When did most European countries limit citizens' rights to possess weaponry?

When did most European countries limit citizens' rights to possess weaponry?

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In medieval times, the nobility had the right to freely posses arms, and actually it almost had to, since fighting was part of its duties.

When firearms where introduced, AFAIK they were not immediately banned; instead, purchasing and possessing them was just as allowed as purchasing or possessing swords.

Fast forward to nowadays, and in Europe generally possessing firearms (sometimes also even crossbows) requires permits, which are more or less tedious to obtain.

When did most European countries enforce this law?

The question is too broad because: a) there are too many European countries and all had very different laws until recently.

b) as you noticed yourself, the right to carry weapons was most of the time restricted to certain classes of society.

c) there are many kinds of weapons.

d) requiring permits/registration is very different from prohibition.

Regarding Russia it was after the Civil War, so after WWI.

Gun Laws By Country: How the Right to Bear Arms Applies Overseas

If you are a gun owner and hope to bring your firearms when you move overseas—or perhaps purchase some when you arrive—you must consider laws regarding gun ownership and importation in countries around the world. There might be a lengthy application process to purchase or import a gun, along with hefty duties and fees. In most cases, you are not allowed to bring your firearm with you as a tourist and even as a citizen or resident you must apply for a special permit to bring one in—if it’s allowed at all.

Here’s the lowdown on gun laws in popular retirement locations throughout Latin America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Run afoul of these laws and you could face confiscation of your firearms, fines, deportation, and even jail time.

Mexico Gun Laws: Mexican citizens and foreigners with temporary or permanent residence status may have one small-caliber handgun (intended for self-defense in the home) and up to nine rifles if they are a registered member of a hunting or shooting club. Firearms must be registered with the Mexican army, which also runs the only store to purchase guns in the country. To import a gun, you must receive a permit first.

To receive a permit you must meet several requirements, including a criminal record free of gun violence, mental health evaluation, and clean drug test.

Costa Rica Gun Laws: Only citizens and permanent residents of Costa Rica are allowed to possess firearms: handguns (up to three), rifles (up to three for sporting use hunting is illegal in Costa Rica), and semi-automatic weapons between the calibers of 5.6 to 18.5 millimeters.

To bring your guns you must apply with the Ministry of Public Security and declare it when you arrive to the customs department, who will hold it until you go through the registration process. You can purchase firearms from a licensed gun shop or private individual. Gun owners must have a clean criminal record in Costa Rica and must pass a psychological exam.

Belize Gun laws: As a permanent resident or citizen of Belize you can own a gun after a background check. The maximum caliber is 9mm, and you can have only 100 rounds at any one time. Licenses are available to farmers to have shotguns to protect livestock, as well as for hunting and personal protection. Firearms may be imported but must be declared before arrival. Imported guns will be impounded by the police and registered before a license is granted.

Ecuador Gun Laws: In Ecuador, only firearms with a caliber of 9 millimeters or less are allowed. You cannot import a firearm from overseas. To own a firearm you must be a resident and be licensed, which requires you to undergo a criminal background and mental health evaluation. You must also explain why you want a gun, which could include hunting, target shooting, collecting, or self-defense.

Panama Gun Laws: There has been a moratorium on importing guns for many years. A limited number of gun shops sell handguns, shotguns, and rifles. Only permanent residents may purchase a gun, after you go through the application process, which includes a drug test, biometric facial recognition exam, fingerprinting, having a DNA sample taken (blood), a psychological evaluation, and criminal background check. You can have up to 10 guns on one permit. Concealed carry is allowed.

Colombia Gun Laws: You must be a Colombian citizen to be eligible for a gun permit. Small caliber handguns and shotguns, which must be registered with the military, are permitted, but you must have a reason to own one, including hunting, personal protection, target shooting, or collecting.

Thailand Gun Laws: You must be a Thai citizen to own a gun in the country. Firearm licenses are granted for self-defense, protecting property, hunting, or sport shooting, and you must pass a mental health and criminal background check and be employed.

Malaysia Gun Laws: Citizens and foreign residents can own a gun in Malaysia, but they must be kept at a shooting club. You must apply with the chief of police of the state and give a good reason for possessing a firearm. There is no carry license. Importing of guns is not allowed.

Vietnam Gun Laws: Civilians are prohibited from possessing firearms.

France Gun Laws: In general only sport shooters or hunters may possess firearms, such as shotguns and rifles, with a license. Citizens and foreigners with a residence visa are eligible. To obtain a permit you must submit a medical certificate, have no felony convictions, and take shooting lessons. No handguns are allowed. You are allowed to import sporting guns with a permit and customs declaration.

Italy Gun Laws: Guns are permitted to citizens and foreigners with residence visas with clean criminal records who pass a mental and physical health check and have trained in firearm safety. This license allows you to purchase a gun. Then you seek a license to own and transport the gun outside your home. You can obtain a sport shooting or hunting license to engage in those activities. Individuals may keep as many as three handguns, 12 sport handguns or long guns, or an unlimited number of hunting long guns at home. Firearms must be registered with the local police department. Guns cannot be transported outside the home loaded, unless you have a personal protection/concealed carry license, for which you must prove a valid reason, like being in imminent danger.

Spain Gun Laws: To possess a gun in Spain, you must pass a background check, as well as a psychological and medical test (this must be done every year) and a practical and theoretical exam. You must be a citizen or legal resident. Licenses are generally given for sport shooting and hunting and allow up to six shotguns and 10 handguns. There is no limit on the number of rifles. Owning a handgun for self-defense is allowed when you are in verifiable danger.

The Meaning, History, & Purpose of the Second Amendment

The right to bear arms protects every other right. Without its preservation, a nation would easily succumb to tyranny. As long as this right is upheld, protected, and exercised lawfully, the torch of liberty may continue to burn.

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The words that form the Second Amendment were chosen deliberately and purposefully. The founding fathers drew from Biblical principles, English and American history, and English common law to present an amendment protecting the individual right of Americans to keep and bear arms. At its center lie two core principles upon which both the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence were founded: the law of self-government and the right of self-defense. The purpose of the Second Amendment was to promote peace, prosperity, and liberty, both by protecting one’s life and property from invaders and by lawfully resisting a tyrannical government.

The Meaning of the Second Amendment

The Second Amendment is an appendage to the Constitution, which in turn relies on the Declaration of Independence for meaning and purpose. Both documents are only lawful to the extent to which they conform to the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” as written in the Declaration. The Declaration articulates the law of self-government while the Constitution presents the application of self-government in various contexts, which includes the right to bear arms.

Let us examine the text of the Second Amendment.

A “well-regulated militia” is a collection of individuals covenanted together to defend each other. The phrase “well-regulated” required militia members to remain armed, trained, and vigilant. These “members,” understood at the time to mean all able-bodied male citizens, were to be prepared to engage with invaders—including a tyrannical government, should the need arise—in order to secure and defend the freedom of the states.

The responsibility and right of the people to bear arms for self-defense are God-given, natural rights of individuals. The right to self-defense was not man-invented or government-created. This amendment does not give the people their right to bear arms, but protects against the infringement of this right. From the context of the Bill of Rights and especially in the Fourth and First Amendment, “the people” refers to the citizenry, instead of certain bodies or groups of people.

The unqualified phrase “shall not be infringed” is seen only in the First and Second Amendment within the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment protects the rights to freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly, and petition. The Second Amendment acts as the protector and enforcer of those rights, should they be infringed.

The phrase “to keep and bear” points toward an individual right of the people to possess and carry arms. Self-governing individuals bear the primary responsibility of defending and protecting themselves.

The word “arms” in the Second Amendment is crucial and must be understood correctly. In 1775, Samuel Johnson provided the following definition of the word “arms,” likely the definition intended by the founding fathers. Arms meant “weapons of offence and armor of defense.” Arms are weapons of war. This distinction is important for if “arms” meant anything less than weapons of war, the governing powers would have the monopoly of force over the people bearing inferior arms, and the country would be at risk of tyranny.

As we shall see by an examination of the historical background of this amendment, there are strong reasons for why the framers recognized the individual right to possess and carry weapons of war, and the need for a well-regulated militia, as vital to the creation and preservation of a nation of freedom and liberty.

The History Behind the Second Amendment

The historical foundations of the Second Amendment go further back in the past than events immediately prior to the drafting of the Bill of Rights. The legal recognition and protection of the individual’s right to bear arms in self-defense dates back to the Assize of Arms of England in 1181. Something else, however, influenced the founding fathers’ thinking more than historical events, and the common law—and that was the laws of nature and of nature’s God.

Samuel Adams, one of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, affirmed that “all men are equally bound by the laws of nature, or, to speak more properly, the laws of the Creator. They are imprinted by the finger of God on the heart of man…. [T]he voice of Nature… is confirmed by written Revelation.” The Bible is the foundation for the ideas and principles underlying the Declaration and the Constitution. The founding fathers did not use explicit Biblical examples to support their arguments because they considered it more appropriate to use non-sectarian terminology in the legal sphere. Thus, they illustrated their arguments from history and “secular” writers, presenting the laws of God in non-religious terms.

A quick summary of the Scriptural foundations for the right of self-defense is as follows. In 1 Samuel chapters 21 and 24, David arms himself against King Saul’s attacks, who sought to kill him. The lawful boundaries of self-defense are clear from this example defense against an attack is justifiable, but there is nothing to resist if one is not in danger of harm. In both Numbers 32:20-22 and Nehemiah 4:13, the Israelites were required to bear arms. Conversely, Judges 5:8 and 1 Samuel 13:19-22 records two historical periods during which foreign nations kept the Israelites from bearing arms. For the Israelites, “weapons control” meant slavery, as other nations kept the Israelites in bondage as long as the Israelites were disarmed. The concept of a militia could also be found in Numbers 1 and 2 Chronicles 12:33 the nation of Israel had no standing army, and the defense of the nation rested on able-bodied males. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ never repealed the duty to bear arms. Instead, He upheld it in Luke 22:36-38, He commands His disciples to acquire swords even if their cloaks had to be sold to purchase one.

While the founding fathers built the Constitution and the American Bill of Rights on the principles found in nature and the Bible, they were also influenced by historical events. The founders had a strong grasp of English common law and of the historical background of the right to possess and use weapons in self-defense.

