The Politics of Gun Control

Robert J. Spitzer, Author Chatham House Publishers $25 (210p) ISBN 978-1-56643-022-7
Although someone is murdered in the U.S. every 21 minutes, and in more than 50% of the cases by handguns, Americans cling to the gun culture with a tenacity that transcends all reason. Clearly, primordial meanings are at work here, a symbolism as profound as it is irrational. Spitzer discusses the various dimensions of the controversy with a rare balance and maturity. The author first analyzes the Second Amendment, drawing out its legal interpretations (an ``armed militia'' is not quite the same as drug dealers with AK-47s). He then examines the consequences of guns to the nation, from injury to accidents, homicide to suicide; the political battle between the NRA and Handgun Control Inc.; and the history of policy making, culminating in the assault weapons ban and the Brady bill. Spitzer ends the book by suggesting a new public policy based on an international model, one that includes nonproliferation of new weapons and arms control for those that already exist, but whether this form of regulation would work is a moot point. It is not so much the hunting ethos that keeps guns in 70 million American homes but the cultural mythology that champions self-reliance and a frontier ethic. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1995
Release date: 03/01/1995
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FORMATS
Paperback - 210 pages - 978-1-56643-021-0
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-889119-87-8
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