Geof Stone on American Exceptionalism in Constitutional Protection of Gun Rights

American Gunceptionalism
Geoffrey R. Stone
The Huffington Post
July 24, 2012

In many respects, the United States Constitution has served as a model for constitutions throughout the world. Of the 188 nations that have written constitutions, the vast majority have adopted fundamental guarantees that were first fully articulated in the United States Constitution.

According to research by professors David Law and Mila Vertsteeg, 97 percent of all the world's constitutions now protect the freedom of religion; 97 percent protect the freedom of speech and press; 97 percent protect a right of equality; 97 percent protect the right to private property; 95 percent protect the freedom against unreasonable searches; 94 percent protect the right of assembly; 94 percent prohibit arbitrary arrest or detention; 84 percent forbid cruel and unusual punishment; 84 percent protect the right to vote; 80 percent prohibit ex post facto laws; 72 percent protect the right to present a defense; and 70 percent protect the right to counsel. These freedoms, which were first constitutionalized in the United States, are now widely recognized as fundamental to a free, humane and civilized society.

On the other hand, only 1 percent of all the other nations of the world recognize a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Of the 188 nations with written constitutions, only Mexico and Guatemala have followed our example.

Faculty: 
Geoffrey R. Stone