The Assize of Arms 1181 is one of the earliest legal documents protecting and even mandating the ownership of weapons for every English freeman between 15 and 40 years of age. England was under a feudal system of government at the time, and the king depended on a well-armed peasantry to defend the country against invaders. The Assize of Arms 1258 extended the right of ownership of weapons to serfs. The statute of Winchester 1258 mandated that the citizenry own and train with weapons. In 1369, citizens were commanded to spend their leisure time training with bows and arrows and to relinquish the playing of games that would distract them from practice. Similarly, the archery laws of 1515 commanded fathers to teach sons, beginning at the age of seven, to handle longbows. Although the mandating of arms is by no means a just law, these legal documents demonstrate that the idea of placing weapons into the hands of the citizens was an old and time-tested concept.

These rights to arms were threatened and restricted by the Militia Act of 1662 and the Game Act of 1671. William Blackstone, the great commentator on the laws of England, asserted that such restrictions were but an attempt by the government to prevent the people from any kind of insurrection and resistance. The individual right to own weapons was articulated in the English Bill of Rights of 1689. It said, in part, that “the subjects which are Protestant may have arms for their defense suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law.” Here, both the right to own weapons and the right to use weapons in self-defense are acknowledged and protected by law.

When King George III assumed that the right to self-defense originated in the government, he instituted standing armies without the consent of the people. This was seen as a tyrannical act that overlooked and overstepped the ultimate authority of the people to self-defense. As tensions grew between the thirteen American colonies and the British government, British soldiers marched into Lexington and Concord on the night of April 18, 1775 to seize the firearms and ammunition of the colonists. The colonists took decisive action to protect their unalienable rights, resist governmental overreach, and restore law, liberty, and order. Many great and valiant men died for the right to keep and bear arms in the bloody battles fought at Lexington and Concord. They understood that weapons of war are vital to the preservation of liberty.

The Second Amendment was written with the understanding of Biblical principles, English common law, and scenes like those of Lexington and Concord, and with a keen sense of responsibility.

The Purpose of the Second Amendment

The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution concisely articulated the reasons for the Constitution and, by attribution, for the Second Amendment. The Constitution existed to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

It must be understood that the Second Amendment is not a source of the right to self-defense, nor does it merely provide protection for a collective right to keep and bear arms. The nature of this right is limited one may use arms for righteous purposes, not for wrongful ones.

The Second Amendment’s first and most important goal is to protect the people from the tyrannical rule of an overly powerful government. The war over gun control is ultimately a struggle for power. Should the government have the monopoly of force over the people, or should the people hold that monopoly?

The founding fathers, from the lessons learned from battles fought by men such as Cromwell and Washington, understood that for a country to be free and prosperous, the people must hold the monopoly of force. The monopoly of force must never rest in the hands of a select few. As seen throughout history, the most atrocious crimes against humanity were committed by governments which held the monopoly of force over its insufficiently armed citizenry.

This is why the words “arms” in the Second Amendment meant—and should be understood to mean—weapons of war. The purpose of the Second Amendment would be rendered obsolete if the citizens may only own and carry inferior arms compared to those owned by the state.

The position of the Second Amendment in relation to the First is also crucial the Second Amendment protects the First and must be acted upon when the First is infringed upon. History has demonstrated that when a government decides to oppress its people unlawfully, forceful resistance may be the only way for the people to preserve law, liberty, and order in their land.

The Second Amendment emphasizes the “militia” and the “state,” not the “army” and the “country.” The organization of militia powers in the hands of the people allows for all citizens on official militia duty to bear the swords of vengeance and of self-defense, thus facilitating an effectual defense against tyranny by the “elite.”

Citizens cannot and should not rely on the government to protect them from violence. The government cannot keep all its citizens safe. One’s safety has always ultimately been one’s own responsibility. Individuals have the natural right to defend themselves. Guns cannot be uninvented even if guns were banned, those who wish to have guns and who will disregard the law will have guns, while law-abiding citizens would be prevented from arming themselves against such criminals. When governments pass gun control laws that limit citizens’ ability to adequately defend themselves, the people are forced to rely on the police for protection. This transfer of the responsibility and right to self-defense from the individual to the government has tragic effects, as seen in the case of Warren v. District of Columbia, D.C. (1981), when a woman was gang-raped for fourteen hours after she had twice called the police, who never arrived. This is not to point fingers at the police rather, this example demonstrates the importance of personal self-defense and the danger of relying on others for protection.

Even those who do not own and carry guns would benefit from those who do because it is better for criminals to imagine they face an armed citizenry than an unarmed one. An armed society is a polite society the lack of arms in the hands of law-abiding citizens makes aggression more likely to occur, whether in the form of violence from terrorists and criminals, or from tyrannical overreaches of a government. The genocides that have taken place in the 20th century demonstrate that a government whose aim is to bring harm and even death to its people first disarms them and renders them unable to resist.

The right to bear arms protects every other right. Unarmed people are easier to control, manipulate, and oppress. The founders understood the importance of the right to keep and bear arms as demonstrated by Biblical principles, historical examples, and the English common law. Without the preservation of this right, a nation would easily succumb to tyranny. As long as this right is upheld, protected, and exercised lawfully, the torch of liberty may continue to burn.

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[*] David T. Hardy received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arizona where he graduated cum laude in 1972. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1975. He graduated magna cum laude and served as Associate Editor of the Arizona Law Review from 1974 to 1975. Mr. Hardy is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, the Fourth and Ninth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the Arizona Supreme Court, and is a partner in the law firm of Sando and Hardy, Tucson, Arizona. He serves on the Legal Advisory Board of the Second Amendment Foundation, is a member of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association.

Mr. Hardy has written extensively in the area of law and firearms regulation. He is the co-author of a lengthy article titled: "Of Arms and the Law," 51 Chicago-Kent Law Review 62 (1974) , author of "Firearms Ownership and Regulation," 20 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 235 (1978) and "Gun Laws and Gun Collectors," 85 Case & Comment 3 (Jan.-Feb. 1978) . He would like to acknowledge, with gratitude, the assistance of Bob Dowlut, Frances Averly, and Barbara Goldman in preparation of this report.

[1] 3 W. Churchill, A History of the English Speaking Peoples 168 (1957) . E. W. Williams, The Eighteenth Century Constitution 399-401 (Cambridge University 1960) . Despite existence of this censorship, freedom of press was completely omitted from the 1688 "Declaration of Rights."

[2] 1 John Tebbel, A History of Book Publishing in the United States 45 (1972) .

[3] In 1763, to be precise, when John Wilkes won substantial civil awards against ministers who issued general warrants for search and arrest of those responsible for an alleged seditious libel. G. Rude, Wilkes and Liberty 27-29 (1962) Churchill, supra, at 165-67 . "From the "Glorious Revolution onwards, Secretaries of State had, for nearly a hundred years, been issuing similar warrants . and, until April 1763, their validity had never been challenged in a Court of law." Rude, supra, at 29 .

[4] Charles Hollister, Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions 27 (Oxford University 1962) . Hollister's excellent study is matched only by Brooks, "The Development of Military Obligations in Eighth and Ninth Century England," in England before the Conquest 69 (Clemoes and Hughes, ed. Cambridge University 1971) .

[5] William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Common Law of England, Book 1 Ch.XIII 1 J. Bagley & P. Rowley, a Documentary History of England 1066-1540, at p.152 .

[6] H. W. C. Davis, England Under the Normans and Angevins 75 (1957) .

[7] 1 Francis Grose, Military Antiquities Respecting a History of the British Army 9-11 (London, 1812) . "Assize" was a term which had several meanings in medieval law. In this sense it signified a proclamation or piece of legislation which was intended to modify or expand traditional law, rather than simply construe it--the earliest form of what we today would consider true legislation. W. L. Warren, Henry II, at 281 (1973) .

[8] Bagley & Rowley, supra, at 155-56 .

[9] E. G. Heath, The Grey Goose Wing 109 (1971) .

[10] Robert Hardy, The Longbow: A Social and Military History of 129 (1977) .

[12] Id. at 128 . These price limitations would be repeated through to the reign of Henry VIII, along with requirements for import of longbows and quotas on less expensive longbows.

[14] 1 Statutes of the Realm 151, 230 (London, 1810) .

[16] 1 W. Hawkins, Pleas of the Crown 267 (6th ed. 1788) . See also Rex V. Knight, 87 Eng. Rep. 75 (King's Bench 1686) Rex V. Dewhurst, 1 State Trails (New Series) 529 (1820) .

[17] L. Kennet & J. Anderson, The Gun in America 12, 15 (1975) N. Perrin, Giving Up the Gun 58 (1975) .

[23] Perrin, supra, at 59-60 .

[24] "Thai gon crokyd, and ben feble, not able to fight, nor to defend ye realm nor thai have wepen, nor money to bie thaim wepen withall." Sir John Fortescue, The Governance of England 114 (C. Plummer, ed., Oxford, 1885) . The Venetian ambassador to France confirmed this in a 1537 report of peasants taken into military service: "They were brought up in slavery, with no experience of handling weapons, and since they have suddenly passed from total servitude to freedom, sometimes they no longer want to obey their master." 1 R. Laffont, The Ancient Art of Warfare 485 (1966) .

[25] Jim Hill, The Minutemen in War and Peace 26-27 (1968) . "Militia" was apparently derived from the French word "milice" which in turn can be related to the Latin term "miles", or soldier.

[26] The foremost study of the militia system under Elizabeth is Lindsay Boynton, The Elizabethan Militia (1967) .

[27] C. G. Cruickshank, Elizabeth's Army 24-25 (2d ed. 1968) .

[28] Richard Ollard, This War Without an Enemy 53 (1976) .

[29] See generally Correlli Barnett, Britain's Army 89-90 (1970) Charles Firth, Cromwell's Army (1962) .

[30] Michael Gruber, The English Revolution 125 (1967) Barnett, supra, at 107 .

[31] John Childs, The Army of Charles II at 9 (1976) .

[32] Joyce Malcolm, Disarmed: The Loss of the Right to Bear Arms in Restoration England, 11 (Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute, Radcliffe College, 1980) .

[33] 8 Calendar of State Papers (Domestic), Charles II, No. 188, p. 150 (July, 1660) .

[34] J. R. Western, The English Militia in the Eighteenth Century 11-13 (1965) .

[35] 14 Car.II c.3 (1662) . The political background of the passage of this enactment is discussed in Western, supra, at 11 .

