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Does the Second Amendment prevent the United States from adopting an Australian style of gun control? - A comparative study of gun control legislation in Australia and the United States

Linnå, Elin LU (2017) LAGF03 20172
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
The aim of this thesis is to assess whether the Second Amendment to the United States (U.S.) Constitution prevents the U.S. from adopting an Australian style of gun control. In the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, Australia completely reformed its gun control legislation by enacting strict and uniform gun control laws under the National Firearms Agreement (NFA). While Australia’s gun control reform has been successful, the U.S. has never been able to achieve comprehensive federal gun control legislation. However, the Australian Constitution does not provide an explicit individual right to keep and bear arms such as is granted by the Second Amendment. Consequently, there is a potential constitutional impediment to the... (More)
The aim of this thesis is to assess whether the Second Amendment to the United States (U.S.) Constitution prevents the U.S. from adopting an Australian style of gun control. In the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, Australia completely reformed its gun control legislation by enacting strict and uniform gun control laws under the National Firearms Agreement (NFA). While Australia’s gun control reform has been successful, the U.S. has never been able to achieve comprehensive federal gun control legislation. However, the Australian Constitution does not provide an explicit individual right to keep and bear arms such as is granted by the Second Amendment. Consequently, there is a potential constitutional impediment to the introduction of stricter gun control laws in the U.S., of which Australia has no equivalent. The question posed in this thesis is answered by looking at the intended scope of the Second Amendment, gun control legislation in Australia and the U.S. and the firearm regulations introduced in Australia under the NFA.

In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense, and that the Second Amendment applies against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. This thesis finds that the Second Amendment does not prevent the U.S. from adopting an Australian style of gun control. The majority of firearm regulations introduced in Australia under the NFA, can be adopted in the U.S. without infringing the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. This thesis reaches the conclusion that the U.S. could ban all automatic firearms, introduce a licensing and registration system requiring safety training and prohibiting ineligible individuals from purchasing firearms, ensure only licensed dealers are entitled to sell firearms, and strengthen firearm dealer and sales regulations, all without violating the Second Amendment. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Syftet med den här uppsatsen är att undersöka om det är möjligt att en nationell och restriktiv vapenreglering införs i USA, liknande den som finns i Australien, utan att det strider mot det andra tillägget i den amerikanska konstitutionens rättighetsstadga. Efter massakern i Port Arthur 1996 reformerade Australien sina vapenlagar genom antagandet av National Firearms Agreement (NFA), vilket innebar skärpta och enhetliga vapenlagar för landet. Medan Australiens vapenreform har visat sig framgångsrik har USA inte lyckats införa en omfattande federal restriktiv vapenlagstiftning. En viktig skillnad mellan Australien och USA är att rätten att äga och bära vapen är en grundlagsenlig frihet i USA. Australiens konstitution skyddar ingen sådan... (More)
Syftet med den här uppsatsen är att undersöka om det är möjligt att en nationell och restriktiv vapenreglering införs i USA, liknande den som finns i Australien, utan att det strider mot det andra tillägget i den amerikanska konstitutionens rättighetsstadga. Efter massakern i Port Arthur 1996 reformerade Australien sina vapenlagar genom antagandet av National Firearms Agreement (NFA), vilket innebar skärpta och enhetliga vapenlagar för landet. Medan Australiens vapenreform har visat sig framgångsrik har USA inte lyckats införa en omfattande federal restriktiv vapenlagstiftning. En viktig skillnad mellan Australien och USA är att rätten att äga och bära vapen är en grundlagsenlig frihet i USA. Australiens konstitution skyddar ingen sådan rätt. Andra tillägget fungerar som ett konstitutionellt hinder mot att införa strängare vapenreglering i USA. Denna uppsats frågeställning besvaras dels genom att fastställa det andra tilläggets avsedda omfattning, samt att beskriva vapenlagstiftningen i Australien och USA, i synnerhet de restriktioner som genomdrivits i Australien efter antagandet av NFA.

I District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), ansåg USA:s högsta domstol att det andra tillägget skyddar en individuell rätt att äga och bära vapen i syfte att kunna användas i självförsvar. Domstolen fastställde också att det andra tillägget är tillämpligt på de amerikanska staterna genom det fjortonde tillägget i den amerikanska konstitutionens rättighetsstadga. Sammantaget, anser jag att det andra tillägget inte hindrar USA från att införa strängare vapenlagar, liknande de som finns i Australien. Majoriteten av de restriktioner som introducerades under NFA kan införas i USA utan att det bryter mot andra tillägget. USA kan således införa automatvapenförbud, licens- och registreringssystem som kräver säkerhetsträning och förbjuder olämpliga människor att köpa vapen, införa strängare lagbestämmelserna för vapenförsäljning samt säkerhetsställa att endast vapenhandlare med licens kan sälja vapen utan att det bryter mot det andra tillägget i den amerikanska konstitutionens rättighetsstadga. (Less)
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author
Linnå, Elin LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20172
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Second Amendment, U.S., Australia, gun law, NFA, Miller, Heller, McDonald, weapon, gun control
language
English
id
8930561
date added to LUP
2018-02-06 14:23:19
date last changed
2018-08-19 19:37:52
@misc{8930561,
  abstract     = {The aim of this thesis is to assess whether the Second Amendment to the United States (U.S.) Constitution prevents the U.S. from adopting an Australian style of gun control. In the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, Australia completely reformed its gun control legislation by enacting strict and uniform gun control laws under the National Firearms Agreement (NFA). While Australia’s gun control reform has been successful, the U.S. has never been able to achieve comprehensive federal gun control legislation. However, the Australian Constitution does not provide an explicit individual right to keep and bear arms such as is granted by the Second Amendment. Consequently, there is a potential constitutional impediment to the introduction of stricter gun control laws in the U.S., of which Australia has no equivalent. The question posed in this thesis is answered by looking at the intended scope of the Second Amendment, gun control legislation in Australia and the U.S. and the firearm regulations introduced in Australia under the NFA.

In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense, and that the Second Amendment applies against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. This thesis finds that the Second Amendment does not prevent the U.S. from adopting an Australian style of gun control. The majority of firearm regulations introduced in Australia under the NFA, can be adopted in the U.S. without infringing the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. This thesis reaches the conclusion that the U.S. could ban all automatic firearms, introduce a licensing and registration system requiring safety training and prohibiting ineligible individuals from purchasing firearms, ensure only licensed dealers are entitled to sell firearms, and strengthen firearm dealer and sales regulations, all without violating the Second Amendment.},
  author       = {Linnå, Elin},
  keyword      = {Second Amendment,U.S.,Australia,gun law,NFA,Miller,Heller,McDonald,weapon,gun control},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Does the Second Amendment prevent the United States from adopting an Australian style of gun control? - A comparative study of gun control legislation in Australia and the United States},
  year         = {2017},
}