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Publisher's Summary

In a pulls-no-punches essay intended to provoke rational discussion, Stephen King sets down his thoughts about gun violence in America. Anger and grief in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School are palpable in this urgent piece of writing, but no less remarkable are King's keen thoughtfulness and composure as he explores the contours of the gun-control issue and constructs his argument for what can and should be done.

King's earnings from the sale of this essay will go to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Stephen King is the author of 11/22/63, Under the Dome, Carrie, The Shining, and many other best-selling works.

"The overwhelming response from readers of the Kindle Single edition of Guns underscores the great need for thoughtful discourse on the issue of guns in America…I’m thrilled Audible is bringing Guns to the quickly growing audience of audiobook listeners." (Stephen King)

©2013 Stephen King (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"There are a handful of subjects in America so emotional and polarizing that the national dialogue around them amounts to little more than a shouting match. Chief among these is the subject of guns. In this intimate and moving Kindle Single, Stephen King employs all his gifts as writer and citizen to address gun violence in America. But why should we care what Stephen King has to say? As it turns out, there are a number of reasons. Despite his "liberal creds," King is an unapologetic gun owner himself. He is also the author of a novel--published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman--that has served as a "possible accelerant" for at least four real-life high school shooters. King had his publisher take that book off the market long ago, but the guns and the occasional bursts of unfathomable violence remain. When division is everywhere, is it possible for someone to argue passionately for the middle road? That is what King seeks to do here--this is a frank and thoughtful contribution to a dialogue in dire need of voices from the 'all-but-deserted middle.'" (Chris Schluep, Amazon.com)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Everyone should read this

What did you love best about Guns?

Point of view from a gun owner, I.e. Mr. King.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Guns?

I liked being made to remember all the recent incidents, where innocents were struck down for NO reason. I think if every gun owner who actually took the time to read this - with an open mind - might come away from it without the fear that every gun in America should be taken out of homes.

Any additional comments?

This should be required reading for all gun owners, as well those in the opposite camp. This essay gives some perspective on the use and misuse of guns and reasons why certain types of guns and ammunition should be illegal and unavailable for public use. Before reading this essay, I was in the camp of no guns allowed. Now, at least, while I don't think I will ever have a reason to own a gun, I believe in the right to own a "readonable" gun(s). I am more firmly than ever on the side of background checks - people who have nothing to hide don't need to worry that they will be denied the right to purchase a gun - it will just take a little time. What is the hurry, anyway?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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The Facts

King uses his talents at storytelling and facts to make his suggestions. He makes some good points, all of which you have heard before, only he does use several facts that back up his statements. King is a liberal and a gun owner. I am a conservative and not a gun owner for those who like to paint everyone with a wide brush.

Chances are he is not going to change anybody's mind in this divided country, but I appreciate the try and it was entertaining on top of everything else.

The narrator was excellent and added to the understanding of the essay.

52 of 65 people found this review helpful

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Surprised NRA member

What did you love best about Guns?

It was a surprise how "fair" Stephan King is in "GUNS". Although I do not agree with all he says, he is sympathic with gun owners.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Christian was very believeable and interesting.

Any additional comments?

I would reccommend it to gun owners as well as non owners.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Well Balanced

I appriciated this well balanced essay on gun control. Open discussion without hysteria is what this country needs and this is a good place to start.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • Monrovia, California, United States
  • 02-17-13

Review by US Army Vet: That's How it Shakes Out

It seems important to mention one's "creds" in writing reviews of Stephen King's "Guns" so I will start with mine: I served in the US Army, and was honorably discharged as a SGT/E-5. I qualified Expert with an M16 (the civilian equivalent is an AR15), and I'm still proud of that.

I also have a copy of "Rage", in the compilation of "The Bachman Books" that I purchased the year it was published, 1985. I remember reading "The Bachan Books" the same week I purchased it. I loved "The Running Man" and liked "Roadwork", and while the plot of "Rage" was intriguing, the writing was so sophomoric, it was painful. I found out later King wrote "Rage" while he was in high school, so there was an explanation. I read "Rage" once again, in 1996, when I heard Michael Carneal shot classmates in West Paducah, Kentucky. It sounded so much like the story I'd read 11 years earlier, I wanted to make sure I wasn't imagining the similarity. I wasn't.

King's essay "Guns" starts with a scathing social commentary, "That's How it Shakes Out." It doesn't matter if the first station you've got programmed into your remote is FoxNEWS and Ann Coulter is your dream date, or if you are so far left you contribute frequently to KPFK: the media cycle for mass shootings is the same.

King argues forcefully - and sometimes vulgarly - for gun control. King is a gun owner himself, and does not want to disarm the country - but he does want assault weapons banned, and large magazines banned; and he wants background checks.

