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An 1869 Data Point on the Second Amendment:

An Act to Protect the Owners of Firearms, from the Oregon Legislature in Jan. 26, 1869:

WHEREAS, The constitution of the United States, in article second of amendments to the constitution, declares that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed;" and the constitution of the state of Oregon, in article first, section twenty-seven, declares that "the people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state;" therefore;

§ 1. Every white male citizen of this state above the age of sixteen years, shall be entitled to have, hold, and keep, for his own use and defence, the following firearms, to wit: either or any one of the following named guns, and one revolving pistol: a rifle, shotgun (double or single barrel), yager, or musket; the same to be exempt from execution, in all cases, under the laws of Oregon.

§ 2. No officer, civil or military, or other person, shall take from or demand of the owner any firearms mentioned in this chapter, except where the services of the owner are also required to keep the peace or defend the state.

Naturally, this doesn't necessarily mean that exemption from execution -- which is to say exemption from seizure for payment of legal judgments -- was understood as a legally mandatory aspect of the state or federal constitutional right to bear arms; the statute was likely seen as building on the constitutional provisions, rather than implementing their literal command. But it does suggest that at least in late 1860s Oregon, the Second Amendment was seen as referring to an individual right to bear arms, including for purposes of one's "own use and defence," and covering revolvers as well as long guns.

By the way, the Oxford English Dictionary reports that a yager is a kind of rifle: "1848 H. W. HERBERT Field Sports U.S. II. 254 Throughout the South and South-West,..the yager, as it is called, or short-barrelled, large-bored piece, is universally preferred."

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