Dissertation > Political, legal > Legal

The Consititutional Interpretation of the Right to Keep Arms of the American Ciizen

Author LiuWei
Tutor FanJinXue
School Shanghai Jiaotong University
Course Legal Theory
Keywords the right to keep arms constitutional interpretation
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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There are three parts in my paper. The first part introduces the armscases which happened in the United States’history. This part includes threecases: the first case is the United States of America v. Jack Miller and FrankLayton, which adopted the strict interpretation of the Second Amendment ofthe United States constitution, affirmed that only militia could keep arms.This case causes strict control of keeping and bearing arms which lasted morethan half a century. The second case and the third case introduce the Districtof Columbia v. Dick Anthony Heller and the Otis McDonald v. City ofChicago. The former considered that the right to keep and bear arms was aconstitutional right which based on the Second Amendment of the UnitedStates constitution. The Supreme Court considered that the SecondAmendment protected an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes,such as self-defense within the home. The latter expanded the scope of thecase of the Heller which affirmed that the right to keep and bear arms was anindividual right. The Supreme Court held that Second Amendment right tokeep and bear arms was fully applicable to the States by virtue of FourteenthAmendment.The second part of this paper adopts the method of the semantic analysis.Through the comparative analysis of the words and phrases of the SecondAmendment, I’d like to analyze whether keeping and bearing arms is anindividual right.With the help of the aforesaid method of the semantic analysis, the lastpart of this paper would separate the interpretation methods from the cases,and then I’d like to analyze how the Supreme Court got their judgment fromthese interpretation methods. The final conclusion is that the history changeabout the right to keep and beat arms is determined by the interpretationmethods of the Supreme Court, and then I will discuss and analyze themeaning of the constitutional interpretation.

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