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Arianna Huffington's book party for 'Gunfight'

September 23, 2011 | 11:45 am

Gunfight_winklerAdam Winkler has friends in high places, such as Arianna Huffington, who was one of the hosts of a book party Thursday night in Beverly Hills. Winkler, a UCLA law school professor who has blogged for the Huffington Post, made his debut this week with "Gunfight," a significant book about America's love/hate relationship with the 2nd Amendment.

In front of an audience of about 75 gathered in a twilight garden, Winkler told a story of meeting with a television agent to see about spreading the word about his book. The agent enthusiastically asked if he was extreme right or extreme left -- but Winkler's neither. "That's not the way I think of problems," Winkler responded. "I try to tell a story that's intellectually honest."

Huffington has often sounded a similar note, crossing party lines to debate ideas. She's not a gun advocate, but she has tried one. "I was dating a man who would go to the range and shoot a gun, and I went with him once," she told The Times. "It was not my thing. It lasted like three minutes."

The fights over gun control -- not to mention recent upheavals at AOL/HuffPo -- seemed far away from the quiet patio, where caterers urged high-end canapes on the gathered guests. If it was fancier than the average book party -- not many of which have valet parkers, let alone a Mazerati parked in the drive -- chalk that up to Winkler's father, Irwin, the movie producer ("Rocky," "Goodfellas"). "How often do you get to throw a book party for your son?" the elder Winkler asked with a smile.

"It's a really amazing book," Huffington said in her introduction. "There's something about storytelling, whether you're making a movie or writing a book, that's really at the heart of the Winkler family."

Adam Winkler will be talking about his book "Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America" on Tuesday at the L.A. Public Library's ALOUD series. He'll be in conversation with noted constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky; tickets are free.


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-- Carolyn Kellogg