1

1 Statutes of Ohio & Northwestern Territory 106 (Salmon P. Chase ed., 1833)

SEC. 4. Be it enacted, That if any person shall presume to discharge or fire, or cause to be discharged or fired, any gun or other fire-arms at any mark or object, or upon any pretence whatever, unless he or she shall at the same time be with such gun or fire-arms at the distance of at least one-quarter of a mile from the nearest building of any such city, town, village or station, such person shall for every such offence, forfeit and pay to the use of the county in which the same shall be committed, a sum not exceeding five dollars, not less than one dollar. And if any person being with a quarter of a mile of any city, town, village or station as aforesaid, shall at the same time wilfully discharge or fire any gun or fire-arms, or cause or procure the same to be discharged or fired, at any time after the setting of the sun and before the rising of the same, he or she so offending, shall in like manner forfeit and pay to the use aforesaid, a sum not exceeding five dollars, nor less than one dollar; reserving nevertheless to any person who will inform, and sue for either of the penalties hereinbefore last mentioned within one month from the commission of the offence, a moiety of the penalty which the party offending shall on conviction be adjudged to forfeit and pay, the other moiety thereof to go to the use of the county as aforesaid; which said several penalties, or either of them, shall be recoverable with costs, before any justice, judge, or court having cognizance of the same.

Provided always, That nothing herein contained shall be deemed or construed to extend to any person lawfully using fire-arms as offensive or defensive weapons, in annoying, or opposing a common enemy, or defending his or her person or property, or the person or property of any other, against the invasion or depredations of an enemy, or in the support of the laws and government; or against the attacks of rebels, highwaymen, robbers, thieves, or others unlawfully assailing him or her, or in any other manner where such opposition, defence, or resistance is allowed by the law of the land.

Provided also, That nothing herein contained shall be construed or extend to prevent the necessary military exercise, evolutions and firings of, or the discharging of cannon or small arms, by any soldiers or troops in the service of the United States, or of this territory, being in the field, or posted in or near any city, town, village, station, garrison, fort, encampment or other place, and acting under the immediate orders or by the special direction of the officer commanding the same. Nor shall any thing herein contained by intended or construed to extend to the act of killing or destroying birds of prey, or other wild birds, and mad or wild animals of the brute kind lurking among, in or near, or preying upon or threatening to prey upon and devour any kind of animal stock, or the corn, grain, and other produce in, of or belonging to any plantation, field, garden or other place within, adjoining, or in the vicinity of any city, town, village, or station: nor to the hindrance of any person shooting at or killing any of the larger kind of game or wild animals, such as buffaloes, bears, deer, hares, rabbits, turkeys, swans, geese that may happen at any time to come in view, or be passing or feeding near any city, or, or other place as aforesaid: but every person shooting at any of such game is hereby required to discharge the ball, or balls, shot, or missile weapon so employed in a direction from such city, town, village, or station towards the country so as such ball or balls, missile weapon, or shot, shall pass by or from, and go clear of the buildings pertaining to the same.




An Act establishing and regulating the militia, in Salmon Portland Chase, The Statutes of Ohio and of the Northwestern Territory, Adopted or Enacted from 1788 to 1833 inclusive: Together with the Ordinance of 1787; the Constitutions of Ohio and of the United States, and Various Public Instruments and Acts of Congress; Illustrated by a Preliminary Sketch of the History of Ohio; Numerous References and Notes and Copious Indexes. Vol. 1. Cincinnati, 1833. Available at The Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources.

“Be it enacted . . . [t]hat each and every free, able bodied, white male citizen of the territory, who is or shall be the age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty five-years, except as is herein after excepted, shall . . . be enrolled in the militia . . . and every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket, a sufficient bayonet and belt, or a fusee, two spare flints, a knapsack and a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty-four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or susee, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball, or a good rifle, knapsack, pouch and powder horm, with twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder, and every enrolled person shall appear armed, accoutred (sic) and provided when called out to muster (sic), or in service, except when called out on company days, to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack.”




