Right to keep and bear arms

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Gun rights)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
A woman trains real-life defensive gun use scenarios with live ammunition at a video shooting range in Prague, Czech Republic.

The right to keep and bear arms (often referred to as the right to bear arms) is the people's right to possess weapons (arms) for their own defense.[1] Only few countries recognize people's right to keep and bear arms and protect it on statutory level, and even fewer protect the right on constitutional level.

Background[edit]

The Bill of Rights 1689 allowed Protestant citizens of England to "have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law" and restricted the ability of the English Crown to have a standing army or to interfere with Protestants' right to bear arms "when Papists were both Armed and Imployed contrary to Law" and established that Parliament, not the Crown, could regulate the right to bear arms.[2][3]

Sir William Blackstone wrote in the 18th century that the right to have arms was auxiliary to the "natural right of resistance and self-preservation" subject to suitability and allowance by law.[4] The term arms as used in the 1600s, the term refers to the process of equipping for war.[5] It is commonly used as a synonym for weapon.[6]

Inclusion of this right in a written constitution is uncommon. In 1875, 17 percent of constitutions included a right to bear arms. Since the early twentieth century, "the proportion has been less than 9 percent and falling".[7] In their historical survey and comparative analysis of constitutions dating back to 1789,[7] Tom Ginsburg and colleagues "identified only 15 constitutions (in nine countries) that had ever included an explicit right to bear arms. Almost all of these constitutions have been in Latin America, and most were from the 19th century".[8]

Generally, where modern constitutions refer to arms at all, the purpose is "to allow the government to regulate their use or to compel military service, not to provide a right to bear them".[7] Constitutions which historically guaranteed a right to bear arms are those of Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Liberia, Mexico, Nicaragua and the United States of America.[9] Nearly all of the Latin American examples were modelled on that of the United States.[8] At present, out of the world’s nearly 200 constitutions, three still include a right to bear arms: Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States; of these three, only the last does not include explicit restrictive conditions.[7]

Americas[edit]

Guatemala[edit]

While protecting the right to keep arms, Guatemalan constitution specifies that this right extends only to "weapons not prohibited by law".

Honduras[edit]

Although not explicitly protected by the constitution, the right to keep and bear arms is conditionally guaranteed by Honduran Statute law.[12]


Mexico[edit]

Mexican constitution of 1857 first included right to be armed. In its first version, the right was defined in similar terms as it is in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. A new Mexican constitution of 1917 relativized the right, stating that its utilization must be in line with local police regulations.

Another change was included in 1971 Constitution. Since then, Mexicans have the right to be armed only within their home and further utilization of this right is subject to statutory authorization in Federal law.

United States[edit]

Europe[edit]

Czech Republic[edit]

In the Czech Republic, every citizen that meets conditions laid down in Act No. 119/2002 Coll.[16] has the right to have firearms license issued and can then obtain a firearm.[17][18] Holders of D (exercise of profession) and E (self-defense) licenses, which are also shall-issue, can carry up to two concealed firearms for protection.[19] The right to be armed is statutorily protected, however it is not listed in the constitution.

A proposal to have right to keep and bear arms included in the constitution was entered in the Czech Parliament in December 2016.[20] The proposal was approved by vote of 139 to 9 on 28 June 2017 by the Chamber of Deputies. It later failed to reach necessary support in Senate, where only 28 out of 59 Senators present supported it (constituional majority being 36 votes ).[21]

The proposal is expected to be submitted again in the Parliament after the 5 and 6 October 2018 Senate elections.[22]

Switzerland[edit]

The Swiss have a statutory right to bear arms under Article 3 of the 1997 Weapons Act.[23][a] Switzerland practices universal conscription, which requires that all able-bodied male citizens keep fully automatic firearms at home in case of a call-up. Every male between the ages of 20 and 34 is considered a candidate for conscription into the military, and following a brief period of active duty will commonly be enrolled in the militia until age or an inability to serve ends his obligation.[24] Until December 2009, these men were required to keep their government-issued selective fire combat rifles and semi-automatic handguns in their homes as long as they were enrolled in the armed forces.[25] Since January 2010, they have had the option of depositing their personal firearm at a government arsenal.[26] Until September 2007, soldiers received 50 rounds of government-issued ammunition in a sealed box for storage at home; after 2007 only about 2,000 specialist troops are allowed to keep the ammunition at home.[27]

In a referendum in February 2011, voters rejected a citizens' initiative that would have obliged members of the armed services to store their rifles and pistols on military compounds and required that privately owned firearms be registered.[28]

