The Legal History of 'Dangerous or Unusual Weapons'

8 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2015 Last revised: 7 Nov 2015

Date Written: October 17, 2015


The phrase “dangerous or unusual weapons” has long been used by American courts to justify prohibiting possession or carrying of particular classes of weapons. Examination of the history of this phrase shows it was neither as ancient nor as broadly prohibitive as many assume. Analogies to First Amendment case law suggest that the authority of the government may be more limited than D.C. v. Heller (2008) indicates.

Keywords: firearms, weapons, Second Amendment

Suggested Citation

Cramer, Clayton E., The Legal History of 'Dangerous or Unusual Weapons' (October 17, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Clayton E. Cramer (Contact Author)

College of Western Idaho ( email )

5500 East Opportunity Drive
Nampa, ID 83687
United States

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