An Act . . . To prevent the selling or pawning of arms, ammunition, cloathing, and accoutrements, Chapter XII, Sec. 2, in Laws Passed in the Territory of the United States North-West of the River Ohio from the Commencement of the Government to the 31 of December, 1791 (printed by Francis Childs and John Swaine).

“And be it further enacted, That if any person shall pre-sume to bargain for, purchase, or receive in pledge, or as a gift, or cause or procure to be bargained for, purchased, or received in pledge or as a gift, on any pretence whatever, all or any part of the public arms, ammunition, clothing or accoutrements pertaining to any non-commissioned officer or private soldier in the service aforesaid (knowing him to be such) he or she so offending, shall on conviction, forfeit and pay for the first offence treble the value of the articles so purchased or recieved, the same to be recovered with costs, by action of debt or information, in any court of record, one half to the informer, and the other half to the United States, or the whole to the United States, where prosecution shall be first instituted on the public behalf alone; and for every repitition of the like offence by the same person, he or she so offending again, shall forfeit and pay in like manner treble the value of the articles purchased or received as aforesaid, together with costs, and shall moreover suffer imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month.”




1799 Miss. Laws 113, A Law For The Regulation Of Slaves.

[Slaves interdicted the carrying arms, etc.] No negro or mulatto shall keep or carry any gun, powder, shot, club or other weapon whatsoever, offensive or defensive; but all and every gun, weapon and ammunition found in the possession or custody of any negro or mulatto may be seized by any person, and upon due proof thereof made before any justice of the peace of the county where such seizure shall be, shall by his order be forfeited to the seizor for his own use, and moreover every such offender shall have and receive by order of such justice, any number of lashes not exceeding thirty-nine, on his or her bare back, well laid on, for every such offense.




Meinrad Greiner, Laws and Ordinances, Ordained and Established by the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty, of the City of New-York, in Common Council Convened for the Good Rule and Government of the Inhabitants and Residents of the Said City Second Edition Page 25-26, Image 25-26 (1799) available at The Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources.

Ordinances of the City of New York, To Regulate the Keeping of Gun-powder in the City of New York: Whereas the better to secure the inhabitants of the city of New York from the dangers they have been exposed to by large quantities of gun powder being kept in houses, shops and stores within the said city, a suitable and convenient magazine or powder house is erected and built at Inclemberg in the seventh ward for the reception of all the gunpowder which is or shall be imported into the said city: Therefore, Be it ordained by the Mayor, Aldermen and Commonality of the City of New York in Common council convened, That no person or persons shall keep in any house, shop store house or other place within two miles of the city hall of the said city (Magazines of powder of the United States or of this state only excepted) any more or greater quantity of gun powder at one time than twenty-eight pounds, and that in four separate stone jugs or in tin canisters, each of which shall not contain more than seven pounds weight of gun-powder, under the penalty of twelve dollars and fifty cents for every offense.




Charles Nettleton, Laws of the State of New-Jersey Page 474, Image 501 (1821) available at The Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources.

[An Act to Describe, Apprehend and Punish Disorderly Persons (1799)], § 2. And whereas diverse ill disposed persons are frequently apprehended, having upon them implements for house-breaking, or offensive weapons, or are found in or upon houses, warehouses, stables, barns or out-houses, areas of houses, coach-houses, smoke-houses, enclosed yards, or gardens belonging to houses, with intent to commit theft, misdemeanors or other offences; and although their evil purposes are thereby manifested, the power of the justices of the peace to demand of them sureties for their good behavior hath not been of sufficient effect to prevent them from carrying their evil purpose into execution; Be it further enacted, That if any person shall be apprehended, having upon him or her any picklock, key, crow, jack, bit or other implement, with an intent to break and enter into any dwelling-house or out-house; or shall have upon him or her any pistol, hanger, cutlass, bludgeon, or other offensive weapon, with intent to assault any person; or shall be found in or upon any dwelling-house, ware-house, stable, barn, coach-house, smoke-house or out-house, or in any enclosed yard or garden, or area belonging to any house, with an intent to steal any goods or chattels, then he or she shall be deemed and adjudged to be a disorderly person.




