Why the Second Amendment
Applies Especially to Travelers

This Mural in the American Capitol was painted in 1862

Click to enlarge image

By Dean Weingarten. July 11, 2022

This Mural in the American Capitol was painted in 1862. The mural has at least ten firearms in it. Three are carried by men on horseback, one is in a wagon. At the time, the right to bear arms while traveling was accepted and unremarkable.


The United States Supreme Court has defended and restored the other half of the right to keep and bear arms, the "bear" half, in the recent Bruen decision.

Much work remains to be done. It is clear the people have a right to bear arms outside the home. One of the major purposes is for the defense of self and others.

An area left undefined in Bruen is the right to bear arms in defense of self and others while traveling, particularly while traveling across state lines.

There was no prohibition on carrying arms at the time of ratification in 1791. Carrying arms for defense, while traveling, was common and accepted. Even the strictest colonial restrictions on the bearing of arms, the East New Jersey law, enacted in 1686, had an exception for people who were traveling. The colonial law, which was in effect for about six years, was cited by both sides in the Bruen decision: From P. 6 of amicus curiae brief on Bruen.

In 1686, East New Jersey enacted a law providing that no person "shall presume privately to wear any pocket pistol, skeines, stilettoes, daggers or dirks, or other unusual or unlawful weapons," and that "no planter shall ride or go armed with sword, pistol or dagger" except certain officials and "strangers, travel-ling upon their lawful occasions through this Province, behaving themselves peaceably."3

An exception noted in the earliest and most extreme of the colonial "bear arms" laws should be given some weight. .....

An interesting look at history regarding the subject.
"Even in a period when legislatures were moving to restrict the right to keep and bear arms, they recognized the right to bear arms while traveling."


Back to Top