Written Sunday, July 6, 2003, in The Orange County Register

Book recommendations by John Seiler

By John Seiler

(cut-- second book review in article)

If there's one public issue today that's more misunderstood than any other, it's guns. The media, alas, bear a good part of the blame. A good corrective comes from American Enterprise Institute scholar John Lott, author of the best-seller "More Guns, Less Crime."

His new book is "The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong." Lott is a master at dissecting statistics on guns.

A good example is so-called "assault weapons," which really are just military-looking rifles with the same mechanics of other rifles. "California provides a relatively unique example in that it both enacted an assault weapons ban in January 1990 and then had the law declared unconstitutional in early 1998," he writes. "[Statistics] indicate that there is little impact on the state's violent crime rates from the law."

He also details the most recent research on concealed handgun laws, which allow any citizen without a criminal record to carry a concealed weapon (usually after taking a course in handgun safety): "For the 10 states that adopted concealed handgun laws during [1977 to 1992], murder rates were rising or constant in all the states and falling after the law was passed."

The reason is simple: Criminals fear armed citizens. Even citizens without guns are safer because a criminal never quite knows if his intended victim is unarmed or might pull out a gun. That's why guns are called "the great equalizer."

If California adopted a concealed handgun law, murders and other crimes would drop here, too. It would be an inexpensive and liberty-enhancing way to reduce crime.

Lott explodes many other myths about guns. This book and his previous one combined are a double-barreled reason to buy a gun if you don't have one, and buy another if you already do. Read the new book during breaks at the shooting range.

"The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong," by John R. Lott Jr. Regnery. 349 pp. $27.95.

Book Review on The Bias Against Guns

Johnlott.org (description of book, downloadable data sets, and discussions of previous controversies)

Academic papers:

Social Science Research Network

Book Reviews:

For a list of book reviews on The Bias Against Guns, click here.

List of my Op-eds

Posts by topic

Appalachian law school attack

Baghdad murder rate

Arming Pilots

Fraudulent website pretending to be run by me

Ayres and Donohue

Stanford Law Review

Mother Jones article


Craig Newmark

Eric Rasmusen

William Sjostrom

Dr. T's EconLinks.com

Interview with National Review Online

Lyonette Louis-Jacques's page on Firearms Regulation Worldwide

The End of Myth: An Interview with Dr. John Lott

Cold Comfort, Economist John Lott discusses the benefits of guns--and the hazards of pointing them out.

An interview with John R. Lott, Jr. author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws

Some data not found at www.johnlott.org:

Updated Media Analysis of Appalachian Law School Attack

Since the first news search was done additional news stories have been added to Nexis:

There are thus now 218 unique stories, and a total of 294 stories counting duplicates (the stories in yellow were duplicates): Excel file for general overview and specific stories. Explicit mentions of defensive gun use increase from 2 to 3 now.

Journal of Legal Studies paper on spoiled ballots during the 2000 Presidential Election

Data set from USA Today, STATA 7.0 data set

"Do" File for some of the basic regressions from the paper