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semblages of people in the interest of good order and the peace of society. What is secured is the right of the people, first, to assemble peaceably, and second, to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The clause does not provide what officer of the government shall be petitioned, but simply says the government, neither does it commit the government in any way to grant the petition nor does it say how the government should be petitioned. All that the clause does, as stated by a writer on the Constitution, is “to protect the petitioners in their right to get up the petition, circulate it for signatures and have it presented.'68

The right of the people peaceably to assemble for law. ful purposes and petition their government was recognized long before the adoption of the Constitution. The regulation of such a privilege is largely under the control of the state governments. The amendment under consideration protects the people in their right to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances" by prohibiting Congress from passing a law abridging this right.

In United States v. Cruikshank,69 Waite, Chief Justice, said (p. 552): “This amendment was not intended to limit the powers of State Governments in respect to their own citizens, but to operate upon the National Government alone. The right was not created by the amendment; neither was its continuance guaranteed, except as against congressional interference. For their protection in this enjoyment, the people must look to the States. The power for that purpose was originally placed there, and has never been surrendered to the United States. The right of the people peaceably to assemble for the purpose of petitioning Congress for a redress of grievances, or for anything else connected with the powers or the duties of the National Government, is an attribute of national citizenship, and, as such, under the protection of, and guaranteed by, the United States. The very idea of a government, republican in form, implies a right on the part of its citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs and to petition for a redress of grievances."

58 2 Tucker on the Constitution, 671. 59 92 U. S., 542.

It has been judicially established that “among the rights and privileges, which have been recognized as being secured to the citizens of the United States by the Constitution, is the right to petition Congress for a redress of grievances.'?60

co In re Quarles, 158 U. S., 532-535.

Provisions concerning the right of petition were in the following State Constitutions when the federal Constitution was adopted:

Maryland: Every man hath a right to petition the legislature, for the redress of grievances, in a peaceable and orderly manner.

Massachusetts: Constitution of 1780. The people have a right, in an orderly and peaceable manner, to assemble to consult upon the common good; give instructions to their representatives, and request of the legislative body, by way of addresses, petitions, or remonstrances, redress of the wrongs done them, and of the grievances they suffer.

New Hampshire: Constitution of 1784. The people have a right, in an orderly and peaceable manner, to assemble and consult upon the common good, give instructions to their representatives; and request of the legislative body, by way of petition or remonstrances, redress of the wrongs done them, and of the grievances they suffer.

North Carolina: That the people have a right to assemble together, to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the Legislature, for a redress of grievances.

Pennsylvania: Constitution of 1776. That the people have a right to assemble together, to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the legislature for redress of grievances, by address, petition, or remonstrance. Poore's Charters and Constitutions.

CHAPTER LII.

SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH AMENDMENTS.

SECOND AMENDMENT.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

172

Madison's form of this amendment read: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.'' It was changed by the Committee of Eleven to read : “A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms.

There was considerable debate on the subject in the House of Representatives and the select Committee of Three reported the article substantially as it had been reported by the Committee of Eleven, but it was subsequently changed by Congress to read as now found in the Constitution.

The Constitution of Maryland in force at the time of the adoption of the Federal Constitution provided that, “A well regulated militia is the proper and natural defense of a free government."

The Constitution of Virginia which was then in force contained the following provision on the same subject:

“A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the

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11 Annals, 451. 2 Thorpe's Constitutional History of U. S., vol. 2, 226. 8 Poor's Charters, vol. 1, 819.

people trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free State.'4

No doubt these provisions influenced the adoption of this amendment.

It was held in United States v. Cruikshank“ (p. 553) that: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second Amendment declares that this right shall not be infringed, but this means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress. This amendment is one of those that has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government, and not those of the States."

The statutes of Illinois provided that all able-bodied male citizens of that State between certain ages, except certain exemptions, should be subject to military duty, and be enrolled and designated as the State Militia, and that it should not be lawful for any body of men other than such State Militia, and the troops of the United States, to associate themselves together as a military company or organization, or drill or parade with arms in any city, etc., without the license of the Governor of the State, etc. One Pressner was arrested for violating this statute. It was claimed in Pressner v. Illinois, that the act of Illinois violated the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, but the court held (p. 265), that the amendment in question had no other effect than to restrict the powers of the National Government, and that it did not interfere with the power of the States. It was further held (p. 267):

“The right voluntarily to associate together as a military company or organization, or to drill or parade with arms, without, and independent of, an act of Congress or law of the State authorizing the same, is not an attribute of national citizenship. Military organization and military drill and parade under arms are subjects especially under the control of the government of every country. They cannot be claimed as a right independent of law. Under our political system they are subject to the regulation and control of the State and Federal governments, acting in due regard to their respective prerogatives and powers. The Constitution and laws of the United States will be searched in vain for any support to the view that these rights are privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States independent of some specific legislation on the subject.

4 Poore's Charters, vol. 2, 1909. 5 92 U. S., 542. 6 116- U. S., 252, 265.

"It cannot be successfully .questioned that the State governments, unless restrained by their own Constitutions, have the power to regulate or prohibit associations and meetings of the people, except in the case of peaceable assemblies to perform the duties or exercise the privileges of citizens of the United States; and have also the power to control and regulate the organization, drilling, and parading of military bodies and associations, except when such bodies or associations are authorized by the militia laws of the United States. The exercise of this power by the States is necessary to the public peace, safety and good order. To deny the power would be to deny the right of the State to disperse assemblages organized for sedition and treason, and the right to suppress armed mobs bent on riot and rapine.

The Justices of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, in a letter to the Governor of that State, in construing this amendment held:

“This provision declares a great general right, leaving it for other more specific constitutional provision or to legislation to provide for the preservation and practical security of such right, and for influencing and governing the judgment and conscience of all legislators and magistrates, who are thus required to recognize and respect such rights."

Meaning of "Arms," in this clause.-In England v. State,8 the court said:

Arms of what kind ? Certainly such as are useful and proper to armed militia. The deadly weapons spoken of in the State statutes are pistols, dirks, etc. Can it be understood that these were contemplated by the framers of our Bill of Rights ? • To refer the deadly de

7 14 Gray, 620. 835 Tex., 473.

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