The Law in Tombstone

Ordinances Relevant in the Preliminary  Hearing
in the Earp-Holliday Case,
Heard before Judge Wells Spicer

November 1881

Ordinance No.9:

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

Section 1.
It is hereby declared unlawful to carry in the hand or upon the person or otherwise any deadly weapon within the limits of said city of Tombstone, without first obtaining a permit in writing.


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.


Note: The Earps knew from reports they had received that Frank McLaury, and Ike and Billy Clanton, were in violation of this Ordinance.  The confrontation that led to the gunfight grew out of Virgil Earp's determination to enforced Tombstone's law prohibiting the carrying of deadly weapons.

Ordinance No.7, Section 1 (effective April 12, 1881):

It shall be the duty of all policemen to arrest all parties found in the public streets within the city limits, engaged in brawling, quarreling, etc., and all persons who be shall found in any disorderly act whereby a breach of the peace might be occasioned.

Note: Ike Clanton at several times in several saloons and other public places, including Fly's Boarding House, had threatened the Earps and and Doc Holliday, in apparent violation of this ordinance. Virgil Earp made the arrest on a public street.


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