[36] A few examples: "Think Fauntleroy an untoward fellow arms for thirty or forty were found in his house last year" (68 Calendar of State Papers (Domestic) Charles II, No. 35, p. 44 (February, 1662) [Jacob Knowles, arrested for] "dangerous designs, he having been taken on the guard with a pistol upon him," (70 Calendar of State Papers (Domestic), Charles II, No. 13, p. 83 (March, 1662) "Hearing of a nonconformist meeting, issued warrant for the search of arms the officers being denied entrance broke open the doors, and found 200 or 300 persons." (88 Calendar of State Papers (Domestic), Charles II, No. 56, p. 332) .

[38] Andrew Browning, English Historical Documents 1660-1714, at 81 (1953) .

[39] 2 Calendar of State Papers (Domestic), James II, No. 1212 at p. 314 (December, 1686) .

[40] 3 Thomas Macaulay, The History of England in the Accession of Charles II, 136-37 (London, 1856) .

[41] 1 Gul. & Mar., sess. 2, c.2 (1689) .

[42] James Jones, The Revolution of 1688 in England 316-317 (London, 1972) .

[43] L. Brevold & R. Ross, The Philosophy of Edmund Burke 192 (1970) .

[44] 1 Gul. & Mar., sess. 2, c.2 (1689) .

[45] Joyce Malcolm, Disarmed: The Loss of the Right to Bear Arms in Restoration England 16 (Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute, Radcliffe College, 1980) .

[46] See Rohner, "The Right to Bear Arms: A phenomenon of Constitutional History," 16 Cath. U. L.Rev. 53, 59 (1966) .

[47] 2 Philip, Earl of Hardwicke, Miscellaneous State Papers From 1501-1726, at 407-417 (London, 1778) .

[48] Journal of the House of Commons From December 26, 1688 to October 26, 1693, at 5, 6, 21-22 (London 1742) .

[49] Western, supra, at 339 .

[50] Journal of the House of Commons, supra, at 25 .

[51] Western, supra, at 339 .

[52] Algernon Sidney, Discourses Concerning Government 156 (3d ed., London 1751) (Library of Congress, Rare Books Collection) .

[53] Robert Molesworth, An account of Denmark as it Was in The Year 1692, at 123 (London, 1692 reprinted, Copenhagen, 1976) .

[54] Francis Hotoman, Franco-Gallia XXVIII (Tr. by Robert Molesworth, 1721) (Library of Congress, Rare Books Collection) .

[55] But a few examples: in 1773, Harvard's library contained Harrington and Molesworth Sidney was added by 1790. The College of New Jersey (today Princeton) boasted Sidney by 1760, as did the New York Society Library. John Adams' private library contained a two volume edition of Sidney and Molesworth Jefferson at various times bought several different editions of both authors. H. Colbourn, The Lamp of Experience 200-18 (1965) .

[56] Clinton Rossiter, The Political Thought of The American Revolution 55 (1963) .

[57] Barnett, supra, at 174 .

[58] 30 Geo. II c.2 (1757) . This power was invoked during the waves of rioting which spread across the English nation in 1766. Tony Hayter, The Army and The Crowd in Mid-Georgian England 158 (1978) .

[59] The North British Intelligencer, Vol. 1 at p.20 (Edinburgh, 1776). (Library of Congress Rare Books Collection) .

[60] Harold Gill, The Gunsmith in Colonial Virginia 3 (1974) .

[61] 1 William Hening, The Statutes at Large: Being a Collection of All The Laws of Virginia From The First Session of The Legislature in The Year 1619, at 127 (New York 1823) .

[63] William Brigham, The Compact With The Charter and Laws of The Colony of New Plymouth 31 (Boston, 1836) .

[64] Oliver Dickerson, ed. Boston Under Military Rule 61 (1936) .

[66] 1 William Gordon, The History of The Rise, Progress and Establishment of The Independence of The United States 442-43 (London, 1788). (Library of Congress Rare Books Collection) .

[67] John Alden, General Gage in America 224 (1948) .

[68] Stephen Patterson, Political Parties in Revolutionary Massachusetts 103 (1973) .

[70] Id. at 104-05 Gavin, supra, at 64 .

[71] 1 Kate Rowland, The Life of George Mason 181, 430-32 (1892) .

[72] Id. at 182-83 Donald Higginbotham, "The American Militia: A Traditional Institution With Revolutionary Responsibilities," in Reconsideration on The Revolutionary War 92 (1978) .

[73] Rowland, supra, at 183, 427-28 .

[74] Hezekiah Miles, Republication of The Principles and Acts of The Revolution in America 278 (New York, 1876) .

[75] 1 The Political Writings of Thomas Paine at 111 (Boston, 1856) .

[76] Charles Flood, Rise and Fight Again 61 (1976) .

[77] Willard Wallace, Appeal to Arms 43 (1951) Joe Huddleston, Colonial Riflemen in The American Revolution 25 (1978) .

[78] I. Christie, Crisis of Empire 106 (1966) .

[79] Higginbotham, supra, at 103 .

[80] The best study of these proposals is John McAuley Palmer's Washington, Lincoln, Wilson: Three War Statesmen (1930) . Palmer was responsible for locating Washington's militia plan, which had been missing from Congressional archives for over a century.

[81] 3 Merrill Jensen, ed., The Documentary History of The Ratification of The Constitution 378 (1976) .

[82] Noah Webster, An Examination Into The Leading Principles of The Federal Constitution Proposed by The Late Convention, reprinted in Paul Ford, ed., Pamphlets on The Constitution of The United States 56 (New York, 1888) .

[83] 2 Jensen, supra, at 508 .

[84] E. Dumbauld, The Bill of Rights and What It Means Today 11 (1959) .

[85] 2 Jensen, supra, at 597-98 .

[86] 2 Jonathan Elliot, ed., Debates in The Several State Conventions on The Adoption of The Federal Constitution 97 (2d ed. 1888) .

[87] Paul Lewis, The Grand Incendiary 359-60 (1973) .

[88] Joseph Walker, Birth of The Federal Constitution: A History of The New Hampshire Convention 51 (Boston, 1888) Documents Illustrative of The Formation of The Union of The American States 1026 (House of Representatives Document 398: Government Printing Office 1927) .

[89] Walter Bennett, ed., Letters From The Federal Farmer to The Republican 21 (1978) .

[93] Debates and Other Proceedings of The Convention of Virginia . taken in shorthand by David Robertson of Petersburg, 275 (2nd ed., Richmond, 1805) .

[94] Documents Illustrative of The Formation of The Union, supra, at 1030 .

[95] [Ed. footnote missing in original]

[96] [Ed. footnote missing in original]

[97] See generally, 1 J. Goebel, History of the Supreme Court of the United States 456 ( ) .

[98] 1 S. Tucker, ed., Blackstone's Commentaries 300 (Philadelphia, 1803) .

[100] W. Rawle, A View of the Constitution 125-6 (2d ed. 1829) .

[101] Act of May 8, 1792 . See generally J. Mahony, The American Militia: Decade of Decision (1960) .

[102] Bliss v. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. 90 (1822) .

[103] State v. Mitchell, 3 Ind. (Blackf.) 229 (1839) . State v. Reid, 1 Ala. 612 (1840) State v. Buzzard, 4 Ark. 18 (1842) .

[104] State v. Reid, supra .

[105] Nunn v. State, 1 Ga. 243, 251(1846) .

[106] Dred Scott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. 393, 417 (1857) .

[107] Andrew v. State, 50 Tenn. 165, 8 Am. Rep. 8 (1971) . The Andrews Court went on to note that "this right was intended . to be exercised and enjoyed by the citizen as such, and not by him as a soldier . " 8 Am. Rep. at 17 .

[108] Wilson v. State, 33 Ark. 557, 34 Am. Rep. 52 (1878) .

[109] State v. Wilforth, 85 Mo. 528, 530 (1882) .

[110] State v. Kerner, 181 N.C. 574, 107 S.E. 222 (1921) .

[111] Glasscock v. City of Chattanooga, 157 Tenn. 518, 11 S.W. 2d. 678 (1928) .

[112] City of Las Vegas v. Moberg, 82 N.M. 626, 485 P. ad 737 (1971) ("an ordinance may not deny the people the constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms.")

[113] People v. Zerillo, 219 Mich. 635, 189 N.W. 927 (1923) .

[114] People v. Nakamura, 99 Colo. 262, 62, P. 2d 246 (1936) .

[115] United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 175, 178-79 (1939) .

[116] State v. Kessler, 289 Ore. 359, 614 p. 2d 94 (1980) .

[117] Schubert v. DeBard, _____ Ind. App. _____, 398 NE2d 1139 (1980) .

Production Gun Industry

ChartThe annual number of firearms exported from Sweden is reported by manufacturers to be

ChartThe annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Sweden is reported by Customs to be US$

2016: 118,000,000 56
2015: 72,534,303 57
2014: 84,483,852
2013: 74,995,010
2012: 63,233,972 57 58 59
2011: 33,506,183 60
2010: 132,000,000 61
2001: 23,000,000 58

ChartThe annual number of firearms imported to Sweden is reported to be

ChartThe annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Sweden is reported by Customs to be US$

2016: 51,000,000 66
2015: 82,416,969 57
2014: 68,056,230
2013: 62,186,413
2012: 56,650,855 57 67 68
2011: 25,903,702 60 69
2010: 35,000,000 70

ChartIn its annual Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, the Small Arms Survey compares public reporting among major arms exporting nations on a scale from strong to weak (25 to zero). In recent years, Sweden scored

2019: 15.50 75
2018: 17.25 76
2017: 16.75 77
2016: 16.00 78
2014: 15.00 79
2013: 15.50 80
2012: 15.25 81
2011: 15.00 82
2010: 16.50 83
2009: 16.00 84
2008: 14.50 85
2007: 16.00 86
2006: 14.75 87
2005: 15.25 88
2004: 11.75 89

When the final stage arrived in 1997, and virtually all handguns were banned via the Firearms Act, the promise was a reduction in crime and greater safety for the British people. But the result was the emergence of Britain as the “most violent country in Europe.”

Britain began placing restrictions on gun ownership after World War I with the Firearms Act of 1920. The passage of this act was emotionally driven, based in part on the public’s war-weariness and in part on the fear that an increased number of guns–guns from the battle field–would increase crime.

The Firearms Act of 1920 did not ban guns. Rather, it required that citizens who wanted a gun had to first obtain a certificate from the government. We see this same stage taking place in various places in the United States now, where a person who wants a firearm has to get a Fire Owner Identification Card (Illinois) or has to be vetted by police (Massachusetts) or both.

