Historical Facts on
the Right to Bear Arms

  • "In 872, under the laws of Alfred the Great, all English citizens were required to purchase their own weapons and be available for military duty.
  • In 1181, 'the whole community of freemen' between the ages of 15 and 40 were required by law to possess arms.
  • In 1253, that duty was extended to include the serfs and raised the age requirement to 60 years of age.
  • In 1285, Edward I commanded that all persons comply with the earlier laws and also added that 'anyone else who can afford them shall keep bows and arrows.'
  • In 1369, the King ordered that the sheriffs of London require all citizens at leisure time on holidays to use on their recreation bows and arrows and to stop all other games which might distract them from this practice.
  • In the colonies, availability of hunting and need for defense led to armament statutes comparable to those of the early Saxon times.
  • In 1623, Virginia forbade its colonists to travel unless they were 'well armed';
  • In 1631, it required colonists to engage in target practice on Sunday and to 'bring their pieces to church'.
  • In 1658, it required every householder to have a functioning firearm within his house and,
  • In 1673, its laws provided that a citizen who claimed he was too poor to purchase a firearm would have one purchased for him by the government, which would require him to pay a reasonable price when able to do so. In Massachusetts, the first session of the legislature ordered that not only freemen, but also indentured servants own firearms, and,
  • In 1644 it imposed a stern 6 shilling fine upon any citizen who was not armed."
    W. Cleon Skousen from The Making of America p. 696.
"When in 1837, Georgia totally banned the sale of pistols (excepting the larger pistols 'known and used as horsemen's pistols') and other weapons, the Georgia Supreme Court in Nunn v. State held the statute unconstitutional under the Second Amendment to the federal Constitution. The court held that the Bill of Rights protected natural rights which were fully as capable of infringement by states as by the federal government and that the Second Amendment provided 'the right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not merely such as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in on, in the slightest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying of a well regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free state."
In 1982, Kennesaw, Georgia passed a city gun ordinance that required heads of households to keep at least one firearm in their homes. Crimes against persons which include homicide, rape, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and burglary, plummeted 74 percent the first year, dropped another 45 percent the next year, and has remained notably low ever since, despite a doubling of the population. From 1983 to 1993, armed robberies averaged a mere 1.6 annually, rapes 1.5, and murders (none with firearms) 0.2.
Number of physicians in the U.S. 700,000
Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year 120,000
Accidental deaths per physician 0.171
Number of gun owners in the U.S. 80,000,000
Number of accidental gun deaths per year (all age groups) 1,500
Accidental deaths per gun owner 0.0000188
Therefore, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.



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Updated 8/5/2014