United Kingdom[edit]


The right to keep and bear arms is not legally or constitutionally protected in the United Kingdom.[29] While citizens may possess certain firearms on an appropriate licence, [30] most handguns, automatic, and centerfire semi-automatic weapons are illegal to possess without special proviso.[29][31]

The English Bill of Rights 1689 allowed:

That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.[32]

The first serious control on firearms was established with the passing of the Firearms Act 1920.[33] Since the passing of gun control laws, the UK has one of the lowest firearm death rates among developed nations, with 0.2 deaths per 100,000, compared to 10.2 in the U.S.[34]

Since 1953, it has been a criminal offence in the United Kingdom to carry a knife (with the exception of non-locking folding knives with a cutting edge of 3 inches (7.62 centimetres) or less) or any "offensive weapon" in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse. The cutting edge of a knife is separate to the blade length. The only manner in which an individual can carry arms is on private property or any property which the public does not have a lawful right of access as the law only creates the offence when it occurs in public[35][36] e.g. a person's own home, private land, the area in a shop where the public have no access, etc. Furthermore, Section 141 Criminal Justice Act 1988 specifically lists all offensive weapons that cannot technically be owned - even on private property - by way of making it illegal to sell, trade, hire, etc. an offensive weapon to another person[37].

Furthermore, the law does not allow an offensive weapon or ordinary item intended or adapted as an offensive weapon to be carried in public before the threat of violence arises. This would only be acceptable in the eyes of the law if the person armed themselves immediately preceding or during an attack (in a public place). This is known as a "weapon of opportunity" or "instantaneous arming"[38].

Other[edit]

Sharia law[edit]

Under Sharia law, there is an intrinsic freedom to own arms. However, in times of civil strife or internal violence, this right can be temporarily suspended to keep peace and prevent harm, as mentioned by Imam ash-Shatibi in his works on Maqasid ash-Shari'ah (The Intents and Purposes of Shari'ah)[39][40] Citizens not practicing Islam are prohibited from bearing arms and are required to be protected by the military, the state for which they pay the jizyah. In exchange they do not need to pay the zakat.[41]

Yemen[edit]

There is no right to keep and bear arms in Yemen,[citation needed] but firearms are both easily and legally accessible.[42][43]

Gun violence and the politics of the right to bear arms[edit]

Legal restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms are usually put in place by legislators because they believe that they will reduce gun related violence.[44][45][46] Their actions are frequently the result of grass roots pressure for such controls. The Brady, Snowdrop Campaigns, and the Million Mom March are recent examples of campaigns calling for tighter restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.

Accident statistics are hard to obtain, but much data is available on the issue of gun ownership and gun related deaths. The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) has made comparisons between countries with different levels of gun ownership and investigated the correlation between gun ownership levels and gun homicides, and between gun ownership levels and gun suicides. A strong correlation is seen in both.

During the 1989 and 1992 International Crime Surveys, data on gun ownership in eighteen countries have been collected on which WHO data on suicide and homicide committed with guns and other means are also available. The results presented in a previous paper based on the fourteen countries surveyed during the first ICS and on rank correlations (Spearman's rho), suggested that gun ownership may increase suicides and homicides using firearms, while it may not reduce suicides and homicides with other means. In the present analysis, four additional countries covered by the 1992 ICS only have been included, and Pearson's correlation coefficients r have been used. The results confirm those presented in the previous study.[47]

UNICRI also investigated the relationship between gun ownership levels and other forms of homicide or suicide to determine whether high gun ownership added to or merely displaced other forms of homicide or suicide. They reported that "widespread gun ownership has not been found to reduce the likelihood of fatal events committed with other means. Thus, people do not turn to knives and other potentially lethal instruments less often when more guns are available, but more guns usually means more victims of suicide and homicide." Speculating on possible causes the researchers concluded that "all we know is that guns do not reduce fatal events due to other means, but that they go along with more shootings. Although we do not know why exactly this is so, we have a good reason to suspect guns to play a—fatal—role in this".[48]

The research reporter found that guns were the major cause of homicides in 3 of the 14 countries it studied; Northern Ireland, Italy, and the United States. Although the data seem to indicate that reducing the availability of one significant type of arms—firearms—leads to reductions both in gun crimes and gun suicides and in overall crimes and overall suicides, the author did caution that "reducing the number of guns in the hands of the private citizen may become a hopeless task beyond a certain point", citing the American example.[48]

