John Donohue

John J. Donohue is the William H. Neukom Professor of Law at Stanford Law School.

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Books in Review

Can Gun Control Work? By James Jacobs. Oxford University Press, 287 pages, $27.50 T he terror recently inflicted by the Washington-area sniper may have been frightening enough to rouse the public once again to demand measures that would reduce the carnage caused by gun violence in America. But is there anything that Congress can usefully do? The answer to that question is not as obvious as many advocates of gun control believe. The harsh reality is that many proposed remedies would have no effect on gun violence. But a few policies can make a difference, and it is vital to understand what they are. Four positions stand out in the debate on gun control: First, minimize the number of guns on the grounds that this would reduce the body count; second, maximize the number of guns to enable people to protect themselves and deter criminal attacks; third, take steps to keep guns away from certain high-risk individuals, primarily felons and the mentally ill; and fourth, do nothing (other than...