1799 Ky. Acts 7, An Act to Amend an Act Entitled “An Act Concerning the Militia,” ch. 1, §§ 1-3.

§ 1. . . . [T]he brigadier generals shall attend each regimental muster within their brigades to view the same; it shall be the duty of the brigade major, attended by the commandant of the regimnt, to inspect the same at every muster. § 2. All fines arising within the bounds of any regiment, on account of delinquencies of officers, privates, or otherwise, shall be appropriated to the use of such regiment only. § 3. . . . [E]ach non-commissioned officer shall have ten days notice of each muster; and each non-commissioned officer and private, appearing on parade without a gun after being duly notified, shall be fined any sum not exceeding fifty cents, at the discretion of a court martial.




1799 Conn Acts 511, An Act For The Militia, § 4

That the Fines and Penalties incurred for Non-appearance and deficiencies of Arms, Ammunition and Accoutrements shall in future be as follows. Each non-commissioned Officer, Drummer, Fifer or Trumpeter who shall neglect to appear at the Time and Place appointed for regimental or battalion exercise or review being legally warned thereto shall forfeit and pay a fine of three dollars for each days neglect and for each days neglect to appear at the time and place appointed for company Exercise or Inspection, being legally warned thereto, shall forfeit and pay a Fine of One Dollar and Fifty Cents, and each Private belonging to any Company of Militia, shall for Non-appearance on days of Regimental or Battalion Exercise or Review, being thereto legally warned, forfeit and pay a Fine of Two Dollars for each Day’s neglect and for Non-appearance at Time and Place for company Exercise or Inspection he shall forfeit and pay a Fine of One Dollar for each Day’s neglect; and for deficiencies of Arms, Ammunition and Accoutrements required by Law, each non-commissioned Officer and Private shall forfeit and pay for each Day of Review or Exercise the he shall be deficient, the following Fines, viz. For a Gun or pair of Pistols, each Seventy-five cents; for Sword, Bayonet or Cartridge Box, each Fifty Cents; and for each of the other Articles required by law, Twenty-five Cents.




1798 Ky. Acts 106, § 5.

No negro, mulatto, or Indian whatsoever, shall keep or carry any gun, powder, shot, club, or other weapon whatsoever, offensive or defensive, but all and every gun, weapon and ammunition found in the possession or custody of any negro, mulatto or Indian, may be seized by any person and upon due proof thereof made before any justice of the peace of the county where such seizure shall be, shall by his order, be forfeited to the seizor for his own use, and moreover every such offender shall have and receive by order of such justice any number of lashes not exceeding thirty nine, on his or her bare back, well laid for every such offense.




1798-1813 R.I. Pub. Laws 85, An Act Relative To The Keeping Gun-Powder In The Town Of Providence, §2

§ 1. Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, and by the authority thereof it is hereby enacted, That no person or persons shall hereafter keep or deposit gunpowder, in a greater quantity than twenty-eight pounds, in any shop, building or other place, in the town of Providence, except such place or places as the Town Council of said town shall allow and designate for that purpose. § 2. And be it further enacted, That all and every person and persons whomsoever, who shall hereafter keep or depsoit gunpowder, in a greater quantity than twenty eight pounds, in any shop or shops, building or buildings, or in any other place or places in said town, except only such place or places as the Town-Council of said town shall allow and designate for that purpose, shall forfeit and pay the sume of twenty dollars, for each and every such offence, to be recovered by bill, plaint or information, before one or more of the Justices of the Peace for said town, and for the use of the poor of said town. 3. And be it further enacted, That the said quantity of twenty-eight pounds of gun-powder, shall be kept in tin canisters, and in no other vessels; and if any person or persons, whomsoever, shall keep the same in any vessl or thing, except said tin canisters, the person or persons guilty thereof, shall, for each and every such offence, forfeit and pay the sum of twenty dollars, to be recovered and appropriated as aforesaid.




Charles Nettleton, Laws of the State of New-Jersey Page 370-371, Image 397-398 (1821) available at The Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources.

