mechanism was invented in the 1890’s;rnthe hest-known American firearms modelrn—the Coh .45, a self-loading handgunrn—was first sold in 1911. ‘I’hc “highcapacity”rnpistol has been axailable tornconsumers at least since 1935 \ ith the introductionrnof the 13-shot Brouning HirnPower. Before the 1980’s, moreover, inrnthat allegedly golden era when revolversrnoutsold self-loading pistols, firearms manufacturersrnworked just as hard to sell asrnmany revolvers and pistols as thev possihl-rncould. That the companies soldrnmore shotguns or revoKers than pistolsrnwas the result of consumers being morerninterested in shotgiuis and revolvers.rnClearly, changes in consumer preferencesrnbehveen 1959 and 1999 are the residtrnof consumer decisions, not of a publicit}’rnscam waged against consumers byrngun companies.rnAlong with complaints about an industry-rndriven shift in handgun tvpc come diatribesrnagainst more powerful ammunition.rnThese are nonsense, and Diaz’srnpropagahon of them undercuts his claimrnto be a former “gun nut.” The most popularrntq:)e of ammunihon for modern selfloadersrnis 9mm. This ammunition is notrnnew (it was invented in 1895 h GeorgernlAigcr) nor is it more powerful than revolverrnammunition; in fact, 9mm happensrnto be the same size as that for thern”old-fashioned” .38 Special revolver.rnThe most powerful handgun caliber inrncommon use is the .44 magnum, vshiehrnis for revolvers, not pistols.rnDiaz, who considers the gun industn,-rnevil for selling guns that are too big, condemnsrnit as well for marketing others thatrnare too small. ‘I here hae been increasedrnsales of small guns in the 1990’s. Butrnconsumers who want small guns havernfound them available since 1852, whenrnfienry Dcringer patented his first gun.rnIndeed, “Derringer” became a genericrn(and misspelled) named for literally hundredsrnof brands of small handguns whichrnachieved mass consumer popularity’ asrnurban defense weapons in the 188()’s andrn189()’s. The fact that sales of these gunsrnwaned, relative to the rest of the handgunrnmarket, between 1890 and 1990 saysrnmore about consumer behavior than itrndoes about gun companies forcing productsrnon consumers. And that small handgunsrnin 1999 can fire heavier bullets thanrntheir 1899 ancestors tells us only thatrnmetallurgy has improved in the last century.rnA second cause of increased popularitv’rnfor small handguns was President Clinton,rnwho in 1994 suceessfullv fought for arncrime bill banning the manufacture ofrnmagazines holding more than tenrnrounds. This design restriction inevitablyrnled gun consumers and designers to arngreater interest in handguns which holdrnten rounds or less. Of course, the lowerrnthe ammunihon capacity, the smaller therngun can be. Some companies, such asrnKahr, were introducing new small handgunrndesigns even before the bill passed,rnbut unquestionably the Clinton ban acceleratedrna trend. I’he legislation alsornhelped spur a massive backlash in thern1994 general elechons. The result wasrnnot just a Republican-controlled Congressrnbut enormous “pro-gun” gains inrnstate legislatures and goernors’ mansions.rnThe tidal wave of legislahon thatrnfollowed the next year gave America 31rnstates in which ordinary law-abidingrnadidts who pass a background check andrn(in most states) attend a safetv class mayrnobtain a permit to carry a concealedrnhandgun for their lawful protection. Thernnumber of plain citizens who ma’ legallyrncarry handguns now exceeds the numberrnof police officers in the United States.rnNo wonder small handgun sales are rising.rnLike most professionals in die guncontrolrnlobbies, Diaz nowhere acknowledgesrnthe morality of defensive firearmsrnownership.rnDiaz concludes by calling for a federalrnagency to be given the authority to regulaternfirearms design. Tlie agency wouldrnhave the power to “phase out” handguns,rnwhich L^iaz has elsewhere said wouldrneventually mean handgun confiscationrnwith compensation paid to the owners.rnThis section of the book would bernstronger if it addressed some of the difficidfiesrninherent in the proposal. Even ifrnwe skip over the constitutional objections,rnwhat about the tremendous enforcementrnand black-market problems?rnThe federal government once oufiawedrnalcohol, and now ouHaws ‘arious drugs,rnin the name of consumer safetv. Wliatevcrrnone thinks of these prohibitions, therncosts (bodi in dollars and in diminishedrnconstitutional rights) have been enormous.rnAt least a short discussion of similarrncosts which woidd necessarily arisernfrom handgun prohibition seems in order.rnMaking a Killing is already making arnmajor contribution to the American gunpolicyrndebate. The book will be appreciatedrnby people who alreacK’ share Diaz’srnprejudice regarding the immorality ofrngun manufacture and sales to people forrntheir own self defense. (One such readerrncalls the book “An astonishing picture ofrndepraved indifference that will leave yourngape-mouthed.”) It will not be convincing,rnhowexer, to readers who do not startrnfrom Diaz’s premises, parficularly if theyrnhave some independent knowledge ofrnfirearms, firearms policy, or the firearmsrnbusiness. The self-righteous moral indignationrn(based upon moral principles thatrnare far from universal) detracts from thernbook, as do Diaz’s unwillingness to sayrnanything posifive about the firearms industryrnand his insistence on imputingrnwicked moti es to everything the industr}’rndoes. It is unfortunate that Tom Diaz hasrnseen fit to oxerlay the rhetoric of moralrnpanic on the results of his large and seriousrnresearch into an important Americanrncommercial enterprise.rnDavid B. Kopel is the research director ofrnthe Independence Institute ( J.O. TaternThe Professor and the Professionrnby Robert Bechtold HeilmanrnColumbia: University of Missouri Press;rn358 pp., $39.95rnEmeritus professor of Knglish at thernIhiiversih- of Washington in Seattie,rnRobert B. Heilman has been publishingrnfor over 60 ‘ears and has done distinguishedrnwork on drama and fiction. Arngood book of literary terms, for instance,rnrefers to his Tragedy and Melodrama:rnVersions of Experience (1968) under thernword “melodrama.” Wlien you becomernpart of the definition of a term, I supposernthat you have achieved some authorit)’. Irnread Heilnian’s book on Othello (Magicrnin the Web, 1956) 35 ears ago, and havernne’er forgotten it. I learned a lot aboutrnShakespeare, and I also learned how farrnanalysis could go, and how much it couldrnreveal. Having read that book, I would alwaysrnwant to know what Professor Heilmanrnhas to say about virtually anything,rnso it is a particular pleasure to see justrnwhat he is up to this time.rnIn this gathering, he has a lot on hisrnmind; but I think these pieces are unitedrnby something more tiian the identity ofrn30/CHRONICLESrnrnrn