Freedomnomics

Article published Tuesday, November 25, 2014, at The Washington Post.

Letter to the Editor

By John R. Lott, Jr.

Christopher Ingraham’s “More Guns, More Crime” ignored research critical of a slightly updated, error-ridden paper by law professor John Donohue and two graduate students co-authors. Mr. Ingraham is simply wrong to claim they “now . . . added another full decade to the analysis.” Other already-published studies have considered the same recent data.

Their revised paper’s “preferred” results supposedly show violent crime rates increase after states pass right-to-carry laws. Among the problems: 

— They rely, without explanation, on estimates Mr. Donohue has previously claimed were unreliable and misleading. Measuring simply the average crime rates before and after the law can miss an upward trend in crime before the law and drops afterwards.

— They focus on the period from 1999 to 2010. But later-adopting states were often reluctantly dragged into passing these laws. Their laws were more restrictive — higher fees, longer training requirements and more gun-free zones. The authors compare the drop in violent crime for these late adopters with other states — primarily earlier adopters who issued many more permits — who experienced larger drops in crime. But smaller drops for more restrictive states is exactly what the “More Guns, Less Crime” hypothesis predicts.

— Even relying on these flawed estimates, Mr. Ingraham ignored that most of the authors’ results still provide no evidence that violent crime increases.

Two-thirds of peer-reviewed research by economists and criminologists finds that right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime.

John R. Lott Jr. is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author of the recently released “At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over the Edge?”

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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