Thirteen years after the passage of the Firearms Act, British Parliament passed the Firearms and Imitation Firearms Bill, making the possession of a replica gun or a real one equally punishable unless the owner of either could show the lawful purpose for which he had it. (Sounds like California?) This was followed by the Firearms Act of 1937, which author Frank Miniter says “extended restrictions to shotguns and granted chief constables the power to add conditions to individual private firearm certificates.”

In the U.S., police departments in Massachusetts play the role Britain’s chief constables played and have final say on who can or can’t own a firearm. On July 25, Breitbart News reported that that Massachusetts police were pressing for “sole discretion” on who could own a long gun they already had such discretion over who could own a handgun. On August 1, they received the power they sought.

Britain continued to issue firearm certificates as World War II set in. But by the time the war was over, the gun control mindset had permeated society to a point where self-defense was no longer a valid reason to secure a certificate for gun ownership.

Guns were simply for sport or for hunting.

In 1987, Michael Ryan shot and killed sixteen people in Hungerford, including his mother. He wounded fourteen others, then killed himself. According to the Library of Congress, Ryan used “lawfully owned” rifles to carry out the attack. Nevertheless, his attack prompted the passage of more laws in the form of the Firearms Act of 1988. This act “banned the possession of high-powered self loading rifles” and “burst-firing weapons,” and imposed “stricter standards for ownership” to secure a government certificate to own a shotgun.

In 1996, Thomas Hamilton walked into an elementary school in Dunblane, Scotland, and shot and killed “sixteen small children…and their teacher in the gym before killing himself.” He brought two rifles and four handguns to carry out the attack. All six guns were legally owned: Hamilton had fully complied with gun control statutes.

The Firearm Act of 1997 was passed while emotions ran high. Gun control proponents push for an all-out ban on private gun ownership, in the much the same way that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) reacted to the heinous crime at Sandy Hook Elementary by trying to ban approximately 150 different guns.

Yet the Firearm Act did not ban all guns, “but served to essentially prohibit the ownership of handguns in Britain” and to make the acquisition of certificate to possess a long gun an onerous and time-consuming one. Much the same as the onerous and time-consuming process now burdening law-abiding DC residents seeking a gun in the home for self-defense.

And what has been the outcome of passing more laws in Britain to remedy the fact that other laws were ignored or broken? It has not been good.

Americans Don't Have the Right to Bear Just Any Arms

Updated | Let's start with an undeniable truth: In the United States, the people have the right to keep and bear arms. And let's then acknowledge that the childish interpretation of that constitutional amendment&mdashthat Americans have the right to whatever accessory they can put on, in or over a gun for the sole purpose of making it more deadly&mdashis a dangerous falsehood.

Therein lies the chasm between those seeking constitutionally impossible forms of gun control and their political opponents, who view every proposal regulating weaponry as the first step toward dictatorship. Caught in the middle are the majority of Americans who think people should be allowed to keep guns but seesaw over tougher laws regarding those weapons.

There is, however, a simple solution, a common-sense compromise that will infuriate both sets of extremists in the gun debate, but would place the United States on a saner path:

  • Ban accessories that serve no purpose other than to transform guns into weapons of mass slaughter, such as attachable drums that carry 100 rounds.
  • Adopt rules that make it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to obtain firearms.
  • Outlaw the public display of weapons.
  • Allow the concealed carry of guns using the "shall issue" standard.
  • Stop trying to ban scary-looking add-ons that primarily protect the shooter, but don't make the gun more dangerous to others.
  • Forget attacks on the "armor-piercing bullets."
  • Abandon efforts to outlaw "assault weapons"&mdasha politically loaded phrase with a mishmash of meanings that pretty much amount to nothing.

While any compromise is anathema to the absolutists, it will benefit the rational middle. "Gun control is more analogous to a tourniquet than a Band-Aid," says Osha Gray Davidson, author of Under Fire, a history of the National Rifle Association. "Tourniquets save lives, and so will a gun control policy based on balancing rights and responsibilities."

All gun control debates turn on interpretations of the Second Amendment, the worst written and most bizarre part of the Constitution. For example, did you know there are two Second Amendments, one passed by Congress and a variation ratified by the states and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson when he was secretary of state? Congress's version&mdashmade up of syntactically nonsensical fragments&mdashwon the day in the courts, but both versions are grammatical nightmares. Congress's version reads, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." In the version authenticated by Jefferson, the first comma disappears, transforming the words to a more typical&mdashyet still grammatically confusing&mdashdependent clause followed by an independent clause. That might not sound like much of a difference, but under rules of written English, the words of the amendment used by the courts don't make sense. The confusion has been so great that, in a major Supreme Court case, linguistics professors submitted a brief providing the justices with lessons on the punctuation and grammar.

Throughout the 20th century, that first clause has been argued about endlessly. In a 1939 case, United States v. Miller, the Supreme Court held that&mdashbecause of the opening word fragments of the amendment&mdashthe right to weapons (in this case, sawed-off shotguns) had to be read in conjunction with the Militia Clause in Article 1, Section 8. The court wrote, "In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a [sawed-off] shotgun&helliphas some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument."

In other words, gun owners in the United States had no right to buy, sell or possess any firearms unless those weapons were reasonably connected to a militia's needs.

That remained the law of the land for decades. That is, until the District of Columbia overreached in 2001, and effectively banned handguns and required owners of firearms to keep them unloaded and disassembled. A lawsuit was filed, the District lost, and it appealed to the Supreme Court. In the landmark 2008 case, District of Columbia v. Heller, Justice Antonin Scalia ruled that the first clause of the Second Amendment could essentially be ignored. Despite the critical role those words played in the Miller decision, they did not, he argued, qualify the independent clause that followed. Rather, he opined, the words were a "prefatory clause," something akin to a blare of trumpets to declare that a new right was about to be enumerated. "The former does not limit the latter grammatically, but rather announces a purpose," Scalia wrote.

With that, only the independent clause&mdash"the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"&mdashwas deemed important. Gun controllers wailed and gun enthusiasts cheered. But that was largely because few of them seemed to have read all of Scalia's opinion. As every first-year law school student knows, constitutional rights are not absolute. Newspapers stay in business thanks to the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech, but they cannot lawfully print child pornography. And citizens have no right to incite imminent violence. Similar restrictions apply to other constitutional rights&mdashmost have parameters designed to protect society.

Scalia clearly stated in Heller that the right to bear arms had boundaries. "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited," he wrote. "It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose." For example, he cited laws that prohibit the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or that forbid them in places such as schools and government buildings, or impose conditions on their sale. He also wrote that his decision did not overrule the holding in the 1939 Miller ruling that the sorts of weapons protected are those in common use at the time, and that the "historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons" was still permissible.

In other words, even one of the modern era's most conservative justices says gun enthusiasts are wrong when they claim that any limitation on firearms is unconstitutional. Government can place restrictions on firearms with the intent of protecting society.

Which brings us back to gun accessories. Nowhere in Supreme Court precedent, or in the words of the founders, or in the Second Amendment (either of them) is there a right to attach stuff to a gun, including the add-ons that serve no purpose other than to kill as many people as possible as fast as possible.

Some of these accessories are largely unknown outside of the gun crowd, including such nonsensical devices as magazine drums that allow popular weapons such as the AR-15 rifle to fire up to 100 rounds without reloading.

Why would any gun enthusiast need 100 rounds? James Holmes can tell you. Until July 20, 2012, Holmes was what the NRA would describe as a responsible gun owner. He legally owned a couple of Glock 22 pistols, a Smith & Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle with a 100-round drum magazine, a Remington 870 Express Tactical shotgun, 350 shotgun shells and 6,000 rounds of ammunition. Given all those purchases, his local gun club invited him to join.

Then, on that night in July, Holmes walked into an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater and started firing. He killed 12 people and injured 70 more. He got off 76 shots&mdash65 from the semi-automatic rifle with the 100-round drum he could have shot more if the drum hadn't jammed. In fact, Holmes told a court psychiatrist that he chose his weaponry in hopes that he would kill all 400 people in the theater.

High-capacity magazines have been the accessory of choice for most mass killers in the U.S. Adam Lanza, the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School who killed 20 children and six adults in 2012, used 30-round magazines. The accessory was also used in mass shootings at Columbine High School in 1999 and the military base at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2011.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence reports that half of mass shooters use these magazines. Statistics compiled by the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C., show that just in the years Barack Obama has been president, there have been 18 mass shootings involving high-capacity magazines, killing 153 people and wounding 137 more.

A ban on these devices would force a crazed shooter to reload more often, creating more chances for the innocent to get away or even attack the perpetrator. That's how the 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, that killed six people and injured 16 others&mdashincluding Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords&mdashwas stopped: Once the shooter's 33-round magazine was empty, he was tackled while reloading.

Firearms enthusiasts claim these devices are needed because a panicky homeowner, facing armed criminals, would be more likely to miss his target and thus need the extra bullets. Which, of course, is the exact argument against having lots of armed people sitting in a movie theater or at a school ready to fire at a mass shooter: In an emergency, those would-be Rambos are more likely to miss the target and put innocent lives in danger. Rather than wasting money on larger magazines, perhaps gun owners need more target practice.

And no, outlawing these items isn't barred by the Second Amendment. In 2013, Sunnyvale, California, banned high-capacity magazines. The NRA sued in federal court, which&mdashciting Heller&mdashruled these magazines "are hardly crucial for citizens to exercise their right to bear arms." Thus, the court concluded, the potential right to a high-capacity magazine was outweighed&mdashfor the same reason the First Amendment doesn't protect bomb threats&mdashby a strong government interest in public safety. An appeals court agreed and the Supreme Court refused to consider the issue further.

The same logic applies to other gun accessories that infringe too greatly on the government's ability to keep citizens safe. Silencers, for example. While they are subject to minimal federal regulation and already banned in 10 states, they are easily obtained and big sellers. There is no reason anyone outside of law enforcement or the military needs one except to kill people without attracting attention. Guns and accessories designed for no rational purpose other than to break the law&mdashsuch as the weapons that can be made by a 3-D printer with material that won't set off metal detectors&mdashshould be forbidden.

Beyond accessories, other changes in gun laws are needed to accomplish what everyone in the debate agrees is a laudable goal: Keep firearms out of the hands of bad guys.

Unfortunately, the NRA has been working for years to make sure lunatics and felons can obtain guns as easily as possible. After the deadliest shooting in American history took place at Virginia Tech (32 dead), Congress passed the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007. When introduced, the legislation called on states to submit mental-health records to national databases maintained by the FBI. The NRA declared this violated the Second Amendment and, through intense lobbying, limited the definition of mental illness only to people institutionalized or found by a court to be a danger. Even if a psychiatrist believed a patient posed a threat, nothing could be done to keep a gun out of that person's hand.

