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Old 04-09-2009, 10:02 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Do any other countries have the right to bear arms in their Constitution?

Over in the GD thread, Gun Culture in the US - Why? , Wendall Wagner stated:
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Originally Posted by Wendall Wagner
I'm tired of this deliberate distortion of American culture to make it more different from other countries than it actually is.
To which I replied:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper
Just as a point of curiosity - what other countries view guns so important to the political culture as to entrench gun ownership in their constitutions?
I'm now asking that as a General Question, seeking a factual answer - are there other countries, besides the US, that have constitutionally entrenched the right of individuals to bear arms?

I'm not asking whether other countries should do so, nor am I suggesting that the US is wrong to have done so. That's a choice that the citizens of each country make.

Also, I'm not meaning to criticize Wendall - it's just that his comment is what led me to ask this question.

I'm just asking whether other countries have followed the lead of the US in this regard.

I'll go first. As I stated in that thread, Canada does not have any constitutional protection for the right of individuals to bear arms.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:21 AM
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Well, if it means anything, Wikipedia says:
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Cuba

Chapter 1, Article 3 of the Constitution of Cuba "... all citizens have the right to struggle through all means, including armed struggle. ..."'

Mexico

"Article 10. The inhabitants of the United Mexican States are entitled to have arms of any kind in their possession for their protection and legitimate defense, except such as are expressly forbidden by law, or which the nation may reserve for the exclusive use of the Army, Navy, or National Guard; but they may not carry arms within inhabited places without complying with police regulations."

[not sure what those exclusions are]

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Chapter IV, Article 60 of the Socialist Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) "The State shall (...) arm the entire people and fortify the country on the basis of equipping the army and the people politically and ideologically."

[Countries under] Sharia [(Islamic religious law]]

Under Sharia in Islam, all men are policemen and soldiers. All men have the right to bear arms.[76] Jews, Christians are prohibited from bearing arms, but exempt from military duties. However, they must be protected by the Islamic State's Military, the state for which they pay the jizyah.

Last edited by Reply; 04-09-2009 at 10:22 AM..
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:39 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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just realised there's a typo in the thread title - meant it to say "Do any other countries" - could a friendly mod fix it?

thanks.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:53 AM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
just realised there's a typo in the thread title - meant it to say "Do any other countries" - could a friendly mod fix it?

thanks.
Done.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:57 AM
Alive At Both Ends Alive At Both Ends is offline
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Quote:
Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Chapter IV, Article 60 of the Socialist Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) "The State shall (...) arm the entire people and fortify the country on the basis of equipping the army and the people politically and ideologically."
I really, really doubt whether this means giving people the right to carry guns. It sounds more like indoctrinating the people with the DPRK's propaganda so that they'll resist foreign influences and do as the Dear Leader tells them. The words "politically and ideologically" are a dead giveaway.
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:17 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Done.
thanks!
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:21 AM
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FOR GREAT KIM!!!

So, I wonder, do private citizens there actually possess guns at home, even if they're just to defend Dear Leader in times of invasion?
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:22 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Thanks for digging out that info, Reply.

Sounds like Mexico comes closest to the US example, but even then it seems heavily qualified by type of weapon, police regulation, and inhabited places. Wonder if that would permit the government to regulate or ban gun ownership in dwelling houses, which would not be allowed under Heller?

I concur with Alive at Both Ends that the North Korean wording sounds more like totalitarian indoctrination than an individual right to bear arms.

The Sharia example doesn't match the US at all, since it's restricted to male Muslims - excludes females from owning guns for self-defence, and Christians and Jews - which runs counter to the theme of the minority needing guns to protect themselves from an oppressive majority government.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 04-09-2009 at 11:22 AM.. Reason: hit submit too soon
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:50 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
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I don't know that it's in whatever their version of the constitution is, but Switzerland has very liberal gun laws and requires all males in a certain age to join the state militia and keep a government issued assault rifle in their house at all times:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_pol...in_Switzerland
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:10 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
which runs counter to the theme of the minority needing guns to protect themselves from an oppressive majority government.
Which is not what the U.S. Constitution says either.
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Old 04-09-2009, 03:07 PM
AK84 AK84 is offline
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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Thanks for digging out that info, Reply.

