The book, just out from the Johns Hopkins University Press, is an anthology of studies, condensing and summarizing the actual state of our knowledge about the subject of gun violence in this country—what real, tested social science shows, not the “three million marauders have been stopped just by the sight of my revolver!” anecdotes. It also makes some simple recommendations.
In particular, there are four ideas agreed to by all the academic researchers involved in the project. First, fix the background-check system by doing small things such as giving the F.B.I. ten days, instead of three, to complete them; prohibiting “high-risk” individuals from getting their hands on guns (anyone with a restraining order filed against him for a threat of violence, for example); and accelerating federal legislation to keep the violent and mentally ill from having guns. Second, make the A.T.F. more effective through such simple measures as getting the agency a director. Third, encourage research on “personalized” guns and gun triggers. Fourth, ban assault weapons, carefully defined, and with them magazines that fire more than ten rounds. And finally—radical idea—fund research on what actually works to end gun violence.