Why did many states ban concealed carry in the 19th century?

Fareed Zakaria has been suspended from his gigs at CNN and Time for having plagiarized the following paragraph from an article by Jill Lepore in the April 23 issue of The New Yorker:

As Adam Winkler, a constitutional-law scholar at U.C.L.A., demonstrates in a remarkably nuanced new book, “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” firearms have been regulated in the United States from the start. Laws banning the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813, and other states soon followed: Indiana (1820), Tennessee and Virginia (1838), Alabama (1839), and Ohio (1859). Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas explained in 1893, the “mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man.”

I’m not interested in Zakaria’s plagiarism problem, except to note that I welcome anything that slows up this man who, as I’ve written, has built a “career on his identity as a fashionable alien who lectures the natives on the need to give up their country and adapt to the global community, particularly to Islam.”

What I’m interested in is the assertion in Lepore’s essay about the banning of concealed carry. It strikes me that it must be missing context. Considering the universality of gun carrying in the 19th century America, I suspect that the reason that several states outlawed concealed carry was that so many people carried openly. So, why would someone carry concealed, unless he intended crime?

That’s just a guess. Maybe an informed reader can help us out with this.

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Jonathan W. writes:

You are correct. Open carry was and is allowed in most states in the country. Personally, I don’t think there’s a constitutional right to carry concealed. I only think the states have to allow one or the other. But the places that make it nearly impossible to get a concealed carry permit also prohibit open carry. For reference, here is a map showing where open carry is legal.

Only in the states shaded in red is open carry entirely illegal. In the others, open carry is either legal with no permit at all or with a permit that is fairly easy to get.

JC in Houston writes:

In Texas, surprising because of our cowboy heritage, before the passage of concealed carry legislation in 1996, concealed and OPEN carry of handguns and a number of other weapons such as certain knives, swords and clubs was prohibited by state law. There were a number of exceptions for police, security guards, people on their own property and persons who were traveling. There was no permit system provided either so there was no way the average person could qualify to carry a handgun. Interestingly enough, in the original weapons ban that was enacted in 1871 (Reconstruction era) there was a provision that allowed the governor to suspend the prohibition in areas where Indians were on the warpath. Texas now allows concealed carry in a person’s vehicle and elsewhere for concealed handgun license holders. Open carry is still not allowed, even by license holders. Long guns have always been allowed for carry, which is why you see the gun racks on all of those Texas pickup trucks.

Paul K. writes:

It is true that laws against carrying concealed weapons were passed in several of the Southern states in the early 19th century, largely from concern about the increasing number of duels and brawls. The topic is discussed in a scholarly book by Clayton Cramer, Concealed Weapon Laws of the Early Republic: Dueling, Southern Violence, and Moral Reform (1999). It would appear that these laws were rarely enforced, as the carrying of weapons, openly or concealed, was commonplace. Carrying a weapon concealed rather than openly was sometimes regarded as evidence of ill intent but seems to have been prosecuted only when connected with another crime, such as assault.

Here is an example of such a law, from Virginia, passed in 1838:

An ACT to prevent the carrying of concealed weapons.

1. Be it enacted by the general assembly, That if any person shall hereafter habitually or generally keep or carry about his person any pistol, dirk, bowie knife, or any other weapon of the like kind, from the use of which the death of any person might probably ensue, and the same be hidden or concealed from common observation, and he be thereof convicted, he shall for every such offence forfeit and pay the sum of not less than fifty dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or be imprisoned in the common jail for a term not less than one month nor more than six months, and in each instance at the discretion of the jury; and a moiety of the penalty recovered in any prosecution under this act, shall be given to any person who may voluntarily institute the same.

What really bothers me about this incident is that Time and CNN react so strongly to the fact that Zakaria lifted a paragraph from another journalist without rewording it sufficiently, as if that is the greatest sin in journalism. But who cares, really? What matters much more is that MSM outlets such as Time and CNN slant news coverage in Obama’s favor, downplay scandals such as Fast & Furious, demonize George Zimmerman and Chick-Fil-A, promote a pro-gay and pro-illegal immigrant agenda, ignore black-on-white crime, and routinely commit a thousand other sins of omission and commission.

LA replies:
There are degrees of plagiarism. It seems to me that copying a passage that is simply rehearsing historical facts is a less serious offense than copying a passage containing ideas and analysis. What Zakaria did was a serious offense, but not as serious as copying and claiming credit for another person’s ideas.

Alex P writes:

So Fareed Zakaria’s anti-American bigotry isn’t even original, it’s copy/pasted from other MSM outlets? I’m only surprised to learn he cribbed from The New Yorker and not from Al-Jazeera.

Yet another “Plagiarist of Color”—what’s with these people? I mean, I know they’d have no civilization without Whitey—but they can’t even do routine journalism on their own?

I also note that Time has not fired the offender, but only suspended his column for a month while they double-check his homework. Any native-born American journalist who embarrassed the company in that way would be out the door in disgrace. But thanks to his suntan and his funny name, Fareed Zakaria gets the mildest of wrist-slaps for a piece of pilfering so blatant it’s almost as if he wanted to get caught. (Which, who knows, maybe he did? Some plagiarists, it seems, do want to get caught) Here’s what Wiki says about just how extensive Zakaria’s word-theft was:

In addition to not crediting Lepore’s work, plagiarism, Zakaria copied at least one paragraph nearly word for word, a copyright violation

I hope Fareed has learned his lesson. Next time he commits plagiarism I’m sure he’ll be careful to change enough to disguise the source material.

Stephen T. writes:

It’s hard to imagine the suspension of Fareed Zakaria for plagiarizing a gun control article happening to a nicer guy, nor over a more appropriate topic. Zakaria probably feels that if only the inefficient Americans would allow more third world immigrants into this profit-generating market—or “country,” or whatever it is these American dullards call it—as he has continuously urged, he wouldn’t have had to resort to plagiarism in the first place. He could have simply hired some newly-arrived peasant to ghost-plagiarize his articles for him, at sub-minimum wage. That’s the true south Asian way.

In my opinion, the blatant nature of the way Zakaria went about this just reminds me of the kind of slap-dash disregard for integrity and originality that is endemic to cultures like India and Mexico.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 11, 2012 12:36 PM | Send

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