of the key features of a codified constitution is that they are usually
entrenched. According to Clark, entrenchment means that constitutions can only
be modified “through a special procedure of constitutional amendment.” (Clark 2013:707)
It simply means that for a constitution to be altered or amended, there is a conventional,
often lengthy, process to be followed. Subject to which state a codified
constitution is set in, this could either be an advantage or disadvantage. One
real world example of a country with an entrenched constitution is the Federal
Republic of Germany. Originally approved in 1949, The Basic Law for the Federal
Republic of Germany has been amended multiple times since its creation. This includes
The Reunification Treaty in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunified. (Roberts 2016:36)
Clark argues that countries, such as the Federal Republic of Germany, that have
experienced fascist governments in the past, understand “that the state could,
indeed, do wrong and that individuals would sometimes need protection from the
state.” (Clark
2013:709) He argues that since a codified constitution is in place, and
since its content is entrenched, then the Federal Republic of Germany is
protected from the threat of such atrocities of the Nazi government occurring
again. The constitution itself “forbids any alteration of the Basic Law except
by means of an express alteration of its wording by statue.” (Paterson and Southern
1991:63) The Basic Law is a section of the German Constitution that
outlines German citizens individual rights, and these rights can never be
withdrawn. This example of an entrenched codified constitution is an advantage
as the basic human rights of German citizens are protected from any change. Another
real-world example of a codified constitution that is entrenched is the
constitution of the United States of America. In the USA, their constitution is
held in a very high regard. Lieven in fact went as far to say that those in the
United States of America “have taken worship of the constitution to extreme
lengths.” (Lieven
2012:74) As the oldest constitution in the world still in use (Heywood 2013:333),
the American constitution has often acted as a goal for other countries to
reach. The American constitution has been in place since 1789 and is the least
amended constitution, with only 27 in 228 years, 10 of which occurred in 1791
to create the American Bill of Rights. (Hague et al. 2016:112) This indicates that although
there have been changes made it is in rare circumstances. In contrast to the
constitution in the Federal Republic of Germany, the constitution in the United
States of America is continuously the topic of controversial debate all across
the globe. One of the most controversial sections of the constitution is the
second amendment, which guarantees ‘the right of the people to keep and bear
arms… It is on this amendment that the debate about gun control focuses.”(Bennett 2004:10)
Throughout American history there has been mass shootings with devastating
losses. In fact, “in 2017 alone there has been over 305 mass shootings in the
United States of America, resulting in over 346 deaths. (The Telegraph Website) It
would however be unfair to suggest that only mass shootings only happen in the
United States of America. In the United Kingdom, where an un-codified
constitution is in place, the government was able to amend laws regarding gun
ownership, as a direct result of mass shootings. After the mass shooting in
Dunblane in 1996, which resulting in 16 children and their teacher being
killed, the UK Government introduced the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997. The act
banned the private ownership of handguns. Since then there has been a 44% drop
in the number of crimes involving a handgun. (CNN Website) As previously
stated, as the United Kingdom does not have an entrenched constitution, the
government was able to pass a law to ban the ownership of guns with 69 per cent
of the votes. (Firearms (Amendment) Bill HC Deb 11 June 1997) As Heywood states,
un-codified constitutions are more “responsive and adaptable” (Heywood 2013:335) which
allowed for an easy change of the constitution in the United Kingdom. Whereas
in the United States of America it is highly unlikely that their constitution
will be altered as theirs is the “least flexible” constitution. (Lijphart 2012:211) This real-world example within American shows the
disadvantages that can affect individual citizens through having a codified
constitution. Moreover, the constitution remains ultimately the same since its
creation in 1787 and since then there has been a huge change in social,
economic and political aspects of society. Furthermore, even the sitting
President, Donald Trump has said, “it’s a really bad thing for the country.” (Bloomberg View Website) This
is significant as Trump is pointing out that codified constitutions can be
flawed and can in fact be damaging to a country. This significance is
heightened as, as previously stated the US constitution is often regarded as
the goal for new codified constitutions and if the President of the US is
arguing that their codified constitution is bad for the country, then the idea
of codified constitutions being an advantage for a country is put into

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