"The Politics of Gun Control" by Robert J. Spitzer (1998)
"The disjunction between broad popular support for firmer gun laws and the failure to enact most such laws might be interpreted as a failure of democracy. Yet the connection between public opinion and public policy is far more complex than is suggested by such a conclusion. In the absence of a national system of governance by nationwide referendum, it is all but inevitable that such disjunctions will exist. The explanation rests, first, with the difficulty of translating social regulatory policy preferences into policy enactments. Like trying to build a house in the middle of a hurricane, the effort to construct or alter social regulatory policy is notoriously difficult because of the passion and intensity surrounding such issues. The fact takes on added significance when we not that, other things being equal, the enactment of policy is always more difficult that blocking the enactment of policy. Thus the weight of political inertia rests with gun control opponents."
This book is very short so I'll be brief. The Politics of Gun Control discusses the state of gun control in the late 90s. It details the history of gun control in the U.S., the role of the N.R.A. in public policy, and the legislative difficulties inherent in creating and implementing more effective gun laws in America. It concludes sometime before the onset of George Bush Jr.'s administration.
And while I've never been a member of the N.R.A., I have owned guns, and my father was once a licensed firearms dealer. Yet despite these facets of my personal history, I would agree that the N.R.A. needs to be "reigned in," and that stricter gun laws need to be passed and enforced. People getting shot en masse while attending concerts or school is unacceptable. More guns on the street will always equal less safety, not more.
I would encourage members of the N.R.A. to read this book, and to really think about what the author is saying. It is only by reflecting on gun control with a clear head, and by putting propaganda to one side, that we'll end the crisis of public safety that the proliferation of weapons inevitably creates. It's not about some vague "right" to own a gun. It's not about some militia mentality that the states themselves rendered meaningless in the early days of the Republic. It's about safety, and about being able to do your day to day business without fearing assault, rape, and murder.
I think the current breakdown of American civilization (and it is breaking down) has a lot to do with guns. It's not that we can't fix the problem - just that many of us don't want to. We don't trust each other, we don't trust our government, and in frustration many of us turn to firearms as the answer. For the true outcome of such ways of thinking one need only look to any number of African countries. They may not have the same "right" to own guns, but the social consequences are the same.