All Postings from May 2004

5/31/04
Guns in Colonial America were Apparently Pretty Inexpensive

Clayton Cramer, that intrepid historian, has put together a "pretty extensive database of firearms transactions (probate inventory valuations, purchases, or assessment as part of confiscation)." People should click on the link, but his conclusion is: "Guns were not expensive."

5/31/04
CSPAN2 is Again Showing the Debate Over My Book at 3:15 AM EDT on Monday Morning

01:00 pm
1:38 (est.)
Forum
The Bias Against Guns
Rebroadcast at 3:15 AM EDT on Monday

Landrith, George C., President, Frontiers of Freedom Institute
Kessler, James, Director, Americans for Gun Safety, Policy & Research
Cohen, Lloyd R., Professor, George Mason University, School of Law
Lott, John R. Jr., Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

CSPAN writes: "Mr. Lott discusses his book The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong,from by Regnery Publishing. In this, his second book opposing gun control, he discusses his belief that liberals, both in the media and in politics, make a conscious effort to promote gun control and deceive the public. In a discussion moderated by Mr. Landrith, Mr. Lott presents the findings and conclusions of his book, taking the position that less gun control allows for a safer country. He discusses what he perceives to be the bias in the media and among the American public against gun ownership as a means to prevent crime and violence in the country. He is critiqued in this forum by Mr. Jim Kessler, who challenges his contentions, and Professor Cohen, who supports Mr. Lott's claims."

5/30/04
"The Day After Tomorrow," the audience laughs in all the wrong places

With movie reviews saying that the new movie "The Day After Tomorrow" is hard for even the most die-hard environmentalist to waste their money on, the more scholarly reviews by Patrick Michaels and Bjorn Lomborg are if anything even funnier. Even the best movie reviews for this movie concentrate on the special effects and pan the movie's plot.

5/29/04
Campaign spending will keep increasing as long as government does.

What drives up campaign spending? How about the amount that is at stake in the election and that in turn depends upon how big the government is. See an article by Patrick Basham for a discussion.

5/29/04
Betsy Hart: Gun control loses firepower

Another op-ed, this time by Betsy Hart, on the problems facing gun control these days:

One can argue that it's irrational to buy a gun in response to the al Qaeda threat (gun sales did rise dramatically in the weeks and months following 9/11). But, it's not irrational to believe we live in a dangerous world. And that whether the threat comes from overseas or down the street, we can't really count on the government to protect us from danger every minute. We have some responsibility to protect ourselves. Maybe we even understand that we wouldn't want a government that was big enough and powerful enough to protect us every moment.

5/27/04
Nicely written piece by Steve Chapman in today's Chicago Tribune on the soon to expire Semi-automatic Ban

In discussing the semi-automatic gun ban, Chapman writes:

The features that flagged these guns as intolerable, such as bayonet mounts and folding stocks, are features that have nothing to do with their killing power. The ban is the moral equivalent of banning red cars because they look too fast.

5/27/04
A Canadian Paper on the Problems with their Registry Program

The Chief of Police of Canada�s largest municipality has repeatedly stated that the registry has not helped his officers to solve one single gun-related crime. The money wasted on the system could have been better spent by putting 10,000 more police officers on the streets, improving border security and stemming the flow of illegal handguns into Canada that have been used to commit crimes in our communities, and improving health care, education, and municipal infrastructure, instead of harassing legal, law-abiding farmers, hunters and recreational shooters.

5/26/04
Illinois's Handgun Bans May Soon be a Thing of the Past

Ignoring a veto threat by the governor, the state legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill that states that:

someone who shoots an intruder on his or her property couldn't be convicted of violating a local gun ban. The bill would not prevent state charges if prosecutors believed the shooter committed a crime.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has said he will veto the measure, but the House and Senate passed it by lsuch overwhelming majorities to emsure an override of any veto. The Senate's vote this week was 41-16. Added to the recent move by South Carolina to over turn its 27 year old one gun a month law, this year has not been a good year for gun controllers.

5/24/04
Pew Survey Finds Moderates, Liberals Dominate News Outlets

Editor and Publisher has a nice write up on the newest Pew Survey:

At national organizations (which includes print, TV and radio), the numbers break down like this: 34% liberal, 7% conservative. At local outlets: 23% liberal, 12% conservative. . . . since 1995, Pew found at national outlets that the liberal segment has climbed from 22% to 34% while conservatives have only inched up from 5% to 7%. . . . The survey also revealed what some are sure to label a "values" gap. According to Pew, about 60% of the general public believes it is necessary to believe in God to be a truly moral person. The new survey finds that less than 15% of those who work at news outlets believe that. About half the general public believes homosexuality should be accepted by society -- but about 80% of journalists feel that way. When the question of which news organizations actually tilted left or right, there was one clear candidate: Fox News. Fully 69% of national journalists, and 42% of those at the local level, called Fox News "especially conservative." Next up was The New York Times, which about one in five labeled "especially liberal."

