Suggested Books - Firearms


In the Gravest Extreme, Massad Ayoob

From an Amazon reviewer: 
This excellent book covers *all* the important issues related to owning a handgun for self protection. I had heard that Ayoob was the definitive writer on the subject, and after reading this book I see why. The book is short enough that it can be easily read in a couple evenings, but long enough to thoroughly cover all the important issues. No matter your experience level with hand guns, this book is a must read. There is something in it for everyone. I have passed the book on to very experienced friends, they have said the same thing. The book is just *excellent*.

Ayoob Files: The Book, Massad Ayoob

From an Amazon reviewer: 
Ayoob has detailed some stunning accounts of real-life shootouts and the aftermaths. Some of these incidents are well known and received much publicity at the time. The attention to detail was so captivating that I couldn't help feel as if I was standing on the sidewalk observing all of these scenes. This book is more entertaining than the best episodes of TOP COPS. The other stunning aspect is the reality of each account. You are also made more aware of the consequences of people's actions. As with all of the Ayoob works, there are some lessons to be learnt here as well.

Gunproof Your Children, by Massad Ayoob

From an Amazon reviewer: 
This is a short well written book designed to gunproof your children. It examines the fallacy of locking up your guns as a viable option. While locks help it won't protect your kids when they may face a weapon away from the home. Today's kids need this info even if you don't personally own firearms.

People For and Against Gun Control, Marjolijn Bijlefeld

The debate over gun control is a complex and compelling one that has created a deep divide between gun rights and gun control supporters. Student researchers can use this reference source to explore the issue through the lives of fifty people who have become actively involved in either supporting gun control and stricter laws, or in supporting the rights of people to own and carry guns. This unique approach to the debate provides profiles of these individuals, highlighting the different reasons for each person's deep involvement in the debate and the different elements involved in the debate as a whole.
This book profiles several members of AWARE's board of directors.

About the author:
Marjolijn Bijlefeld is a freelance writer and editor who worked with the Coalition to End Gun Violence and served as the Director of The Educational Fund to End Gun Violence.

Black Man with a Gun: A Responsible Gun Ownership Manual for African Americans, Kenneth V.F. Blanchard

This no nonsense guide to the emotional isues and practical concerns regarding responsible gun ownership belongs on the bookshelf of every African American, male and female, no matter what present position they may take on the gun question. Starts with "A Letter to my Sisters," and a dedication to "The unconquerable spirit of the black woman."

About the author:
Kenneth Blanchard served as a U.S. Marine and a federal police officer. He is currently a security specialist with the federal government. He is the executive director of the Tenth Cavalry Gun Club, promoting the safe advocacy of firearms ownership in untraditional America.

She's Got a Gun, Nancy Floyd

This book describes both a personal journey and a historical one. The author interweaves her own family background and firearms experience together with a close look at how women who use guns have been viewed by society. Lavishly illustrated, the pictures range from thought-provoking to hilarious; they were chosen with an artist's eye and an academic's passion for historical accuracy. Three main areas of gun use, pleasure (sports, movies, entertainment, fiction), power (self-defense), and professional (police and military) are covered in depth, with a writing style that is fresh and engaging.

About the author:
Nancy Floyd is Associate Professor of Photography at the School of Art and Design, Georgia State University.

Street Smarts, Firearms, and Personal Security, Jim Grover

Jim Grover's professional credentials in the art of crime avoidance and self-defense are as good as it gets: on-site security specialist in the world's hottest of hot spots, combatives instructor to ultrahigh-speed military and police units and hands-on security trainer to international corporations, among other sensitive assignments. Here is a compilation of the best of his wildly popular "Personal Security" columns in Guns & Ammo magazine. It covers the entire spectrum of personal security issues, with street-savvy ideas and twists you will find nowhere else. Learn how to vastly improve the physical security of your home; develop alert street smarts; stay safe while traveling in your vehicle, out of town or abroad; recognize and avoid crimes of the new millennium; keep your children safe; choose and use effective nonlethal weapons; engage in nasty unarmed combat; and utilize radically practical shooting skills that have been perfected in real-life situations. From spotting trouble before it happens to surviving a riot to handling a firearm like a pro, this book has it all!