Sounds like Mexico comes closest to the US example, but even then it seems heavily qualified by type of weapon, police regulation, and inhabited places. Wonder if that would permit the government to regulate or ban gun ownership in dwelling houses, which would not be allowed under Heller?

I concur with Alive at Both Ends that the North Korean wording sounds more like totalitarian indoctrination than an individual right to bear arms.

The Sharia example doesn't match the US at all, since it's restricted to male Muslims - excludes females from owning guns for self-defence, and Christians and Jews - which runs counter to the theme of the minority needing guns to protect themselves from an oppressive majority government.
The "Sharia" example is wrong factually and otherwise. It was a rule of the Ummayad Empire (which succeeded the original caliphate) that all muslim men were liable to be called up for military service. Jews and Christians and others were exempt if they paid a tax. The Abbasid Caliphate which succeeded them had a professional standing army, so the point became moot.

Totalitarian States often haven citizens armed, it fits in right with their model of mass mobalisation, one of the reasons the Soviet Union was able to raise fresh armies just as fast as the germans destroyed them in 1941.
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Old 04-09-2009, 03:30 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
The "Sharia" example is wrong factually and otherwise. It was a rule of the Ummayad Empire (which succeeded the original caliphate) that all muslim men were liable to be called up for military service. Jews and Christians and others were exempt if they paid a tax. The Abbasid Caliphate which succeeded them had a professional standing army, so the point became moot.
In addition many Muslim states ( including the Umayyads ) made use of non-Muslim auxiliaries, especially in marches and areas of lighter Muslim settlements. Mughal armies for example made heavy use of Hindu troops.

Re: permanent standing armies, this started as early as the reign of the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ( r. 685-705 ), when the Ahl al-Sham ( army of Syria in this context ) became de-coupled from tribal rivalries and became the main bulwark of the dynasty.
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Old 04-09-2009, 03:31 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Sounds like Mexico comes closest to the US example, but even then it seems heavily qualified by type of weapon, police regulation, and inhabited places. Wonder if that would permit the government to regulate or ban gun ownership in dwelling houses, which would not be allowed under Heller?nt.
Pretty much, private ownership of guns (especially handguns) is banned in Mexico.

They used to allow handguns if they were not chambered for a military round/calibre, leading to many 1911 clones in .38super.

Around 30 years ago iirc, most of these were confiscated. You could buy boxloads of mostly unsorted and uncleaned .38super handguns for pennies on the dollar around that time. I worked PT in a gunstore and we had quite a few, I even cherry-picked one for myself. It was silver plated and hand-engraved (not really well done). The grips had been removed, they had appararntly been sterling silver.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1331029/posts
Gun control in Mexico is a fascinating case study. Mexican gun laws are simply draconian. No civilian may own a gun larger than .22 caliber, and a permit is required to buy one. All guns in Mexico are registered with the Ministry Of Defense. Guns may not be carried in public, either openly or concealed

http://www.davekopel.com/espanol/Mexican-Gun-Laws.htm
The Mexican Constitution guarantees the right of Mexicans to possess arms. Even so, gun control laws in Mexico are very strict, and police discretion in enforcement makes possession of firearms of greater than .22 very difficult.

Last edited by DrDeth; 04-09-2009 at 03:34 PM..
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Old 04-09-2009, 06:10 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acsenray View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper
which runs counter to the theme of the minority needing guns to protect themselves from an oppressive majority government.
Which is not what the U.S. Constitution says either.
Doesn't say it, but I've seen oodles of posts on these boards from supporters of the Second Amendment who say that's the primary purpose of the Amendment. Since we're in GQ, I'd prefer to avoid going down that road in this thread, if possible.
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Old 04-09-2009, 06:33 PM
Mk VII Mk VII is offline
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It's highly noticeable how few emerging countries since 1788 have seen fit to include such a provision in their constitutional arrangements - whether they were created by violent revolution or not.
Ireland certainly didn't. They kept all the old English laws and added some more.

