Debunking the “Pro-Gun Myth” Debunker, Part 1

Walker Bragman (right, courtesy skidmorenews.com)

Walker Bragman [above right] is back. Just a few days ago I tromped all over his The Culture of Guns and Misinformation. Now he’s back spewing more dis- and mis-information in Debunking 18 Pro-Gun Myths. My regular readers are familiar with the phrase undulating lies. For those who aren’t, an undulating lie is when someone tells you something that is factually true, but so misleading as to constitute a lie. I heard a perfect example of the undulating lie the other day from an anti who testified at the Minnesota legislature . . .

He was supporting “universal background checks” because a DoJ study showed that almost 80% of criminals got their guns from private transfers. The strong implication was that, if only private sales had to go through NICS checks, these “transfers” wouldn’t happen.

What makes that an undulating lie is the fact that, as shown in this study, almost 40% of felons get their guns from family or a friend while another almost 40% got them from what is euphemistically described as “street/illegal source.” Who here thinks that Frankie Felon would take his brother Phineas to the store for a NICS check before loaning him a pistol?

So does Walker have anything new to contribute this time around?

In my discussions with pro-gun advocates from the conservative right, I have repeatedly come across similar arguments supported by misrepresentations of fact. Although I addressed some of these in my last article on guns, I will readdress and enumerate those assertions, one-by-one, with supporting facts that should be considered.

Yippee! Facts! I like facts. So what’s Walkie’s first myth?

“More guns equal less crime!”

John Lott Jr. wrote a controversial book titled More Guns, Less Crime that has been debunked by peer review. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center discovered a positive correlation between gun ownership and violence. Since the 1970′s crime has been declining with gun ownership in the United States.

It’s amazing that people like Walker can keep a straight face when making statements like that. One of the most “controversial” things about Dr. Lott’s work when it came out was the idea of correlation and causation. Here are some of the variables Dr. Lott’s book took into account:

  1. Population
  2. Arrest rate by type of crime
  3. Unemployment rate
  4. Percentage of families headed by females
  5. Family poverty rate
  6. Median family income
  7. Per capita income
  8. Percentage of the population living below the poverty line
  9. Percentage of the population that is white
  10. Percentage of the population that is black
  11. Percentage of the population that is Hispanic
  12. Percentage that is female
  13. Percentage that is less than 5 years of age
  14. Percentage that is between 5 and 17
  15. Percentage that is between 18 and 25
  16. Percentage that is between 26 and 64
  17. Percentage that is 65 and older
  18. Median population age
  19. Percentage that is over 25 with a high school diploma
  20. Percentage that is over 25 with a college degree
  21. Other gun laws (waiting periods, background checks and additional penalties for using a gun in the commission of a crime
  22. Arrest rates for different crimes
  23. Conviction rates for different crimes
  24. Median sentences imposed for different crimes
  25. Median sentences served for different crimes
  26. Police hiring practices
  27. Policing practices (community policing, ‘broken-window’ policies, etc.)
  28. Number of police per capita
  29. Number of police on the streets
  30. Average time each officer spends on the street
  31. Price of marijuana in the community
  32. Price of cocaine in the community
  33. Etc. . . .

Again, these are some of the factors Dr. Lott took into account when making his calculations. And yet a common complaint made by the antis was that he “obviously” couldn’t have taken all the necessary variables into account. Yet the Harvard studies Walker links to look at homicide rates and gun availability. Period.

As for the peer-reviewed “debunking” of Lott’s work, since its publication there have been 29 peer-reviewed national studies by criminologists and economists on the topic. Eighteen of those supported his conclusions, ten found that shall-issue laws had no effect on violent crime and only one claimed an increase; a temporary increase of one single type of crime.

In addition Dr. Lott has made his entire dataset available to anyone who has asked; more than 45 different universities have taken advantage of this and not one unbiased & non-agendized academic group refuted Dr. Lott’s conclusions.

However, recently gun ownership has been increasing and not surprisingly, violent crime.

First of all let me point out that the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility.

Second, Walker again presents us with a supposed correlation between guns and crime while completely and utterly ignoring all of the other factors which can have a bearing upon those crime numbers. Third, as the inimitable Sportin’ Life so eloquently put it: It ain’t necessarily so.

According to a May 21, 1999 article in the Hartford Courant (citing the ATF) in 1999 there were 228 million guns in “civilian” hands. So if we go to the FBI’s NICS table, from 1999 – 2012 and assume that 80% of these checks resulted in a purchase we can actually get a snapshot of gun ownership over the last 13 years that looks like this:

This graph puts paid to the whole idea that gun ownership is declining. But since the graph Walker links us to only goes back to 1991, I can’t address his claim of declining gun ownership since the 1970s. To say nothing of the fact that, apart from a little bobble right around the time of the Clinton AWB (and why would people be paranoid about reporting gun ownership during that time period?) his graph shows that household gun ownership stayed pretty constant — between about 40 and 45% for the last 15 years or so, only showing a small recent spike.

