1

The Fundamental Constitutions for the Province of East New Jersey in America, (1683) art. VII

. . . the great Assembly should have power, by act confirmed as there expressed, to erect, raise and build within the said Province, or any part thereof, such and so many forts, castles, cities and other places of defense, and the same, or any of them, to fortify and furnish with such provisions and proportions of ordnance, powder, shot, armour and all other weapons, ammunition and abilments of war, both offensive and defensive, as shall be thought necessary and convenient for the safety and welfare of the said Province; as also to constitute train bands and companies, with the number of the soldiers . . . And that amongst the present Proprietors there are several that declare, that they have no freedom to defend themselves with arms, and others who judge it their duty to defend themselves, wives and children, with arms; . . . no man that declares he cannot for conscience sake bear arms, whether Proprietor or planter, shall be at any time put upon so doing in his own person, nor yet upon sending any to serve in his stead. And on the other side, those who do judge it their duty to bear arms for the publick defence, shall have their liberty to do in a legal way. In pursuance whereof, there shall be a fourth committee erected, consisting of six proprietors, or their proxies, and three of the freemen, that are to set in the other three committees, which shall be such as to understand it their duty to use arms for the publick defence; which committee shall provide for the publick defence without and peace within, against all enemies whatsoever; and shall therefore be stiled the committee for the preservation of the publick peace: And that all things may proceed in good order, the said committee shall propound-to the great Council what they judge convenient and necessary for the keeping the peace within the said Province, and for publick defence without, by the said great Council to be approved and corrected, as they, according to exigence of affairs, shall judge fit; the execution of which resolutions of the great Council shall be committed to the care of the said committee . . .




Militia Act of 1662, 13 & 14 Car. 2, c. 3, ยง 13 (1662)

XIII. and for the better securing the Peace of the Kingdom be it further enacted and ordained and the respective Lieutenants or any two or more of their deputies are hereby enabled and authorized from time to time by Warrant under their Hands and Seals to employ such Person or Persons as they shall think fit (of which a Commissioned Officer and the Constable or his Deputy or the Tythingman or in the absence of the Constable and his Deputy and Tythingman some other Person bearing Office within the Parish where the Search shall be shall be to to search for and seize all arms in the custody or possession of any person or persons whom the said Lieutenant or any two or more of their deputies shall judge dangerous to the Peace of the Kingdom and to secure such arms for for the service aforesaid and thereof from time to time to give accounts of the said respective Lieutenants and in their absence as aforesaid or otherwise by their directions to their deputies or any two or more of them. [Provided that no such search be made in any house or houses between Sun setting and Sun rising other than in Cities and their suburbs and towns, Corporate market towns and houses within the bills of Mortality where it shall and may be lawful to search in the night time by Warrant as aforesaid if the warrant shall so direct and in case of resistance to enter by force and that no dwelling house of any peer of this Realm be searched by virtue of this Act but by immediate warrant from his Majesty under his sign manual or in the presence of the Lieutenant or one of the Deputy Lieutenants of the same Country or Riding and that in all places and houses whatsoever where search is to be made as aforesaid it shall and may be lawful in case of resistance to enter by force and that the arms so seized may be restored to the owners again if the said Lieutenants or in their absence as aforesaid their deputies or any two or more of them shall so think fit.




1642 Va. Acts 263, Acts of March 2nd 1642, Act XLI, available at https://archive.org/details/statutesatlargeb01virg

It is enacted and confirmed that masters of every family shall bring with them to church on Sundays one fixed and serviceable gun with sufficient powder and shot upon penalty of ten pound of tobacco for every master of a family so offending to be disposed of by the churchwardens who shall levy it by distress, and servants being commanded and yet omitting shall receive twenty lashes on his or their bare shoulders, by order form the county courts where he or they shall live.




1640 N.Y. Laws 23, Ordinance of the Director and Council of New Netherland, Providing for the Arming and Mustering of the Militia in Case of Danger,

The Hon. Director and Council have considered it advisable to ordain that the Inhabitants residing at and around Fort Amsterdam, of what state, quality or condition soever they be, shall each provide himself with a good gun and keep the same in good repair and at all times ready and in order; and as they live at a distance from one another, every warned person is placed under his corporal in order that in time of danger he may appear at his post with his gun. Should it happen, which God forbid, that any mischief occur either from enemies or traitors at night, the people will be notified by the discharge of three cannon fired in quick succession; and if by day, means will be found to give warning to everyone, who is commanded thereupon to repair instantly to his corporal at the place appointed and then to adopt such measures as the exigency of the case shall require, on pain of being fined Fifty guilders.




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

All men that are fitting to bear arms, shall bring their pieces to the church upon pain for every offence, if the default be in the master, to pay 2lb of tobacco, to be disposed by the church-wardens, who shall levy it by distress, and the servants shall be punished [ ] commander. (The Statutes at large: being a collection of all the laws of Virginia, from the first session of the legislature in the year 1619).




1631 Va. Acts 173, Acts Of February 24th, 1631, Acts XLVII, XLVIII, LI, available at https://archive.org/details/statutesatlargeb01virg

Act XLVII: No man shall go or send abroade without a sufficient party well armed. Act XLVIII: No man shall go to work in the grounds without their arms, and a sentinel upon them. Act LI: All men that are fitting to bear arms, shall bring their pieces to the church upon pain of every offence, of the mayster allow not thereof to pay 2 lb. of tobacco, to be disposed by the church-wardens, who shall levy it by distress, and the servants be punished. (The Statutes at large: being a collection of all the laws of Virginia, from the first session of the legislature in the year 1619).