Summary of The Last Gun

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The Last Gun book summary

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Author and gun industry expert Tom Diaz contends that the United States’ powerful gun lobby – led by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and aided by underreporting in the media – promotes the concept that access to guns has little to do with gun violence. The gun industry sells increasingly militarized weapons as sporting items and characterizes attempts to restrict those sales as threats to the US Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. Author and gun industry expert Tom Diaz maintains – in this factually reported but impassioned argument – that if US citizens knew the information behind the public health consequences of gun violence, they would support greater regulation. However, laws shield the gun industry from liability, and many elected leaders are afraid of the NRA’s clout. getAbstract never takes political sides, but Diaz does, skillfully. Unrepentantly pro-gun control, he makes a compelling, well-researched case for taking a public health and safety approach to gun violence in the US. getAbstract recommends his work to anyone who wants a comprehensive introduction to the issue of gun violence and possible solutions for it.

About the Author

Tom Diaz is a writer, lawyer and public speaker on the gun industry and gun control. He is a former senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center. His wrote Making a Killing.


Gun Violence

Guns kill five times as many Americans each year as the total number of people who’ve died in terrorist attacks globally since 1969. During one August week in 2011, US news outlets reported 52 incidents of gun violence. National databases show that 582 deaths and 1,319 injuries are the weekly average. Gun deaths have remained relatively constant over the first decade of the 21st century, at an average of 80 per day. Nonfatal injuries are on the rise, probably because improved emergency care saves the lives of wounded victims.

The National Rifle Association (NRA), a powerful pro-gun lobby, minimizes gun violence. In fact, the US has the world’s highest homicide rate. The CEO of the NRA, its spokesperson Wayne LaPierre, asserts that guns make the world safer and that the best way to counter criminals with guns is for “good people” to have guns. Yet most gun deaths are either suicides or murders committed by an acquaintance of the deceased.

The Heller Decision

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the lead opinion for the case of District of Columbia v. Heller that “handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for...

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