Then the NRA worked to weaken old rules barring the mentally ill from owning guns. In the past, because of concerns that an unbalanced person could relapse after treatment, the rules provided that anyone prohibited from having a gun for psychological reasons was banned forever. No more: Now a person committed to a mental hospital can, after getting out, petition a court for his guns. And by lobbying state legislatures, the NRA made sure psychiatric experts play a puny role in determining if a former mental patient should have a gun. Instead, in places like Idaho, state judges who are ill-equipped to make such a determination do it with no input from experts.

According to the NRA, every armed madman or criminal is a responsible, law-abiding good guy with a gun until the moment his first bullet splatters the walls with the brains and blood of innocent people.

So ignore the extremists. The only way to keep guns out of the hands of bad guys is to figure out who they are before they get armed. That means universal background checks and record-keeping requirements for all firearms transactions. Under federal law, purchases from a licensed gun dealer require identification, and a form stating the buyer is purchasing it for himself and is not part of a group prohibited from obtaining a gun&mdashfelons, people under felony indictment, drug addicts, fugitives and the like. Then, after a background check (90 percent of them take a few minutes), the sale is complete. The dealer makes a record of the transaction and keeps it permanently.

That's a wonderful system, and it is totally worthless in the real world, because almost half of all gun sales are private transactions that entail no procedural safeguards. No identification is required, there's no background check, and no records are kept. This is wonderful for a criminal&mdashor a psychopath. This is what gun opponents mistakenly refer to as the "gun show loophole," but no such loophole exists. Private parties are allowed to sell at gun shows&mdashand anywhere else.

That is why the laws on private sales are absurd. While the NRA "demands" that guns be kept out of the hands of criminals, it has always blocked the only means of doing so: universal background checks on private-party sales. Polls show overwhelming support for checks&mdashas much as 92 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll from last year, including 86 percent of Republicans.

But first the background check process has to be tightened up across the board, as was made obvious in the case of Dylann Roof, the man arrested for the recent shooting spree in an African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof obtained a .45-caliber pistol in April from a federally licensed gun dealer but never should have been able to. He was charged in February with possession of a prescription narcotic, which would have prohibited a dealer from selling him a firearm. Under the rules, the government had three days to check out Roof. Because of a mix-up, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was still trying to obtain his arrest record after the three days passed. While national gun dealers won't sell weapons without FBI clearance, smaller stores are less careful. So Roof returned after the three days and, with no completed background check, bought his gun. The lesson? All gun transactions have to use the national chain standards and wait for the FBI's OK.

The last compromise gun advocates should make is based on the words of that conservative hero, Ronald Reagan: "There is no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying a loaded weapon." In his statement, issued as governor in May 1967, Reagan was referring to members of the Black Panther Party&mdashSecond Amendment absolutists&mdashwho walked into the California State House openly carrying rifles to protest a gun control bill.

Reagan's statement&mdashdirected at those Black Panthers publicly brandishing their weapons&mdashshould be no different when applied to gun zealots walking through a Chili's restaurant in San Antonio carrying long guns. Or the buffoon with an AR-15 loaded with a 100-round drum who last month walked around an Atlanta airport. Or the nitwit in Gulfport, Mississippi, who menaced shoppers at a Wal-Mart by loading and racking shells into a shotgun a few weeks ago, forcing an evacuation of the store. In all of these states, that near-sociopathic behavior was legal. But how can anyone tell whether these nincompoops parading around with their guns on display are merely acting like a 4-year-old proudly showing everyone his penis or constitute a deadly menace? Ask someone at the posh Omni Austin Hotel in Texas earlier this month, a man walked around the lobby with a rifle, legally scaring people. Then he shot and killed someone.

In this great compromise, that is all the gun controllers get: a ban on high-capacity magazines and other slaughter accessories, universal background checks and a ban on the public display of weapons. That brings us to what gun enthusiasts should receive in the bargain.

First, anyone who wants to obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon should be given one. All states allow for concealed carry, but many states&mdashlike California, New Jersey and Maryland&mdashhave what are called "may issue" statutes, meaning people who qualify for a license might not be allowed to receive one. In some states, it's up to county officials to decide who gets to carry a gun inside his or her coat. Here's reality: A criminal or disturbed person will carry a concealed weapon, licensed or not. Under the universal background check system, anyone walking into a state office seeking a concealed carry permit has already been screened there's no reason to deny that person a license if he or she meets the additional requirements.

Then there are the gun accessories that have spooky names, but are mostly designed to protect the shooter. For example, flash suppressors have been outlawed on the belief they will be used to minimize the chance of spotting a shooter. That is a consequence of the device, not its purpose. In truth, the main reason flash suppressors exist is to disburse burning gases that exit the muzzle of a long-arm gun this minimizes the chance that the shooter will be blinded in low-light environments. Danger to the public from this accessory: none.

Other accessories also pose minimal danger, and they protect or help gun owners. For example, the barrel shroud and the folding stock were banned in 1994, then legalized in 2003. Gun control advocates have been pushing for them to be declared illegal once again. The reasons are silly. The shroud cools the barrel of the gun, making sure it does not overheat during rapid firing. It is scary looking but doesn't pose any realistic threat. A folding or collapsing stock is used on a long gun and makes it easier to store or transport the weapon. These were outlawed out of a fear that killers would be able to hide their rifles again, not a reasonable consideration in a world filled with semi-automatic pistols.

It's also time to end this nonsense about "cop killer bullets." Although this topic has been debated since the late 1980s, there is still no accepted definition for this ammo. Earlier this year, though, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives proposed banning armor-piercing 5.56-millimeter M855 "green tip" rifle rounds as cop killers. Some gun owners use this bullet in big, heavy AR-15 pistols, so ATF decided that the M855 green tip posed a threat to police officers who wear body armor. Problem is, not only is this exceptionally popular rifle ammunition, but ATF can point to no instance in which an officer was shot through body armor by an M855. Faced with outrage by gun owners, ATF dropped the proposal. It should stay dropped.

And so should efforts to ban assault weapons. One fact few gun opponents seem to know: Assault weapons don't exist. There are assault rifles, but the broader category of weapons that were banned in 1994 and legalized in 2003 are a political construct. Again, many of them look scary because of the cosmetic features added by gun manufacturers. But the only thing that makes them more dangerous than any other weapon is the number of bullets they can shoot&mdashan issue dealt with by a ban on high-capacity magazines. A 2004 report for the Justice Department showed that, prior to the ban, the firearms defined as "assault weapons" were used in as few as 2 percent and no more than 8 percent of all gun crimes almost none of those cases involved assault rifles. However, high-capacity magazines accounted for between 14 percent and 26 percent of all gun crimes. In other words, when it comes to assault weapons, Americans should stop worrying about the guns and pay attention to the bullets.

There it is: a series of reasonable proposals with something to hate for everyone. But extremists on both sides will never get what they want&mdashall guns everywhere or no guns anywhere. It is up to the rational middle&mdashthe vast majority of Americans&mdashto tell the fanatics that the grown-ups are taking over.

The reporter created a YouTube video that answers your questions about this article. Below is a trailer of excerpts.To see the full video, click here.

Correction: This article originally incorrectly stated that statistics compiled by the Violence Policy Center show that in the years Barack Obama has been president, there have been 14 mass shootings involving high capacity magazines, killing 125 people and wounding 153 more. In fact, there have been 18 mass shootings involving high capacity magazines, killing 153 people and wounding 137 more.

World History Era 7

The invention of the railway locomotive, the steamship, and, later, the telegraph and telephone transformed global communications in this era. The time it took and the money it cost to move goods, messages, or armies across oceans and continents were drastically cut. People moved, or were forced to move, from one part of the world to another in record numbers. In the early part of the era African slaves continued to be transported across the Atlantic in large numbers European migrants created new frontiers of colonial settlement in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and Chinese, Indian, and other Asians migrated to Southeast Asia and the Americas. International commerce mushroomed, and virtually no society anywhere in the world stayed clear of the global market. Underlying these surges in communication, migration, and trade was the growth of world population, forcing men and women almost everywhere to experiment with new ways of organizing collective life.

This was an era of bewildering change in a thousand different arenas. One way to make sense of the whole is to focus on three world-encompassing and interrelated developments: the democratic revolution, the industrial revolution, and the establishment of European dominance over most of the world.

Political Revolutions and New Ideologies: The American and French revolutions offered to the world the potent ideas of popular sovereignty, inalienable rights, and nationalism. The translating of these ideas into political movements had the effect of mobilizing unprecedented numbers of ordinary people to participate in public life and to believe in a better future for all. Liberal, constitutional, and nationalist ideals inspired independence movements in Haiti and Latin America in the early 19th century, and they continued to animate reform and revolution in Europe throughout the era. At the same time political and social counterforces acted to limit or undermine the effectiveness of democratic governments. Democracy and nationalism contributed immensely to the social power of European states and therefore to Europe’s rising dominance in world affairs in the 19th century. Under growing pressures from both European military power and the changing world economy, ruling or elite groups in Asian and African states organized reform movements that embraced at least some of the ideas and programs of democratic revolution.

The Industrial Revolution: The industrial revolution applied mechanical power to the production and distribution of goods on a massive scale. It also involved mobilizing unprecedented numbers of laborers and moving them from village to city and from one country to another. Industrialization was a consequence of centuries of expanding economic activity around the world. England played a crucial role in the onset of this revolution, but the process involved complex economic and financial linkages among societies. Together, the industrial and democratic revolutions thoroughly transformed European society. Asian, African, and Latin American peoples dealt with the new demands of the world market and Europe’s economic might in a variety of ways. Some groups argued for reform through technical and industrial modernization. Others called for reassertion of established policies and values that had always served them well in times of crisis. Japan and the United States both subscribed to the industrial revolution with rapid success and became important players on the world scene.

