cover image Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence

Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence

Shane Claiborne and Michael Martin. Brazos, $19.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-58743-413-6

Claiborne (Jesus for President), an activist and speaker, and Martin, a Mennonite minister, assemble statistics, policy alternatives, and detailed histories to document and persuasively condemn America’s apathy toward gun violence. The authors root their efforts in the prophetic aspiration within the Bible to beat “swords into iron plows” and “spears into pruning tools.” They slowly build their case, laying out evidence of exactly how armed and lethal America has become: “Since 1979, the nation’s gun deaths have not dropped below thirty-two thousand per year. That means for nearly forty years we’ve allowed more than 1.2 million lives to be lost to guns.” One especially fascinating chapter recounts the evolution of gun marketing in the 20th century, which entered the home through new forms of media; another recounts the politicization of the National Rifle Association beginning in the late 1970s, turning the organization away from its roots in gun safety and sportsmanship. The authors advocate regulations, call for gun violence to be declared a public health emergency, and provide instructive Biblical quotes aimed at “unlearning violence.” Particularly moving are 19 sidebars that memorialize the victims of mass shootings. Timely and moving, this important book deserves a wide audience and will be eye-opening for any reader concerned about the effects of America’s open embrace of guns. (Mar.)