[An Act Respecting Slaves, § 9. And be it enacted, That if any negro or other slave shall be seen or found from the dwelling-house of his or her master or mistress after the hour of ten at night, except on the particular business of his or her master or mistress, or shall be seen to hunt or carry a gun on the first day of the week, or Christian Sabbath, commonly called Sunday, any constable or other person, of information or knowledge thereof, is hereby authorized, and it is especially made the duty of such constable, to apprehend and carry such negro or other slave before the next justice or justices of the peace, who, on examination of the matter, (is such slave shall not give good account of himself or herself) shall, at his or their due discretion, according to the circumstances of the case, do and act towards such slave in the same manner in all respects as by the preceding section of this act is prescribed; and any such slave, being committed to prison, shall there remain until the master or mistress shall satisfy all reasonable charges; and in case such slave shall be ordered to be whipped, then the master or mistress of such slave shall be liable to pay the constable for performing that service one dollar; Provided, That nothing in this, or the preceding section contained, shall be construed or taken to prevent any negro or other slave from going to any place of worship, or from any innocent recreation, or from doing any other reasonable act with his or her master or mistresses consent.]




1797 Del. Laws 104, An Act For the Trial Of Negroes, ch. 43, §6.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any Negro or Mulatto slave shall presume to carry any guns, swords, pistols, fowling pieces, clubs, or other arms and weapons whatsoever, without his master’s special license for the same, and be convicted thereof before a magistrate, he shall be whipped with twenty-one lashes, upon his bare back.




1795 Mass. Laws 436, ch. 2, An Act for Repealing an Act, made and passed in the year of our Lord, on eThousand six Hundred and ninty-two, entitled, “An Act for punishing Criminal Offenders,” and for reenacting certain provisions therein.

And it is further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every Justice of the Peace, within the county for which he may be commissioned, may cause to be staid and arrested, all affrayers, rioters, disturbers, or breakers of the peace, and such as shall ride or go armed offensively, to the fear or terror of the good citizens of this Commonwealth, or such others as may utter any menaces or threatening speeches, and upon view of such Justice, confession of the delinquent, or other legal conviction of any such offence, shall require of the offender to find sureties for his keeping the Peace, and being of the good behavior; and in want therof, to commit him to prison until he shall comply with such requisition: and may further punish the breach of the Peace in any person that shall assault or strike another, by fine to the Commonwealth, not exceeding twenty shillings, and require sureties as aforesaid, or bind the offender, to appear and answer for his offence, at the next Court of General Sessions of the Peace, as the nature or circumstances of the case may require.




Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, from the Fourteenth Day of October, One Thousand Seven Hundred, to the Twentieth Day of March, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Ten Page 240-244, Image 284-288 (1810) available at The Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources.

