Steve Israel served in the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2017, representing a portion of Long Island, New York. The district provides the setting for Israel’s second novel.

Big Guns is a dystopian take on the gun lobby and biting satire on the state of American politics. In the book, rising gun violence threatens the share price of Cogsworth International Arms, so the CEO calls in a powerful lobbyist to push the “American Freedom from Fear Act,” which requires every U.S. citizen to carry a gun.

How do you satirize a conversation that is already so over-the-top, and what lessons does Israel’s alternative reality hold for gun activists in the real world?

We’ll also check in with a gun-owning political scientist to see where the national gun debate has gone after the Parkland shooting, and why bursts of anti-gun outrage so often don’t translate into policy change.


  • Steve Israel Author, "Big Guns"; former United States Representative, New York's 3rd congressional district; @RepSteveIsrael
  • Harry Wilson Professor of political science, Roanoke College; director for Institute for Policy & Opinion Research, Roanoke College;

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