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美國痼疾難除的槍支暴力嚴重踐踏人權(2)(中英對照)

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Part 2 Institutional Reasons for the Proliferation of Guns in the United States

二、美國槍支泛濫的制度原因
Although gun violence is a serious threat to the lives of the US people, the United States has been unable to solve this problem in all these years. Gun violence has become a long-lasting problem in the country due to various reasons that are directly related to the country's special social and political systems.
盡管槍支暴力嚴重威脅民眾生命安全,但美國一直無法解決這個問題。美國槍支暴力痼疾難除,同美國特殊的社會政治制度有直接關聯。
1. The rigid constitutional provisions of the United States have made it impossible to achieve a comprehensive ban on guns. The Second Amendment to the US Constitution reads in the following manner: "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." This constitutional amendment was enacted in 1791. Back then, it reflected the aspirations of US people, who had just gained independence from Britain through the War of Independence, and to some extent, met their actual needs. It is precisely because most people in the 13 states of North America owned guns that they were able to launch a military campaign against the British colonial rule, establish the Continental Army mainly consisting of militia, and eventually win independence. This special historical experience has led the people in the United States to believe that gun ownership is a vital right. This provision has had a major impact on the country's politics. There are 44 states in the United States that have protected the citizens' right to bear arms in their constitutions.
第一,美國僵硬的憲法規定使得全面禁槍無法實現。美國憲法第二修正案規定,"紀律嚴明的民兵乃保障自由國家的安全所必需,人民持有與攜帶武器的權利不容侵犯"。這條憲法修正案制定于1791年,反映了剛剛通過獨立戰爭從英國獨立出來的北美人民的愿望,在一定程度上滿足了當時美國人的實際需求。正是在民眾普遍擁槍的背景下,北美13州人民才開始武力反抗英國殖民統治,組建以民兵為主體的"大陸軍",并最終贏得獨立。這種特殊的歷史經驗使得美國人相信,持槍權是一項至關重要的權利。這項規定對美國政治生活產生了重要影響。美國44個州的憲法中都明確規定要保護公民持槍的權利。
Nevertheless, given the increasing power of guns and the increase in population density caused by urbanization, the negative effects of privately-owned guns are becoming increasingly apparent. It is widely acknowledged by different countries in the world that privately owned guns are not conducive to public safety. The proliferation of guns in private hands is directly related to gun violence and may cause a large number of casualties and an increase in violent crime. Given this, most countries have strict control over privately owned guns. The right to hold guns under the US Constitution clearly does not accord with the needs of modern society. In fact, many years ago, the US society recognized the negative impact of privately-owned guns and the danger of gun proliferation, and discussed the possibility of banning privately owned guns by amending the Constitution. Unfortunately, it is an incredibly difficult, complicated, and time-consuming task to amend the Constitution of the United States. Given the strong gun culture, a large number of gun holders, and powerful interest groups that support privately owned guns in the United States, the attempt to ban privately owned guns by amending the US Constitution has little chance of success.
但是,隨著槍支威力的不斷增強,隨著城市化造成的人口密度增加,私人普遍擁槍的負面影響日益顯現。世界各國普遍承認,私人持槍不利公共安全。私人普遍擁槍同槍支暴力有直接關系,會造成大量人員傷亡和暴力犯罪現象增加。絕大多數國家都對私人持槍采取嚴格控制的政策。美國憲法規定的持槍權已明顯不符合現代社會需要。事實上,多年以前美國社會就認識到了持槍權的負面影響和槍支泛濫的危險性,并探討通過修改憲法實現禁槍的可能性。然而,修憲在美國門檻很高,且過程復雜、漫長。在美國持槍文化深厚、持槍人口眾多和槍支利益集團勢力強大的情況下,試圖通過修憲禁槍,成功的可能性微乎其微。
Another possible way to achieve a constitutional ban on privately owned guns is by asking the US Supreme Court to reinterpret the relevant constitutional provisions. In the history of the United States, the US Supreme Court has reinterpreted many constitutional provisions to make them meet the requirements of the times. There are always two different interpretations of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution in US society. One interpretation holds that the Second Amendment protects the individual rights of citizens. The other believes that it protects the collective rights of the states because the word "Militia" in the article is a militant collective. In previous debates on guns, the liberals took the collective rights theory as the theoretical basis for gun control, and hoped that the US Supreme Court would accept this interpretation to control the proliferation of guns. Unfortunately, in June 2008, the US Supreme Court's ruling on the Heller case completely destroyed the liberals' hopes. In this ruling, the US Supreme Court held that the possession and carrying of firearms is a "natural" human right, that individual citizens have the right to own and use firearms, and that it is unconstitutional for local governments to establish gun control laws. In June 2010, the US Supreme Court further ruled that the provisions of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution concerning the freedom of individual possession of guns also apply to state and local laws, thereby extending the individual right of possessing guns throughout the United States. These two rulings of the US Supreme Court completely eliminated the possibility of banning privately owned guns through adopting a different interpretation of the relevant constitutional provisions.
