What’s an Arm?

“What then, is he protected in the right to keep and thus use? Not every thing

that may be useful for offense or defense, but what may properly be included or

understood under the title of “arms,” taken in connection with the fact that

the citizen is to keep them, as a citizen. Such, then as are found to make up

the usual arms of the citizen of the country, and the use of which will

properly train and render him efficient in defense of his own liberties, as

well as of the State. Under this head, with a knowledge of the habits of our

people, and of the arms in the use of which a soldier should be trained, we

hold that the rifle, of all descriptions, the shot gun, the musket and

repeater, are such arms, and that, under the Constitution, the right to keep

such arms cannot be infringed or forbidden by the legislature.”

– Arkansas Supreme Court

Source: Fife v. State, 31 Ark. 455, 460 (1876).



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