Can Gun Control Work?

Can Gun Control Work?

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Few schisms in American life run as deep or as wide as the divide between gun rights and gun control advocates. Awash in sound and symbol, the gun regulation debate has been largely defined by forceful rhetoric rather than substantive analysis. Politicians trumpet individual rights or public safety while lobbyists make doom-and-gloom pronouncemnets on the consequences of potential shifts in the status quo. In America today there are 250 million firearms in private hands, ammounting to almost one weapon for every American. Two in five American residences house guns. On the one hand, most gun owners are law-abiding citizens who believe they have a constitutional right to bear arms. On the other, a great many people believe gun control to be our best chance at reducing violent crime. While few - whether gun rights or gun control advocate - dispute the need to keep guns out of the wrong hands, the most important question has too often been dodged: What gun control options does the most heavily armed democracy in the world have? Can gun control really work? The last decade has seen several watersheds in the debate, none more important than the 1993 Brady Bill. That bill, James B. Jacobs argues, was the culmination of a strategy that had evolved since the 1930s to permit widespread private ownership of guns while curtailing illegal and dangerous use. But where do we go from here? While the Brady background check is easily circumvented, any further attempts to extend gun control - for instance, through comprehensive licensing of all gun owners and registration of all guns - would pose monumental administrative burdens. Jacobs moves beyond easy slogans and broad-brush ideology to illuminate the on-the-ground practicalities of gun control, from mandatory safety locks to outright prohibition and disarmament. Casting aside ideology and abstractions, he cautions against the belief that there exists some gun control solution which, had we the political will to seize it, would substantially reduce violent crime. James B. Jacobs, one of the most fearless commentators on intractable social problems, has here given us the most sober and even-handed assessment of whether gun control in the United States can really be made to work.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 166.6 x 240.3 x 22.9mm | 557.93g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 6 halftones, 5 line illustrations, bibliography
  • 0195145623
  • 9780195145625

Table of contents

Part I Essential Background: Dissecting the Gun Problem; Existing Gun Controls; Impediments to More Gun Controls. Part II America's Dominant Gun Control Paradigm: The Politics of the Brady Law; What the Brady Law Says; Holes in the Brady Law; Evaluating the Brady Law. Part III Policy Options for the Future: Closing the Gun Show and Secondary Market Loophole; Comprehensive Licensing and Registration; Prohibition and Disarmament; Other Gun Control Strategies; Creating Gun-Free Public Spaces.show more

Review quote

"[a] clear-eyed analytical approach of a first rate legal scholar....Jacobs skillfully catalogues the vast array of legislative initiatives already adopted, as well as the large number of potential regulatory approaches to gun violence....[and] usefully underscores how difficult it would be to overcome all the obstacles--constitutional, political and practical--to the effective regulation of guns in a society that is not fully committed to that goal."-- The American Prospect" If close attention to facts, reason, and common sense has any claim on the public's thinking, this book may well break the polarized debate over gun control and make it possible to settle on a sensible public policy regarding guns, gun safety and the reduction of gun violence. This is a "must read" for anyone concerned about the debate over gun control. I Jan Dizard, Amherst College, co-editor of Gun in Americashow more

About James B. Jacobs

The author of numerous acclaimed books, including Drunk Driving and Hate Crimes, which the New York Times Book Review has described as "an essential guide," James B. Jacobs is Warren E. Burger Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice at New York University.show more

Rating details

7 ratings
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2 14% (1)
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