Guns and Violence in America
Winner of the 1993 Michael J. Hindelang award of the American Society of Criminology.
By 1990 there were approximately 200 million guns in private hands in the United States, and around half of American households contained a gun. Over 30,000 people a year are killed with guns in suicides, homicides, and accidents, and Americans use guns for defensive purposes over a million times a year. There is little doubt that gun violence and control are issues of vital importance, and they continue to inspire national debate. It is doubtful, however, whether most gun debates are worth listening to. Not surprisingly, such debates generally leave their participants exactly where they began, with their biases intact, and onlookers perplexed.
Written deliberately to counter an atmosphere of hysteria and extremism. Point Blank, now in paperback, offers logical argument supported by empirical information. It confronts fundamental questions head-on. On its initial publication in 1993, Point Blank won the Michael J. Hindelang Award of the American Society of Criminology for the book that "made the most outstanding contribution to criminology." Point Blank reports both original research and assesses existing evidence drawn from a wide variety of academic disciplines, including criminology, sociology, law, and medicine.
“Kleck's book is a comprehensive review of the issues and facts regarding gun use and gun control in the US... The book is organized into four sections: issues of gun control and gun ownership, effects of guns on violence, regulating guns, and policy lessons. The text is clearly written, with effective use of tables, and is well referenced. Recommended for libraries developing comprehensive collections in the areas of criminal justice or criminology. Upper-division undergraduates and above.”
—R. T. Sigler, Choice
"Kleck assesses the evidence, adduced with the tools of social science, on the issues of gun control and gun ownership—ideology, politics, and propaganda, as well as data on who owns guns, how they acquire them, and why; the effects of guns on violence—self-defense, violent crime, suicide, accidents; regulation—types, public opinion, impact on violence rates; and policy lessons. His findings indicate that guns do contribute to violence, but in complex ways that are not acknowledged by either activists or academics. From the mass of evidence, he draws informed recommendations for a national policy."
—Book News, Inc.
“This eagerly awaited magnum opus is essential reading and resource material for those interested or engaged in research on issues involving gun-related violence. Kleck’s collected research over the last decade, some of which appears here in one form or another, has touched on and attempted to identify, demystify, and remove ideological biases, of both the conventional left and right, from many of these controversial topics…. This book is suitable for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on violence and violent crime… I will refer to it frequently in classes and research… [A] refreshingly fair and persuasive book. It is the definitive work on firearm-related issues in American society. Point Blank is on target.”
—Fred Hawley, Social Forces
“Point Blank is easily the most comprehensive work on firearms, violence, and firearms control ever published… [T]he book is also valuable as a reference volume. Containing mountains of statistical data on firearms production, hunting, crime, suicide, accidents, survey items, and the like, in addition to an extraordinary bibliography and literature review, the book is a virtual treasure trove of information for any researcher on the topic… The book flows nicely… [T]he point of view of this work is refreshing, especially in the context of the low-level hack rhetoric that for so long has characterized gun-control “research” by some academicians. Kleck’s research will change the direction and raise the level of discussion.”
—Alan Lizotte, Contemporary Sociology
“Kleck does the gun control policy debate a great service in demonstrating the complexity of issues that too often are discussed in simplistic ways in the political arena.”
—H. Laurence Ross, American Journal of Sociology