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Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control (Social Institutions and Social Change) Paperback – December 31, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0202305691 ISBN-10: 0202305694

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Product Details

  • Series: Social Institutions and Social Change
  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Aldine Transaction (December 31, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0202305694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0202305691
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #534,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Targeting Guns is an updated and revised version of Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America (Aldine de Gruyter, 1991), which established Gary Kleck as the foremost sociologist doing research on gun control and as a favorite of the American Rifle Association. Targeting Guns will maintain Kleck’s esteemed position in the academic world; however, it will take him down at least a notch or two in the eyes of the ARA and others ardently opposed to gun control—because even though he systematically rebuts most of the research touted by gun-control advocates, he eventually does make a case for some limited forms of gun control.”

—Gregg Lee Carter, Social Forces

About the Author

Gary Kleck is professor of criminology and criminal jus­tice at Florida State University. He is the author of Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control and coauthor, with Don Kates, of The Great American Gun Debate and Armed: New Perspectives on Gun Control. His articles have been pub­lished in several journals, including the American Sociologi­cal Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Problems, Criminology, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Law & Society Review.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Dale Franks on July 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
Gary Kleck is a Liberal. He is, by his own admission, a member of the ACLU, Amnesty International, Independent Action, Democrats 2000, and Common Cause, among other politically liberal organizations. He is a life-long registered Democrat, as well as a regular contributor to Democratic Party candidates.
He must be an awful disappointment to many of his fellow liberals.
Because, you see, in addition to being all those other things, he is also a criminologist and professor at Florida State University; a scientist who believes empirical evidence and research are more important than dogmatic ideology.
In Targeting Guns, he deomnstrates that the best available empirical evidence is that attempts at gun control legislation are, by and large, either futile, or self-defeating.
In this closely reasoned, scholarly work, Kleck debunks many of the myths of gun control, and concludes that, for the most part, the political rationale for gun control--and the majority of gun control legislation--is seriously flawed. To reach these conclusions, Kleck looks closely at the links between guns, violence, suicide, and gun control, and sums up the relevant research in these areas.
Kleck describes the central--and seemingly commonsensical--rationale for gun control, which is that disarming people will be beneficial, because guns are dangerous, and their use elevates the possibility that a victim of violence will die. He then painstakingly shows why this rationale rests on a simplified and ultimately incorrect assumption about the role of weaponry in violence. He shows why this role is so much more complex than some assume, as well as showing the beneficial aspects of gun ownership among the general populace.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Without a doubt the single best book on the issue of gun control. Of paramount importance is Dr. Kleck's superb presentation of the methodology of analyzing gun control. This book not only presents the facts (which are impeccably researched and presented), but goes beyond them to question and examine issues of causality and the social mechanisms that underlie the statistics. For example, Dr. Kleck looks into the critical question of the association between guns and violence: do more guns cause more violence or does more violence cause more people to acquire guns? (Before readers of Dr. Lott castigate me, between 1963 and 1971 both the national gun stock and national firearms death rate doubled. Dr. Kleck asks which is the chicken and which the egg.) Another example is the counter intuitive result that firearms sentencing enhancement laws result in less time served - because, as it turns out, those are the first charges plea-bargained away. Again and again Dr, Kleck challenges the conventional wisdom and shows that the simplistic associations favored by both sides of the debate fail to stand up under the careful scrutiny of scientific analysis.
Since pro-control literature dominates in the media, (especially in the health advocacy forum), it is only logical that the majority of the studies impeached by Dr. Kleck's research should be of a pro-control tilt. For example, Targeting Guns points up the abysmal failure of the medical literature (e.g., Journal of American Medical Association and New England Journal of Medicine) to meet even the lowest standards for scholarly research, and exposes what amounts to intentional fraud on the part of pro-control "health advocates".
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ross Nordeen on September 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an update of Kleck's earlier book, "Point Blank", which won the Michael J. Hindelang Award in 1993. The award is given by the American Society of Criminology annually for a book published during the previous two to three years that makes the most outstanding contribution to research in criminology.
Even if you disagree with Kleck's conclusions, "Targeting Guns" is an essential addition to your library if you are interested in the issue of gun control. No other book gives such a detailed and comprehensive overview of the research that has been done on this subject.
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