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What is the legal origin of "law abiding citizens"

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What is the legal...

What is the legal origin of "law abiding citizens"

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

Massachusetts

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

My question is the historical legal origin of the phrase "law abiding citizen." That phrase is used repeatedly in a good number of court cases particularly in regard to gun cases (Heller 14x (2008), Moore 6x (2012), Kolbe 23x (2017), Stimmel, 4x (1/4/18). The phrase seems to gloss over key assumptions of those decisions.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I think that's quite enough for one morning. There was an 1830 reference to the phrase without content. I could not find any substantive explanation for a phrase that seems to be used causally without a substantive definitional underpinning. Clark

Submitted: 5 months ago.Category: Legal
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1/5/2018
Lawyer: Ray, Lawyer replied 5 months ago
Ray
Ray, Lawyer
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Satisfied Customers: 47,590
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Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you today.Please bear with me a few moments while I review your question and respond.

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Lawyer: Ray, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

A law-abiding citizen always obeys the law and is considered to be good and honest because of this.It references how a law would affect someone in his daily life that is in compliance with the law here in Massachusetts.A a law-abiding person obeys the law.

This is not defined by statute but the Oxford Legal Dictionary and others define it as Obedient to the laws of society.

‘a law-abiding citizen’

The bot***** *****ne here is the the legislature and courts look to such legal definitions to see whether a statute applies to a law abiding citizen and whether it clearly states what that person can do to stay within the law.

I appreciate the chance to help you today.Thanks and thanks for rating 5 stars.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
As far as I figure out there is no such "legal definition." It's a colloquial phrase repeated in all dictionaries to mean to comply with the law but when "law-abiding citizen" is used in court decisions it carries extra freight including legally present non citizens, but more importantly it serves as a positive gloss (patina of "citizens" not just persons) + ("law abiding" ...shouldn't that just be assumed), and not licensed in any sense comparable to auto drivers, lawyers, or even physical therapists) to avoid the mounting evidence that gun ownership includes community risks (100,000 killings and injuries per year) that we don't put up with in most other aspects of public life. No other nation puts up this optional risk level. My question was based on my assumption that the legal profession would have tried to clean this issue up a bit. Clark
Lawyer: Ray, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

You are correct that it is not defined in statute.The idea is that a person who is acting within the law finds themselves charged with a gun or other crime when they had intent to comply with the law, for example had concealed weapons permit.

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Lawyer: Ray, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

Here is a current case whee it appears the person was acting within the law here and was charged..

http://volokh.com/2013/08/08/interesting-new-gun-case-from-massachusetts-highest-court/

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