‘Blood Gun Money’ review: Journalist Ioan Grillo gets to the root of firearm proliferation

'Blood Gun Money' review: Journalist Ioan Grillo gets to the root of firearm proliferation

Special to USA TODAY The statistics on guns in America are arresting. There are an estimated 393 million guns in civilian hands, the most of any nation by far and more than the total of the next 25 countries combined. Two thirds of gun owners say they own them for protection. Yet in a recent year guns were responsible for about 500 accidental deaths, and more than 23,000 suicides and 14,000 murders. U.S. citizens justifiably used guns that year to kill 353 people involved in criminal activity. In his third book, “Blood Gun Money: Firearms Trafficking Along America’s Iron River” (Bloomsbury, 400 pp., ★★★ out of four), out Tuesday, journalist Ioan Grillo approaches the issue of proliferating firearms from myriad angles. He talks to arms makers and street corner thugs, hit men and ATF agents, gun buyers and sellers, and victims and perpetrators of gun violence. The author also provides a concise and informative history of gun control as well as regulation rollbacks through the decades. The National Rifle Association once supported gun control measures, beginning in 1934 and as recently as 1968. Grillo brings more than two decades of intimate experience to the task, much of that spent in Mexico covering the impact of the “iron river” of firearms that flows south from America into the hands of drug cartels and remorseless gangsters. His book is not overtly polemic, although he confesses that it is personal. He writes, “In the two decades I have been living in Mexico, […]

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