John Lott Responds to the National Research Council

On December 21, I posted about the National Research Council report on John Lott's research, and subsequent book, More Guns, Less Crime. Eugene Volokh, over at The Volokh Conspiracy, has pubilshed John Lott's lengthy response to the report.

Choice quotes include:

The big news that has been ignored on all the blog sites is that the academy's panel couldn't identify any benefits of the decades-long effort to reduce crime and injury by restricting gun ownership.
Based on 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, and some of its own empirical work, the panel couldn't identify a single gun control regulation that reduced violent crime, suicide or accidents.
James Q. Wilson's very unusual dissent is very interesting (only two out of the last 236 reports over the last 10 years have carried a dissent). Wilson states that all the research provided “confirmation of the findings that shall-issue laws drive down the murder rate…”
Even with the very selective sample of regressions that they pick, there is not one statistically significant bad effect of right-to-carry laws on murder. Only one case for robbery and that is one problematic specification from Ayres and Donohue.
While the NAS is in name an academic organization, the process was hardly an academic one. Members of the panel were forbidden to talk to me about the issues being examined by the panel. Despite promises to get my input on the panels' review as it went forward, that never occurred… If I had been involved, I could have helped catch some of their mistakes. When the report was finally released to the public, I was promised that I would get a copy at the beginning of the presentation and that I would be allowed to ask questions. I was told that they preferred that I not attend the presentation, but there would be no problem with me asking questions. Instead even though the presentation ended a half hour earlier than scheduled because there were supposedly no more questions, my questions were never asked.

And, finally,

It is hard to look through the NAS panel's tables on right-to-carry laws and not find overwhelming evidence that right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime. The results that don't are based upon the inclusion of zero values noted in point 1 above. Overall, the panel's own evidence from the latest data up through 2000 shows significant benefits and no costs from these laws.

Despite all the statistics and finagling, I find the argument for right-to-carry is far more personal. Individuals should be allowed to defend themselves with the best tools for the job, and they should be allowed freedom in that selection. No one is going to assign me a bodyguard anytime soon, nor are they likely to assign one for my wife and kids.

We'll have to watch and see if this response prompts a dialogue. links

Josh Poulson

Posted Thursday, Jan 13 2005 07:35 PM

Adjacent entries


« Timothy Goddard on What Matters in the Washington Revote Debate
Edward Tufte's Beautiful Evidence »





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So what was the response? Has anyone responded to his eight points?


Posted Wednesday, Jan 19 2005 10:48 PM

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