實現憲法禁槍的另一條可能途徑是美國聯邦最高法院對憲法重新進行解釋。事實上,歷史上許多憲法條款都經由聯邦最高法院的重新解釋解決了滯后性問題。然而,美國社會對憲法第二修正案一直存在不同解讀。一種觀點認為憲法第二修正案保護的是公民個人權利,另一種觀點認為憲法第二修正案保護的是集體權利,因為該條款中的"民兵"組織是一個集體。在歷次槍支問題爭論中,自由派都把集體權利論作為控槍的理論根據,希望聯邦最高法院通過這種解釋控制槍支泛濫現象。但是,2008年6月聯邦最高法院對赫勒案的裁決卻讓自由派的希望灰飛煙滅。在這個裁決中,聯邦最高法院認定,持有和攜帶槍支是一項"天賦"人權,公民個人有權擁有和使用槍支,地方政府制訂控槍法律是違憲行為。2010年6月,美國聯邦最高法院進一步裁定,美國憲法第二修正案中有關公民享有持槍自由的條款同樣適用于各州和地方法律,從而將個人持有槍支的權利擴大到整個美國。美國聯邦最高法院的這兩個裁決徹底消除了通過釋憲禁槍的可能性。
2. The drawbacks of US party politics have hindered gun control efforts. As there is no hope of banning privately owned guns, the United States can only find ways to control firearms, that is, to restrict how guns are purchased, registered, and managed. Nonetheless, the implementation of such a limited number of constraints on privately owned guns has met with many obstacles. In recent decades, the phenomenon of "polarization" in US politics has become increasingly apparent, and the opposition between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party has intensified. Core voters of the two parties hold completely opposing perspectives on gun control. The Democratic Party supports gun control and advocates a stricter gun control policy, while the Republican Party opposes gun control. Gun control has become one of the major topics in the presidential and congressional elections, and a candidate's attitude on this issue has become an important factor in determining the success or failure of his or her election campaign. During the Clinton administration, the US Congress passed the "Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB)", which explicitly prohibited the sales of 19 highly aggressive semi-automatic firearms and more than 10 bullet clips in the private sector, and made some progress on the issue of gun control. During the Obama administration, given the high incidence of shooting violence in the United States and frequent school shootings, the Senate Democrats proposed a gun control amendment, which would require that the background checks on gun buyers include buyers at gun shows and online. Despite that this amendment was supported by 90 percent of US citizens, it was rejected by the Senate in 2013. As its gun control bills were repeatedly killed off by Congress, in January 2016, the Obama administration began to bypass Congress and tried to control firearms by issuing administrative orders, which stipulated that mental patients should be prohibited from holding guns, required gun dealers to hold certificates, and strengthened the background checks on gun buyers. Later, when the Republican government took office, these weak gun control measures of the Obama administration could not be maintained.
