Books on Gun Control and Gun Rights - my recommendations
There are books on gun control and gun rights everywhere, and a few that this Libertarian believes are well worth reading. Although it isn't my intention here to promote books, it seems only fair that I identify what I believe to be good background material for understanding both sides of the issue - gun rights, and gun control.
To be candid, it's hard for me to slug through a book that focuses on gun control, because it goes against my nature to preserve individual rights and hold people accountable. Nevertheless, the first book in the discussion below is just such a book.
The rest are focused more on gun rights than gun control, but still offer an appropriate examination of the gun control side of the issue.
All of the books I discuss below are ones that I have read, cover to cover. All but the Anderson book are in my home library. I believe a good gun rights book that discusses defense against gun control measures is worth reading and worth having so you can read it again and use it as reference.
Books on Gun Control
Our first contestant is Inside the NRA: Armed and Dangerous--An Expose by Jack Anderson. If there is one book to read about the power of the National Rifle Association and their ability to defend our gun rights, this would probably be it. Although it comes from the other side of the argument, when you read it, you get a good feeling that the strength of the NRA will be around for a long time to defend our birthright of freedom.
Anderson spends a lot of time criticizing the NRA for changing from a sport oriented association to a civil rights defense organization. So what? An organization can't change for the better?
One of my favorite parts of the book describes how Anderson regularly and foolishly left his front door unlocked in D.C. of all places. He claims that with all the comings and goings of his family, it would have been futile to try to keep it locked against criminals anyway. This is supposed to show us that we certainly don't have a need for guns because we don't even need to lock our doors - in D.C. no less. Thanks for the tip, Jack.
Anderson also recalls a time in D.C. when he was mugged by a pipe wielding thug. He explains that his experience just shows that having a gun on his person wouldn't have done him any good. He says in that situation he wouldn't have had time to draw a weapon. I think he's hoping that we extrapolate, from that single event, that guns aren't necessary or useful in the arena of personal safety and self-defense.
The only thing I learned from that event was that Anderson, as an investigative reporter, certainly didn't have much of an eye for the obvious - a creep with a pipe heading towards him on the sidewalk. Ironically, the presence of mind that he lacked - got whacked.
If you have a collection of books on gun control, this is a good one to add to the pile.
Books on Gun Control and Gun Rights
Of all the books on gun control, I sincerely believe that Nation of Cowards: Essays on the Ethics of Gun Control by Jeff Snyder is the single best intellectual reference on the planet. Get this book and read it twice.
One of the key points that Snyder drives home is that "utilitarianism" is a killer of rights. If we argue that there is something useful in what we do or what we own or what we believe in, then we are setting ourselves up for failure once someone figures out how to argue successfully against the usefulness of our actions, property or beliefs.
In other words, we can't argue gun rights from a standpoint of needing a gun, because burglar alarms, 911, police, pepper spray and laws can all be used as arguments against needing a gun in the first place. We have to insist on retaining our rights, regardless of how useful or useless they may appear to be.
This is indeed one of the greatest books on gun control and gun rights, and it sits on the top of my list.
Another of the great books on gun control and gun rights is Shooting Straight: Telling the Truth About Guns in America, by Wayne LaPierre and James Baker. When I read this book I thought to myself: "This is the book I was going to write." Well, maybe, but suffice to say, it is well written and well argued.
One of the jewels in the book is a "handbook" on gun control issues that shows both sides of the argument, and explains what our responses as freedom loving individual should be. One of my fondest recollections from the book is when LaPierre and Baker tell about how the folks on the gun control side preach "...just give them what they want," referring to the correct response to a home invader. The authors respond to that foolish advice with the rhetorical question: "But what do you do if what they want is you?"
Another of the great books on gun control and individual rights is God, Guns & Rock and Roll by Ted Nugent. This book by the Motor City Madman is directly in your face. If you don't walk away from this with a crystal clear idea of where Nugent is coming from, then you had your eyes closed.
