Biblioteca PGR

Analítico de Periódico

Todesstrafe und Bürgerbewaffnung : Vom mühsamen Weg zu rationaler Kriminalpolitik in den USA / Arthur Kreuzer
NK. Neue Kriminalpolitik, a.34 n.1 (2022), p.75-95


From a broad public policy perspective, it seems obvious that decisions in criminal policy should be based on evidence. However, in the USA - which often serve as a role model in questions of democracy and criminal policy - there is a gap between science-based knowledge and policies on death penalty and gun rights. The logical conclusion, based on worldwide experience and research - particularly as evidenced in the United States - would be to abolish the death penalty, and drastically reduce availability, possession and carrying of firearms. It has been shown that the death penalty does not work as a deterrent; the rules of lawfulness, human rights and the ban on „cruel and unusual punishment“ in the 8th amendment of the Constitution are broken often; chances for judicial error, misjudgments and the execution of innocent people are unavoidable. The worldwide trend toward abolishment of the death penalty persists, despite some setbacks; this is also true for the USA. The evidence as far as gun control is concerned is overwhelmingly clear: The more guns in private possession the greater the risk of misusing guns and gun violence. Despite increasing availability and possession of firearms in the USA, with corresponding increase in violence and death, gun control efforts fail consistently. The causes and disastrous consequences are reflected in terms like „American Gun Culture“, „Mass Shooting Epidemic“, „Armed School Generation“. The paper explores the obstacles facing initiatives, including that of the new US president, to abolish death penalty and tighten gun laws: There is the tradition reflected by the Second Amendment granting the right to bear arms; there are the many tensions, conflicts, divisions in the society producing anxieties, prejudices, hate and discrimination, there is the political impact of the mighty „National Rifle Association“ and finally the front, reinforced by the new appointees, of the majority of judges in the US Supreme Court refusing to interpret the appropriate passages of the Constitution according to current insights.