Professor David Mayer provides a response to this letter here.

                            Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)

                   June 7, 2003 Saturday, Home Final Edition

SECTION: EDITORIAL & COMMENT; Letters To The Editor; Pg. 09A

LENGTH: 363 words


   Supporters of Ohio's proposed concealed-handgun law, armed with research from economist John Lott, say the measure will reduce violent crime. Lott argued as much in an April 24 column in The Dispatch that said a 20 percent decrease in gun homicides could result from such a law.

   Lott's claims, however, have not withstood careful scrutiny. As demonstrated in my paper, "Shooting Down the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis," co-authored with Yale Professor Ian Ayres and published in the current issue of Stanford Law Review , Lott's findings result from fatally flawed analysis. In fact, when we analyzed Lott's data after correcting his errors, we discovered that the most likely result of a permissive concealed-carry law in Ohio (and most other states) is a statistically significant increase in crime, not the decrease Lott claims.

   Trying to revive his discredited thesis, Lott now cites the work of others rather than his own research. But neither of the studies he refers to, one of which was written by his own co-author, David Mustard, actually supports Lott's view. Mustard's work follows the same flawed methodology that Lott employs, and the author of the other paper (as Lott well knows) has withdrawn the paper after concluding that the data on which it (and Lott's work) was based is unreliable.

   Lott suggests that after a concealed-carry law passes, people will wonder what all the fuss was about. At a time when crime, accidental deaths and suicides are declining, people will not be able to perceive how much worse things are because of the adoption of these laws. If total gun deaths would have dropped by 2 percent without the adoption of the law but instead only fell by 1 percent because the law passed, there will be no fuss about the added victims of gun violence caused by the adoption of the law.

   Legislators may feel a modest increase in the number of dead Ohioans in exchange for the ability to carry hidden handguns is an acceptable trade-off. But don't believe anyone who says concealed carry laws will reduce crime. There is no credible support for that view.



   Stanford Law School

   Stanford, Calif.

LOAD-DATE: June 7, 2003

John Lott's Website
Home (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

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

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