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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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Can Gun Control Work?

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ISBN13: 9780195145625
ISBN: 0195145623
Published: January 2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Format: Hardback
Price: Out of print

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 pronouncements on the consequences of potential shifts in the status quo.;In America today there are 250 million firearms in private hands, amounting 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 1933 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.

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Part I. Essential Background; 1. Dissecting the Gun Problem; 2. Existing Gun Controls; 3. Impediments to More Gun Controls
Part II. America's Dominant Gun Control Paradigm; 4. The Politics of the Brady Law; 5. What the Brady Law Says; 6. Holes in the Brady Law; 7. Evaluating the Brady Law
Part III. Policy Options for the Future; 8. Closing the Gun Show and Secondary Market Loophole; 9. Comprehensive Licensing and Registration; 10. Prohibition and Disarmament; 11. Other Gun Control Strategies; 12. Creating Gun Free Public Spaces; Conclusion; Endnotes; Bibliography