Effective Defense: the Woman, the Plan, the Gun, Gila May-Hayes

From an Amazon reviewer: 
Written by a woman for women who are considering their options for personal protection, both lethal and less than lethal. Clearly written for easy understanding of both technical jargon and the overall concern a woman should have about her surroundings. Recommended reading for any woman who is concerned about her personal safety.

Women & Guns, Deborah Homsher

In the gun-control debate, Homsher argues, it's not simply guns that are at issue, and focusing on women and guns clarifies other values and meanings that polarize opinions. Homsher first reviews frontier stories, examining both the experiences of women on the American frontier and folkloric male frontier heroes, often wedded to guns but not to wives, families, and responsibilities. She meets with women hunters, interrogating the impact of gender on non-hunters' easy stereotypes. In two chapters, Homsher addresses self-defense, exploring the objectives of women who advocate concealed-carry laws, and the disagreement between conservative and liberal women about whether defense is needed against "the feral stranger, (or) the outwardly respectable, familiar batterer." She talks with women who participate in gun sports and militias, and with African American women from neighborhoods where guns are all too omnipresent. In all her journeys, Homsher aims to redirect the debate, to move beyond the "talking points" of both pro- and anti-gun campaigners, to demonstrate that "partisan, gendered, politicized discourses serve (only) to camouflage central issues and to polarize discussion."

More guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws, John R. Lott, Jr.

Editorial Review from Amazon.com: 
Multiple regression analyses are rarely the subject of heated public debate or 225-page books for lay people. But John R. Lott, Jr.'s study in the January 1997 Journal of Legal Studies showing that concealed-carry weapons permits reduced the crime rate set off a firestorm. The updated study, together with illustrative anecdotes and a short description of the political and academic response to the study, as well as responses to the responses, makes up Lott's informative More Guns, Less Crime.

In retrospect, it perhaps should not have been surprising that increasing the number of civilians with guns would reduce crime rates. The possibility of armed victims reduces the expected benefits and increases the expected costs of criminal activity. And, at the margin at least, people respond to changes in costs, even for crime, as Nobel-Prize winning economist Gary Becker showed long ago. Allusions to the preferences of criminals for unarmed victims have seeped into popular culture; Ringo, a British thug in Pulp Fiction, noted off-handedly why he avoided certain targets: "Bars, liquor stores, gas stations, you get your head blown off stickin' up one of them."

But Lott's actual quantification of this, in the largest and most comprehensive study of the effects of gun control to date, a study well-detailed in the book, provoked a number of attacks, ranging from the amateurish to the subtly misleading, desperate to discredit him. Lott takes the time to refute each argument; it's almost touching the way he footnotes each time he telephones an attacker who eventually hangs up on him without substantiating any of their claims.

Lott loses a little focus when he leaves his firm quantitative base; as an economist, he should know that the low number of rejected background checks under the Brady Bill doesn't demonstrate anything by itself, because some people may have been deterred from even undergoing the background check in the first place, but he attacks the bill on this ground anyway. But the conclusions that are backed by evidence--that concealed-weapons permits reduce crime, and do so at a lower cost to society than increasing the number of police or prisons--are important ones that should be considered by policymakers. --Ted Frank

More guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws, John R. Lott, Jr.

The Gun Control Debate: You Decide, edited by Lee Nisbet
From an Amazon reviewer: 
This collection of essays contains many of the classics in the gun control debate including Sanford Levinson's classic "The Embarrassing Second Amendment" as well as the infamous "43-to-1" study by Arthur Kellerman. Of interest is the manner in which essays were collected for this volume. Nisbet contacted the two major lobbying organizations, HCI and NRA, and asked them to recommend articles and essays that best put forth their respective positions. Using that as a base, Nisbet narrowed the selection down based on his own research, reading and conversation with the experts.

The resulting collection is telling. If the best that the gun control advocates could muster is the ingeniously specious 43-to-1 study, then they've lost the debate. It's also interesting to note that almost none of the pro-control articles were published in criminological or law journals but instead were published in pro-control public health journals like NEJM or JAMA.