Last edited by Mk VII; 04-09-2009 at 06:34 PM..
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:30 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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In the particular case of Ireland, it's probably significant that immediately after the Anglo-Irish Treaty, there was civil war in Ireland, between the supporters of the Treaty and the Republicans, in which one of the key nationalist leaders, Michael Collins, was killed. Seeing the country torn by civil war may have dampened the enthusiasm for a constitutional right to firearms (if there had been any to start with).
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:20 AM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is online now
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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
In the particular case of Ireland, it's probably significant that immediately after the Anglo-Irish Treaty, there was civil war in Ireland, between the supporters of the Treaty and the Republicans, in which one of the key nationalist leaders, Michael Collins, was killed. Seeing the country torn by civil war may have dampened the enthusiasm for a constitutional right to firearms (if there had been any to start with).
Indeed, during the civil war, civilian ownership of a gun was a capital offence. The 1st Erskine Childers was executed for possession.
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:10 PM
AK84 AK84 is offline
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Well in India since Indria Gandhis emergency the Indians have pretty much lost all rights to bear arms. In Pakistan, it there was always a big gun culture (outside of Sindh) and it was thought unneccesary to add an express protection. I figure everyone regrets that decision these days.

Indeed I have always been amused by the concept of the right to bear arms, you have either have arms or you don't, and rights rarely figure into that.
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Old 04-10-2009, 02:46 PM
Spavined Gelding Spavined Gelding is offline
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My understanding, via an immigrant great-grandfatherand a vaguely recollected National Geographic story, is that all adult male Swiss have the right to bear arms and mark this by attending elections, conducted by a show of hands in the town square, armed, usually with a broadsword. The sword tended to be a family heirloom and was a big honking blade, not one of those symbolic little decorator’s pieces affected by the officers of fraternal lodges.
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:38 PM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
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It seems to be very much a cultural thing. Many countries find it unnecessary to either establish or deny a "right" to bear arms as an individual liberty -- heck, in the US itself it was still being argued if this meant an individual right relatively recently.

But that's where the cultural part comes in: the US version, paraphrased, says "because we may need you for a militia, your right to be armed will not be infringed." It presupposes a populace that already expects to have the right to arm themselves.

One sees that in the Mexican version it explicitly recognizes the right to be armed for your own safety and protection, something that the US version does NOT include in the text and was still being argued in court centuries later. Yet, in virtually the same breath it immediately states that said right is conditioned on that you may only be armed in such a manner, time and place as the Law allows.

But come to think of it, that's what ALSO happens in the USA -- the right to keep and bear arms is NOT unrestricted and unlimited: the states and the Federal government variously regulate types of weapons, sales of weapons, where and how you may carry, who may carry, etc., court decisions have said that the regulation may not become a total ban, but it's OK to regulate.

And that's what happens in many of the world's cultures: it is just plain and simply considered a "given" that how well armed is the citizenry, if at all, is a matter of policy, not an inherent "right" as would be free speech or religion or a fair trial. To many of them it's so obvious it does not have to be written -- even if there is a tradition of gun ownership, for instance in rural areas, surely the Law will make the necessary reasonable adjustments, they'll tell you. And it seems that to the American founders, too, it was so obvious, that it HAD to be written that it could not go all the way to total disarmament of civilians.





BTW - a curiosity: Not a right to bear arms, per se, but the current French constitution incorporates "by reference" the Bills of Rights of the 1946 constitution and of the Declaration of the Rights of Man (according to this article, validated by a decision in 1971 to be just as binding as if it were the current text), which includes as one of the fundamental rights those of "security" and "resistance to oppression".

Last edited by JRDelirious; 04-10-2009 at 05:40 PM..
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