5/22/04
Another poll showing that Canadians are not happy with their gun registration program

The National Post has an amazing new poll (registration required):

"Only 11% thought the federal gun registry has made the streets safer, while 47% considered it an expensive election gimmick that left criminals untouched, but hurt farmers. Another 37% considered it a good idea at the time that did not bring enough results to justify the price tag of over $1-billion."

5/21/04
What is happening to the gun control movement?

My new piece on Foxnews.com is up. The theme: Facts do matter in the gun control debate.

5/21/04
Anti-Gun Campaign Accused of Spreading 'Hype'

Susan Jones with CNSNews.com has a detailed article that discusses a lot of inaccurate information put out by gun control groups.

5/21/04
Most of the worst abuses at Abu Ghraib prison happened on a single November day

If true that much of the abuse occurred on a single day, it provides additional evidence that this abuse was not systematic.

5/21/04
Utah's Attorney General fights against gun free zones on campus

In a case before the Utah Supreme Court, the state attorney general is fighting to let students carry concealed handguns on university property. it is bizarre to me that someone can argue that academic freedom overcomes a state government's right to regulate what occurs on public university campuses.

5/19/04
A win for common sense

Some times judges don't enforce gun laws when they make no sense:

"Judge James Linn found Roderick Pritchett, 26, not guilty of a felony weapons charge that could have sent him to prison for three years. . . . it was a triumph for common sense--the proposition that whatever mistakes Pritchett may or may not have made in storing a semi-automatic pistol in his car, he's not a proper target in the war on gun violence.".

5/18/04
How the media covers guns

Vin Suprynowicz has an article that discusses how the media covers guns. He has discussions over everything from the Merced Pitchfork murders to the Appalachia Law School.

5/18/04
Only 17 percent of Canadians support gun registration

Given the 1000 fold cost over run and the lack of the government's ability to show that registration has solved even one crime over the decades, it is not surprising that so many people want to get rid of the program. Since a member of parliment sponsored the survey, there is obviously some concern with it, though the questions seem quite reasonable.

5/17/04
And Europeans think that guns are prevalent in the US?

The Swiss Defense Minister discusses the ownership of military weapons by citizens:

"Everybody who has served in the army is allowed to keep their personal weapon, even after the end of their military service."

5/17/04
Some examples of hate speach in politics

John Fund has an interesting list of hateful things that are said in the current political debate.

5/16/04
CSPAN Radio will replay my talk on The Bias Against Guns from 5 to 6:35 PM EDT on Sunday, go to cspan.org and click on their cspan radio section

5/15/04
CSPAN2 Showing Debate Over My Book At 1PM EDT/12:52 AM EDT on Saturday

01:00 pm
1:38 (est.)
Forum
The Bias Against Guns
Rebroadcast at 12:52AM EDT/ 9:52 PM PDT

Landrith, George C., President, Frontiers of Freedom Institute
Kessler, James, Director, Americans for Gun Safety, Policy & Research
Cohen, Lloyd R., Professor, George Mason University, School of Law
Lott, John R. Jr., Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

"Mr. Lott discusses his book The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong,from by Regnery Publishing. In this, his second book opposing gun control, he discusses his belief that liberals, both in the media and in politics, make a conscious effort to promote gun control and deceive the public. In a discussion moderated by Mr. Landrith, Mr. Lott presents the findings and conclusions of his book, taking the position that less gun control allows for a safer country. He discusses what he perceives to be the bias in the media and among the American public against gun ownership as a means to prevent crime and violence in the country. He is critiqued in this forum by Mr. Jim Kessler, who challenges his contentions, and Professor Cohen, who supports Mr. Lott's claims."

A synopsis of another debate that I had at a href="http://mysite.verizon.net/vze7b8m6/debate.htm">Duquesne University School of Law can be found here.

5/15/04
Illinois Legislature moves on bill banning town gun charges in self-defense

The Chicago Sun Times writes:

The bill -- inspired by a Wilmette man who shot an intruder in his home -- passed the House 90-25. It still must be reconciled with a Senate version before reaching the governor's desk. But like the House, the Senate approved its measure with enough votes to override a veto.

"I was shocked at the number of votes that proposal received in the House," the governor said. "I'd say get your work done, send it to us, and I'll veto it right away."

5/13/04
High-ranking Bush administration official fights to killed armed pilots bill

Disappointing news on the armed pilot front. As The Hill notes: "it is unusual for career employees to mount lobbying efforts."

5/13/04
On Al Gore's endorsement of "The Day After Tomorrow"

John Fund, on opinionjournal's Political Diary, writes:

Mr. Gore later admitted that he hadn't actually seen the movie or read the script -- prompting the New Republic's Gregg Easterbrook to advise him to cling tightly to that excuse. Mr. Easterbrook, a journalistic expert on global warming, suggested that Mr. Gore hadn't done himself any favors by linking "his reputation with a cheapo, third-rate disaster movie that makes Fantastic Voyage seem like a peer-reviewed technical paper."

