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But to be in conflict with the constitution, it is not essential that the act should contain a prohibition against bearing arms in every possible form—it is the right to bear arms in defence of the citizens and the state, that is secured by the constitution, and whatever restrains the full and complete exercise of that right, though not an entire destruction of it, is forbidden by the explicit language of the constitution. If, therefore, the act in question imposes any restraint on the right, immaterial what appellation may be given to the act, whether it be an act regulating the manner of bearing arms or any other, the consequence, in reference to the constitution, is precisely the same, and its collision with that instrument equally obvious. ... The right existed at the adoption of the constitution; it had then no limits short of the moral power of the citizens to exercise it, and it in fact consisted in nothing else but in the liberty of the citizens to bear arms. Diminish that liberty, therefore, and you necessarily restrain the right; ... For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing [of] concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former is unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise.
Kentucky Supreme Court (more quotes by Kentucky Supreme Court or books by/about Kentucky Supreme Court)
Bliss v. Commonwealth, 12 KY. (2 LITT.) 90 (Kentucky 1822) reprinted in THE FOUNDERS’ CONSTITUTION, Volume Five (Amendments I-XII) p. 212-213 (Univ. of Chicago Press).
Arms, Constitution, Defense, Individual Rights, Law