Josh Sugarmann

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Josh Sugarmann is an American activist for gun control in the United States. He is the executive director and founder in 1988 of the Violence Policy Center (VPC), a non-profit advocacy and educational organization, and the author of two books on gun control. He has written a blog on these issues for the Huffington Post and publishes opinion pieces in the media.

Early life[edit]

Sugarmann grew up in Newtown, Connecticut, graduating in the high school class of 1978. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism.[1] He moved to Washington, DC, where he became engaged in public interest activities, serving as a press officer in the national office of Amnesty International USA[2] and as the communications director for the National Coalition to Ban Handguns (now known as the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence).[3]


In 1988 Sugarmann founded the Violence Policy Center, a 501(c3) gun control advocacy and educational group based in Washington, DC.[4] The Violence Policy Center is known mainly for its in-depth research on the firearms industry, the causes and effects of gun violence, and recommendations for regulatory policies to reduce gun violence.[5][page needed]

Sugarmann has opposed the widespread availability of semi-automatic rifles. In 1988 he published a study, Assault Weapons and Accessories in America. It examined the growing popularity of semiautomatic firearms, referring to them as "assault weapons".[6] Together with the response to a mass shooting in Stockton, California, the following year, his study has been credited for popularizing the use of the term "assault weapons."[7] The Violence Policy Center 1988 study documents advertising by the gun industry that specifically refers to these weapons as assault rifles.[6][page needed]

Sugarmann has written two books on gun control. National Rifle Association: Money, Firepower & Fear (1992) was an exposé of the National Rifle Association.[8][9] The second, Every Handgun is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns (2000), gives reasons to ban private possession of handguns in the United States.[10][11][12]

He maintains a Class One Federal Firearms License in Washington, DC, which makes it legal for him to transfer and handle firearms.[13] Sugarmann believes a full ban on handguns is necessary.[14] He has also called for bans on semi-automatic rifles and firearm magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds.[1]


  1. ^ a b Olinger, David. "War comes home for founder of group fighting for assault weapons ban". Denver Post. Retrieved 23 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Lourdes, Meluza (1986-03-24). "Release Cuban Activists, Group Urges". Miami Herald.
  3. ^ Sugarmann, Josh (1986-03-24). "Progress Gives Us Great New Handgun -- Hijacker Special". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Josh Sugarmann". Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Carter, Gregg Lee (2012). Guns in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law, 2nd Edition. ABC CLIO. ISBN 978-0313386701.
  6. ^ a b "Assault Weapons and Accessories in America". Violence Policy Center. Retrieved 23 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Is it fair to call them 'assault weapons'?". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "National Rifle Assoc (review)". Publishers Weekly. 05/04/1992. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ Broderick, J (1992-01-01). "Book reviews: Social sciences (Reviews the book NRA: Money, Firepower & Fear, by Josh Sugarmann.)". Library Journal. 117 (1): 155.
  10. ^ "Every Handgun Is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns". Publishers Weekly. 03/01/2001. Retrieved 22 January 2013. Check date values in: |date= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Brustman, Mary Jane (4/1/2001). "Every Handgun Is Aimed at You (Book Review)". Library Journal. 126 (6): 117. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. ^ Stone, Peter (5/7/2001). "Lethal Weapons (Reviews three non-fiction books on gun ban. 'Gun Violence: The Real Costs,' by Philip J. Cook; 'Shots in the Dark: The Policy, Politics and Symbolism of Gun Control,' by William J. Vizzard; 'Every Handgun Is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns,' by Josh Sugarman.)". American Prospect. 12 (8): 46. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^ "Listing of Federal Firearms Licensees". Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Retrieved 17 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ ERIC LICHTBLAU; RICHARD SIMON (April 18, 2000). "Gun-Control Movement Split by Ambition to Ban Handguns". LA Times. Retrieved 22 January 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]