It's almost like the government went from one extreme to another, ya know? I wonder just how popular the first laws were?
The Obligation To Arms
In early America, it was generally the law that all men older than 16 bear arms. In some areas, exceptions were made for certain ethnic groups or people whose loyalty and trustworthiness was in doubt. But for the most part, men were expected to carry a gun everywhere.
In 1619, Virginia enacted a statute that ordered everyone to come to church on the Sabbath with their guns. If they didn’t, they would be fined three shillings. In 1643, Connecticut law stated that everyone was expected to come to church with “a musket, pystoll or some peece, with powder and shott.” The Massachusetts Bay Colony had similar laws in place, designed to help protect the town’s population from the constant threat of attacks.
These laws also applied to town and public meetings. In Rhode Island, anyone who showed up without a gun and ammunition would be fined five shillings. Most of the earliest laws specified that each weapon needed to have at least one charge, but by 1657, a Plymouth law raised that to six charges.
In the 1630s, there were also laws requiring people who traveled through particular areas to be armed. Rhode Island law stated that anyone traveling more than 3 kilometers (2 mi) out of town had to carry a gun or pay a five-shilling fine. No one was allowed to travel the road between Plymouth and the Massachusetts Bay Colony alone or unarmed. Maryland’s vaguely worded law stated that no one was allowed “any considerable distance from home” without a weapon prepped to fire at least once.
I can't help but wonder if folks would have armed themselves without being forced into it by the PTB. Guess that's a question we'll never have the answer to.
Cofee in the kitchen this morning. Just a tad chilly outside today.