Craig R. Whitney on Living With Guns

A liberal's case for the Second Amendment


"A lot of our gun control measures are aimed at people who would obey the law and get the permits. How does keeping me or you from having a gun really control gun violence in Washington or New York City?" asks Craig R. Whitney, a former New York Times journalist and author of the new book, Living with Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment.

From the earliest settlement at Jamestown to the renewed debate over so-called assault weapons in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, gun control has always been contentious. The earliest limitations on gun possession in early America were explicitly racist against blacks and modern gun control was aimed squarely at urban-dwelling Italian immigrants and others who supposedly suffered from poor impulse control.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, advocates of gun control are pushing for renewed bans on various sorts of weapons and greater exclusions based on mental illness. At the same time, the National Rifle Association is pushing for armed guards at every school in the country and excoriating violent entertainment. Neither side is interested in taking a more measured look at what sorts of policies actually work to secure rights and reduce crime.

Whitney sat down before the Newtown shooting to talk with Reason's Nick Gillespie about why liberals should defend the Second Amendment, why gun-related violence has declined over the past 20 years even as gun ownership has increased, his most memorable experience at a shooting range, and more.

About 7 minutes long.

Camera by Amanda Winkler and Todd Krainin, who also edited the video.

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