An Act providing for the inspection of Gun-powder. Whereas gun-powder imported from abroad and manufactured within this state, hath frequently been found to vary much in its strength, and sometimes of inferior qualities, and its defects not discovered until brought into actual use: and whereas the modes heretofore used to prove the force thereof have been found uncertain and variable: and whereas Joseph Leacock, of the city of Philadelphia, hath invented an engine, called a pendulum powder proof, with a graduated arch and catch-pall, by which it is conceived that the force of gun-powder may be proved by experiment and the article reduced to certain and uniform standards of strength, whereby the manufacture may be advanced towards ultimate perfection , and the purchaser and consumer protected against fraud and imposition: § 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That from and after the first day of October next, all gun-powder manufactured within this state, with intent to sell the same within the city or county of Philadelphia, shall be put in good and tight kegs or casks of twenty-five, fifty, or one hundred pounds neat weight , each made of well seasoned timber, bound together with at least twelve loops, and having a hole bored in each head with the diameter of one fourth part of an inch, well stopped with corks and having the tare weight (weight of the actual keg or cask) of each cask marked thereon, and that all such gun-powder, and all other gun-powder, wheresoever manufactured imported into the port of Philadelphia, or brought into the city or county of Philadelphia for sale, shall be deposited, forthwith on such importation or bringing by land or by water, in the public magazine in in the said city, and delivered to the care of the keeper the same, who shall give his receipt for the same, deliverable to the order of him or them who shall deposit the same. § 2. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That David Rittenhouse, Francis Gurney, and Thomas Procter be, and they are hereby, appointed commissioners, to procure at least two pendulum powder proofs, upon the construction invented by the said Joseph Leacock, as nearly uniform in length and radius and weight of pendulum, and in length of caliber and weight of the pistol, as they can procure the same, and therewith make experiments of the respective strength or force of the several species of gun-powder imported from abroad and manufactured within this state, sufficient in number to ascertain the quality and force of three different degrees of strength in explosion, and marking the number of degrees on the graduated arch of the said engine, to which equal quantities of weight of the said three species of gunpowder, rammed with equal force into the pistol, shall elevate the said pendulum; and the power which shall be barely capable of raising the said pendulum to the lowest rate of elevation, shall be the standard for the state of Pennsylvania for gun-powder of the first or lowest proof; and the powder which shall be capable of raising the said pendulum to the highest rate of elevation, shall be the standard of gunpowder for the state of Pennsylvania of the third or highest proof; and the middle or second proof standard of gun-powder shall be ascertained by the number of degrees on the said graduated arch, to which the same quantity by weight in equal moieties of the first and third proof powder shall be capable of raising the said pendulum; and ht said standard being so fixed and ascertained, the said commissioners shall make report thereof in writing, by indentures under their hands and seals, one part thereof, together with one of the said two pendulum powder proofs, as accurate a draft and description thereof as can be made shall be returned to the Governor, to be file and remain the office of the Secretary of the commonwealth; and one other part shall be returned to the Master of Rolls, to be recorded in his office, and filed among the laws of the state; and the other part, together with the other pendulum powder proofs, shall be delivered to the first Inspector of gun-powder to be appointed in pursuance of this act, and by him, and his successors in office, to his and their successors, as often as another officer shall be appointed. . . § 6. And by it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall be the duty of the inspector of gunpowder so to be appointed, for the time being, to attend at the aid public magazine, and his office so to be built, as often as shall be necessary, to inspect and examine all gunpowder there to be deposited, to draw samples form each cask of powder which shall be so as aforesaid bored, and to open or otherwise get samples of casks of powder not bored as aforesaid, and removing such samples to his office, there to prove the same b the pendulum proof aforesaid, and note the standard quality of each cask, to provide himself with cedar plugs stamped on the outer end with the letters S.P. and the figures number one, number two, and number three, so designate the first, second and third proofs of standard gunpowder of the state of Pennsylvania, and another stamped with letters S.P. to designate condemned gun-powder, and therewith carefully to plug up the holes opened or made for the purpose with such marked plugs, as the proof quality of the powder in each cask respectively contained, and occasionally to weight the said casks; and if upon weighing the same suspicion shall arise that he casks are false tared, or do not contain the quantity herein above mentioned for each cask, to empty the same, and weigh the cask and powder separately, to ascertain the deficiency, if any, in the neath weight, and to fill the same to its due weight out of the other cask belonging to the same person, marking the weight taken on the ullage casks , and keeping an exact account in the books thereof, and of the names of the owners and persons bringing and depositing the same. . . §10. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid That if any person, from and after the first day of October next, importing or bringing into the port or city, or county of Philadelphia, any quantity of gun-powder exceeding twenty-five pounds, with intent to sell the same, shall neglect to deposit the same for inspection in the magazine aforesaid, or shall sell the same before it be inspected and marked as aforesaid, or shall sell any gun-powder that shall be condemned as aforesaid as and for merchantable gun-powder every person so offending shall forfeit all such gunpowder as aforesaid. § 11. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the inspector shall be entitled to demand and receive of and from the owner and possessor of all gun-powder deposited in the said magazine, and by him or his Deputy examine, proved and plugged, as aforesaid, the following sums or rates, whether the same be approved or condemned, paid or secured before the same shall be removed from the magazine; if the Inspector shall so require; for every cask of powder, manufactured in this state, or any of the United States, bored, and stopped with corks by the manufacturer, containing twenty-five pounds neat weight, seven cents; for every like cask containing fifty pounds, eight cents; for every like cask containing one hundred pounds, nine cents; and fore very cask of foreign powder, or powder manufactured in the United States, not bored and stopped with corks as aforesaid, double the said price or rates; and for every cask which shall find deficient one per cent. In weight and shall fill up, fifty cents. § 12. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that if any dispute should arise between the owner, possessor or consignee of any such powder and the Inspector, touching the proof or condemnation thereof, or the goodness of the materials and manner in which the casks are made, upon application by the owner, possessor or consignee of such powder to one of the Magistrates of the city or county of Philadelphia, where the dispute shall arise, the said Magistrate shall issue this warrant to three indifferent judicious persons to be triers thereof, one of them to be named by the said owner, possessor or consignee, of by the said Inspector, and the third of the said Magistrate shall thereupon give his judgment agreeably to the report of the said triers, or any two of them; ad in case the said Magistrate shall on such reports adjudge the powder not to be merchantable, he shall award the owner, possessor or consignee thereof, to pay all costs; but in the case the said powder shall be found merchantable, the Inspector shall be adjudged to pay all costs, which may have accrued, and shall thereupon cause the powder to be marked as the standard to eb directed by the said triers.