5/13/04
"Daschle breaks law he championed -- again"

On the campaign finance front, South Dakota Politics points out another violation of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law by Tom Daschle. In this case, he is using corporate money to advertise an event that he has each year. These restrictions don't make any sense to me, but if a politician votes for them, one hopes that he will at least obey them.

5/12/04
Defensive Gun Use by New Ohio Permit Holder

Ohio already has a success story from its right-to-carry law. "My son did what he had to do. Fortunately, this gentleman didn't die," [the permit holder's father] said. He said he prays his son does the same thing if he finds himself in a similar situation again."

5/12/04
The New York Times get its story on crime wrong (Again)

Fox Butterfield writes:

In two states, New York and California, almost 20 percent of inmates are serving life sentences, the report found. The increase is not the result of a growth in crime, which actually fell 35 percent from 1992 to 2002, the report pointed out. Instead, it is the result of more punitive laws adopted by Congress and state legislatures as part of the movement to get tough on crime, the report said.

In fact, this rise occurred precisely because crime fell. It is not necessary for penalties to increase. As fewer new prisoners enter the system, violent prisoners previously sentenced to life terms, when crime rates were high, will gradually make up a greater share of the current prison population. Take an extreme case. Suppose crime fell to zero; eventually the only people in prison would be those sentenced to life prison terms. California and New York have relatively more prisoners serving life sentences in part because their violent crime rates over the last decade have respectively fallen 35 and 61 percent faster than the national average. Of course, with Butterfield writing the article, it doesn't mention that the drop in crime occurred because of tougher penalties.

5/11/04
Complete Video of Nick Berg's Horrific Execution

Video of Nick Berg's Execution can be found here. (Scroll down to the May 11th post.) A transcript of the video is also available there.

5/11/04
Hacker Hysteria

My latest piece in the Washington Times expands on my earlier discussion of possible fraud with electronic voting machines.

5/10/04
"Million" Mom March fizzles

The Associated Press reports that "The demonstration, attended by about 2,000 people, was much smaller than the original one, which took place on Mother's Day four years ago." I think that is a high estimate, but still it shows how the debate has changed.

5/9/04
CSPAN2 will show a forum on my book May 15th at 8 AM

Next Saturday CSPAN will show a debate that took place on my book, The Bias Against Guns. Jim Kessler (Americans for Gun Safety) and Lloyd Cohen (George Mason University Law School) provide the critical comments. It is a lively show.

5/8/04
Presidents and Hunting

The Philadelphia Inquirer had an interesting write up how many presidents have been hunters.

Remember the Second Amendment Sisters rally in DC on Sunday.

5/7/04
All things Missouri

Two thirds of Missouri counties are finally issuing right-to-carry permits. That website is also a good source for other Missouri right-to-carry issues.

5/7/04
Million Mom March Hopes to Draw only 5,000 to Washington

Of course, the "Million" Mom March four years ago only drew about 35,000, but times have changed. This year the organizers are only expecting 5,000. One irony is that by exaggerating the number of people who attended the rally previously they will force it to appear that the drop off in their support is even greater than it is. I just agreed to speak at a gathering organized by the Second Amendment Sisters that will also be held on Sunday.

5/7/04
Sometimes criminals need guns to defend themselves

The Chicago Tribune has a story where a convicted criminal used a gun to protect himself from "a mentally unstable attacker." "The shooting was ruled self-defense" but 1) this is Chicago and 2) the victim in this case had "three prior felony convictions" so he should not have had a gun.

5/6/04
Cargo Pilots Get Certified to Carry Guns in Cockpit

Finally, some cargo pilots are being certified to carry guns on planes.

5/5/04
Store in gun free zone robbed in Ohio

The Akron Beacon-Journal reports on a robbery at a store that banned people with concealed carry permit holders with guns. For commentary and some pictures see Ohioans for Concealed Carry.

5/5/04
Gun-Proofing Children

Wendy McElroy has an interesting piece on the forthcoming Mother's Day pro and anti-gun rallies in Washington, DC. The data on gun accidents is out of date and doesn't have as accurate or detailed of a breakdown as the CDC data I used in The Bias Against Guns.

5/4/04
Study finds no crime reducing benefit from registration

Professor Gary Mauser from Simon Fraser University is getting some attention for his research that spending $2 billion on registration has not reduced crime rates in Canada.

5/1/04
Good source for the impact of Zero-tolerance policy in Schools

If you want a good source on the wacky results of zero-tolerance policy you will find it here.

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Home

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.

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List of my Op-eds
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Posts by topic

Appalachian law school attack

Baghdad murder rate

Arming Pilots

Fraudulent website pretending to be run by me

The Merced Pitchfork Killings and Vin Suprynowicz's quote

Ayres and Donohue

Stanford Law Review

Mother Jones article

Links

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