Publication Date
May 5, 2020
Nicholas James Johnson, David B. Kopel, George A. Mocsary, E. Gregory Wallace
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Programme of Action, Firearms Protocol, International Tracing Instrument, Arms Trade Treaty, International Standards on Arms Control, Cifta, European Firearms Directive, Nairobi Protocol, Suarez, Grotius, Pufendorf, Vattel
This online chapter covers international-law principles and documents involving self-defense and firearms control. International law traditionally dealt with relations between nations but has expanded to cover interactions between states and individuals.

Part A covers the leading international legal conventions on the right of self-defense or gun control: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Programme of Action against the illicit trade in small arms, the Firearms Protocol and International Tracing Instrument, the Arms Trade Treaty, and the UN’s International Standards on Arms Control (ISACS). Part A also covers the work of various UN bodies, such as the Human Rights Council.

Part B focuses on major regional firearms agreements. These include CIFTA (applying to the western hemisphere, including the United States), the European Firearms Directive, and the Nairobi Protocol.

Part C steps back from current issues to examine the foundations of international law and the individual and collective rights of self-defense. This Part presents the writings of Suarez, Grotius, Pufendorf, Vattel, and other founders of international law. From the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, these geniuses created what we today call “classical international law.”

Part D addresses the most important international law problem of the last century: genocide. To what extent, if any, does international law provide for forceful resistance to mass murder? For forceful resistance to other violations of human rights?

Lastly, Part E presents arguments for whether and how international gun control should be implemented. The Part also examines how “norms entrepreneurs” use international law in service of gun control or gun rights.
Recommended Citation
Johnson, Nicholas James and Kopel, David B. and Kopel, David B. and Mocsary, George A. and Wallace, E. Gregory, International Law (June 7, 2019). Firearms Law and the Second Amendment: Regulation, Rights, and Policy ch. 13 (2d ed. 2020)., Available at SSRN:

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