Letter to the editor on June 12, 2003, in The Columbus Dispatch

By David N. Mayer

The recent letter by Stanford law professor John Donohue (June 7) nicely illustrates the propensity of gun-control advocates to play games with statistics and to engage in ad hominem attacks. In this case, Professor Donohue unfairly attacks economist John Lott, whose research has helped dispell the myths about guns that anti-gun fanatics continue to propogate.

Professor Donohue's own study, which purports to show an increase in crime after concealed-carry laws are enacted, is itself "fatally flawed," to use his own terminology. John Lott's new book, The Bias Against Guns, on pages 235-39 discusses the problems with the way Donohue and his co-author, Ian Ayres, have manipulated the statistics. As Lott shows, even Donohue's and Ayres' own results show that violent crime rates fall after right-to-carry laws are adopted.

It still remains true, as John Lott notes, that "despite all the work that has been done on the topic of concealed handguns, it is remarkable that no academic study has found a bad effect from these laws." It is even more remarkable that proponents of gun-control like Professor Donohue continue to use highly charged, emotional arguments -- stirring up imaginary fears of "dead Ohioans" -- in lobbying against right-to-carry legislation, legislation that not only makes common sense but also is mandated by the Ohio Constitution's guarantee that citizens have the right "to bear arms for thier defense and security."

David N. Mayer
Professor of Law and History,
Capital University,
Columbus, Ohio

Letter to the editor

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

Vin Suprynowicz quote


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