The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It, by Tom Diaz, The New Press, 336 pages, $18.95 paperback, Release date: January 1, 2015.
"Diaz points out that the gun Hassan used, the FN Five-seveN, was a "typical example of military-style weapons that define the market today. There is no mystery in this militarization," he writes. "It is simply a business strategy aimed at survival: Boosting sales and improving the bottom line in a desperate and fading line of commerce. The hard commercial fact is that military-style weapons sell in an increasingly focused civilian gun market. The sporting guns do not."
"The toll of ordinary Americans killed and injured by guns every single day would remain staggering, a bloodletting inconceivable in any other developed country in the world," he writes. "Firearms are the second leading cause of traumatic death related to a consumer product in the United States and are the second most frequent cause of death overall for Americans ages 15 to 24. Since 1960, more than 1.3 million Americans have died in firearm suicides, homicides and from unintentional injuries."
What's more, Diaz points out that 90 percent of US households own a car while fewer than one in three own a gun. Still, firearm deaths have come to exceed motor vehicle fatalities, something that should certainly give us pause.
The upshot, Diaz writes, is that in today's USA, "guns are most likely to be owned by white men who live in a rural area, those who are middle aged or older, with middle to higher income, who grew up with guns in the home and who live in the southern or Midwestern regions of the country. Moreover, fewer and fewer people are owning more and more guns." To wit: Diaz notes that the average gun owner now has an average of 6.9 guns compared with a still-high 4.1 per person 20 years ago.