Armed and unsafe.
The right to keep and carry weapons is a long-standing right protected by the U.S. Constitution, writes Business Insider. Americans own almost half of all civilian weapons in the world, and per capita, the U.S. has much more weapons than in any other country.
But the United States is not the only country in the world with the largest private arsenal. The list of countries with the largest number of firearms includes Serbia, Yemen, Switzerland, and Saudi Arabia.
There are only three countries that defend the carrying of weapons by constitutional law: Mexico, Guatemala, and the United States.
The Second Amendment inspired other countries around the world to grant their citizens the right to possess weapons, including Bolivia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Liberia, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States. All of these countries, except Mexico, the United States, and Guatemala, have since revoked the constitutional right to bear arms.
The Mexican government strictly controls the possession of civilian weapons. Although Mexicans have the right to buy weapons, bureaucratic hurdles, long delays, and narrow restrictions make it extremely difficult to buy.
Article 10 of the Mexican Constitution of 1857 guaranteed that “everyone has the right to keep and carry arms for their own safety and legal protection. But 60 years later, in 1917, after the bloody revolution in Mexico, lawmakers amended it.
During the rewriting of the constitution, the government imposed stricter restrictions on the right to buy weapons. The law prohibited citizens from buying firearms “reserved for use by the military” and prohibited them from carrying “weapons in populated areas without complying with police regulations.
Today, Mexicans still have the right to buy weapons, but they must fight a vague federal law that defines “the cases, conditions, requirements, and locations in which weapons will be allowed to be carried.
In 2012, The New York Times reported that in Mexico, only police or military personnel, such as semi-automatic rifles, can buy large-caliber weapons. Firearm permits for home protection only allow for the purchase of calibers not exceeding 0.38. A person who reports buying a gun must pay $803.05 for a Smith & Wesson revolver.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle is that there is only one shop in the country where Mexicans can buy guns, and it is located at a well-protected military base in Mexico City. While the shop sells an average of 38 weapons a day, it is estimated that 580 weapons are smuggled into the country from the United States every day.
Like Mexico, Guatemala permits possession of weapons, but with severe restrictions. The right to bear arms is recognized and regulated by article 38 of the Constitution in force, which was established in 1985.
“The right to possession of weapons for personal use, not prohibited by law, in the place of residence is recognized,” the document says. “There will be no obligation to transfer them, except in cases prescribed by a competent judge.
Although Guatemalans are not allowed to possess fully automatic weapons, they are allowed to buy semi-automatic weapons, pistols, rifles and shotguns if they are allowed to do so. However, this can be difficult.
For example, people who want to buy weapons for private security purposes must obtain government approval. They are also limited in how much ammunition they can have, and they must reconfirm their licenses every one to three years. The license also requires proof that the applicant has a clean police record, does not suffer from mental illness and has not left the army or police.
Despite the restrictions, weapons are widely available in Guatemala. In fact, it has one of the highest per capita possession rates in Latin America and 75 percent of homicides in Guatemala are weapon-related. In 2016, Guatemala’s capital city ranked ninth in the world in terms of homicide rates.
Although Mexico and Guatemala have a constitutional right to carry weapons, the U.S. is in its own league because it is the only country with no restrictions on the possession of weapons in its constitution.
For nearly 200 years, starting in 1791, the second amendment was considered to be a privilege belonging to the military. But since the 1970s, that view had gradually changed until it had been upheld in the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that the second amendment did give people the right to carry weapons.
Every year, the number of weapons in private hands increased by 4.5 million barrels. Thus, Americans possess the world’s largest private arsenal.