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
Sammanfattning: 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.
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