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

The Last Gun: How 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

Library Journal
As he did in his previous book, Making a Killing: The Business of Guns in America, Diaz (former senior policy analyst, Violence Policy Ctr.) here argues passionately for stricter gun-control regulations. Following on the previous book, he looks at the changes taking place in the gun industry as it markets more lethal weapons to the consumer and seeks to influence state and national legislation in favor of more lax gun laws as well as frame the way we as a society think and speak about gun violence. Highlighting the growing lethality of easily acquired firearms and the influence of the gun lobby on our ability to access data related to gun crime, Diaz, a former NRA member and gun enthusiast, offers actions that concerned citizens, policymakers, the media, and public health practitioners can take to lessen the future incidence of gun violence in America. VERDICT Gun-control activists will welcome this book, which will also find a broader audience given the renewed interest in a national gun-control debate in the wake of the Aurora, Newtown, and other recent shootings.—Elizabeth Winter, Georgia Inst. of Technology Lib., Atlanta
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

"A blistering takedown of the gun business and politics."
The Boston Globe

"A gripping narrative that combines plenty of factual data with compelling storytelling."
—Joshua Horowitz, executive director, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

"Tom Diaz is one of the most insightful observers of the gun industry and the larger gun debate in America today."
—Robert J. Spitzer, author of The Politics of Gun Control

"Diaz knows his subject inside and out and, like the prophets of old, hurls his arguments from the mountaintop with terrible precision."
—Andrew Gumbel, journalist and author of Steal This Vote

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:
9781595588418
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
03/26/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
File size:
1 MB

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Meet the Author

Tom Diaz is a writer, lawyer, and public speaker on the gun industry and gun control. Formerly senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, he has been featured on MSNBC, NPR, and other national media. His books include Making a Killing (The New Press). He lives in Washington,D.C.

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