1795 N.H. Laws 525, An Act in Addition to an Act, Entitled, “An Act for Regulating the Militia within this State.”

[N]o non-commissioned officer or private soldier, shall upon any muster day, or the evening of the same day, discharge and fire off a musket or gun in any public road, or near thereto, or in, or near to any house, or on, or near to the place of parade, unless leave therefore be first had from a commissioned officer, on penalty of forfeiting for each offence so committed, the sum of one dollar, to be recovered by action before any Justice of the Peace within the county where such offense shall be committed, by any person who will sue therefor, with costs of prosecution.




1795 N.H. Laws 525, An Act in Addition to an Act, Entitled, “An Act for Regulating the Militia within this State.”

[E]very free, able bodied, white male citizen of this state, resident therein, who is, or shall be of the age of sixteen years and under forty years of age, under such exceptions as are made in said act, shall be enrolled in the militia, and shall in all other respects be considered as liable to do the duties of the militia in the same way and manner, as those of the age of eighteen years and upwards . . .




1794 R.I. Pub. Laws 21, An Act To Organize The Militia Of This State, § 10

§ 10. And it is further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That every Corporal who shall neglect to warn the Men to appear at every Rendezvous mentioned in this Act, when thereunto required as aforesaid without sufficient excuse, shall forfeit the Sum of Twelve Shillings, Lawful Money: That every non-commissioned officer or private who shall neglect to appear at the regimental Rendezvous, shall forfeit the sum of Six Shillings and for every day he shall neglect to appear at the company parade, he shall forfeit Four Shillings and Sixpence. And if he shall not be armed and equipped according other said Act of congress, when so appearing, without sufficient excuse, he shall, for appearing without a gun, forfeit one shilling and sixpence; without bayonet and belt six pence; without a Bayonet and Belt, Sixpence; without a Cartouch-Box and Cartridges, Sixpence. . .




The Laws Of Maryland, With The Charter, The Bill Of Rights, The Constitution Of The State, And Its Alterations, The Declaration Of Independence, And The Constitution Of The United States, And Its Amendments Page 246, Image 239 (1811) available at The Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources.

1794 Md. Laws 246, Art. 32. That if any member of society shall suffer any damage by storing gunpowder in town, or breaming ships or other vessels at the wharfs, occasioned by the act, assent or direction, of such member, the insurance of such member so suffering damage, shall thereupon become void.




1793 N.H. Laws 464-65, An Act to Prevent the Keeping of Large Quantities of Gun-Powder in Private Houses in Portsmouth, and for Appointing a Keeper of the Magazine Belonging to Said Town.

That if any person or persons, shall keep in any dwelling-house, store or other building on land, within the limits of said Portsmouth, except the magazine aforesaid, more than ten pounds of gun-powder at any one time, which ten pounds shall be kept in a tin canister, properly secured for the purpose, such person or persons shall forfeit the powder so kept to the firewards of said Portsmouth to be laid out by them in purchasing such utensils as they may judge proper for the extinguishing of the fire; and the said firewards are hereby directed and empowered to seize, and cause the same to be condemned in any court of record proper to hear and try the same, to be disposed of for the purchase aforesaid. And the offender shall also forfeit and pay a fine for the use of the poor of said Portsmouth, equal to the value of the powder so kept in any store, dwelling-house, or building; which fine, shall be sued for and recovered by the overseers of the poor of said Portsmouth, for the use of said poor, in any ourt of law proper to try the same.




