An Act to regulate the keeping and beariing of deadly weapons.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That any person carrying on or about his person, saddle, or in his saddle bags, any pistol, dirk, dagger, slung-shot, sword-cane, spear, brass-knuckles, bowie-knife, or any other kind of knife manufactured or sold for the purposes of offense or defense, unless he has reasonable grounds for fearing an unlawful attack on his person, and that such ground of attack shall be immediate and pressing; or unless having or carrying the same on or about his person for the lawful defense of the State, as a militiaman in actual service, or as a peace officer or policeman, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof shall, for the first offense, be punished by fine of not less than twenty-five nor more than one hundred dollars, and shall forfeit to the county the weapon or weapons so found on or about 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 exceeding sixty days; and in every case of fine under this section the fines imposed and collected shall go into the treasury of the county in which they may have been imposed; provided, that this section shall not be so construed as to prohibit any person from keeping or bearing arms on his or her own premises, or at his or her own place of business, nor to prohibit sheriffs or other revenue officers, and other civil officers, from keeping or bearing arms while engaged in the discharge of their official duties, nor to prohibit persons traveling in the State from keeping or carrying arms with their baggage; provided, further, that members of the Legislature shall not be included under the term “civil officers” as used in this act.
Sec. 2. Any person charged under the first section of this act, who may offer to prove, by way of defense, that he was in danger of an attack on his person, or unlawful interference with his property, shall be required to show that such danger was immediate and pressing, and was of such a nature as to alarm a person of ordinary courage; and that the weapon so carried was borne openly and not concealed beneath the clothing; and if it shall appear that this danger had its origin in a difficulty first commenced by the accused, it shall not be considered as a legal defense.
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.
Sec. 5. All fines collected under the provisions of this act shall be paid into the treasury of the county, and appropriated exclusively to the keeping in repair and maintenance of public roads, and all weapons forfeited to the county under the provisions of this act shall be sold as may be prescribed by the county court, and the proceeds appropriated to the same purpose.
Sec. 6. It shall be the duty of all sheriffs, constables, marshals, and their deputies, and all policemen, and other peace officers, to arrest any person violating the first or third sections of this act, and to take such person immediately before a justice of the peace of the county where the offense is committed, or before a mayor or recorder of the town or city in which the offense is committed, who shall investigate and try the case without delay. On all such trials the accused shall have the right of a trial by jury, and of appeal to the district court; but, in case of appeal, the accused shall be required to give bond with two or more good and sufficient sureties in a sum of not less than one hundred nor more than two hundred dollars, if convicted under the first section and in a sum of not less than two hundred nor more than one thousand dollars, if convicted under the third section of this act; said bond to be payable to the State of Texas, and approved by the magistrate, and conditioned that the defendant will abide the judgment of the district court that may be rendered in the case; and in case of forfeiture the proceedings thereon shall be as is or may be prescribed by law in similar cases; and all moneys collected on any bond or judgment upon the same, shall be paid over and appropriated as provided in the fifth section of this act.
Sec. 7. Any officer named in the sixth section of this act who shall refuse or fail to arrest any person whom he is required to arrest by said section on his own information, or where knowledge is conveyed to him of any violation of the first or third sections of this act, shall be dismissed from his office on conviction in the district court, on indictment or information, or by such other proceedings or tribunal as may be provided by law, and in addition, shall be fined in any sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, at the discretion of the court or jury.
Sec. 8. That the district courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction under this act, and it is hereby made the duty of the several judges of the district courts of this State to give this act especially in charge to the grand juries of their respective counties.
Sec. 9. It is hereby made the duty of the Governor to publish this act throughout the State; and this act shall take effect and be in force from and after the expiration of sixty days after its passage.
Approved April 12, 1871.
Full Text: 1871, TX, ch. 34, An Act to regulate the keeping and beariing of deadly weapons
H. P. N. Gammel, ed., The Laws of Texas 1822-1897: Austin’s Colonization Law and Contract; Mexican Constitution of 1824; Federal Colonization Law; Colonization Laws of Coahuila and Texas; Colonization Law of State of Tamaulipas; Fredonian Declaration of Independence; Laws and Decrees, With Constitution of Coahuila and Texas; San Felipe Convention; Journals of the Consultation; Proceedings of the General Council; Goliad Declaration of Independence; Journals of the Convention at Washington; Ordinances and Decrees of the Consultation; Declaration of Independence; Constitution of the Republic; Laws, General and Special, of the Republic; Annexation Resolution of the United States; Ratification of the Same by Texas; Constitution of the United States; Constitutions of the State of Texas, With All the Laws, General and Special, Passed Thereunder, Including Ordinances, Decrees, and Resolutions, With the Constitution of the Confederate States and the Reconstruction Acts of Congress, vol. 6 (Austin, TX: The Gammel Book Company, 1898), 25-27. Twelfth Legislature, General Laws, First Session, Chapter 34—An Act to Regulate the Keeping and Beariing of Deadly Weapons, §§ 1-9. Approved April 12, 1871.