第二,美國政黨政治的弊端使控槍努力停滯不前。由于美國禁槍無望,所以只能想辦法管控槍支,即從槍支購買方式、購買資格以及流通槍支的類型、登記和管理等方面做出限制性規定。但是,即使這種對個人擁槍的有限約束,也遇到重重阻力。近幾十年來,美國政治"極化"現象嚴重,兩黨對立加劇。兩黨核心選民團體在這個問題上的主張截然對立。民主黨支持槍支管制,主張實行更為嚴格的槍支管制政策,共和黨則反對槍支管制。槍支管控已成為總統和國會選舉的主要議題之一,并已成為決定競選成敗的重要因素。克林頓政府時期,美國國會通過《聯邦攻擊性武器禁售令》,明確禁止在民間出售19種攻擊性較強的半自動槍械以及10發以上的子彈夾,在控槍問題上取得一些進展。奧巴馬政府時期,鑒于美國槍擊暴力案件居高不下、校園槍擊等惡性案件頻繁發生,參議院民主黨人提出槍支管理修正案,要求將購槍背景審查范圍擴展到槍支展銷會和網上購槍領域。盡管該法案得到90%美國人的支持,但還是在2013年被參議院否決了。事實上,奧巴馬政府推動的控槍法案全部鎩羽而歸。在此背景下,2016年1月,奧巴馬政府不得不繞開國會,用發布行政命令的方式管控槍支,規定禁止精神病患者持有槍支,要求槍支經銷商持證上崗,加強槍支購買者的背景審查。但是,隨著共和黨政府上臺,奧巴馬政府這些微弱的控槍措施也無法得到保持。
Given the election politics in the United States and the fact that strict gun control policies are not conducive to maximizing Democratic votes, the Democratic Party has gradually softened up its attitude on gun control in recent years. During the Clinton administration, the Democratic Party lost control of the Senate and House of Representatives in the mid-term elections in 1994. The main reason the Democratic Party lost such a large amount of votes and funds was that the Clinton administration insisted on passing two gun control bills. Gore, a Democratic candidate for president, was thought of as a protestor to the possession of privately-owned guns, since he had voted for a gun control bill when serving as the president of the Senate and the vice president of the United States. This was one of the major reasons for his failure in the presidential election. The Democratic Party has learned its lessons, and thus its opinion on gun control has begun to waver. It dares not explicitly support gun control because radical gun control policies will make it lose a large number of votes. It is also less willing to oppose gun control because it will make them lose the support of its traditional voters. Its attitude on the issue of firearms has begun to become somewhat vague. To win more votes and political contributions, some Democratic politicians who run for office do not even dare to demand strict gun control, not to mention a comprehensive ban on privately owned guns.
由于受到美國選舉政治支配,近年來民主黨對槍支管控的立場持續軟化,因為嚴格控槍政策不利于民主黨選票最大化。克林頓政府時期,民主黨在1994年中期選舉中丟失了參眾兩院控制權,政府堅持通過了兩個控槍法案成為民主黨失去大量選票與資助的主要原因。戈爾在副總統任上曾經以參議院院長的身份投票支持一項槍支管制法案,這使他被視為反對持槍者,成為其最終在總統選舉中落敗的一個重要因素。這些活生生的教訓使民主黨在槍支管制問題上態度變得搖擺不定。一方面,他們不敢明確支持槍支管制,因為激進的控槍政策會丟失大量選票;另一方面,他們更不敢反對槍支管制,因為這會失去傳統選民。民主黨在槍支問題上的立場開始變得有些模糊。為了爭取更多選票和政治獻金,一些參選公職的民主黨政治人物甚至不敢要求嚴格控槍,更不敢要求全面禁槍。
The Republican Party always supports the possession of privately-owned guns and opposes strict control over firearms. Given this, Republican administrations usually loosen control over privately owned guns. For example, during the Reagan administration, Congress passed the Firearm Owners' Protection Act in 1986, which drastically relaxed restrictions on gun sellers and buyers, and stipulated that the inspection on firearms by the federal government is to be carried out once a year. This Act significantly strengthened gun rights in the United States and was a serious retrogression in the cause of pursuing proper gun control in the United States. During the Bush administration, when the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) was about to run out its 10-year term, Congress refused to review the AWB and let it expire automatically.
