- Paperback: 328 pages
- Publisher: University Of Iowa Press; REV edition (September 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0877456461
- ISBN-13: 978-0877456469
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,203,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Under Fire: The Nra and the Battle for Gun Control REV Edition
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leads us carefully through a complicated, interesting, and very American bit of history.”—Los Angeles Times
From the Back Cover
The National Rifle Association enjoys a reputation for invincibility unequaled by any other private lobby. For more than three decades the NRA has handily defeated almost every significant legislative attempt to regulate firearms, thanks in large part to the political clout provided by their activist members, who once numbered close to 3 million. But though its reputation remains, the influence and power of the NRA has begun to fade. Membership is down to 2.6 million and - as gun violence claims nearly 30,000 American lives each year - the group has lost several important gun-control cases in the past two years. Under Fire is the first in-depth, nonpartisan look at this important organization. Using a fast-paced reportorial style, Osha Davidson investigates the current troubles of this feisty, often fanatical, but quintessentially American, institution. Davidson examines such issues as the link between drugs and guns, the NRA's connection with gun manufacturers, its increasingly unsteady relationship with the police, and the growing schism within the organization itself. Effectively separating the NRA from the myths that so often define it, Under Fire portrays a gun lobby that is neither the Evil Empire its foes claim nor the super-patriotic defender of cherished American values that it holds itself to be. As he explores these conflicting identities, Davidson shows that charges made by each side are not merely harmless banter in an isolated political battle. In place of reasoned debate, both camps resort to insults and bumper-sticker slogans that tighten the deadlock on an issue with important ramifications for all Americans. At a time when a resolution to the crisis of unrestrictedfirearms seems to be of paramount concern, Under Fire offers true insight into one of our nation's most pressing concerns.
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Still, Davidson does a good job, overall, of at least minimizing his (or her?) bias and reporting information, but the bias is still present enough to be obvious if you're not already biased as much or more than Davidson.
That said, it's still a good source of information on the NRA. Only religiously pro gun rights advocates can argue that the NRA is purely noble and beyond reproach without embarrassing themselves, and Davidson points out why, beyond the typical simple-minded, reactionary recrimination and myth-making (and buying) so often heard from uninformed, feeling-over-fact liberals and "we know what's best for everyone," social engineering, nanny-state democrats.
-- 01 MAR 14 --
JFTR I consider myself a liberal leaning Democrat, and I considered myself a liberal Libertarian when I wrote that review, so the modifications to "liberal" and "Democrat" are pointedly exclusionary, contrary to what many may presume/may have presumed (since many are clearly -far- too comfortable with presumption). I wasn't disparaging liberals and/or Democrats, and I'm not and wasn't writing from a conservative viewpoint. JFTR.
The biggest problem with understanding guns and violence and rationally dealing with the issue is the fact that the -vast- majority who care enough to join the fray, even a little, are even more prone toward allowing their emotions to hijack their intellects than most, and most people are pretty problematically so inclined. On top of that, or as a result, the available research is overall pretty horrible. For starters, economists and pathologists aren't the right researchers to be doing this stuff, criminologists and sociologists are. Violence is a behavior problem, not a disease vector or primarily an economic issue.
But more important than gun policy (-far- more important, given that the actual effect gun policy has on outcomes makes it a low stakes matter) is understanding how we think and make decisions, and how to mitigate and minimize our biases. Until we can do that with intellectual courage and humility we'll continue to perpetually get in our own way and cause ourselves and each other a -whole- lot more grief than is necessary.
The documentation of the Cincinnati Revolt of 1977, which brought Harlon Carter to power, thus giving the association its John Birch veneer, is unique. It was interesting to note that "jackbooted thugs" was a long-standing staple of the organization.
The story of the obstructionism, disguised as cooperation, in the Bush decision to ban imports of certain assault rifles shows exactly how powerful this group has become. The exposure of tactics such as smears of law enforcement officers, who had the audacity to enforce gun control laws, shows why this is an organization to be feared, and perhaps countered. The deceitful practices of fudging their membership roles, and framing the public debate to regulation equates to confiscation, through historical misrepresentation, is enough to give one a jaundiced ear to anything the organization says.
Gray doesn't hold back in his similar exposure of the proregulationers either. His description of the evolution of the "green apple" to become known as the "cop killer" is a case in point.
All in all, an excellent book, which fills a critical niche in the gun control debate, and it's confluence with contemporary politics.
in the chapter on the inner city, he documents that 'all' 'gun violence' is related to the drug trade, in other words, the fallout from prohibition.
the broad history of the nra is somewhat useful for tracing the left's deep-seated hostility towards the right to keep and bear arms. the nra grew out of the national guard movements that, after the civil war, were called upon to defend industries against union organizers.
like a loaded gun, this book is a useful tool in the hands of someone who knows how to use it;-)
After reading this book, I am more willing to endorse sensible ownership of fire arms than I was before I read it.
The fact that it irritated me and also changed my thinking gives testament to how factual and balanced the book is. It is the best book I've read so far on gun control.