The right to keep and bear arms is a longstanding, often glorified right protected by the US Constitution.
Americans own nearly half of all the civilian-owned guns in the world, and on a per capita basis, the US has far more guns than any other nation. With high-profile mass shootings in Colorado Springs, Highland Park, Illinois, and Uvalde, Texas in recent months, debates around gun control have intensified in the US.
Many countries are awash with guns. Among the nations with the most firearms are Serbia, Yemen, Switzerland, and Saudi Arabia.
But there are only three countries that have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms: Mexico, Guatemala, and the United States. Here’s why.
Only 15 constitutions (in nine countries) “ever included an explicit right to bear arms,” according to The New York Times.
The United States’ Second Amendment inspired other countries around the world to provide their citizens with the right to own guns — including Bolivia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Liberia, Guatemala, Mexico, and the US.
All of those countries, excluding Mexico, the US, and Guatemala, have since rescinded the constitutional right to bear arms, The New York Times reported.
Just south of the US border, the Mexican government has a strict hold over civilian gun ownership. Although Mexicans have a right to buy a gun, bureaucratic hurdles, long delays, and narrow restrictions make it extremely difficult to do so.
Article 10 of the 1857 Mexican Constitution guaranteed that “every man has the right to keep and to carry arms for his security and legitimate defense.” But 60 years later in 1917, lawmakers amended it following Mexico’s bloody revolution.
During the rewriting of the constitution, the government placed more severe restrictions on the right to buy guns. The law precluded citizens from buying firearms “reserved for use by the military” and forbid them from carrying “arms within inhabited places without complying with police regulations.”
Today, Mexicans still have a right to buy guns, but they must contend with a vague federal law that determines “the cases, conditions, requirements, and places in which the carrying of arms will be authorized.”
In 2012, The New York Times reported that only members of the police or military can buy the largest weapons in Mexico, such as semiautomatic rifles.
Mexico Daily Post