Outgunning the Media

A reasonable case can perhaps be made for some form of firearm regulation. However, few in the opinion- molding professions are able to make it with credibility, unacquainted as they are with up-to-date, scholarly work on the issue. Many journalists who cover the subject continue to recite a collective wisdom based on the studies and analyses of the 1960's and 70's, and it is these views, produced mostly by activists inclined to favor stringent controls, that have formed the general public's approach to the subject.

Now a book has appeared which is designed to help journalists—and the public —become acquainted with the gun control research of the 1980's and 90's. Don Kates and Gary Kleck hope to "bridge the vast gap between scholarly understanding of firearms issues and how they are generally reported and discussed in the popular media." Both men are well qualified for the task: Kleck is a Florida State University criminology professor who has made a specialty of the study of gun ownership and use and their relationship to crime; Kates, a civil rights attorney and scholar noted for his writing on gun issues.

Both Kates and Kleck identify themselves as liberals; each appears to have arrived at his present position in the gun debate through an evolutionary process spanning many years; and each acknowledges that reasonable arguments can be framed for some types of control on the ownership...

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