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Gun Control Is as Old as the Wild Old West

kathydixon

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Gun Control Is as Old as the Wild Old West

Gun control is nothing new.
Way back in the day of the cowboy’s gun control was tougher than it is today

The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms and was adopted on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights.

In the 2008 Heller decision, the Supreme Court affirmed for the first time that the right belongs to individuals, exclusively for self-defense in the home, while also including, as dicta, that the right is not unlimited and does not preclude the existence of certain long-standing prohibitions such as those forbidding "the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill" or restrictions on "the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. State and local governments are limited to the same extent as the federal government from infringing this right.

Gun Control Is as Old as the Wild Old West

Contrary to the popular imagination, bearing arms on the frontier was a heavily regulated business
image:


The “Old West” conjures up all sorts of imagery, but broadly, the term is used to evoke life among the crusty prospectors, threadbare gold panners, madams of brothels, and six-shooter-packing cowboys in small frontier towns – such as Tombstone, Deadwood, Dodge City, or Abilene, to name a few. One other thing these cities had in common: strict gun control laws.

Laws regulating ownership and carry of firearms, apart from the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment, were passed at a local level rather than by Congress. “Gun control laws were adopted pretty quickly in these places,” says Winkler. “Most were adopted by municipal governments exercising self-control and self-determination.”

Carrying any kind of weapon, guns, or knives, was not allowed other than outside town borders and inside the home. When visitors left their weapons with a law officer upon entering town, they'd receive a token, like a coat check, which they'd exchange for their guns when leaving town.


The practice was started in Southern states, which were among the first to enact laws against concealed carry of guns and knives, in the early 1800s. -- The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, points to an 1840 Alabama court that, in upholding its state ban, ruled it was a state's right to regulate where and how a citizen could carry, and that the state constitution's allowance of personal firearms “is not to bear arms upon all occasions and in all places.”

Contrary to the popular imagination, bearing arms on the frontier was a heavily regulated business


Dodge City in 1878 (Wikimedia Commons)
Looking east on Dodge City’s Front Street, 1878.
1637955482214.png
Dodge City, 1878
The sign warns visitors to check their guns.
1637955509973.png

Buffalo Hide Yard in Dodge City, Kansas 1878
1637955532792.png

Dodge City Kansas 1874, courtesy Ford County Historical Society


1637955586308.png
Kansas State Historical Society
The Long Branch Saloon

It's October 26, 1881, in Tombstone, and Arizona upon entering town to disarm, either at a hotel or a lawman's office. (Residents of many famed cattle towns, such as Dodge City, Abilene, and Deadwood, had similar restrictions.)
image: https://public-media.si-cdn.com/fil...d-4fac-8fc0-7ff859b10f21/mclauriesclanton.jpg

"Tombstone had much more restrictive laws on carrying guns in public in the 1880s than it has today,” S

Dodge City, Kansas, formed a municipal government in 1878. According to Stephen Aron, a professor of history at UCLA, the first law passed was one prohibiting the carry of guns in town, ,..,, Cultivating a reputation of peace and stability was necessary, even in boisterous towns, if it were to become anything more transient than a one-industry boom town.

Laws regulating ownership and carry of firearms, apart from the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment, were passed at a local level rather than by Congress. “Gun control laws were adopted pretty quickly in these places,” says Winkler. “Most were adopted by municipal governments exercising self-control and self-determination.” Carrying any kind of weapon, guns or knives, was not allowed other than outside town borders and inside the home. When visitors left their weapons with a law officer upon entering town, they'd receive a token, like a coat check, which they'd exchange for their guns when leaving town.

Louisiana, too, upheld an early ban on concealed carry firearms
. When a Kentucky court reversed its ban, the state constitution was amended to specify the Kentucky general assembly was within its rights to, in the future, regulate or prohibit concealed carry.

Still, Winkler says, it was an affirmation that regulation was compatible with the Second Amendment. The federal government of the 1800s largely stayed out of gun-law court battles.

“People were allowed to own guns, and everyone did own guns [in the West], for the most part,” says Winkler.

“Having a firearm to protect yourself in the lawless wilderness from wild animals, hostile native tribes, and outlaws was a wise idea. But when you came into town, you had to either check your guns if you were a visitor or keep your guns at home if you were a resident.”
Gun Control Is as Old as the Old West

Did the Wild West Have More Gun Control Than We Do Today?

The answer is YES. When you entered a frontier town, you were legally required to leave your guns at the stables on the outskirts of town or drop them off with the sheriff
,
While people were allowed to have guns at home for self-protection, frontier towns usually barred anyone but law enforcement from carrying guns in public.

When Dodge City residents organized their municipal government, do you know what the very first law they passed was? A gun control law. They declared that “any person or persons found carrying concealed weapons in the city of Dodge or violating the laws of the State shall be dealt with according to law.” Many frontier towns, including Tombstone, Arizona—the site of the infamous “Shootout at the OK Corral”—also barred the carrying of guns openly.

Like any law regulating things But statistics show that, next to drunk and disorderly conduct, the most common cause of arrest was illegally carrying a firearm. Sheriffs and marshals took gun control seriously.
Did the Wild West Have More Gun Control Than We Do Today?

It also takes a swing at a popular reading of the Second Amendment, stating the weapons are "not reasonably necessary to protect an individual's right of self-defense" or to preserve a well-regulated militia.
Illinois town bans assault weapons, will fine those who keep them

Chicago suburb bans assault weapons in response to Parkland shooting

With the future of federal gun control legislation uncertain, an affluent Chicago suburb this week took the aggressive step of banning assault weapons within its borders,

Officials in Deerfield, Ill., unanimously approved the ordinance, which prohibits the possession, manufacture or sale of a range of firearms, as well as large-capacity magazines. Residents of the 19,000-person village have until June 13 to remove the guns from village limits or face up to $1,000 per day in fines.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...hooting/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.95db16134355

Seattle will require gun owners to lock up their firearms, after the City Council voted unanimously

The legislation allows fines up to $500 when a gun isn’t locked up,
up to $1,000 when a prohibited person accesses a firearm
and up to $10,000 when a prohibited person uses the weapon to hurt someone or commit a crime.

Gun owners face fines up to $10,000 for not locking up their guns under new Seattle law

What has changed from then to now?? -
 

WIP

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Carrying any kind of weapon, guns, or knives, was not allowed other than outside town borders and inside the home. When visitors left their weapons with a law officer upon entering town, they'd receive a token, like a coat check, which they'd exchange for their guns when leaving town.
Actually, this is quite common today and has been for decades. I know here in MN its been this way for as long as I can remember. Any time I purchased a rifle or shotgun I had to be sure it was either cased or disassembled and in its original box when I left the retail store.

Most cities here that I am aware of have ordinances prohibiting carrying and discharging of weapons within city limits unless they are unloaded and cased. There are exceptions such as persons with license to carry handguns are permitted to carry them loaded and in some cases concealed or not concealed within city limits.

In Kenosha, WI this may not be the case otherwise Mr. Rittenhouse should have been charged with carrying a loaded rifle in city limits.
 
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