Ben Oliver



The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America
26 February 2023

A look at the surprising history of gun control in the United States.

Winkler writes a compelling account of this hot topic in the US, using the supreme court case of District of Columbia v. Heller as a framework on which to build the book.

Nothing is ever as it seems in the history of gun control. Right-wingers and the NRA were very much in favour of more restrictive laws until they changed tack in the 1970s. The notion that “everyone had guns in the old west” isn’t true, evidenced by very tight gun laws in frontier towns. You couldn’t carry a gun in Tombstone Arizona in 1880, you can today.

On the other side of the debate, gun control was historically used to control racial minorities and many early advocates for gun ownership saw it as a civil rights issue. Now of course pro-gun campaigners seem to be mostly white right-wingers.

As the court case wears on perhaps Gunfight gets a little drier, but it’s a well written, well researched book that does well in keeping you engaged while navigating a tricky subject matter.

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