共和黨一貫支持持槍權,反對嚴格管制槍支。共和黨執政時期,美國通常會放松槍支管制。里根政府時期,國會于1986年通過《武器擁有者保護法》,大幅放寬對槍支銷售者和購買者的限制,將聯邦政府部門對槍支的檢查限定為每年一次。這個法律極大強化了美國的持槍權,是美國槍支管制方面的嚴重倒退。小布什政府時期,《聯邦攻擊性武器禁售令》10年期滿,國會拒絕重新進行審議,致使法案最后自動失效。
The current Republican administration still supports private gun ownership. In February 2017, the Republican-controlled Senate and House of Representatives abolished an administrative order issued by the Obama administration, which prohibited patients with certain serious mental illness from buying guns, and required mentally ill patients' medical insurers to submit relevant identification information to the FBI for approval of these patients' gun purchases. In April 2018, US Vice President Pence attended the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) and said in a speech, "The president and I both have a clear conscience to support the Second Amendment. The current administration will not violate the people's right to own and carry weapons." Because of deadly school shooting incidents, in March 2018, the Florida Senate passed a bill that allowed teachers to carry guns in schools. Subsequently, the US federal government also proposed a similar plan to prevent the occurrence of school shootings by arming school staff. Given the Republican Party's consistent opposition to gun control, there is a reason to believe that the United States will further relax its gun management in the future. The prospects for the United States to solve the problem of gun proliferation are very slim. The incidents of gun violence and shooting casualties may continue to increase.
當前的共和黨政府支持私人持槍自由。2017年2月,共和黨控制的參、眾兩院廢除了奧巴馬政府發布的一項行政命令。該行政命令禁止患有某些嚴重精神疾病的患者購槍,要求精神疾病患者的醫療保險商向聯邦調查局提交相關身份信息以供購槍許可審核。2018年4月,美國副總統彭斯出席全國步槍協會年會并發表講話說:"總統和我都問心無愧地支持憲法第二修正案。本屆政府不會侵犯人民擁有和攜帶武器的權利。"鑒于嚴重的校園槍擊事件,2018年3月,佛羅里達州參議院通過一項允許教師在校園內攜槍的法案。隨后,美國聯邦政府也提出類似的計劃,要求通過武裝學校教職員工來阻止校園槍擊案的發生。根據共和黨一貫反對控槍的立場,有理由相信美國未來會進一步放松槍支管理。美國解決槍支泛濫問題的前景十分渺茫,槍支暴力和槍擊傷亡事件恐怕只會增加,不會減少。
The Republican Party's support for gun rights not only affects Congressional legislation, but also affects the Supreme Court's rulings. In 2010, the US Supreme Court, dominated by Republican supporters, ruled on the McDonald's case, arguing that US citizens in all states and cities can own guns as this is their constitutional right. That means the right to hold guns applies nationwide. Since that ruling went into effect, gun control in the United States has been significantly loosened, and about half of the states in the United States have amended their original laws to allow gun owners to openly carry guns in most public places. With the official implementation of Illinois's Firearm Concealed Carry Act (FCCA) on January 5, 2014, the possession and carrying of concealed firearms became legal in all 50 states of the United States. The FCCA stipulates that people who have obtained concealed weapon licenses can carry concealed guns anywhere, except in public places, such as government buildings, schools, hospitals, and buses. This means that there will be more guns on the streets. More than 20 airports, including those in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, allow gun owners to carry guns to the security checkpoint. At schools in northern Texas, teachers are allowed to carry guns in schools. Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia, and Virginia allow pistols with ammunition to be carried in bars. There are another 18 states that allow weapons to be carried in restaurants that offer alcohol.
共和黨擁護持槍權的立場不但影響國會立法,而且影響到聯邦最高法院裁決。2010年,共和黨支持者占多數的聯邦最高法院對麥克唐納案做出裁決,判定美國公民在全國各州各市都可以依據憲法賦予的權利擁有槍支,即持槍權適用于全國。這個裁決生效后,美國的槍支管控水平大幅后退,一半左右的州修改原有法律,以便允許槍支擁有者在大多數公共場所公開攜帶槍支。隨著伊利諾伊州于2014年1月5日正式實施隱蔽持槍法,隱蔽持有和攜帶武器在美國50個州全部合法。隱蔽持槍法規定,除禁止民眾在政府大樓、學校、醫院和公交車等公共場所攜帶或者持有槍支外,獲得持槍證的人可以在任何地方隱蔽攜帶槍支,這就意味著會有更多的槍支出現在大街小巷。費城、洛杉磯、舊金山等20多個機場允許有槍支許可的人攜帶槍支到安檢口。在得克薩斯州北部的學校,校方允許教師攜帶槍支到校。田納西州、亞利桑那州、佐治亞州和弗吉尼亞州允許在酒吧里攜帶裝有彈藥的手槍。還有另外18個州允許在提供酒精飲品的飯店里攜帶武器。

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