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CCRKBA CALLS UPON LIBRARIES TO REMOVE DISCREDITED BELLESILES BOOK FROM SHELVES

Friday, January 3rd, 2003

BELLEVUE, WA – Now that publisher Alfred A. Knopf has decided to halt further publication of the discredited Michael Bellesiles book Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today is calling upon all public libraries to pull the book from their shelves.

“Serious scholarly studies, on any subject, certainly belong on the shelves of our public libraries, whether we agree with them or not,” said CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron. “But monumental frauds like Arming America belong only in the trash. Nobody would ever argue that well-researched, credible books be removed from circulation, but Arming America does not, and really never has, fit that description.”

Waldron issued a nationwide call to gun rights activists to urge their local libraries to remove Arming America from their racks.

An estimated 24,000 copies of the book, including 8,000 hard cover copies and 16,000 paperbacks, are in circulation. Waldron suspects many of those are on library shelves, including those in his own community operated by the King County, WA library system. That library network has so far advised patrons that it will not take the discredited book off the shelf, even though independent review has shown it to be filled with inaccuracies and fabrications, based on faulty and, in some cases, fraudulent research.

“The publisher is dropping the book, Columbia University has rescinded the Bancroft Award it gave to author Bellesiles two years ago, and Bellesiles was forced to resign from Emory University in disgrace,” Waldron noted. “What further evidence does a library administrator need to show that a book should be pulled from circulation? This isn’t an attack on freedom of speech or the press, but a defense of integrity in research.

“At the very least,” Waldron continued, “Arming America belongs in the fiction section. Leaving this book on the shelf is an insult, not only to the public, but to serious scholars who devote months, if not years, to more credible projects.”