The Public Interest

Telling the Truth About Guns

Don B. Kates, Jr.

Summer 1991

IT IS AT ONCE distinctly odd and distressingly typical of” the fanaticism of the gun-control debate that Gary Kleck, a Florida State University criminologist, has been assailed as a handmaiden of the gun lobby. It is odd because Kleck’s recommendations for gun control well exceed even those the National Rifle Association bitterly opposes in the proposed Brady bill. (Kleck favors mandatory background checks not just for handgun sales but for long guns as well.) Yet despite his sentiments, Kleck’s findings do give some aid and comfort to the gun lobby. For he is among the bevy of scholars whose work over the past fifteen years has eclipsed and discredited the major arguments for banning guns rather than simply controlling them.

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