Amendment II

Document 2

Sir John Knight's Case

87 Eng. Rep. 75 K.B. 1686

An information was exhibited against him by the Attorney General, upon the statute of 2 Edw. 3, c. 3, which prohibits "all persons from coming with force and arms before the King's Justices, &c., and from going or riding armed in affray of peace, on pain to forfeit his armour, and suffer imprisonment at the King's pleasure." This statute is confirmed by that of 20 Rich. 2, c. 1, with an addition of a further punishment, which is to make a fine to the King.

The information sets forth, that the defendant did walk about the streets armed with guns, and that he went into the church of St. Michael, in Bristol, in the time of divine service, with a gun, to terrify the King's subjects, contra formam statuti.

This case was tried at the Bar, and the defendant was acquitted.

The Chief Justice said, that the meaning of the statute of 2 Edw. 3, c. 3, was to punish people who go armed to terrify the King's subjects. It is likewise a great offence at the common law, as if the King were not able or willing to protect his subjects; and therefore this Act is but an affirmance of that law; and it having appointed a penalty, this Court can inflict no other punishment than what is therein directed.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 5, Amendment II, Document 2
The University of Chicago Press

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