19 December 2012

1871 Gun Laws in Texas

In several Texas counties I have run across county court minutes and commissioner's court minutes where a man was being fined for carrying a gun in the 1870s. This surprised me as Texas has a reputation, even today, as a place where gun rights are supreme.

Even in 1871, when some Texas counties were still experiencing "incursions of hostile Indians," Texans passed a law prohibiting the carrying of firearms, as well as "dirk, dagger, slung shot [sic], sword cane, spear, brass-knuckles, bowie-knife, or any other kind of knife manufactured and sold for the purposes of offense and defense," in certain locations, including schools and churches. I suspect many of the men in the legislature at that time still needed a firearm to put food on the table, not just for target practice or to shoot snakes while they were jogging.

Here's the 1871 law:
An Act to regulate the keeping and bearing of deadly weapons.

Sec. 3. If any person shall go into any church or religious assembly, any school room, or other place where persons are assembled for amusement or for educational or scientific purposes, or into any circus, show, or public exhibition of any kind, or into a ball room, social party, or social gathering, or to any election precinct on the day or days of any election, where any portion of the people of this State are collected to vote at any election, or to any other place where people may be assembled to muster, or to perform any other public duty, (except as may be required or permitted by law,) or to any other public assembly, and shall have or carry about his person a pistol or other firearm, dirk, dagger, slung shot, sword cane, spear, brass-knuckles, bowie-knife, or any other kind of knife manufactured and sold for the purposes of offense and defense, unless an officer of the peace, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall, for the first offense, be punished by fine of not less than fifty, nor more than five hundred dollars, and shall forfeit to the county the weapon or weapons so found on his person; and for every subsequent offense may, in addition to such fine and forfeiture, be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not more than ninety days.

Sec. 4. This act shall not apply to, nor be enforced in any county of the State, which may be designated, in a proclamation of the Governor, as a frontier county. and liable to incursions of hostile Indians.1
This blog has comments moderated to prevent spammers and wackos from using it as a platform. This post is not designed to generate a gun safety discussion here. But, in light of recent events in Connecticut, understanding our history may help us come to more reasonable conclusions on how things should be done today. Think about it.

Remembering those who lost their lives, those who lost loved ones, and those who responded to the horrific crime in Newtown.

1. H. P. N. Gammel, comp., The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, 10 vols. (Austin: Gammel Book Co., 1898), 6:25-26, "An Act to regulate the keeping and bearing of deadly weapons," approved 12 April 1871, "General Laws of Texas, 1871; digital images, University of North Texas, The Portal to Texas History (http://texinfo.library.unt.edu/lawsoftexas/ : accessed 14 September 2005).

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "1871 Gun Laws in Texas," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 19 December 2012 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2012, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. History is full of surprises! Thank you for this one, Debbie!