What is ARMS?

Anything that a man wears for his defense, or takes in his hands, or uses in his anger, to cast at or strike at another. Co. Litt. 1616, 162a; State v. Buzzard, 4 Ark. 18. This term, as it Is used in the constitution, relative to the right of citizens to bear arms, refers to the arms of a militiaman or soldier, and the word is used in its military sense. The arms of the infantry soldier are the musket and bayonet; of cavalry and dragoons, the sabre, holster pistols, and carbine; of the artillery, the field-piece, siegegun, and mortar, with side arms. The term, in this connection, cannot be made to cover such weapons as dirks, daggers, slung-shots, sword- canes, brass knuckles, and bowieknives. These are not military arms. English v. State, 35 Tex. 476, 14 Am. Rep. 374; Hill v. State, 53 Ga. 472; Fife v. State, 31 Ark. 455, 25 Am. Rep. 556; Andrews v. State, 3 Heisk. (Tenn.) 170, 8 Am. Rep. 8; Aymette v. State, 2 Humph. (Tenn.) 154. Arms, or coat of arms, signifies insignia, i. e., ensigns of honor, such as were formerly assumed by soldiers of fortune, and painted on their shields to distinguish them; or nearly the same as armorial bearings, (q. v.)

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