In contrast to the 1993 study however, a more recent study by UNICRI researchers from 2001 examined the link between household gun ownership and overall homicide, overall suicide, as well as gun homicide and gun suicide rates amongst 21 countries. Significant correlations between household gun ownership and rates of gun suicides for both genders, and gun homicide rates involving female victims were found. There were no significant correlations detected for total homicide and suicide rates, as well as gun homicide rates involving male victims.[49]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Art. 3 Recht auf Waffenerwerb, Waffenbesitz und Waffentragen: Das Recht auf Waffenerwerb, Waffenbesitz und Waffentragen ist im Rahmen dieses Gesetzes gewährleistet." (The right to acquire, possess and carry arms is guaranteed in the framework of this law.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Halbrook, Stephen P. (1994). That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right (Independent Studies in Political Economy). Oakland, CA: The Independent Institute. p. 8. ISBN 0-945999-38-0. OCLC 30659789.
  2. ^ "1688 c.2 1 Will. and Mar. Sess. 2". The National Archives (UK). Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  3. ^ "BBC: Bill of Rights Act, 1689 – The Glorious Revolution". bbc.co.uk. BBC. 2002. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  4. ^ "Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England". Avalon.law.yale.edu. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  5. ^ Harper, Douglas Harper. "arm (n.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Arm". Thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d Ginsburg, Tom; Elkins, Zachary; Melton, James (7 March 2013). "U.S. Gun Rights Are Truly American Exceptionalism". Bloomberg. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  8. ^ a b Elkins, Zachary (4 April 2013). "Rewrite the Second Amendment". New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  9. ^ Ginsburg, Tom; Elkins, Zachary; Melton, James (2016). "Data Visualizations – Right to Bear Arms". CCP: Comparative Constitutions Project. Retrieved 2016. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  10. ^ https://www.businessinsider.com/2nd-amendment-countries-constitutional-right-bear-arms-2017-10#guatemala-2
  11. ^ https://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/citation/quotes/9262
  12. ^ https://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/honduras
  13. ^ {{cite web | url= http://www.ordenjuridico.gob.mx/Constitucion/articulos/10.pdf | title= Mexican Constitution (As amended) |work= |publisher= |pages= Article 10
  14. ^ {{cite web | url= http://www.ordenjuridico.gob.mx/Constitucion/articulos/10.pdf | title= Mexican Constitution (As amended) |work= |publisher= |pages= Article 10
  15. ^ 36 Members of Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic (2017), Proposal of amendment of constitutional act no. 110/1998 Col., on Security of the Czech Republic (in Czech), Prague, retrieved 12 February 2017
  16. ^ Parliament of the Czech Republic (2002), Act No. 119/2002 Coll., on Firearms and Ammunition (in Czech), Prague
  17. ^ Firearms Act, Section 8
  18. ^ Firearms Act, Section 16(1)
  19. ^ Firearms Act, Section 28(3)(B), 28(4)(C)
  20. ^ Ministry of Interior (2016), Proposal of amendment of constitutional act no. 110/1998 Col., on Security of the Czech Republic (in Czech), Prague, retrieved 16 December 2016
  21. ^ Právo nosit zbraň pro zajištění bezpečnosti Česka Senát neschválil [The Senate didn't adopt the right to carry a firearm for the purpose of protection of the Czech Republic] (in Czech), 2017, retrieved 6 December 2017
  22. ^ "Rozhovor – senátorka Syková: implementace by se měla řešit až po rozsudku Evropského soudního dvora [Senator Syková: Implementation should be postponed after the decision of the CJEU]". zbrojnice.com (in Czech). Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  23. ^ "SR 514.54 Bundesgesetz über Waffen, Waffenzubehör und Munition (Waffengesetz WG)" (official site) (in German, Italian, and French). Berne, Switzerland: The Swiss Federal Council. 1 July 2016. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
  24. ^ The Swiss Army at Europeforvisitors.com.
  25. ^ Lott, John R. (October 2, 2003). "Swiss Miss". National Review. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
  26. ^ "Hinterlegung der persönlichen Waffe". Logistikbasis der Armee, Eidgenössisches Departement für Verteidigung, Bevölkerungsschutz und Sport. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  27. ^ "Soldiers can keep guns at home but not ammo". Swissinfo. 27 September 2007.
  28. ^ "Switzerland rejects tighter gun controls". BBC News Online. 13 February 2011.
