Kentucky Historical Society


Moments in Kentucky
Legislative History

8. Concealed Weapons (1813)

On February 3, 1813, the General Assembly approved an act "to prevent persons in this Commonwealth from wearing concealed weapons, except in certain circumstances." A fine of one hundred dollars would be imposed for carrying "a pocket pistol, dirk, large knife, or sword in a cane, concealed as a weapon." Carrying these weapons was forbidden by anyone "unless when traveling on a journey." Half of the fines levied for this offense "shall be to the use of the informer, and the other to the use of this commonwealth."

Gov. Robert P. Letcher's gun cane, ca. 1830.

Gov. Robert P. Letcher's gun cane, ca. 1830, donated by Mary Foley, Kentucky Historical Society Collections. The cane has a hollow reed sheath and round steel barrel, tapering to the muzzle. The ivory handle slides back and locks, revealing gunlock; downward pressure on the handle opens spring hammer and reveals percussion nipple. Letcher had studied law with Humphrey Marshall. Serving in the War of 1812, he was then elected to the General Assembly in 1813, 1815, 1817, and to Congress in 1823, 1833, 1834-35. He became Kentucky's 15th governor in 1840. He served as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Mexico in 1849-52.

Kentucky Unbridled Spirit

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