- Hardcover: 470 pages
- Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (August 1, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0879757566
- ISBN-13: 978-0879757564
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.6 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,188,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Samurai, the Mountie and the Cowboy First Edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Given the breathtaking sweep of the material and the prodigious scholarship the author displays in his detailed discusson of civil liberties, police powers, law and national character with respect to guns in Japan, Great Britain, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Jamaica and the United States, it's surprising and disappointing when, in conclusion, he lamely argues that the best things Americans can do about guns here are eliminate controls and require classes in marksmanship and safety for all gun owners. Kopel, a Denver lawyer, associate policy analyst with the Cato Institute and a technical consultant to the International Wound Ballistics Association, brilliantly delineates the ways in which each nation's unique history has determined how it deals with guns. He defends vigilantism as all-American and necessary, praises the Guardian Angels, claims that many southern civil rights workers of the 1960s were armed and argues that guns are ubiquitous in the inner cities because people need them. He won't convince everyone, but he offers a lot to ponder.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Having carefully reviewed gun control policies in Japan, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, and Switzerland, Kopel argues, quite accurately, that none provides a useful model for reducing the American crime rate. He concludes that because guns cannot be eradicated, a policy that promotes responsible gun use is more likely to prevent gun misuse. Unfortunately, Kopel spends too much time setting up straw persons at both the anti- and pro-gun extremes and then knocking them down. For a more balanced discussion of the same complicated problem, see The Gun Control Debate: You Decide ( LJ 2/1/91). Not recommended.
- John Broderick, Stonehill Coll., North Easton, Mass.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Mr. Kopel's book is superbly researched, very readable, and includes copious references. This is by far the most informative book I've found on the gun-control debate. I recommend it highly.
A lot has happened since the 1992 publication date of "The Samurai, the Mountie, and the Cowboy." The passage of the Brady Bill, the Assault Weapon Ban--and 9/11 have all come and gone. Even so, I think that Kopel had some good points and I wanted to keep a copy in my library.
For example, Kopel explains why a nation's gun control laws and their effectiveness or ineffectiveness results from factors unique to that nation. Japan is a racially homogenous society (97% ethnic Japanese) with a state religion (Shinto). Police are not handcuffed by civil rights concerns. The criminal confession rate of 95% is attributed to routine police torture of suspects (pages 25 and 26) and even illegally-obtained evidence is admissible in court. Japan is a police state and is an island.
On the other hand, the United States has a significantly lower rate of political assassination than many other nations (Page 410). When suicide is added to the death toll both Japan and Switzerland have higher homicide rates (page 407). Then there is the American practice of government-sponsored oppression of large segments of the population--workers in labor unions, the Native American, black Americans, immigrants of all colors, religious groups, political radicals--and this has led to a decisive lack of subordination to "the proper authorities." Or, as Kopel puts it: "Gun control in the United States cannot play a similar role in reinforcing social controls, because Americans do not share the values of subordination which most citizens in other democracies do." (Page 418)
Or how about this: "President Roosevelt's National Relations Act gave legal protection to union organization and to strikes. Labor violence vanished as quickly as capital began to accept the new system. Likewise, debtor-farmer uprisings were common in the 1930's...The New Deal quelled farm violence not with gun bans but by redressing farmers' grievances."
Neat. Fix the real grievances and the need for violence evaporates. What a concept! Or use a gun ban and keep oppressing.