1794 Pa. Laws 764, An Act Providing For The Inspection Of Gunpowder chap. 337

Whereas gun-powder imported from abroad, and manufactured within this state, have frequently been found to vary much in its strength, and sometimes of inferior qualities, and its defects not discovered until brought into actual use: And whereas the modes heretofore used to prove the force thereof have been found uncertain and variable; and whereas Joseph Leacock, of the city of Philadelphia, hath invented an engine, called a pendulum powder proof, with a graduated arch and catch-pall, by which it is conceived that the force of gunpowder may be proved by experiment, and the article reduced to certain and uniform standards of strength, whereby the manufacture may be advanced towards ultimate perfection, and the purchaser and consumer protected against fraud and imposition. § 1. . . That from and after the first day of October next, all gun-powder manufactured within this state, with intent to sell the same within the city or county of Philadelphia, shall be put in good and tight kegs or casks of twenty-five, fifty, or one hundred pounds neat weight, each made of well seasoned timber, bound together with at least twelve hoops, and having a hole bored in each head, of the diameter of one fourth part of an inch, well stopped with corks, and having the tare weight to each cask marked thereon, and that all such gun powder, and all other gun-powder, wheresoever manufactured, imorted into the port of Philadelphia, or brought into the city or county of Philadelphia for sale, shall be deposited forthwith on such importation or bringing by land or by water, in the public magazine in the said city, and delivered to the care of the keeper of the same, who shall give his receipt for the same, deliverable to the order of him or them who shall so deposit the same. § 2. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That David Rittenhouse, Francis Gurney and Thomas Procter be, and they are hereby, appointed Commissioners, to procure at least two pendulum powder proofs, upon the construction invented by the said Joseph Leacock, as nearly uniform in the length of the radius and weight of the pendulum, and in length of caliber and weight of the pistol, as they can procure the same, and therewith make experiments of the respective strenght or force of of the several species of gun-power imported from abroad, and manufactured within this state, sufficient in number to assertain the quality and force of three different degrees of strength in explosion, and marking the number of degrees on the graduated arch of the said engine, to which equal quantities be weight of the said three species of gun-powder, rammed with equal force into the pistol, shall elevate the said pendulum; and the powder which shall be barely capable of raising the said pendulum to the lowest rate of elevation, shall be standard for the state of Pennsylvania for gun powder of the first or lowest proof; and the powder which shall be capable of raising the said pendulum to the highest rate of elevation, shall be the standard of gun-powder for the State of Pennsylvania for the third or highest proof; and the middle or second proof standard of gun-powder shall be ascertained by the number of degrees of the said graduated arch, to which the same quantity of weight in equal moieties of the first and third proof powder shall be capable of raising the said pendulum; and the said standard being fixed and ascertained, the said Commissioners shall make report thereof in writing, by indentures under their hands and seals, on part thereof, together with one of the said pendulum powder proofs, and as accurate a draft and description thereof as can be made shall be returned to the Governor, to be filed and remain in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, on other part shall be returned to the master of the Rolls, to be recorded in his office, and filied among the laws of the state and the otehr part together with the other pendulum powder proofs, shall be delivered to the first inspector of gun powder to be appointed in pursuance of this act, and by him, and his successors in office, to his and their succesors, as often as another officer shall be appointed.




Collection of All Such Acts of the General Assembly of Virginia, of a Public and Permanent Nature, as Are Now in Force; with a New and Complete Index. To Which are Prefixed the Declaration of Rights, and Constitution, or Form of Government Page 187, Image 195 (1803) available at The Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources.

