What do Guatemala, Mexico and the U.S. have in common? They are among the very few countries throughout history whose constitutions have guaranteed the right to bear arms.
Our study of constitutions going back to 1789 shows that only a minority has ever included gun rights. What’s more, the number has dwindled, leaving a small and motley set of bedfellows.
For some, this lonely position is enough to suggest that the U.S. should rethink the current interpretation of the Second Amendment. For others, it is a reason to celebrate American exceptionalism.
Either way, the U.S. gun-rights debate raises intriguing questions about how other countries have addressed the issue in their constitutions. When were such rights predominant (if at all), which countries have had them, and how were these rights expressed?
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