Lethal Passage: How the Travels of a Single Handgun Expose the Roots of America's Gun Crisis

Erik Larson, Author
Erik Larson, Author Crown Publishers $21 (272p) ISBN 978-0-517-59677-7
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In this valiant, innovative, effective and timely study, Wall Street Journal reporter Larson considers the case of Nicholas Elliot, 16, who went on a shooting rampage on December 16, 1988, in the Virginia religious high school he attended, leaving one teacher dead. The author concentrates not on the teenager, however, but on the gun he fired, a semiautomatic Cobray M-11/9. Larson uses the pistol to explore the history of America's love for guns and to show how firearms manufacturers, dealers, book and magazine publishers, aided by the ``paranoid, Constitution-thumping'' National Rifle Association and the media, all bear responsibility for the culture of ``non-responsibility'' concerning guns. He concludes by proposing a five-part omnibus law, the Life and Liberty Preservation Act, which, he persuasively argues, would close most of the loopholes in current legislation. Author tour. (Mar.)
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