POLITICAL SCIENCE

Shots Fired: Gun Violence in the United States

Lynne Rienner. Feb. 2020. 222p. ISBN 9781626378841. $55. POL SCI
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While mass shootings receive the most media attention, the vast majority of fatal incidents with firearms involve small numbers of people or individuals, including deaths by suicide. According to veteran Cincinnati Police officer Rahtz (Race, Riots, and the Police), the social and psychological toll of these incidents is great. In this latest work, the author looks at the “crime triangle” of gun deaths: how to limit the ability to acquire guns, how to restrict the opportunity to kill, and how to modify the desire to kill. Brief synopses of incidents highlight important points and recurring problems, such as accidental shootings and the availability of guns on the black market. Rahtz wants to move the focus away from the weapon to other aspects that are harder to deal with, such as mental health. He offers suggestions for modifying laws, policies, and procedures while still supporting the Second Amendment, but these are not quick or easy solutions; they would require time and constant attention on several fronts to be effective.
VERDICT This well-documented work will be a useful starting point for both academics and the general public engaging in the gun debate, before they move on to more specialized studies of this contentious topic.

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