Freedomnomics

Article published Wednesday, November 4, 2015, at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Killers prefer to attack in places where people don't carry guns

By John R. Lott, Jr.

Not able to rely on the facts, CeaseFirePA Executive Director Shira Goodman resorts to personal attacks against me (“Don’t Buy into the Fallacies Peddled by the Gun Lobby,” Nov. 1). She claims that I am a “paid spokesman for the gun lobby” and I “represent gun manufacturers.” But she provides no evidence for these outlandish assertions.

In all my years at academic institutions such as the University of Chicago, Wharton Business School and Yale, neither gun manufacturers nor the “gun lobby” nor any related organization ever funded my research. The same holds for the Crime Prevention Research Center, where I am currently president.

Ms. Goodman says that my research is “discredited.” But look at the criminology and economics journals and you’ll find that two-thirds of peer-reviewed research agrees with the conclusion that U.S. right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime. Not a single such peer-reviewed article finds that right-to-carry laws increase murder, rape or robbery. This doesn’t exactly support Ms. Goodman’s claim that more guns mean more homicides.

Our center’s academic advisory board consists of world-class researchers from such institutions as Harvard and Wharton.

Unable to respond to Jack Kelly’s column (“Good Guys with Guns,” Oct. 25) that since at least 1950 all but two American mass public shootings have occurred in gun-free zones, Ms. Goodman raises the issue of shootings in homes. But this doesn’t contradict the basic point that killers prefer places where victims can’t defend themselves. Such mass killers frequently know if the homeowner owns guns for protection and, if so, where they are kept. Many of these shootings also involve gang fights.

Ms. Goodman overlooks that those who benefit most from owning a gun are the most vulnerable: the physically weak (women and the elderly) and those most likely to be victims of violent crime (disproportionately, poor blacks in high crime urban areas).

• Lott is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author of "More Guns, Less Crime" (University of Chicago Press, 2010).

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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