Duke Center for Firearms Law
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Repository of Historical Gun Laws

Subject: Firing Weapons

1657, Va. Acts 437, Acts of March 13th 1657-8, Against Shooting On Other Men’s Lands, Act XIII, available at https://archive.org/details/statutesatlargeb01virg

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If any planter or person shall hunt or shoot upon or within the limits or precincts of his neighbor or others’ dividends without leave first obtained for his so doing and having been warned by the owner of the land, to forbear hunting and shootin...

If any planter or person shall hunt or shoot upon or within the limits or precincts of his neighbor or others’ dividends without leave first obtained for his so doing and having been warned by the owner of the land, to forbear hunting and shooting as aforesaid: He or they so offending shall forfeit for every such offense four hundred pounds of tobacco . . .

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1657, Va. Acts 434, Acts of March 13th 1657-8, Act III, The Sabbath to Be Kept Holy, available at https://archive.org/details/statutesatlargeb01virg

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That the Lord’s day be kept holy, and that no journeys be made except in case of emergent necessity on that day, that no goods be laden in boats nor shooting in guns . . . the party delinquent to pay one hundred pounds of tobacco or laid in the s...

That the Lord’s day be kept holy, and that no journeys be made except in case of emergent necessity on that day, that no goods be laden in boats nor shooting in guns . . . the party delinquent to pay one hundred pounds of tobacco or laid in the stocks . . .

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1655 Va. Acts 401, Acts of March 10, 1655, Act XII, available at https://archive.org/details/statutesatlargeb01virg

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What persons or persons soever shall, after publication hereof, shoot any guns at drinking (marriages and funerals only excepted) that such person or persons so offending shall forfeit 100 lb. of tobacco to be levied by distress in case of refusal and ...

What persons or persons soever shall, after publication hereof, shoot any guns at drinking (marriages and funerals only excepted) that such person or persons so offending shall forfeit 100 lb. of tobacco to be levied by distress in case of refusal and to be disposed of by the militia in ammunition towards a magazine for the county where the offence shall be committed.

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Laws And Ordinances Of New Netherland 1638-1674 Page 138, image 170 (1868) available at The Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources.

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[Ordinances of New Amsterdam,] Ordinance of the Director and Council of New Netherland against Firing at Partridges or other Game within the Limits of New Amsterdam. Whereas, many guns are daily discharged and fired at Partridges and other game within ...

[Ordinances of New Amsterdam,] Ordinance of the Director and Council of New Netherland against Firing at Partridges or other Game within the Limits of New Amsterdam. Whereas, many guns are daily discharged and fired at Partridges and other game within the jurisdiction of this city New Amsterdam and in the vicinity of the Fort, by which firing People or Cattle might perhaps be struck and injured, against which practice complaints have already been made, Therefore the Honorable Director General and Council, in order to prevent accidents, expressly forbid and interdict all persons henceforward firing within the jurisdiction of this city or about the Fort, with any guns at Partridges or other Game that may by chance fly within the city, on pain of forfeiting the gun and a fine at the discretion of the Judge, to be applied one-third to the Poor, one-third to the Church and one-third to the Officer.

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Laws And Ordinances Of New Netherland, 1638-1674 Page 35, Image 67 (A1868) available at The Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources.

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Ordinance of the Director and Council of New Netherland Regulating the Burgher Guard, § 4 (1643). After the watch is duly performed, and daylight is come, and the reveille beaten, whosoever discharges any gun or musket, without orders of his Corpo...

Ordinance of the Director and Council of New Netherland Regulating the Burgher Guard, § 4 (1643). After the watch is duly performed, and daylight is come, and the reveille beaten, whosoever discharges any gun or musket, without orders of his Corporal, shall pay one guilder.

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1642 Va. Acts 261, Acts of March 2nd, 1642, Act XXXV, available at https://archive.org/details/statutesatlargeb01virg

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Be it further enacted and confirmed, for the better observation of the Sabbath and for the restraint of diverse abuses committed in the colony by unlawful shooting on the Sabbath day as aforesaid, unless it shall be for the safety of his or their plant...

Be it further enacted and confirmed, for the better observation of the Sabbath and for the restraint of diverse abuses committed in the colony by unlawful shooting on the Sabbath day as aforesaid, unless it shall be for the safety of his or their plantations or corn fields or for defense against the Indians, he or they so offending shall forfeit for his or their first offense being thereof lawfully convicted . . . the quantity of twenty pounds…

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1632 Va. Acts 198, Acts of September 4th, 1632, Act XLIV available at https://archive.org/details/statutesatlargeb01virg

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No commander of any plantation, shall either himself or suffer others to spend powder unnecessarily, that is to say in drinking or entertainment. (edited for clarity).

1631 Va. Acts 173, Acts Of February 24th, 1631, Act L available at https://archive.org/details/statutesatlargeb01virg

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No commander of any plantation, shall either himself or suffer others to spend powder unnecessarily, that is to say, in drinking or entertainments. (edited for clarity).

General orders of the Board of Supervisors providing regulations for the government of the City and County of San Francisco https://archive.org/details/generalordersofb1869sanf

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[Discharge of Cannon: Permit to be given by Mayor, and filed in office of Chief of Police. Discharge of Fire Arms prohibited within certain limits.]Sec. 22. No person shall discharge any cannon within that portion of this city and county lying between ...

[Discharge of Cannon: Permit to be given by Mayor, and filed in office of Chief of Police. Discharge of Fire Arms prohibited within certain limits.]Sec. 22. No person shall discharge any cannon within that portion of this city and county lying between Larkin and Ninth Streets and the outer line of the streets forming the water-front, except by special permission, in writing, from the Mayor, which permit shall designate the time and particular locality of the firing, and the number of discharges which are authorized. A copy of such permit shall be filed by the person obtaining the same, in the office of the Chief of Police, at least two hours before the time of such firing; and the person or persons engaged in the discharge of such cannon, shall, on the demand of any citizen or peace officer, exhibit the permit by which such firing is authorized; and no person shall discharge any fire-arm of any other description in that portion of the city and county bounded by Devisadero, Ridley, Market, and Ninth streets, and the outer line of the streets forming the water-front, or within three hundred yards of any public highway, or upon any ground set apart as a cemetery, or public square, or park, or within three hundred yards of any dwelling-house. But this section shall not be construed so as to prohibit any person from shooting destructive animals within or upon his own inclosure. Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor; and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail out more than thirty days.

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Newport (R.I.). Charter of the City of Newport, R.I., And the Special State Laws Relating Thereto, Together With the Ordinances for the Government of the City. Newport, 1858.

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Newport RI 1858Sec. 11. And be it further enacted, That no person whosoever shall fire a gun or other fire-works within one hundred yards of the said powder-house, upon the penalty of two dollars for every such offense, to be recovered by the town treasur...

Newport RI 1858Sec. 11. And be it further enacted, That no person whosoever shall fire a gun or other fire-works within one hundred yards of the said powder-house, upon the penalty of two dollars for every such offense, to be recovered by the town treasurer for the use of said town.
Sec. 12. And be it further enacted, That no ship or vessel having more than five barrels of gunpowder on board, shall come to anchor in the harbor of Newport, anywhere to the eastward of Goat Island, and lie there more than twenty-four hours, after notice and warning shall be given by the president of the town council . . .

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