Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Haskin, R. 2021. Practicality or Principle: A Comparative Study of the Origin of Legal Protections on Gun Rights. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Robert Haskin 2021.


This study examines the legal protections of the right to bear arms as an extension of John Locke’s principles of government. Whereas most studies of the right to bear arms focus on the contemporary practical consequences of an armed populace, I focus on the foundations of the right and how it has been exercised across the diverse circumstances of the U.S. and Azerbaijan to achieve the ideal of self-determination. Specifically, I detail and compare the political histories of each country leading up to their independence and how they obey Locke’s precepts. Given that the chief commonality between the two countries is a period of self-governance that imperial powers impinged, I find that a legal protection of the right to bear arms is not subject merely to practical concerns but claims legitimacy on the principles of self-determination and consent of the governed.