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Newtown. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Tucson. Aurora. Gun violence on a massive scale has become a plague in our society, yet politicians seem more afraid of having a serious conversation about guns than they are of the next horrific shooting. Any attempt to change the status quo, whether to strengthen gun regulations or weaken them, is sure to degenerate into a hysteria that changes nothing. Our attitudes toward guns are utterly polarized, leaving basic questions unasked: How can we reconcile the individual right to own and use firearms with the right to be safe from gun violence? Is keeping guns out of the hands of as many law-abiding Americans as possible really the best way to keep them out of the hands of criminals? And do 30,000 of us really have to die by gunfire every year as the price of a freedom protected by the Constitution?
In Living with Guns, Craig R. Whitney, former foreign correspondent and editor at the New York Times, seeks out answers. He re-examines why the right to bear arms was enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and how it came to be misunderstood. He looks to colonial times, surveying the degree to which guns were a part of everyday life. Finally, blending history and reportage, Whitney explores how twentieth-century turmoil and culture war led to today's climate of activism, partisanship, and stalemate, in a nation that contains an estimated 300 million guns--and probably at least 60 million gun owners.
In the end, Whitney proposes a new way forward through our gun rights stalemate, showing how we can live with guns--and why, with so many of them around, we have no other choice.
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Craig R. Whitney spent his entire professional career as a reporter, foreign correspondent, and editor at the New York Times, where he was assistant managing editor in charge of standards and ethics when he retired in 2009. He is the author most recently of All The Stops. He lives in New York City.
What People are Saying About This
Adam Winkler, Author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America
“Living With Guns is a fascinating and provocative illumination of America's centuries-long battle over gun control. No matter what your views on guns, you'll find yourself unable to put down this riveting history and thoughtful analysis of one of America's most contentious issues. Fair-minded, astute, and balanced, Living With Guns will change the way you think about guns and gun control.”
Kirkus“A fresh and balanced argument.”
David K. Shipler, author of The Rights of the People and Rights at Risk"Whether you come from the right or the left, this meticulously researched and argued book will make you think hard and reconsider your assumptions. His illuminating research into gun ownership and gun control in early America is an antidote to absolutism. It should be read closely by both sides in the debate."
Booklist“A very thoughtful, well-researched, and well-reasoned argument in favor of the right to bear arms within reasonable limitations and an appeal to responsible gun ownership.”
New York Times Book Review
“Whitney’s fresh eyes and relative agnosticism serve him well in his historical account of guns in America.”
New York Times“Even for doubters of Mr. Whitney’s hopeful message [Living with Guns] has much to offer. Of particular interest is his brief and readable history of the role of guns (and their regulation) in the colonial era. This history provides the context for understanding what was on the minds of the founding fathers in drafting the Second Amendment, and for deciphering its rather abstruse wording.”
Philadelphia Inquirer“Were there to be a reasoned debate about gun control in the United States, Craig R. Whitney might make an ideal moderator…. He has produced a well-researched and nuanced work about the history of the Second Amendment and attitudes toward gun control from Plymouth Rock to the current Supreme Court.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By Bill Marsano. This is a useful guide to the Second Amendment and the history of the many attempts to limit or nullify it, and it’s short, too. Just as well: Whitney’s tour is brisk but his writing is merely workmanlike at best. He makes a couple of important points. For example, the desirable attempt to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, crackpots and other obviously unfit folk is seriously undermined by the many states that simply don’t take the trouble to provide information to the FBI’s national database. If you seek an argument supporting the gun-owners’ claim that we have plenty of gun laws but just don’t enforce them, that alone is sufficient. He makes the important point that a gun license can no longer be denied solely on the discretion of, say, the local sheriff. That is, the license can’t be refused to a person who satisfies all legal requirement just because the sheriff thinks he ‘doesn’t need one’ or ‘doesn’t really need that kind of protection.’ He makes two points about the NRA—one right and one wrong. First, he points out that the NRA needs the continuing controversy over gun control to generate funds. Although I’m an NRA member myself, I agree. Then he says that the NRA’s and gun-owners’ fear of registration as a device enabling government confiscation is some kind of paranoid delusion, a hysterical fear of something just isn’t going to happen and never will. Here Whitney is dead wrong. Among the many outcries immediately after the december 2012 school shootings in Connecticut there were in fact several by legislators calling for just such a confiscation. Whitney, who accepts the current Supreme Court stand on the Second Amendment also fails to deal with the uncomfortable facts owners of legally registered guns are simply not the people who use guns to commit crimes and that almost all of those crimes involved guns that were obtained illegally. And there’s one extremely important facts that he doesn’t even recognize, which is that politicians need the gun-control controversy just as much as the NRA does, because it guarantees politicians all the newspaper coverage and TV interviews they want. If you want proof, compare the number of politicos who beats their breasts over this issue with what they actually accomplished.–Bill Marsano is a professional writer and editor, and a sometime target shooter.