The Last Gun: Changes in the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It

The Last Gun: Changes in the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It

by Tom Diaz
     
 

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Newtown, Connecticut. Aurora, Colorado. Both have entered our collective memory as sites of unimaginable heartbreak and mass slaughter perpetrated by lone gunmen. Meanwhile, cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C., are dealing with the painful, everyday reality of record rates of gun-related deaths. By any account, gun violence in the United States has reached

Overview


Newtown, Connecticut. Aurora, Colorado. Both have entered our collective memory as sites of unimaginable heartbreak and mass slaughter perpetrated by lone gunmen. Meanwhile, cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C., are dealing with the painful, everyday reality of record rates of gun-related deaths. By any account, gun violence in the United States has reached epidemic proportions.

A widely respected activist and policy analyst—as well as a former gun enthusiast and an ex-member of the National Rifle Association—Tom Diaz presents a chilling, up-to-date survey of the changed landscape of gun manufacturing and marketing. The Last Gun explores how the gun industry and the nature of gun violence have changed, including the disturbing rise in military-grade gun models. But Diaz also argues that the once formidable gun lobby has become a "paper tiger," marshaling a range of evidence and case studies to make the case that now is the time for a renewed political effort to attack gun violence at its source—the guns themselves.

In the aftermath of Newtown, a challenging national conversation lies ahead. The Last Gun is an indispensable guide to this debate, and essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how we can finally rid America’s streets, schools, and homes of gun violence and prevent future Newtowns.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Diaz (Making a Killing) leaves no doubt as to his position on gun control. With an avalanche of statistics and narrative accounts drawn from police records and news media, he argues that Second Amendment rights have been taken to ridiculous lengths, as when parents take guns to their children's sports events. While it's difficult to accurately gauge their true defensive utility, guns in private homes are often used to kill family members or commit suicide. Diaz lists the results of Florida laws on gun use and questions the statements of the NRA that only "law-abiding, upstanding" citizens could get concealed gun permits. He also covers the arsenals owned by paramilitary groups who practice warfare at "zombie shoots". But Diaz is most outraged by the legislators who refuse to address the issue, and the courts, particularly Supreme Court Justice Scalia, for being an "ambassador for the gun industry." Most of the book emphasizes the dire state of gun accessibility, though his suggestions for solving the problem are less clear. More importantly, perhaps, Diaz calls out the NRA's doubletalk, urging Americans to support more stringent laws for gun ownership and use. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

"In his eminently readable style, mixing science and anecdote, Diaz shows how our leaders have created gun policies that are good for the gun industry but horrific for our nation. He also describes solutions worthy of the name. What a timely book!"
—David Hemenway, Professor of Health Policy, Harvard School of Public Health

"Diaz once again reveals what the firearms-industrial complex doesn’t want the public to know, while refusing to spare politicians and the media for their complicity in the cover-up…This book should be required reading for policy makers at every level and for every American fed up with the massacre of 30,000 people a year."
—Andrew Fois, Deputy Attorney General, Public Safety Division, Washington, D.C.

"Through a gripping narrative that combines plenty of factual data with compelling storytelling, Diaz makes the convincing case that the gun industry is knowingly trading American lives for profits…After the tragedy of Newtown, if you are going to read one book to understand the current political fight in Washington, this is it."
—Joshua Horwitz, Executive Director, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Kirkus Reviews
A longtime critic of American gun culture aims again at targets he holds responsible for the carnage. Diaz (Making a Killing: The Business of Guns in America, 1999, etc.) pushed for responsible gun control legislation and regulation while employed at the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C. This new book, obviously timely in the wake of recent mass murders around the country, updates and expands his advocacy. In the first three chapters, the author documents the extraordinary level of gun violence in the United States compared to other nations and explains the impact of such violence on individuals and families, cities and rural areas, states and the entire democratic experience. Then, Diaz focuses on gun manufacturers and policy lobbyists, especially the National Rifle Association, that, in Diaz's view, are more concerned with their profit-and-loss statements than with the emotional losses suffered when guns kill or maim. The author attempts to prove that the NRA and its allies are not too powerful to resist successfully in the institutions that have previously enabled them, from state legislatures and Congress to the White House and the courts. Although Diaz is an advocate, he is not shrill; he gathers evidence through careful reporting and marshals his arguments well. Many of the case studies are horrifying and instructive but little known, in part because local media coverage is rarely picked up outside its tight geographic radius. Diaz is on firm ground when he claims that gun violence is actually underreported in the United States, which makes the incidents in the headlines all the more frightening. His suggested reforms, while not original, are well-presented at a time when similar proposals are being debated in state legislatures and Congress. May not alter opinions among true believers on either side of the gun control debate but will hopefully influence the thinking of people with open minds.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595588302
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
04/02/2013
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Tom Diaz is a writer, lawyer, and public speaker on the gun industry and gun control issues. Formerly a senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, he has been featured on MSNBC, on NPR, and in other national media. His books include Making a Killing: The Business of Guns in America (The New Press), and he is currently working on a book about his family and American immigration policy. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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