What King argues isn't new or innovative, but the writing is vintage King. There are phrases I remember from "The Shawshank Redemption" (the movie adaptation, not the original novella "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption") and the unabridged edition of "The Stand." There's also a theme in the first and last section of "Guns" that runs through "The Library Policeman" and "The Ten O'Clock People." The theme was chilling in the stories, and the probability it's a reality is startling.

[If you found this review "Helpful", please push the Helpful button. Thanks!]

107 of 146 people found this review helpful

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  • Ron
  • Gallatin, Tn, United States
  • 02-13-13

Anecdotal at best

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I am undecided on this issue however I was disappointed with my favorite story teller's attempt to cobble together a cogent argument. For someone that can easily move between horror, fantasy, and baseball, his efforts fell short given his capabilities. Very disappointed.

Has Guns turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

What aspect of Christian Rummel’s performance would you have changed?

Very enthusiastic

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

First chapter . . . Shakedown, had merits.

50 of 69 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant

Would you listen to Guns again? Why?

Yes, brilliant writing as usual, very interesting arguments

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Just an opinion that is measured and sensible and unbiased

What three words best describe Christian Rummel’s voice?

Pleasant,easy,clear

Any additional comments?

I would have loved to hear Stephen King narrate this. Nothing at all to fault about Christian Rummel, but as a work of non fiction from Kings perspective, it sounded a bit odd with the wrong voice

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Balanced insight into a sensitive issue

I really enjoyed Stephen King's perspective on Guns in this essay. I'm not sure I agreed with it 100% but it wasn't presented in a way that made the reader feel like they must agree but rather presented a perspective and opinion that certainly was balanced with practicality. It's very easy to get emotional about this issue of Guns but unfortunately it's not an issue solution. I think this essay presents a constructive start to the dialog.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Kris
  • Australia
  • 03-21-13

Some people get it

This essay is brief, salient and just a tad snarky. Stephen King is not anti-guns in general, he just exposes the truths about what they are, what they do and what really happens when you do or do not own them. He suggests a course of action that doesn't force Americans to give up their 'constitutional rights'.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Don't be duped into BUYING this abuse

What disappointed you about Guns?

This was presented as an unbiased opinion on this issue. You pay to be yelled at, called names and abused by this author. I have many of his books in my library and absolutely love most of them. This is not an unbiased discussion.

Has Guns turned you off from other books in this genre?

Yes

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes, the narrator did a very good job.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It did have a few good points before he started acting angry about people who disagree with his opinions.

Any additional comments?

Why does everyone that has access to the media feel they are an authority on politics. Is there anyone that can have a discussion or express their opinion without getting angry with people who do not share their view?

98 of 142 people found this review helpful

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  • Liz
  • 07-21-13

Very interesting and surprisingly balanced

King created a narrative of how he feels about guns, and how he feels about media and guns, and how these two interact in negative (or neutral, or complicated) ways. It was definitely worth the money, and the time. It's short, but I really felt he expressed some of the anti-gun (and pro-gun) arguments in such a way that I appreciated some of the complexity of America's gun culture, which as an outsider had previously looked incomprehensible.

  • Overall
  • alex_holmes_367
  • 04-11-13

Fresh

A fresh perspective on the subject of guns in the USA.

As ever this has been written with such craft that even an essay on this emotive subject simply captivates.

  • Overall
  • R
  • 04-10-13

Understanding the dilemma

It is easy for some of us in the UK to laugh at the madness of 'gun control' in the US, but the situation did not develop over night and King tries to provide some sober insight into the problem. He is a gun owner in a gun owning society that tends to see its constitution as giving them a right to have any weaponry they desire. The country has developed its own neighbourly arms' race! Here in the UK, we can be made afraid thinking about bad people with guns, but, on the whole, prefer to try to remove their guns. In the US, they have bad people with guns AND good people with guns, and like the pigs and humans in 'Animal Farm', it is getting impossible to tell the two apart. King argues for a slow and steady retreat. Good luck to him.

  • Overall
  • SDY
  • 04-10-13

Worth a listen

Not that anyone outside America would need convincing that guns kill people, but this piece is still worth a listen. With his approachable, easy style, King makes a few interesting points about the 'culture of violence' the media loves to talk about, and stands behind what president Obama is trying to achieve, without sounding unreasonable (although again- to people who live in countries with decent gun control, the propositions made in the US on how to curb gun violence might seem very mild). A great short listen.

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  • Steve
  • 04-07-13

An honest essay

Stephen King uses the full strength of his mastery of the English language, and his surprisingly extensive knowledge of all facets of the gun control debate , to give a very honest overview of the real issues facing governments and policy makers regarding guns. What King has to say about guns is probably not what you think.