[ Back | Home ]
[Cite as State v. Broadnax, 91 N.C. 543
STATE v. DOUGLASS BROADNAX.
Concealed Weapon--Criminal Intent.
1. One is not guilty of a violation of the statute
prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons, where it appears that he had a
pistol in his pocket for the purpose of delivering it to the owner who had sent
him for it. The facts here show that there was no criminal intent.
2. The mischief provided against, is the practice
of wearing weapons concealed about the person to be used upon an
Indictment for carrying
concealed weapon, tried at Fall Term, 1881, of Rockingham, before Gudger, J.
The defendant was charged with carrying a pistol concealed about his
person, off his own premises, in violation of the act of 1879, ch.
127. The Code, sec. 1005.
He was found off his own premises on the platform at the depot, at
Reidsville, with a pistol in his pocket.
At the time of finding the pistol in defendant's pocket by a
policeman, he stated that the pistol belonged to one George McCain, with whom he
boarded, and that McCain had sent him to bring the pistol from the residence of
one Charles Gunn, and that while on his way with the pistol he had purchased for
one Hardin Scales, who was going off on the train, a pint of whiskey, and that
he was on the platform to deliver the whiskey when arrested.
The defendant testified to these facts, and was corroborated by both
McCain and Gunn, as to the facts that he had been sent for the pistol, and that
it had been delivered to him for the purpose of being carried to McCain, who was
The defendant was also corroborated by Hardin (p.544)Scales as to the fact that he had requested him to bring
him a pint of whiskey on the evening of his arrest, as testified to by
The defendant was found guilty, and there was judgment against him,
from which he appealed.
Attorney-General, for the State.
No cause for the defendant.
Ashe, J. The case of S. v. Gilbert, 87 N.C., 527, is decisive of
this case. There, a merchant while in the streets of Asheville, had in his
overcoat pocket, concealed from view, a pistol which he had bought as a sample,
and was carrying it to another store in the town to have it packed with other
goods which he had bought to be carried to his store in the country. It was held
by this court that he was not guilty of a violation of the statute. Mr. Justice
Ruffin, who delivered the opinion of the court, said:
"To hold that a merchant, who, having just purchased a pistol with a view to his
trade, and carrying it from one store in a town to another for the purpose of
having it packed with other goods, thoughtlessly put it in his pocket, not
caring, and not thinking whether it could be seen or not, is guilty of a
criminal violation of the laws of his country, is more, we think, than was ever
contemplated by those who framed the law upon the subject, and very certainly
seems far removed from the mischief that it was intended to remedy."
To be sure in that case there was a special verdict and the jury
found there was no criminal intent. But the facts developed in this case show as
conclusively that there was no criminal intent, as if that fact had been found
by a jury. The facts of this case are so similar in character, to those in the
case cited, that if the defendant was not guilty in that case, he cannot be in
The mischief intended to be remedied by the statute was the practice
of wearing offensive weapons (p.545)concealed about the person, or carrying them so
concealed with a purpose to be used offensively or defensively upon an
emergency. We cannot believe that it was the intention of the law-makers to hold
one answerable to the criminal law who carries a pistol, for instance, in his
pocket to a gunsmith to be repaired, or that a gentleman residing in a city who
buys a pistol to be taken to his residence, is required to carry it through the
streets openly in his hand. It would certainly be an unseemly plight for some
members of the community, who might yet think that a pistol was a necessary
household article for protection against thieves and burglars.