[An Act to Reduce into one, the Several Acts Concerning Slaves, Free Negroes, and Mulattoes (1792),] § 8. No negro or mulatto whatsoever shall keep or carry any gun, powder, shot, club, or other weapon whatsoever, offensive or defensive, but all and every gun, weapon, and ammunition found in the possession or custody of any negro or mulatto, may be seized by any person, and upon due proof thereof made before any Justice of the Peace of the County or Corporation where such seizure shall be, shall by his order be forfeited to the seizor for his own use ; and moreover, every such offender shall have and receive by order of such Justice, any number of lashes not exceeding thirty-nine, on his or her bare back, well laid on, for every such offense. § 9. Provided, nevertheless, That every free negro or mulatto, being a house-keeper, may be permitted to keep one gun, powder and shot; and all negroes and mulattoes, bond or free, living at any frontier plantation, may be permitted to keep and use guns, powder, shot, and weapons offensive or defensive, by license from a Justice of Peace of the County wherein such plantation lies, to be obtained upon the application of free negroes or mulattoes, or of the owners of such as are slaves.




Francois Xavier Martin, A Collection of Statutes of the Parliament of England in Force in the State of North Carolina, 60-61 (Newbern 1792)

Item, it is enacted, that no man great nor small, of what condition soever he be, except the King’s servants in his presence, and his Ministers in executing of the King’s precepts, of of their office, and such as be in their company assisting them, and also upon a cry made for arms to keep the peace, and the same in such places where such acts happen, be so hardy to come before the King’s justices, or other of the King’s Ministers doing their office with force and arms, nor bring no force in affray of peace, nor to go nor ride armed by night nor by day, in fairs, markets nor in the presence of the King’s Justices, or other ministers, nor it [sic, likely “in”] no part elsewhere, upon pain to forfeit their armour to the King, and their bodies to prison at the King’s pleasure. And that the King’s Justices in their presence, Sheriffs and other ministers in their bailiwicks, Lords of Franchises, and their bailiffs in the same, and Mayors and Bailiffs of cities and boroughs, within the same cities and boroughs, and boroughholders, constables and wardens of the peace within their wards shall have power to execute this etc. [in original] And that the Justices assigned, at thier coming down into the country , shall have power to enquire how such officers and lords have exercised their offices in this case, and to punish them whom they find that have not done that which pertain to their office.




1792 Md. Laws 22, A Supplement To An Act Entitled, An Act to Improve and Repair the Streets in Elizabethtown, in Washington County, and For Other Purposes Therein Mentioned, chap. 52, § 4

That if any person or persons shall fire any gun or pistol in the said town, such person or persons shall, for every such offense, forfeit and pay the sum of five shillings current money.




1791 S.C. Acts 16, An Act To Amend And More Effectually Put In Force For The Time Therein Limited, The Act Entitled An Act For The Regulation Of The Militia Of This State . . .

. . . And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every free man of this state, liable to bear arms in any of the regiments, battalions or companies of foot in this state and who shall appear at any such regiment or battalion muster or at any muster or review ordered by his Excellency the governor, or at any company muster ordered in pursuance of this act, or by virtue of the said act of the twenty-sixth day of March 1784, not provided with a good musket and bayonet, and cartouch box capable of containing at least twelve rounds of cartridges or other sufficient gun and a good and sufficient small sword, broad sword, cutlass or hatchet, and a powder horn or flask capable of holding at least 12 rounds of powder, and a good shot bag or pouch, capable of holding twelve balls of a proper size for his gun, and with three spare flints, shall forfeit and pay for each and every such default, the sum of two dollars, or the sum of half a dollar for each article of arms or accoutrements herein before directed, to be affected and levied on such defaulter, in the manner in and by the said act directed and appointed.




1791 Pa. Laws 105, A Supplement to the Act, Entitled “An Act for Securing the City of Philadelphia and the Neighborhood Thereof from Damage by Gun-powder, § 1.

That it shall and may be lawful for the owners of gun-powder not deposited , or to be deposited, in the said magazine, the square to the south of Vine street, to remove and deposit the same in the said new magazine; and all gun-powder brought into the city of Philadelphia, from and after the first day of July next, shall be deposited and kept in the said new magazine subject to the regulation contained in the said first recited act.