275
15. U.S. Constitution 0 2 0 0 0 0 2
Total count 120 54 65 21 15 2 277
Percentage

( #/total -)

43.32% 19.49% 23.47% 7.58% 5.42% .72% 100%

[1] U.S. and state Constitutions, Declarations of Rights, Bills of Rights, state and local laws.

[2] Vermont was not one of the original 13 colonies.

 

III. Pie Chart of the Letter Codes

 

IV. 65 Laws Restricting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Force at Dec. 15, 1791

The following 65 state law summaries, alphabetical by state, were extracted from all the state laws in Section V below.

A.

Infringement

B.

Date

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

C.

State

D.

Legal Form – Law or Con (Constitution, bills of rights, declarations of rights)

1.  

Regulates private use of firearms.

 

1786 Connecticut Law
2.  

No person should come armed to any election.

 

1776 Delaware Con
3.  

Prohibits any slave from being armed without a license from his master.

 

1700 – Chap. XLIII a. Sect. 6 Delaware Law
4.  

Establishes deer hunting season.

 

1700 – Chap. LXXIV a. Section 1 Delaware Law
5.  

Prohibits dueling.

 

1700 – Chap. XCIII a. Section 1 Delaware Law
6.  

Prohibits shooting matches when vending alcohol.

 

June 24, 1786 – Chap. CXL b. Section 2 Delaware Law
7.  

Shooting and hunting prohibited on the Sabbath.

 

March 4, 1762 – No. 88 Georgia Law
8.  

Slave patrols authorized to search “all negro houses” for “offensive weapons and ammunition.”

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Feb. 25, 1784 – No. 286 Georgia Law
15.  

Prohibits hunting deer with a gun at night by fire light.

 

Dec. 10, 1790 – No. 445 Georgia Law
16.  

Prohibits traders from selling “Arms or Ammunition to any Indians.”

 

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.

 

June 3, 1715 – Chap. XLIV Maryland Law
18.  

Prohibits shooting of stray horses except within one’s own fenced property.

 

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.

 

1715 – Chap. XLIV Maryland Law
20.  

Prohibits hunting with guns or dogs on enclosed properties without permission of the owner.

 

Oct. 24, 1728 – Chap. VII Maryland Law
21.  

Authorizes temporarily taking away firearms “except pistols” of “nonjurors.”

 

1781 – Chap. X Maryland Law
22.  

Decrees that deer hunting season is Sep. 15 through Dec. 15.

 

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.

 

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.

 

March 1, 1783 – Chapter XXIV Massachusetts Law
25.  

Loaded arms in houses and other dwellings are to be seized.

 

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.

 

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 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.

 

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.

 

Dec. 21, 1782 – Chap. XIV New Jersey Law
30.  

Weapons of war are not allowed at elections.

 

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.

 

1777 New York Con
32.  

Prohibits transfer of governmentally owned arms to private parties.

 

March 1783 – Chap. XLIII New York Law
33.  

Prohibits the shooting of guns on New Year’s Day to Jan. 2.

 

April 1785 – Chap. LXXXI New York Law
34.  

Prohibits the firing of arms in the city of New York to prevent fires.

 

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).

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.”

 

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.

 

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.

 

1779 North Carolina Law
43.  

Hunting in the night with a gun and fire light is prohibited except on the hunter’s own plantation.

 

1779 – Chap. III North Carolina Law
44.  

Searchers of slave quarters are to search for “guns and other weapons” at least once per month.

 

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.

 

1783 – Chap. VI North Carolina Law
46.  

Sheriffs are to hold auctions of public property such as ammunition that is no longer useful.

 

1783 – CHAP. XIII North Carolina Law
47.  

Hunting at night with firelight is prohibited and enforced with a fine of twenty pounds.

 

1784 – Chap. XXXIII North Carolina Law
48.  

Decrees a penalty for unlicensed use of firearms.

 

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.

 

Dec. 24, 1774 Pennsylvania Law
50.  

Orders those who had not joined a militia to turn over their arms.

 

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.

 

July 19, 1776 – Chap. DCCXXIX Pennsylvania Law
52.  

Those who don’t take the oath mentioned in the statute are to be disarmed.

 

1777 – Chap. DCCLVI Pennsylvania Law
53.  

It is not permitted to keep more than twenty-five pounds of gunpowder.

 

1783 – Chapter MXX Pennsylvania Law
54.  

Prohibits hunting or shooting (among other diversions) on the Sabbath.

 

1786 – Chap. MCCXLVIII Pennsylvania Law
55.  

Prohibits prison inmates from possessing weapons or arms while incarcerated.

 

Sept. 15, 1786 – Chap. MCCXLI Pennsylvania Law
56.  

Revises existing gunpowder storage law . . .  although the limit of thirty pounds in any building remains unchanged.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 South Carolina Law
62.  

Nighttime fire-hunting is prohibited.

 

March 13, 1789 – No. 1463 South Carolina Law
63. Hunting is prohibited between Mar. 1 and Sep. 1.

 

March 13, 1789 – No. 1463 South Carolina Law
64.  

Presents stipulations for when and where people can hunt.

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.

 

1779 – Chap. LXXVII (reinforced in 1787) Virginia Law

 

V. 143 Arms Laws and 280 Letter Codes

 

 

VI. Summaries of the 143 Militia & Arms Laws and their 84 additional Sections of those laws