WASHINGTON, D.C. - June 26 is the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s DC v. Heller decision. It is also the official publication date of an important new book by a tireless crusader in the fight against gun violence in America.
The author, Dennis Henigan, has long been one of the nation’s most prominent advocates for stronger gun laws, appearing dozens of times on national television shows, including 60 Minutes, The Today Show, Nightline, Larry King Live, and Dateline NBC. Henigan founded the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project twenty years ago to represent gun violence victims in lawsuits against the gun industry and his legal team has recovered millions of dollars in damages for victims against gun manufacturers and sellers. Dustin Hoffman, who played a lawyer suing a gun manufacturer in the 2003 motion picture Runaway Jury, has said his character was based on Dennis Henigan and his work. Henigan is now Vice President for Law and Policy at the Brady Center.
In Lethal Logic: Exploding the Myths that Paralyze American Gun Policy, published by Potomac Books, Henigan takes on the highly memorable, but completely unsupportable slogans that for decades have been the staple of the National Rifle Association and other relentless opponents of sensible gun laws, and dismantles them one by one. Lethal Logic also is the first book to assess the impact on the gun control debate of last year’s Heller decision by the Supreme Court and the book’s conclusions about Heller will surprise many on both sides of the issue.
The book has already been cited by Bob Herbert, in his New York Times column of last Saturday, and by Dorothy Samuels, a member of the Times editorial board.
Some of Henigan’s observations on the gun lobby’s “bumper sticker” slogans:
· “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Henigan counters with Ozzy Osbourn’s take on that: “If that’s the case, why do we give people guns when they go to war? Why not just send the people?”
· “But what you really want [is to ban all guns.]” Henigan explains that for the gun lobby, “the gun debate needs to be a debate about banning all guns. The slippery slope argument is the NRA’s primary means of achieving this goal.”
· “An armed society is a polite society.” The more guns, the safer we all are, the gun extremists say - and they cite Switzerland as Utopia. But Henigan points out that Switzerland has high gun ownership because of mandatory militia service, and that citizens in mandatory militia service face government inspection of the guns in their homes and must account for all their bullets. “Can you imagine the fury of the NRA’s opposition to any suggestion that guns in the homes of U.S. citizens be subject to government inspection?”
“Dennis Henigan has long been one of the nation’s leading thinkers on the gun violence issue,” said Sarah Brady, the honorary Chair of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the sister organization of the Brady Center. “In Lethal Logic, he has given us a clear roadmap toward destruction of the ‘any gun, any time, any place’ arguments of the gun lobby.”
“Lethal Logic will make it tougher for spineless politicians in both parties to hide behind the NRA’s superficial slogans and rationality-defying spin,” said Arianna Huffington, the cofounder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post blog.