  29. ^ a b Alpers, Philip, Marcus Wilson, Amélie Rossetti and Daniel Salinas (2015-04-29). "United Kingdom – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law – Gun regulation, Right to Possess Firearms". Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney. Retrieved 2015-05-13.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  30. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/518193/Guidance_on_Firearms_Licensing_Law_April_2016_v20.pdf
  31. ^ Kopel, David (1995). "It isn't about duck hunting: The British origins of the right to arms". Michigan Law Review. Michigan Law Review Association (93): 1333–62. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  32. ^ Bill of Rights [1688]
  33. ^ John Pate (1903-08-11). "Dunblane Massacre Resource Page – Pistols Act, 1903". Dvc.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  34. ^ "How U.S. gun deaths compare to other countries". CBS. October 7, 2017.
  35. ^ http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Eliz2/1-2/14/section/1
  36. ^ https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/offensive-weapons-knives-bladed-and-pointed-articles
  37. ^ http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/33/section/141
  38. ^ https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/offensive-weapons-knives-bladed-and-pointed-articles
  39. ^ Aḥmad Raysūnī (2005). Imam Al-Shatibi's Theory of the Higher Objectives and Intents of Islamic Law. p. 60. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  40. ^ "Purpose of Law" (Book). Imam Al-Shatibi's Theory of the Higher Objectives and Intents of Islamic Law (Paperback).
  41. ^ Goldschmidt, Arthur; Arthur Goldschmidt Jr (2002). A concise history of the Middle East. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press. p. 108. ISBN 0-8133-3885-9.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  42. ^ Weapons in Yemen, Yemeni gun market.
  43. ^ [1], Gun policy in Yemen
  44. ^ Wright, David (April 22, 2007). "U.K. Response to School Massacre: Ban Handguns". ABC News.
  45. ^ "EU legislators push tougher gun controls". International Herald Tribune. November 29, 2007. Archived from the original on November 29, 2007.
  46. ^ "President Clinton Calls Brady Law a Success and Backs More Limits". New York Times. December 1, 1999.
  47. ^ Killias, Martin (1993). "Gun Ownership, Suicide and Homicide: An International Perspective" (PDF). In Alvazzi del Frate, Anna; Zvekic, Ugljesa; van Dijk, Jan J. M. (eds.). Understanding Crime, Experiences of Crime and Crime Control - Acts of the International Conference, Rome, 18–20 Nov 1992. Rome: United Nations International Crime & Justice Research Institute (UNICRI). pp. 289–306. ISBN 92-9078-023-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-01-07.
  48. ^ a b Killias, Martin (1993). "Gun Ownership, Suicide and Homicide: An International Perspective" (PDF). In Alvazzi del Frate, Anna; Zvekic, Ugljesa; van Dijk, Jan J. M. (eds.). Understanding Crime, Experiences of Crime and Crime Control - Acts of the International Conference, Rome, 18–20 Nov 1992. Rome: United Nations International Crime & Justice Research Institute (UNICRI). pp. 289–306. ISBN 92-9078-023-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-01-07. During the 1989 and 1992 International Crime Surveys data on gun ownership in eighteen countries have been collected on which WHO data on suicide and homicide committed with guns and other means are also available. The results ... based on the fourteen countries surveyed during the first ICS and on rank correlations...suggested that gun ownership may increase suicides and homicides using firearms, while it may not reduce suicides and homicides with other means.
  49. ^ Killias, M.; van Kesteren, J.; Rindlisbacher, M. (2001). "Guns, Violent Crime, and Suicide in 21 Countries" (PDF). Canadian Journal of Criminology. 43 (4): 429–448.

Further reading[edit]

  • Baker, Dennis (2009). Collective Criminalization and the Constitutional Right to Endanger Others. Criminal Justice Ethics.
  • Cramer, Clayton E. (1994). For the Defense of Themselves and the State: The Original Intent and Judicial Interpretation of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-94913-3.
  • Dizard, Jan E.; Muth, Robert Merrill; Andrews, Stephen P., Jr. (1999). Guns in America: A Reader. New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-1878-7.
  • Halbrook, Stephan P. (1989). A Right to Bear Arms: State and Federal Bills of Rights and Constitutional Guarantees. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-26539-9.
  • Malcolm, Joyce (1996). To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674893078.
  • Malcolm, Joyce (2004). Guns and Violence: The English Experience. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0674016088.
  • Spitzer, Robert J. (1998). The Politics of Gun Control. Chatham House Publishers. ISBN 1-56643-021-6.
  • Uviller, H. Richard; William G. Merkel (2002). The Militia and the Right to Arms. Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-3017-2.