The pro-gun side fairs much better. There are many excellent essays by such notables as Gary Kleck and Don Kates, Jr. Kleck, Kates and others skillfully dissect the poor arguments of the pro-control authors.
No matter what your position is on gun control, this book is a must-have for your collection if you are going to try and debate this issue intelligently.

The Seven Myths of Gun Control, by Richard Poe

In the past, I tacitly believed many of these myths. If you believe any of these statements, then you must read this book:
  1. Guns increase violent crime
  2. Pulling a gun on a criminal endangers you more than the criminal
  3. Guns pose a special threat to kids
  4. The 2nd Amendment applies only to miliamen
  5. The 2nd Amendment is obsolete
  6. We should treat guns as cars, requiring licenses
  7. "Reasonable" gun control is not a threat

The author writes in an easy-reading style, working in statistics as well as many anecdotes. If you haven't thought deeply about these issues and your opinion has been shaped by the mainstream media, then you MUST read this. Everybody else should read it anyway -- no matter which side of the fence you are on.

Armed and Female, Paxton Quigley

The first complete book on one of the hottest subjects in the media today--gun ownership. Quigley offers women sound advice about everything from whether to buy a gun to choosing the proper weapon to training yourself to use it. Personal stories and crime victims' accounts help her make her case for women arming themselves.

A Nation of Cowards: Essays on the ethics of gun control, Jeff Snyder

For those who want to read about firearms public policy issues without being drowned in statistics, this is a book by a thoughtful lawyer who isn't afraid to criticize both sides of the issue.

Gun Women, Mary Zeiss Stange and Carol Oyster

Women, we are told, should not own guns. Women, we are told, are more likely to be injured by their own guns than to fend off an attack themselves. This "fact" is rooted in a fundamental assumption of female weakness and vulnerability. Why should a woman not be every bit as capable as a man of using a firearm in self-defense?

And yet the reality is that millions of American women--somewhere between 11,000,000 and 17,000,000--use guns confidently and competently every day. Women are hunting, using firearms in their work as policewomen and in the military, shooting for sport, and arming themselves for personal security in ever-increasing numbers. What motivates women to possess firearms? And who exactly are these women? Crucially, can a woman be a gun-owner and a feminist too?

Women's growing tendency to arm themselves has in recent years been political fodder for both the right and the left. Female gun owners are frequently painted as "trying to be like men" (the conservative perspective) or "capitulating to patriarchal ideas about power" (the liberal critique). Eschewing the polar extremes in the heated debate over gun ownership and gun control, and linking firearms and feminism in novel fashion, Mary Zeiss Stange and Carol K. Oyster here cut through the rhetoric to paint a precise and unflinching account of America's gun women.

About the Authors:
Mary Zeiss Stange is Associate Professor of Religion and Women's Studies at Skidmore College and author of Woman the Hunter. Carol K. Oyster is Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse and author of Groups: A User's Guide.

The Best Defense: True Stories of Intended Victims Who Defended Themselves With a Firearm, Robert Waters

Documented cases of self-defense with a firearm.

"The Best Defense: True Stories of Intended Victims Who Defended Themselves with a Firearm" is a dramatic portrait of what is at stake in the fight against crime at the level where it occurs: victim vs. perpetrator. Each year, hundreds of thousands of American citizens successfully use guns to defend themselves and others. Often lost in the numbers, however, is the dynamic of what happens when ordinary, law-abiding citizens are attacked. What thoughts and feelings go through their minds as the events unfold? How do they react when suddenly thrust into a life-or-death situation?The fourteen chapters include twenty documented true stories. Charley Reese wrote, "Some chapters read like a suspense story, and they put the reader in the shoes of people whose normal, peaceful lives suffered the sudden and horrifying shock of a criminal attack. You will see that neither the police nor the courts can offer much protection...Trust me, this book is an exciting read, and the stories are true. It'll make a believer in the Second Amendment out of any sensible person."While there are many books debating the pros and cons of gun control, the Second Amendment, and the legal aspects of gun ownership, few if any relate true stories of encounters between criminals and victims. In these accounts, the victims survived and lived to tell about it.