Links to Gun-Related Information

              Bans on Guns or Handguns -- is it true that "no one is seriously proposing" them?

              Books on Gun Policy

              Links to Organizations that Favor Gun Bans or Other Gun Controls

              Second Amendment -- sources and opinions.

              State Constitutions -- 44 state constitutions protect the right to keep and bear arms, and most clearly and unambiguously protect an individual right to keep and bear arms in self-defense.

              Why Not Regulate Guns Like Cars?  


Bans on Guns or Handguns -- is it true that "no one is seriously proposing" them?

              Opponents of gun restrictions often argue that even seemingly modest restrictions are the first step towards total bans on all guns or all handguns.

              Some proponents of gun restrictions mock this:  No-one is talking about gun bans, they say -- the slippery slope concern is groundless.  In the words of Martin Dyckman, associate editor of the St. Petersburg Times (Dec. 12, 1993, at 3D), "no one is seriously proposing to ban or confiscate all guns.  You hear that only from the gun lobby itself, which whistles up this bogeyman whenever some reasonable regulation is proposed."

              Who is right here?  Is it true that no-one is seriously proposing broad gun bans?  Is it true that the slippery slope concern is just a bogeyman?  Here are a few relevant quotes on this point.  (All of them have been verified by me, Eugene Volokh, Professor of Law, UCLA Law School, with help from our excellent law library.)

              1.  Quotes from gun control proponents praising the slippery slope, and urging mild restrictions as steps toward a total ban.

              2.  Citations to laws that in fact ban all guns or all handguns.

              3.  Quotes from politicians urging gun bans.

              4.  Quotes from leading media figures and institutions urging gun bans.

              5.  Quotes from advocacy groups urging gun bans.

              These are of course only a subset of all the material that's available.  


Books on Gun Policy

              Generally anti-control:  If you had to read just one gun policy book that ultimately comes to a conclusion that's generally skeptical of gun control, you should read Prof. Gary Kleck's Targeting Guns.  This is an updated (and softcover) 1997 version of Kleck's 1991 Point Blank, winner in 1993 of the American Society of Criminology's top honor, the Michael Hindelang Award, "given annually for [a] book published during the previous two or three years that makes the most outstanding contribution to research in criminology."

              Generally pro-control:  If you had to read just one policy book that ultimately comes to a generally pro-gun-control conclusion, you should read Prof. Phil Cook & Jens Ludwig's Gun Violence: The Real Costs.  Phil Cook, like Kleck, is one of the nation's the leading American gun control scholars for over 30 years, and his work is very highly regarded.

              Both books are available from and

              An excellent shorter article:  Prof. Dan Polsby's The False Promise of Gun Control, from the Atlantic Monthly, March 1994, is an excellent summary of the gun-control skeptic position.  The article, which has been excerpted in twelve college-level "issues" readers currently in print, is one of the most widely anthologized essays on any subject in recent years.  


Links to Organizations that Favor Gun Bans or Other Gun Controls



Second Amendment



State Constitutions

              44 of the 50 state constitutions have their own right to keep and bear arms provisions; these provisions restricts the gun restrictions that states, counties, and cities may impose.  Of these, 15 have either been first enacted or strengthened since 1970.  Most are written in unambiguously individual rights terms; the most recent one, for instance, enacted in 1998 in Wisconsin, reads:  "The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose."

              For a list arranged by state, click here.

              For a list arranged by date of enactment, click here.  


Why Not Regulate Guns Like Cars?

              There are plenty of thoughtful arguments in favor of various restrictions on guns, but one of the oddest arguments from the pro-gun-control forces is "Why not regulate guns like cars?"  The implicit argument here is "Why not require licenses, registration, tests, and so on for gun possession?"

              (See, e.g., Chicago's Million Moms March on Mother's Day, PR Newswire, Apr. 27, 2000, quoting Million March organizer Donna Dees-Thomases as saying "We want Congress to create a meaningful gun policy in this country that treats guns like cars"; Partnership for Prevention's New Report to Congress Recommends Gun Owner Licensing and Gun Registration, U.S. Newswire, Mar. 24, 2000, quoting Handgun Control, Inc. president Michael Barnes as saying "For years now, we have been calling on Congress to treat guns like cars by a system of licensing and registration.").

              This argument is odd because cars are basically regulated as follows:

              1)  No federal licensing or registration.

              2)  Any person may use a car on his own private property without any license or registration.  See, e.g., California Vehicle Code §§ 360, 12500 (driver's license required for driving on "highways," defined as places that are "publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel"); California Vehicle Code § 4000 (same as to registration).

              3)  Any adult may get a license to use a car in public places by passing a fairly simple test that virtually everyone can pass.

              This is pretty much how many gun rights advocates would like to see guns regulated:  No need to register or get a license to have a gun at home, and a simple, routine test through which any law-abiding citizen can get a state license to carry a gun in public.  Gun control advocates would in reality prefer a much more onerous system of regulations for guns than for cars.

              Of course, one can certainly argue that guns should be regulated more heavily than cars; thoughtful gun control advocates do indeed do this.  But then one should candidly admit that one is demanding specially burdensome regulation for guns -- and not claim to be "merely asking that guns be regulated like cars."

              For more on this, see David Kopel's Taking It to the Streets, Reason, Nov. 1999.  


More to come on this page soon.