A great book, but also one of the books on gun control and gun rights that I especially cherish because I lent it to a friend, and he lent it to his son in the Marines. His son took it to Iraq on assignment and brought it back. My friend offered to replace the book when I came calling for it while it was "out on assignment", but I insisted on waiting for it to return, because I wanted a piece of Ted Nugent that had gone to hell and back again, safe and sound, completely consistent with Ted Nugent's unique style.
One memorable part of the book includes criticism of the call for more gun control in D.C. after an underage youth had a shootout at the zoo with fellow gang-bangers. He suggests, in his "subtle" style that perhaps all the gun control in D.C. that didn't prevent the shootings, might not benefit from more of the same.
You can't help but love (or hate) Ted Nugent as he candidly and pointedly shows you his humanity, passion, intelligence, and true American patriotism. I like what my elderly neighbor has to say about Ted Nugent: "I don't care for his music, but I like his politics."
It's one of the great books on gun control from one of the great American spirits of our time.
Another of my favorite books is The Seven Myths of Gun Control: Reclaiming the Truth About Guns, Crime, and the Second Amendment by Richard Poe. It is a well written and well researched book that takes a close look at some of the myths that we might have about guns.
Poe points out that even some of our most conservative elected officials with seemingly strong American values weren't necessarily pro-gun nor dyed-in-the-wool gun rights supporters. He also does a good job of exposing some of the subtle comments that reveal what a person is really thinking about gun control and gun rights, despite what their outward actions and rhetoric might lead you to believe.
One point that Poe makes very clearly is that licensing schemes for owners and firearms won't at all work like licensing for drivers and automobiles, as claimed by the gun-ban crowd. He reminds us of a case where a driver ran into a crowd at a park in New York, killing four and injuring twenty-seven, and there were no charges brought, nor any drivers license revoked.
By comparison, in concealed carry states, you can loose your license if someone sees your firearm in public. This is evidently a much more serious offense than simply dragging people to death under your car through a crowded public park.
Last but not least on my list of books on gun control and gun rights is The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong by John Lott Jr.
This is an easy reading encore to his very informative book More Guns, Less Crime. As an economist, Lott is well known for turning tried and true economic analysis techniques to the evaluation of gun control measures. If you're looking for well reasoned arguments that are backed by credible statistical analysis, Lott has just what you're looking for.
In this book, Lott places strong emphasis on how media and government work to adversely affect public opinion that ultimately serves to challenge your gun rights. He also revisits the proper use of data analysis to evaluate the nature of criminal activity and the effect that laws such as right-to-carry have had on the frequency and severity of violent crime.
John Lott does a nice job of demystifying statistical analysis, and making it a more comfortable world for the layman. He also shows how those with a mission to hide the truth can do so using the "smoke and mirrors" of statistical analysis.
Books on Gun Control - proper aim that is
If you ever have the desire to read true stories of how people have saved their lives and the lives of others by using a firearm, then look no further than the following two books written by Robert Waters.
Guns Save Lives: True Stories of Americans Defending Their Lives With Firearms
The Best Defense: True Stories of Intended Victims Who Defended Themselves With a Firearm
By his own admission, Waters doesn't intend to enter the gun control debate, but he certainly isn't just standing by watching it either. These easy to read books provide detailed, factual accounts of a wide range of circumstances where regular people, going about their daily lives, have used a firearm to save their life or the life of another.
Waters helps us see the firearm for what it is, a tool for evil or good, depending on who is holding it and what their intention is. Some of the stories are absolutely chilling, but Waters doesn't amplify emotions or embellish the stories to make them that way. His simple and direct story telling have a way of exposing the essence of each of these life and death encounters.
Both are recommended as good books on gun control - that is, having control of the gun and using in an appropriate manner to respond to a life-threatening event.
My library of the libertarian minded contains these and other books on gun control and gun rights. As I finish reading additional titles that I believe are deserving of recognition, I'll add a review of them here.
Done with Books on Gun Control, take me back to Gun Rights