The Age of European Dominance: In 1800 Europeans controlled about 35 percent of the world’s land surface. By 1914 they dominated over 84 percent. In the long span of human history European world hegemony lasted a short time, but its consequences were profound and continue to be played out today. Western expansion took three principal forms: (1) Peoples of European descent, including Russians and North Americans, created colonial settlements, or “neo-Europes,” in various temperate regions of the world, is placing or assimilating indigenous peoples (2) European states and commercial firms exerted considerable economic power in certain places, notably Latin America and China, while Japan and the United States also participated in this economic expansionism (3) in the later 19th century European states embarked on the “new imperialism,” the competitive race to establish political as well as economic control over previously uncolonized regions of Africa and Asia. Mass production of new weaponry, coupled with the revolution of transport and communication, permitted this surge of power. The active responses of the peoples of Africa, Asia, and Latin America to the crisis of European hegemony are an important part of the developments of this era: armed resistance against invaders, collaboration or alliance with colonizers, economic reform or entrepreneurship, and movements for cultural reform. As World War I approached, accelerating social change and new efforts at resistance and renewal characterized colonial societies far more than consolidation and stability.

  • The global forces unleashed in the second half of the 18th century continue to play themselves out at the end of the 20th century. Students will understand the “isms” that have absorbed contemporary society–industrialism, capitalism, nationalism, liberalism, socialism, communism, imperialism, colonialism and so on–by investigating them within the historical context of the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • At the beginning of the 20th century, Western nations enjoyed a dominance in world affairs that they no longer possess. By studying this era students may address some of the fundamental questions of the modern age: How did a relatively few states achieve such hegemony over most of the world? In what ways was Western domination limited or inconsequential? Why was it not to endure?
  • The history of the United States, in this era, was not self-contained but fully embedded in the context of global change. To understand the role of the United States on the global scene, students must be able to relate it to world history.

Each standard was developed with historical thinking standards in mind. The relevant historical thinking standards are linked in the brackets, [ ], below.


The causes and consequences of political revolutions in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The student understands how the French Revolution contributed to transformations in Europe and the world.

7-12 Analyze how the Seven Years War, Enlightenment thought, the American Revolution, and growing internal economic crisis affected social and political conditions in Old Regime France. [Analyze multiple causation]
5-12 Compare the causes, character, and consequences of the American and French revolutions. [Compare and contrast differing movements, institutions, and ideas]
7-12 Explain how the French Revolution developed from constitutional monarchy to democratic despotism to the Napoleonic empire. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
5-12 Analyze leading ideas of the revolution concerning social equality, democracy, human rights, constitutionalism, and nationalism and assess the importance of these ideas for democratic thought and institutions in the 20th century. [Interrogate historical data]
7-12 Explain how the revolution affected French society, including religious institutions, social relations, education, marriage, family life, and the legal and political position of women. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Describe how the wars of the revolutionary and Napoleonic period changed Europe and assess Napoleon’s effects on the aims and outcomes of the revolution. [Analyze multiple causation]
9-12 Analyze connections between the French and Haitian revolutions and assess the impact of the Haitian movement on race relations and slavery in the Americas and the French empire. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

The student understands how Latin American countries achieved independence in the early 19th century.

5-12 Analyze the influence of the American, French, and Haitian revolutions, as well as late 18th-century South American rebellions, on the development of independence movements in Latin America. [Analyze multiple causation]
7-12 Explain the effects of Napoleon’s invasion of Iberia and the growth of British power in the Atlantic basin on the struggles for independence. [Evaluate the implementation of a decision]
5-12 Analyze the political and ideological objectives of the independence movements between 1808 and 1830 and explain why these movements succeeded. [Interrogate historical data]
9-12 Compare the political roles of Creole elites, the Catholic Church, and mestizo, mulatto, and Indian populations in the independence movements. [Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances]


The causes and consequences of the agricultural and industrial revolutions, 1700-1850.

The student understands the early industrialization and the importance of developments in England.

5-12 Describe the characteristics of the “agricultural revolution” that occurred in England and Western Europe and analyze its effects on population growth, industrialization, and patterns of land-holding. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Identify the major characteristics of the industrial revolution and compare industrial economies with other forms of economic organization. [Compare and contrast differing institutions]
9-12 Analyze relationships between the expanding world market economy of the 16th through 18th centuries and the development of industrialization. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Analyze connections between early industrialization and Britain’s commercial relations with continental Europe, the Mediterranean, India, the Caribbean, and other world regions. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Assess the relative importance of geographical, economic, technological, and political factors that permitted or encouraged the rise of mechanized industry in England. [Analyze multiple causation]

The student understands how industrial economies expanded and societies experienced transformations in Europe and the Atlantic basin.

5-12 Explain connections among population growth, industrialization, and urbanization and evaluate the quality of life in early 19th-century cities. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
5-12 Explain how industrialization and urbanization affected class distinctions, family life, and the daily working lives of men, women, and children. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Analyze connections between industrialization and movements for political and social reform in England, Western Europe, and the United States. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Analyze connections between industrialization and the rise of new types of labor organizations and mobilization. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

The student understands the causes and consequences of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery in the Americas.

9-12 Assess the relative importance of Enlightenment thought, Christian piety, democratic revolutions, slave resistance, and changes in the world economy in bringing about the abolition of the slave trade and the emancipation of slaves in the Americas. [Analyze multiple causation]
5-12 Describe the organization of movements in Europe and the Americas to end slavery and explain how the trans-Atlantic trade was suppressed. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
7-12 Compare contract labor migration and other forms of coerced labor with slavery as methods of organizing commercial agriculture in the Americas in the later 19th century. [Compare and contrast differing values, behaviors, and institutions]
7-12 Assess the degree to which emancipated slaves and their descendants achieved social equality and economic advancement in various countries of the Western Hemisphere. [Interrogate historical data]


The transformation of Eurasian societies in an era of global trade and rising European power, 1750-1870.

The student understands how the Ottoman Empire attempted to meet the challenge of Western military, political, and economic power.

9-12 Assess the effects of population growth and European commercial penetration on Ottoman society and government. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Analyze why the empire was forced to retreat from the Balkans and the Black Sea region. [Analyze multiple causation]
7-12 Explain the defensive reform programs of Selim III and Mahmud II and analyze the challenges these rulers faced in resolving the empire’s political and economic crises. [Interrogate historical data]
5-12 Explain the impact of the French invasion of Egypt in 1798 and analyze the subsequent efforts of Muhammad Ali to found a modern state and economy. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

The student understands Russian absolutism, reform, and imperial expansion in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

7-12 Analyze the effects of the French Revolution, Napoleonic invasion, and world economy on Russian absolutism to 1850. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Analyze relations between the Russian peasantry and land-owning aristocracy and explain the persistence of serfdom in the 19th century. [Identify issues and problems in the past]
7-12 Assess the significance of imperial reforms and popular opposition movements in the later 19th century. [Compare and contrast differing ideas and values]
5-12 Explain why Russia was successful in wars of expansion against the Ottoman empire and other Muslim states. [Analyze multiple causation]
5-12 Analyze motives and means of Russian expansion into Siberia and North America. [Interrogate historical data]

The student understands the consequences of political and military encounters between Europeans and peoples of South and Southeast Asia.

5-12 Explain the advance of British power in India up to 1850 and appraise the efforts of Indians to resist European conquest and achieve cultural renewal. [Consider multiple perspectives]
7-12 Describe patterns of British trade linking India with both China and Europe and assess ways in which Indian farmers and manufacturers responded to world trade. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Compare the British conquest of India with the Dutch penetration of Indonesia and assess the role of indigenous elites under these colonial regimes. [Compare and contrast differing values, behaviors, and institutions]

The student understands how China’s Qing dynasty responded to economic and political crises in the late 18th and the 19th centuries.

7-12 Analyze the economic and social consequences of rapid population growth in China. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Analyze causes of governmental breakdown and social disintegration in China in the late 18th century. [Analyze multiple causation]
5-12 Analyze why China resisted political contact and trade with Europeans and how the opium trade contributed to European penetration of Chinese markets. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
9-12 Assess causes and consequences of the mid-19th century Taiping rebellion. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Explain the growth of the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia and the Americas and assess the role of overseas Chinese in attempts to reform the Qing. [Formulate historical questions]

The student understands how Japan was transformed from feudal shogunate to modern nation-state in the 19th century.

5-12 Analyze the internal and external causes of the Meiji Restoration. [Formulate historical questions]
5-12 Analyze the goals and policies of the Meiji state and their impact on Japan’s modernization. [Obtain historical data]
7-12 Assess the impact of Western ideas and the role of Confucianism and Shinto traditional values on Japan in the Meiji period. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
9-12 Explain the transformation of Japan from a hereditary social system to a middle-class society. [Examine the influence of ideas]
9-12 Explain changes in Japan’s relations with China and the Western powers from the 1850s to the 1890s. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]


Patterns of nationalism, state-building, and social reform in Europe and the Americas, 1830-1914.

The student understands how modern nationalism affected European politics and society.

7-12 Identify major characteristics of 19th-century European nationalism and analyze connections between nationalist ideology and the French Revolution, Romanticism, and liberal reform movements. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
9-12 Analyze causes of the revolutions of 1848 and why these revolutions failed to achieve nationalist and democratic objectives. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Describe the unification of Germany and Italy and analyze why these movements succeeded. [Analyze multiple causation]
9-12 Assess the importance of nationalism as a source of tension and conflict in the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

The student understands the impact of new social movements and ideologies on 19th-century Europe.

5-12 Analyze causes of large-scale migrations from rural areas to cities and how these movements affected the domestic and working lives of men and women. [Analyze multiple causation]
7-12 Explain the leading ideas of Karl Marx and analyze the impact of Marxist beliefs and programs on politics, industry, and labor relations in later 19th-century Europe. [Consider multiple perspectives]
9-12 Analyze interconnections among labor movements, various forms of socialism, and political or social changes in Europe in the second half of the 19th century. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Analyze connections between reform movements and industrialization, democratization, and nationalism. [Analyze multiple causation]
7-12 Explain the origins of women’s suffrage and other movements in Europe and North America and assess their successes up to World War I. [Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances]
9-12 Explain the ways in which Britain, France, and Italy became more broadly liberal and democratic societies in the 19th century. [Formulate historical questions]
9-12 Describe the changing legal and social status of European Jews and the rise of new forms of anti-Semitism. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]

The student understands cultural, intellectual, and educational trends in 19th-century Europe.

9-12 Explain how expanded educational opportunities and literacy contributed to changes in European society and cultural life. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Evaluate major movements in literature, music, and the visual arts and ways in which they expressed or shaped social and cultural values of industrial society. [Draw upon visual and literary sources]
9-12 Analyze ways in which trends in philosophy and the new social sciences challenged and shaped dominant social values. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Describe elements of the distinctive working- and middle-class cultures that emerged in industrial Europe. [Compare and contrast differing values, behaviors, and institutions]

The student understands the political, economic, and social transformations in the Americas in the 19th century.

