“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.”
“When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”
“An armed society is a polite society.”
Who hasn’t heard these engaging assertions, time and time again? Burned into the national consciousness by years of disciplined messaging by the National Rifle Association and others, they are just a few of the bumper sticker slogans that have defined the gun control debate in America. Long ridiculed by gun control advocates, they are, nevertheless, often the first words that come to mind when the gun issue is discussed.
Lethal Logic: Exploding the Myths that Paralyze American Gun Policy, is the first book both to acknowledge the profound and deadly impact of the gun lobby’s “bumper sticker logic” and to systematically expose the misguided thinking at the core of the pro-gun slogans. The book argues that the gun lobby’s remarkable success in blocking passage of life-saving gun laws is due, in large part, to its disciplined and effective use of these simple and resonant messages. Their persuasive power has been a largely ignored influence on the current politics of gun control, in which the gun lobby wields unprecedented power in the Republican Party, while many Democratic Party leaders see the policy benefits of stronger gun laws as not worth the political risk of standing up to the NRA. Indeed, the book contends, the current political stalemate over guns will never be broken until the pro-gun slogans are exposed as the cleverly disguised fallacies that they are.
Lethal Logic is the first book to comprehensively analyze, and systematically destroy, the bumper sticker logic of the gun lobby. Each chapter is devoted to dismantling one of the bumper sticker messages that, for too long, have impeded progress toward sensible solutions to gun violence and cost innocent lives. Lethal Logic lays to waste the gun lobby’s glib assertions that gun control can’t work because “criminals don’t obey the law,” that “more guns = less crime,” and that the solution to gun crime is to enforce the laws we have, not pass new ones.
Lethal Logic also is the first book to address the impact on the gun control debate of the Supreme Court’s endorsement of “gun rights” in the landmark Second Amendment case, District of Columbia v. Heller. For the first time in our history, the Supreme Court ruled in Heller that the Second Amendment guarantees a personal right to own guns. Lethal Logic considers the impact of this ruling on the power of the gun lobby’s bumper-sticker messages. It reaches the surprising conclusion that, although Justice Scalia’s majority opinion is an unprincipled triumph of ideology over law, the Heller case will actually strengthen the gun control cause and weaken the NRA.
Written by one of the longtime leaders of the American gun control movement, Lethal Logic dissects and dismantles the pro-gun arguments with clear explanations of the best scientific research, revelations from internal gun industry documents, the testimony of gun lobby whistleblowers, compelling anecdotes, and generous doses of reason and common sense.