The Triumph of the Gun-Rights Argument
Why the Gun Control Debate Is Over
by Harry L. Wilson
January 2015, 260pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3035-8
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3036-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Did the Sandy Hook shooting significantly impact public opinion on gun control?

Taking the bold position that the battle over gun control has already been won by the pro-gun-rights faction, this book will be equally informative to those immersed in the debate and those new to it.

Gun control evokes passions equaled by few other subjects. As this book shows, the debate over firearms begins with cultural values and extends into questions of constitutional rights, public health and safety, and politics. Examining its subject through the prism of the Sandy Hook shootings, the book looks at the influence of elected officials, the courts, interest groups, and average citizens in shaping gun-control laws. It shares poll results detailing what the public really thinks about guns and why, and it explains the various components of gun policy and policymaking to show how they come together to form the current reality.

While small skirmishes about the right to bear arms will continue for some time, the author, a self-described “gun-owning academic,” asserts that changing public opinion, Supreme Court decisions, dominance of gun-rights interest groups, the Democratic Party’s virtual withdrawal from the discussion, and a declining violent-crime rate have formed a perfect storm, resulting in the effective end of the gun control debate. This assertion and the thoughtful examination that leads to it will be of equal interest to those engaged in the argument and those researching it for the first time.


  • Provides a balanced look at the topic of gun control, yet is not afraid to draw conclusions
  • Offers historical perspective on current gun-control-related events and policies
  • Examines how gun owners and the National Rifle Association (NRA) influence elected officials
  • Discusses recent Supreme Court decisions impacting gun rights
  • Explains why a rash of mass and school shootings have not resulted in more gun-control legislation
Harry L. Wilson, PhD, is director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research and professor of political science at Roanoke College, Salem, VA. He is the author of Guns, Gun Control, and Elections and is an editorial board member of ABC-CLIO's encyclopedia Guns in American Society and of the ABC-CLIO online essay series Enduring Questions. Wilson earned a doctorate in political science at Rutgers University and a bachelor's degree in journalism at Penn State University.


"Balanced and dispassionate . . . Wilson’s argument is complex, nuanced, and ultimately very convincing. His book will help thoughtful readers understand why the gun rights movement has triumphed." —Gregg Lee Carter, Professor, Bryant University

"Wilson evenhandedly summarizes and evaluates the strongest arguments on both sides of the gun control debate. This book is the best university-level introduction to the gun issue. Wilson provides persuasive political analysis of why gun control advocates have not achieved nearly as much as they have aimed for, despite strong polling support for some gun control measures."—David B. Kopel, Research Director, Independence Institute
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