5-12 Assess the successes and failures of democracy in Latin American countries in the decades following independence. [Formulate historical questions]
9-12 Explain Latin America’s growing dependence on the global market and assess the effects of international trade and investment on the power of landowners and the urban middle class. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Assess the consequences of economic development, elite domination and the abolition of slavery for peasants, Indian populations, and immigrant laborers in Latin America. [Interrogate historical data]
9-12 Analyze how liberal ideology and the expansion of secular education affected legal and political rights for women in various Latin American countries. [Examine the influence of ideas]
7-12 Assess the effects of foreign intervention and liberal government policies on social and economic change in Mexico. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Explain the factors that contributed to nation-building and self-government in Canada. [Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances]


Patterns of global change in the era of Western military and economic dominance, 1800-1914.

The student understands connections between major developments in science and technology and the growth of industrial economy and society.

7-12 Assess the social significance of the work of scientists, including Maxwell, Darwin, and Pasteur. [Examine the influence of ideas]
5-12 Explain how new inventions, including the railroad, steamship, telegraph, photography, and internal combustion engine, transformed patterns of global communication, trade, and state power. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Analyze how new machines, fertilizers, transport systems, commercialization, and other developments affected agricultural production in various parts of the world. [Employ quantitative analysis]
7-12 Explain how new forms of generative power contributed to Europe’s “second industrial revolution” and compare the role of the state in different countries in directing or encouraging industrialization. [Analyze multiple causation]
9-12 Analyze factors that transformed the character of cities in various parts of the world. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

The student understands the causes and consequences of European settler colonization in the 19th century.

5-12 Explain why migrants left Europe in large numbers in the 19th century and identify temperate regions of the world where they established or expanded frontiers of European settlement. [Draw upon data in historical maps]
5-12 Compare the consequences of encounters between European migrants and indigenous peoples in such regions as the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and Siberia. [Compare and contrast differing values and institutions]
7-12 Analyze geographical, political, economic, and epidemiological factors contributing to the success of European colonial settlement in such regions as Argentina, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Algeria, Siberia, Canada, and the United States. [Analyze multiple causation]

The student understands the causes of European, American, and Japanese imperial expansion.

9-12 Explain leading ideas of Social Darwinism and scientific racism in 19th-century Europe and assess the importance of these ideas in activating European imperial expansion in Africa and Asia. [Identify issues and problems in the past]
5-12 Describe advances in transportation, medicine, and weapons technology in Europe in the later 19th century and assess the importance of these factors in the success of imperial expansion. [Analyze multiple causation]
7-12 Analyze the motives that impelled several European powers to undertake imperial expansion against peoples of Africa, Southeast Asia, and China. [Interrogate historical data]
7-12 Relate the Spanish-American War to United States participation in Western imperial expansion in the late 19th century. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Assess the effects of the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars and colonization of Korea on the world-power status of Japan. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

The student understands transformations in South, Southeast, and East Asia in the era of the “new imperialism.”

7-12 Analyze changes in Indian society and economy under British rule. [Interrogate historical data]
7-12 Explain the social, economic, and intellectual sources of Indian nationalism and analyze reactions of the British government to it. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Compare French and British colonial expansion in mainland Southeast Asia and analyze Thailand’s success in avoiding colonization. [Compare and contrast differing values, behaviors, and institutions]
7-12 Analyze how Chinese began to reform government and society after 1895 and why revolution broke out in 1911. [Analyze multiple causation]
5-12 Analyze Japan’s rapid industrialization, technological advancement, and national integration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. [Formulate historical questions]

The student understands the varying responses of African peoples to world economic developments and European imperialism.

The concept of the free movement of persons has changed in meaning since its inception. The first provisions on the subject, in the 1957 Treaty establishing the European Economic Community , covered the free movement of workers and freedom of establishment, and thus individuals as employees or service providers. The Treaty of Maastricht introduced the notion of EU citizenship to be enjoyed automatically by every national of a Member State. It is this EU citizenship that underpins the right of persons to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States. The Lisbon Treaty confirmed this right, which is also included in the general provisions on the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice.

The key milestone in establishing an internal market with free movement of persons was the conclusion of the two Schengen agreements, i.e. the Agreement proper of 14 June 1985, and the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, which was signed on 19 June 1990 and entered into force on 26 March 1995. Initially, the Schengen implementing Convention (signed only by Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) was based on intergovernmental cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs. A protocol to the Amsterdam Treaty provided for the transfer of the ‘Schengen acquis‘ into the Treaties. Today, under the Lisbon Treaty, it is subject to parliamentary and judicial scrutiny. As most Schengen rules are now part of the EU acquis, it has no longer been possible, since the EU enlargement of 1 May 2004, for accession countries to ‘opt out’ (Article 7 of the Schengen Protocol).

1. Participating countries

There are currently 26 full Schengen members: 22 EU Member States plus Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein (which have associate status). Ireland is not party to the Convention but can ‘opt in’ to selected parts of the Schengen body of law. Denmark, while part of Schengen since 2001, enjoys an opt-out for any new justice and home affairs measures, including on Schengen, although it is bound by certain measures under the common visa policy. Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus are due to join, though there are delays for differing reasons. Croatia began the application process to accede to the Schengen area on 1 July 2015.

The Schengen area’s achievements include:

  1. The abolition of internal border controls for all persons
  2. Measures to strengthen and harmonise external border controls: all EU citizens need only show an identity card or passport to enter the Schengen area
  3. A common visa policy for short stays: nationals of third countries included in the common list of non-member countries whose nationals need an entry visa (see Annex II to Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001) may obtain a single visa, valid for the entire Schengen area and judicial cooperation: police forces assist each other in detecting and preventing crime and have the right to pursue fugitive criminals into the territory of a neighbouring Schengen state there is also a faster extradition system and mutual recognition of criminal judgments
  4. The establishment and development of the Schengen Information System (SIS).

While the Schengen area is widely regarded as one of the primary achievements of the European Union, it has recently faced an existential threat due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Member States closing borders in a desperate effort to control its spread. Before that, the main challenges have been the considerable influx of refugees and migrants into the EU, as well as terrorist attacks.

B. Free movement of EU citizens and their family members

In a bid to transform the Community into an area of genuine freedom and mobility for all its citizens, directives were adopted in 1990 in order to grant residence rights to persons other than workers: Council Directive 90/365/EEC on the right of residence for employees and self-employed persons who have ceased their occupational activity Council Directive 90/366/EEC on the right of residence for students and Council Directive 90/364/EEC on the right of residence (for nationals of Member States who do not enjoy this right under other provisions of Community law and for members of their families).

In order to consolidate different pieces of legislation (including those mentioned above) and take account of the large body of case law linked to the free movement of persons, a new comprehensive directive was adopted in 2004 — Directive2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States. The Directive is designed to encourage Union citizens to exercise their right to move and reside freely within the Member States, to cut back administrative formalities to the bare essentials, to provide a better definition of the status of family members, and to limit the scope for refusing entry or terminating the right of residence. Under Directive 2004/38/EC, family members include:

  • The spouse (also of the same sex, as clarified by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in its Coman judgment C-673/16)
  • The registered partner, if the legislation of the host Member State treats registered partnerships as equivalent to marriage
  • Direct descendants who are under the age of 21 or are dependants, and those of the spouse or registered partner
  • Dependent direct relatives in the ascending line and those of the spouse or registered partner.

A large majority of Member States also apply the directive to guarantee free movement rights to same-sex registered partners and partners in a durable relationship.

  • For stays of under three months: the only requirement for Union citizens is that they possess a valid identity document or passport. The host Member State may require the persons concerned to register their presence in the country.
  • For stays of over three months: EU citizens and their family members — if not working — must have sufficient resources and sickness insurance to ensure that they do not become a burden on the social services of the host Member State during their stay. Union citizens do not need residence permits, although Member States may require them to register with the authorities. Family members of Union citizens who are not nationals of a Member State must apply for a residence permit, valid for the duration of their stay or a five-year period.
  • Right of permanent residence: Union citizens acquire this right after a five-year period of uninterrupted legal residence, provided that an expulsion decision has not been enforced against them. This right is no longer subject to any conditions. The same rule applies to family members who are not nationals of a Member State and who have lived with a Union citizen for five years. The right of permanent residence is lost only in the event of more than two successive years’ absence from the host Member State.
  • Restrictions on the right of entry and the right of residence: Union citizens or members of their family may be expelled from the host Member State on grounds of public policy, public security or public health. Guarantees are provided to ensure that such decisions are not taken on economic grounds, comply with the proportionality principle and are based on personal conduct, among other considerations.

Finally, the directive enables Member States to adopt the necessary measures to refuse, terminate or withdraw any right conferred in the event of abuse of rights or fraud, such as marriages of convenience.

b. The implementation of Directive 2004/38/EC

The directive has been beset by problems and controversy, with evidence emerging of serious shortcomings in implementation and continuing obstacles to free movement, as highlighted by Commission reports and Parliament studies on the application of the directive, infringement proceedings against Member States for incorrect or incomplete transposition, the large volume of petitions submitted to Parliament and the considerable caseload before the CJEU. The criticism raised by some Member States in 2013-2014 on the alleged abuse of free movement rules by EU citizens for the purposes of ‘benefits tourism’ led to discussions at EU level on possible reforms, in the meantime set aside after the decision of the UK to leave the EU.

Provisions applying to third-country nationals who are not family members of an EU citizen are explained here.

The Enlightenment and Human Rights

If the guillotine is the most striking negative image of the French Revolution, then the most positive is surely the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, one of the founding documents in the human rights tradition.

The lasting importance of the Declaration of Rights is immediately evident: just compare the first article from August 1789 with the first article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights passed by the United Nations after World War II, on 10 December 1948. They are very similar, though the UN document refers to "human beings" in place of "men." (Did "men" mean women too in 1789? As we shall see, this was far from clear.)

