Thread: Utah hb 268
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Old February 28, 2013, 12:40 AM   #2
vranasaurus
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Join Date: November 16, 2008
Posts: 1,175
Disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace are the modern iterations of the common law offense of going riding armed with dangerous or unusual weapons to terrify the king's subjects.

This offense could be committed in two ways:

Carrying a weapon whose only purpose was to terrify.

Carrying a weapon in such a manner intending to or knowing it would cause fear in a person of reasonably firm mind.


Many courts have misinterpreted this language and offense as prohibiting a large class of very dangerous weapons. On the contrary this was a crime of intent. If carrying a weapon whose only purpose is to terrify this is pretty good evidence that one intends to terrify. The other way of committing the offense requires that the perpetrators intent be proven.

The courts were clear that the mere carrying of arms was insufficient to committ the offense. In affirming a conviction for the common law offense of carrying dangerous and unusual weapons because the defendant displayed malicious intent or purpose the North Carolina Supreme Court cautioned “although a gun is an "unusual weapon," it is to be remembered that the carrying of a gun per se constitutes no offence.” State v. Huntly, 25 N.C. 418, 422-23, (1843).

It seems to me that this bill would adopt and codify a very old common law offense that seems to make sense.
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