Lethal Passage

The Story of a Gun

When I lived in Baltimore, I became struck by the frequency of drive-by shootings involving young teens who possessed sophisticated weapons. At the time, no one bothered to find out where the guns came from. I decided to try. The result was this book, which tells the story of how a particular model of handgun, designed initially for urban warfare, became the crime-gun of choice for inner-city gangs, and how one such gun came to be in the hands of a Virginia schoolboy who used it to kill a teacher. Only a malfunction in the weapon prevented this incident from becoming one of the worst mass murders of all time. In the course of my research, I became a federally licensed gun dealer and took lessons in shooting for self-defense. I have to say, the shooting was a lot of fun, although I was the only guy in my class and the gleeful laughter of the women around me, as they blasted away at clearly masculine targets, was just a tiny bit disconcerting.

“Brilliantly conceived…should be required reading.”—Newsweek

“Shocking…compelling…Lethal Passage is a perfect blend of reporting and storytelling.”—Detroit Free Press

“Larson takes us past the absurd myths, past the numbing statistics, and into the face of reality…journalism at its highest.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

“An artful slice of the story of what may be the greatest shame we as a nation have tried…to hide from ourselves….Fascinating.”—Chicago Sun-Times

All Books by Erik