According to the constitution of the United States, every citizen has a right to bear arms

Circuit Court.

The spring term of the circuit court for York county convened on the last Monday morning, his Honor, Judge J[oseph] .B. Kershaw* presiding. . . .

. . . After the solicitor had handed in a batch of indictments, his Honor delivered to the grand jury a clear and concise charge as to its duties. In substance, the charge was as follows: . . .

. . . The grand jury have it in their power to do a great deal to promote the good and well-being of the whole people of the county. They are trustees of the people–custodians of the public welfare–and as such it comes within their province to rigidly enforce all the statutory laws. One of the laws which the legislature adopted soon after the Democrats came into power, forbids the carrying of a concealed deadly weapon. According to the constitution of the United States, every citizen has a right to bear arms. If he desires to shoulder his gun or carry his pistol where it can be plainly seen, nobody will object. But no other offense has so stained the character and reputation of the people of South Carolina as this crime of carrying concealed deadly weapons. We know the extent of this habit and its results, and we know that certain persons consider themselves justifiable in the violation of this law, which is intended to make it less easy to commit murder.

Whether this law is right or wrong, and I do not know that anybody thinks it wrong, is not for you to consider. You have no right to take a sponge and wipe out any portion of our statute law. Whether the law is right or wrong, popular or unpopular, it is your duty to enforce it to the letter.”

( * – In 1865 Joseph B. Kershaw was chosen president of the South Carolina State Senate. He was judge of the Circuit Court from 1877 to 1893, when he stepped down for health reasons. In 1894, he was appointed postmaster of Camden, an office that he held until his death in the same year.)

[Yorkville Enquirer. Yorkville, S.C., Wednesday, April 1, 1891. Vol. 37. No. 8. Pg. 2]


The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms shall NOT be infringed.

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