When the French revolutionaries drew up the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen in August 1789, they aimed to topple the institutions surrounding hereditary monarchy and establish new ones based on the principles of the Enlightenment, a philosophical movement gathering steam in the eighteenth century. The goal of the Enlightenment's proponents was to apply the methods learned from the scientific revolution to the problems of society. Further, its advocates committed themselves to "reason" and "liberty." Knowledge, its followers believed, could only come from the careful study of actual conditions and the application of an individual's reason, not from religious inspiration or traditional beliefs. Liberty meant freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom from unreasonable government (torture, censorship, and so on). Enlightenment writers, such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau, influenced ordinary readers, politicians, and even heads of state all over the Western world. Kings and queens consulted them, government ministers joined their cause, and in the British North American colonies, American revolutionaries put some of their ideas into practice in the Declaration of Independence and the new Constitution of the United States.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789 brought together two streams of thought: one springing from the Anglo-American tradition of legal and constitutional guarantees of individual liberties, the other from the Enlightenment's belief that reason should guide all human affairs. Enlightenment writers praised the legal and constitutional guarantees established by the English and the Americans, but they wanted to see them applied everywhere. The French revolutionaries therefore wrote a Declaration of Rights that they hoped would serve as a model in every corner of the world. Reason rather than tradition would be its justification. As a result, "France" or "French" never appears in the articles of the declaration itself, only in its preamble.

The Anglo-American tradition of legal guarantees of rights dates back to the Magna Carta, or "Great Charter," of 1215. In it King John of England guaranteed certain liberties to the free men of his kingdom. In 1628 the English Parliament drew up a Petition of Right restating the "rights and liberties of the subjects." Charles I agreed to it, and the rights were further extended in the English Bill of Rights of 1689. John Locke's writings on the nature of government in the late 1600s gave a more universal and theoretical caste to the idea of the rights of freeborn Englishmen, suggesting that such rights belonged not just to the English, but to all property-owning adult males.

Until Locke, the English tradition of rights had been just that, English. The various English parliamentary documents on rights had been specifically limited to freeborn Englishmen. They made no larger claims. The Enlightenment helped broaden the claims, and its effects can be seen in the American offshoots of the English parliamentary tradition of rights. Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence of 1776 claimed that "inalienable" rights were the foundation of all government, and he justified American resistance to English rule in these terms. Jefferson's "declaration" is especially important because it argued that rights had only to be "declared" to be effective. The same belief in the self-evidence of rights can be seen in George Mason's draft of the Bill of Rights for Virginia's state constitution. The similarities to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen are not hard to find, for both the Virginia Bill of Rights and Jefferson's Declaration of Independence had an immediate influence on the French declaration.

Enlightenment writers had paved the way for the reception of these ideas on the European continent and helped transform English rights into more universally applicable ones. They complained that in France these rights were being violated by despotic, absurd, superstitious, and fanatical institutions. Voltaire, in particular, held out English religious toleration as a model. In their criticism, Montesquieu and Rousseau moved beyond existing institutions, proposing new principles of government based on reason and comparative study.

Beginning in the last years of the reign of Louis XIV and intensifying thereafter, writers both within and outside France began strongly decrying the despotism of the French monarchy. In 1721, Montesquieu, a nobleman and judge, published an anonymous novel, The Persian Letters, in which he used fictional letters between visiting Persians to lampoon French customs, particularly those of the recently deceased Louis XIV. Voltaire held French practices up against those in England, China, and elsewhere and found cause to ridicule French "fanaticism" in religion.

Transportation of Voltaire to the French Panthéon

These and other criticisms paved the way for a more theoretical consideration of government in general. One of the most influential works of this nature was Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws (1748), which developed a comparative political analysis of the conditions most favorable to liberty. The American Founding Fathers studied this work closely. Rousseau, in his Social Contract of 1762, took the ideas of Montesquieu and also Locke a step further he argued that all government rested on a social contract (not on divine right, not the Bible, not tradition of any kind) in which "the assembled people" (democracy) determined everything. For him, "the person of the meanest citizen is as sacred and inviolable as that of the first magistrate" in other words, Rousseau insisted on complete equality (between men).

Although the most democratic of the Enlightenment writers, Rousseau said relatively little about rights. In fact, one of the most enduring criticisms of his work is that he failed to guarantee individual rights under the social contract. The community apparently took precedence over the individual in Rousseau's view. Other Enlightenment writers stepped into this gap. Voltaire made his reputation defending those who had been persecuted for their religious opinions. As yet, however, there was more talk about rights in general than about specific rights. Writers often referred to rights as if everyone knew what they meant, but in fact many ambiguities remained: Should Protestants or Jews have the same rights as Catholics in France? Should poor men have the same rights as property owners? Should women enjoy the same rights as men?

Despite the strong efforts of the French monarchy and the Catholic Church to ban the works of Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau, their influence soon spread, even to the highest echelons of the state that originally opposed them. Other monarchs in Europe eagerly sought the friendship and advice of Enlightenment writers, and it was only a matter of time before leading French bureaucrats also took up their ideas. Among the most striking cases was that of Turgot, one of the chief ministers of Louis XVI. His memorandum to the King of 1775 shows that talk of rights had permeated the highest levels of government.

Before the Revolution broke out in 1789, most discussion of rights in France focused on the plight of religious minorities. After years of criticism and discussion, the French crown granted certain civil rights to Protestants in 1787, but not political ones. Once civil rights had been granted to Protestants, it was perhaps inevitable that the question of Jewish rights would be raised. But the French monarchy did not offer any reforms in the status of Jews.

A particularly contentious issue in the 1780s was that of slavery. A powerful current of antislavery opinion was welling up in England, France, and the new United States, abetted in part by the influential anti-slavery tracts of a French Catholic clergyman, Abbé Raynal. Raynal denounced slavery along with most European commerce with the colonies. His work had great impact in the British North American colonies as well as in Europe.

Writers, philosophers, and clerics had long debated the question of a woman's role in society, but this discussion did little to inspire government action before 1789, or to prompt the formation of clubs or societies concerned with improving the status of women. Enlightenment writers interested in the subject focused on the education of women, rather than on their civil or political rights. Most people in France, men and women alike, believed that a woman's place was in the home, not in the public sphere. This widely held view helps explain the absence of organized women's groups in France before the outbreak of the Revolution. Once the King convoked the Estates-General in 1789, however, women took the opportunity to submit their own petitions, thereby helping place their own concerns on the revolutionary agenda.

National Assembly Relinquishes Privileges

As the notion of rights spread, it became increasingly radical. When King Louis XVI called the Estates-General to meet in 1789, he inadvertently released a torrent of complaints about the future of the country in the form of pamphlets. One of the most influential of these pamphlets was written by a clergyman, Abbé Sieyès. In "What Is the Third Estate?", he offered a fundamentally new vision of French society in which position would be determined by usefulness, not birth. In short, he attacked the concept of a hereditary nobility. Sieyès's pamphlet helped clear the way for the views that would be expressed in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.

Before the revolutionaries could establish the Declaration of Rights as the fount of governing authority, however, they had to tear down the ancient edifice. They did not immediately abolish monarchy itself instead they tried to put it on a different foundation of constitutionalism. But they did abolish the old system of special privileges. In one long session (throughout the night of 4 August 1789), the deputies to the new National Assembly voluntarily renounced the privileges of their towns, provinces, and various social groups. Nobles, clergy, judges, and even ordinary taxpayers lost whatever special standing they had gained over the centuries. From now on, everyone was to be identical before the law. This concept of equality became one of the cardinal principles of the new declaration, passed only three weeks later.

The declaration gave birth to the famous revolutionary triad: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. In all images of the time, these principles were represented by female figures—but that did not mean women were about to gain equal access to the rights the triad embodied. The declaration said nothing about women, or about religious minorities, or men who did not own property, or slaves. Not surprisingly, the moment the declaration passed, the status of all these groups became the subject of heated debate.

The first issue taken up was the question of property qualifications for full citizenship. The National Assembly instituted property qualifications only to rescind them in 1792 and reinstitute them after 1795. When the question of religious minorities came up, the assembly readily agreed to grant full rights to Protestants but hesitated to do so for Jews. Jews petitioned for full rights and finally gained them on 27 September 1791.

The question of slavery was more complicated still, if only because a large proportion of French commerce depended on the colonies, whose agrarian economy rested heavily on that institution. In the French colonies, mulattos and free blacks had begun agitating for rights, but any such move was fiercely resisted by white planters, who feared it would undermine the entire slave system. The National Assembly tried to take a middle course, still supporting the slave system but granting rights to certain free blacks and mulattos (in May 1791). Some deputies wanted to abolish the slave trade and slavery itself. When a massive slave revolt broke out in the largest French colony, Saint Domingue (present-day Haiti see Chapter 8), the deputies rescinded the rights of free blacks and mulattos, only to reinstitute them a few months later (March 1792). The assembly originally tried to suppress the slave revolt, but rather than lose the colony altogether when the slaves threatened to ally with Great Britain and Spain, the National Convention, on 4 February 1794, finally abolished slavery in all the colonies. It would be reestablished under Napoleon in 1802.

Once the French Revolution got under way, it sparked the first explicit feminist movement in history. Members of both sexes were now arguing that women should enjoy the same rights as men, but they were definitely in the minority. The prevailing view was still that women were fundamentally different from men and should confine themselves to domestic concerns. Nevertheless, a small number of women set up their own clubs and, though they hesitated to ask for the vote and other political rights, they insisted that women should be educated to be good republicans and should participate in the Revolution as much as possible, whether by ferreting out counterrevolutionaries, watching the marketplaces for infractions against the new price controls, making bandages for the war effort, or even on some rare occasions arming themselves to go to the front. In response to the upsurge in female political activity, the National Convention officially banned all women's political clubs on 29–30 October 1793. Although women continued to be denied political rights, they had acquired more civil rights than ever before. New laws established divorce for the first time and gave women equal access to it other laws insisted that girls have the same inheritance rights as boys when families passed on their property.

After all the debates, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen remained open to modification as the Revolution changed course. In 1793 the National Convention offered a new constitution, which included a modified Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. The new declaration repeated many of the provisions of the first one but added an emphasis on social welfare (Article 21: "Society owes maintenance to unfortunate citizens"). Although the new constitution never went into effect (it was shelved while the country was at war), it and the declaration reflected a growing tension that would henceforth accompany the discussion of rights. Many questions remained to be answered: Should these rights be simple guarantees of legal freedom and equality, or should they encompass more ambitious prospects of social improvement and amelioration? Did rights apply just to legal and political activities, or did they also extend to the social and economic sphere of life? Did people have a right to help form their government?

In 1795 the National Convention wrote yet another constitution, and this one actually did go into effect. The deputies also prepared a Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and Citizen, thereby responding to a current of opinion that had already gathered some strength during the 1789 discussions. Should a declaration of rights not be accompanied by a declaration of duties? The duties listed here have a modern resonance: they include what we would call "family values," a defense of property, and a call to military service. Still, the declaration of duties made quite clear that both rights and duties pertained only to men.


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