Summary: More than Gun Control
Comment: I picked up this book to provide some insight on gun control issues and history, and was very pleased to learn more than expected. The laws and history were very well documented, and the book was sequenced in a manner that allowed the reader to absorb information without being overwhelmed. Cultural and legal discussions abound, and were a very important supplement to the core of the discussion.
Summary: Scholastic Common Sense
Comment: In reading the book with an open mind, it becomes quite apparent that history and culture goes hand in hand when dealing with the issue of gun control. What may work in other countries probably would not work in the United States and visa-versa due to those two issues. Clearly the United States is a country where Americans have a love affair with their car and firearms and Americans will refuse to part with either of the two. Kopels solution to gun related crimes makes sense, since guns aren't going away because of its proliferation, then issue concealed carry licenses to Americans since the Second Amendment is clear that Americans have the right to keep and bear arms.
Summary: Common sense conclusions...
Comment: Kopel histories of the governments in Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Japan, Switzerland and the US. Concurrent with the history/culture review he mirrors the weapons control laws that evolved and their consequences. By looking more in depth at the context within which each of these countries enacted their controls, Kopel looks for "lessons learned." His work is mostly objective, incredibly well-documented, and reaches some pretty common sense conclusions. An excellent resource for learning about the nature of government, laws, and gun control specifically.
Summary: An excellent resource
Comment: This is an absolutely excellent resource for anyone interested in the gun-control debate. Mr. Kopel's thesis is that effective gun-control and culture are very tightly linked. Mr. Kopel describes the gun control policies of several countries, puts each in a historical perspective, and discusses why and how well those controls work in their respective countries. He goes on to describe what form of gun-control would be best suited for the United States.
Mr. Kopel's book is superbly researched, very readable, and includes copious references. This is by far the most informative book I've found on the gun-control debate. I recommend it highly.
Summary: Promised much - delivered little
Comment: I started Mr Kopel's book with high hopes that I had finally found an objective work on this controversial topic. My hopes were dashed within a couple of chapters but I plugged on until the end anyway. The book attempts to convince and appear scholarly by the sheer quantity of information conveyed, but much of it is totally irrelevant to the real issues.(eg I do not believe that public opinion towards gun control in the UK is in any way influenced by King Henry VIII's statutes related to crossbow usage in the 16th century). In other cases, the information conveyed is misleading or just plain wrong. Mr Kopel's overriding thesis seems to be that the imposition of gun control in other countries can be directly correlated with erosion of civil liberties and loss of personal freedoms. For those of us who have lived in at least one of those other countries, this just doesn't wash. The conclusions of the author appear to be that America is so different from other countries that none of their measures to reduce gun related violence can work here. It is very apparent that Mr Kopel started this book with his mind already made up on this issue. What a pity he wasted the opportunity to deliver a truly open-minded opinion on the subject.