The U.S. Gun Violence Crisis: Human Rights Perspectives and Remedies
120 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2019 Last revised: 20 May 2019
Date Written: January 18, 2019
This report examines the U.S. gun violence crisis in light of the U.S. government’s international human rights obligations. It concludes that the failure of the U.S. government to exercise due diligence with respect to preventing and reducing gun-related violence through the adoption of reasonable and effective domestic measures has limited the ability of Americans to enjoy many fundamental freedoms and guarantees protected by international human rights law. These include: the right to life and bodily integrity, the right to security of person, the right to an education, the right to health, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful assembly, the freedom of religion, the right to share in cultural life, and the right to be free from discrimination and ill-treatment. These rights are enshrined in human rights treaties ratified by the United States as well as in customary law.
The Report analyzes the legal and factual dimensions of U.S. gun violence and recommends that advocates of gun reform pursue potential avenues of inquiry before international fora to obtain authoritative interpretations of U.S. human rights obligations in respect to the duty to prevent and protect; use those authoritative interpretations to shift the normative discourse in the United States away from a “gun rights” towards a “human rights” rubric; and endeavor to integrate international legal interpretations of U.S. human rights obligations into U.S. domestic law at the federal, state, and local levels.
Keywords: International Law, Human Rights, Gun Violence, Gun Control, Firearms, United States, Second Amendment, Heller, Obligation to Protect, Right to Life, Right to Health, Assault Weapons Ban, Homicide, Suicide, Firearm-Injury
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