For the Defense of Themselves and the State: The Original Intent and Judicial Interpretation of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

By Clayton E. Cramer | Go to book overview

VII. "CARRYING CONCEALED WEAPONS IS A GRIEVOUS EVIL"

After the close of the Reconstruction era, and until the end of World War I, decisions about the meaning of the right to bear arms began to fall into a more consistent pattern, perhaps because there were now a great many precedents from which to choose, once the justices had decided whether to uphold or overturn a state law. Signs of a certain ambiguity as to whether such laws should apply to everyone, or just to certain classes of people, were still apparent.

Our first West Virginia decision, is another example of the sort of weapons law passed by Texas in 1871, with enough loopholes to allow judges and juries to almost arbitrarily convict or free those accused of violating the law. In State v. Workman ( 1891), Erastus Workman was convicted of violating West Virginia's weapons law, which prohibited carrying "any revolver or other pistol, dirk, bowieknife, razor, slung-shot, billy, metallic or other false brass knuckles, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon of like kind or character," but with the interesting exception that,

if upon the trial. . . the defendant shall prove to the satisfaction of the jury that he is a quiet and peaceable citizen, of good character and standing in the community in which he lives, and at the time he was found with such pistol, dirk, razor, or bowie-knife. . . he had good cause to believe, and did believe, that he was, in danger of death or great bodily harm at the hands of another person, and that he was, in good faith, carrying such weapon for self-defense and for no other purpose, the jury shall find him not guilty.1

The jury was thus given a way to find "the right sort" of person innocent if the defendant successfully proved his good character and motives. In Workman's case, he successfully demonstrated that his life was being threatened by calling a number of witnesses--including the wife of the man threatening his life--but evidently neglected to provide evidence to the jury that he was a "quiet and peaceable citizen, of good character and standing in the community."

Workman appealed on the basis that the requirement to prove oneself of good character was a violation of the "privileges and immunities" clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, since he was, in essence, required to prove himself of good character, or be convicted,2 and also that the law in question violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The West Virginia Supreme Court held that:

____________________
1
State v. Workman, 35 W.Va. 367 ( 1891).
2
State v. Workman, 35 W.Va. 367, 369, 370 ( 1891).

-141-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
For the Defense of Themselves and the State: The Original Intent and Judicial Interpretation of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgment xvii
  • I. Definitions 1
  • II. European Origins 19
  • III. The Legislative History of the Second Amendment 31
  • IV. Problems of Judicial Interpretation 63
  • V. "To Keep and Carry Arms Wherever They Went" 69
  • VI. "No Negro. . . Shall Be Allowed to Carry Fire-Arms" 97
  • VII. "Carrying Concealed Weapons is a Grievous Evil" 141
  • VIII. "A Proper Reason for Carrying a Pistol" 165
  • IX. Civil Rights, Civil Disturbances 197
  • X. The Right Comes Out of Its Coma? 221
  • XI. At the Crossroads 269
  • Selected Bibliography 275
  • Index 281
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 286

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.