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Pot Calling the Kettle Black
on June 25, 2009
The problem with this book is that it isn't so much about research into real facts about gun control and its effectiveness (or lack thereof), it's simply an attack on a political strategy of using slogans to mobilize a political base. Which is funny, because all this book itself is, is a vacuous piece of political propaganda.
The author tries to convince the reader that these slogans are all the gun rights supporters have. But this isn't even remotely true. Even the American Academy of Sciences and the CDC, after comprehensive reviews of all research on the subject, came to the conclusion that there is no convincing research to support the premise that gun control reduces crime or violence. Comparative studies between the US, the UK, and Australia indicate that gun control may actually increase violent crime (there is a very strong correlation, at least). Even the Clinton Administration's own studies of their "Assault Weapons Ban" concluded that the law did absolutely nothing to reduce violence in the US. One of the other reviewers mentioned "scare tactics". But another thing the author doesn't address is that, while gun control laws have generally been loosened in the US over the last 20 years (especially in allowing private citizens to carry concealed weapons - 48 states now allow it, with 2 not even requiring a permit), violent crime overall, and gun crime specifically, have consistently dropped over the same period. So the gun control supporters who cry out about escalating gun violence (which is a lie in itself) are really the ones using scare tactics.
And yet he doesn't address any of this. Instead he sets up a straw man of a gun rights movement that has none of this factual evidence to support it, and which depends strictly on catchy slogans. Then he knocks it down with half-truths, making it seem like his side actually doesn't have a major credibility problem. It's not that the other side doesn't have any real evidence to back up their claims, it's just that he conveniently pretends it doesn't exist.
If you are an ardent gun control supporter and just want something to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, or if you are a gun-rights supporter and want to really get angry, by all means, buy the book. On the other hand, no matter what your position on the question of guns, if you want an intelligent and honest evaluation of facts on guns and gun control, steer clear of the author and this attempt of his to do nothing more than the same thing as the NRA's catchy slogans. Don't forget, he's the vice-president of a lobbying group with a major stake in the issue. This book reads more like a jealous rant simply because the opposition is doing a better job.