Book Review of Joyce Lee Malcolm, Guns and Violence: The English Experience

joyce lee malcolm book reviewAndrew J. McClurg, Book Review: Joyce Lee Malcolm, Guns and Violence: The English Experience, 47 American Journal of Legal History 507 (2004).

Joyce Lee Malcolm’s Guns and Violence: The English Experience offers both an interesting history of guns and gun laws in England and a policy polemic that attempts to establish, through the English experience, that strict gun laws do not reduce violent crime. As explained in this book review, Malcolm’s book succeeds better as history than as advocacy.

Malcolm took on a big challenge in attempting to trace the history of guns and crime in England from medieval times to the present. She pulled it off admirably, constructing a cohesive survey of importance not only to historians, but to anyone interested in firearms policy.

The weakness of the book lies in Malcolm’s attempt to go one big step further and argue–with insufficient data and too many variables to account for over a period of several hundred years–that gun restrictions in England have led to increased crime, rather than, as gun control advocates assert, less crime (or at least, less violent crime).

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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