Gun laws in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, during the Battle of the O.K. Corral 130 years ago…DSD

I wish I’d sent you the L.A. Times link from a couple of weeks ago that backed up my assertion that the gun laws in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, during the Battle of the O.K. Corral 130 years ago were much tougher than anyone in Arizona (D or R) would dare contemplate today.

When you rode into town, you had to turn in your guns at the Grand Hotel or at the Sheriff’s office until you were ready to ride out. Concealed weapons were forbidden by city ordinance.

So Pima County Sheriff Dupnik’s reference to Tombstone and the O.K. Corral wasn’t out of place.

He cleaned up the country,
The old Wild West country,
Let order and justice prevail,
And none can deny it:
The legend of Wyatt
Forever will live on the trail.

Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp…

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One thought on “Gun laws in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, during the Battle of the O.K. Corral 130 years ago…DSD”

  1. Ah, here’s the story, the old Wild West story, from The Los Angeles Times:

    Gun laws were tougher in old Tombstone

    ¶ No need to check your firearm today in the Arizona town famed for the gunfight at the OK Corral.

    By Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times
    January 23, 2011

    Reporting from Tombstone, Ariz. — A billboard just outside this Old West town promises “Gunfights Daily!” and tourists line up each afternoon to watch costumed cowboys and lawmen reenact the bloody gunfight at the OK Corral with blazing six-shooters.

    But as with much of the Wild West, myth has replaced history. The 1881 shootout took place in a narrow alley, not at the corral. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday weren’t seen as heroic until later; they were initially charged with murder.

    And one fact is usually ignored: Back then, Tombstone had far stricter gun control than it does today. In fact, the American West’s most infamous gun battle erupted when the marshal tried to enforce a local ordinance that barred carrying firearms in public. A judge had fined one of the victims $25 earlier that day for packing a pistol.

    “You could wear your gun into town, but you had to check it at the sheriff’s office or the Grand Hotel, and you couldn’t pick it up again until you were leaving town,” said Bob Boze Bell, executive editor of True West Magazine, which celebrates the Old West. “It was an effort to control the violence.”…

    continued at:,0,7161951.story

    which says that attitudes in today’s Tombstone, like those in the rest of Arizona, are very different.

    ¶ This was one of the relevant laws in Tombstone at the time of the 1881 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, according to Wikipedia’s article on the battle:

    November 1881 Ordinance No. 9

    “To Provide against Carrying of Deadly Weapons” (effective April 19, 1881).

    Section 1. “It is hereby declared to be unlawful for any person to carry deadly weapons, concealed or otherwise [except the same be carried openly in sight, and in the hand] within the limits of the City of Tombstone.

    Section 2: This prohibition does not extend to persons immediately leaving or entering the city, who, with good faith, and within reasonable time are proceeding to deposit, or take from the place of deposit such deadly weapon.

    Section 3: All fire-arms of every description, and bowie knives and dirks, are included within the prohibition of this ordinance.”

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