So what sort of crime rates are we looking at during that time?

Heck, I don’t even see any correlation much less some sort of causation. But maybe Walker was just talking about homicides. What does that rate look like for the last few decades.

And once again we have to say “Sorry, not so much.” So let us look at Walker’s second paragraph of “more guns, less crime” myth busting:

The south is the most violent region in the country, and has the highest prevalence of gun carrying. The Johns Hopkins Center For Gun Policy and Research found that expanding conceal carry laws increases aggravated assaults.

Again, Walker is claiming that more guns equals more crime without looking at any other factors. As for increased concealed carry leading to more aggravated assaults that may be true, but it’s not the concealed carriers doing the assaulting. How do we know this?

The state of Florida has been keeping track of permits and permit-holders since they returned to “shall-issue” in 1987. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (which for some odd reason is the issuing authority for permits to carry in Florida) between October 1, 1987 and June 30, 2013(?) there were 2,325,231 permits issued and 6,543 revoked for criminal activity.

Of those 6,543 revocations, however, only 168 were the result of the criminal use of a firearm. In other words, in almost 25 years only 0.281% of permit holders have had their permit revoked and 0.007% of permit-holders have committed a crime with a firearm.

Finally, I just came across an article by Don Kates and Gary Mauser which was published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? It meticulously and thoroughly discredits this oft-spouted mantra that “more guns = more death.”

The authors break down the argument:

There is a compound assertion that (a) guns are uniquely available in the United States compared with other modern developed nations, which is why (b) the United States has by far the highest murder rate. Though these assertions have been endlessly repeated, statement (b) is, in fact, false and statement (a) is substantially so.

Since at least 1965, the false assertion that the United States has the industrialized world’s highest murder rate has been an artifact of politically motivated Soviet minimization designed to hide the true homicide rates.

Well who would’a thunk it? The USSR lied about crime in their workers’ paradise. In common with many other repressive regimes, however, they had stringent gun laws; handguns were prohibited to civilians and long guns for hunting were strictly controlled. This did not, however, limit their homicide rates:

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the gun‐less Soviet Union’s murder rates paralleled or generally exceeded those of gun‐ridden America. While American rates stabilized and then steeply declined, however, Russian murder increased so drastically that by the early 1990s the Russian rate was three times higher than that of the United States.

But this tendency is not limited to the old Soviet Union. As the authors note:

Stringent gun controls were not adopted in England and Western Europe until after World War I. Consistent with the outcomes of the recent American studies just mentioned, these strict controls did not stem the general trend of ever‐growing violent crime throughout the post‐WWII industrialized world including the United States and Russia. …

In the late 1990s, England moved from stringent controls to a complete ban of all handguns and many types of long guns. Hundreds of thousands of guns were confiscated from those owners law‐abiding enough to turn them in to authorities. Without suggesting this caused violence, the ban’s ineffectiveness was such that by the year 2000 violent crime had so increased that England and Wales had Europe’s highest violent crime rate, far surpassing even the United States.

Note that Kates and Mauser are very careful to avoid the implication that strict gun control causes an increase in crime; unlike so many antis, they don’t confuse correlation with causation. But at the same time, their data show that strict gun control most assuredly does not reduce crime.

The authors also shoot down (sorry, couldn’t resist) the idea that “access to guns” leads average law-abiding citizens to become murderers. As they explain:

One reason the extent of gun ownership in a society does not spur the murder rate is that murderers are not spread evenly throughout the population. Analysis of perpetrator studies shows that violent criminals—especially murderers—“almost uniformly have a long history of involvement in criminal behavior.”

Of course anyone but a VPC bean-counter putting together their “Concealed Carry Killer” list is aware of this fact. A quick look at Florida’s Concealed Weapon or Firearm License Summary Report shows that of the 2,263,281 licenses issued since October of 1987 only 168 have been revoked for license-holders committing a crime with a firearm. For the mathematically disinclined that is fewer than seven revocations a year.

Kates and Mauser also point out that antis frequently (as they put it) ‘ask the wrong question’ by focusing on rates of firearm related homicide or suicide and ignoring the overall rates. To wit:

Epitomizing this theme is a World Health Organization (WHO) report asserting, “The easy availability of firearms has been associated with higher firearm mortality rates.”[7] The authors, in noting that the presence of a gun in a home corresponds to a higher risk of suicide, apparently assume that if denied firearms, potential suicides will decide to live rather than turning to the numerous alternative suicide mechanisms. The evidence, however, indicates that denying one particular means to people who are motivated to commit suicide by social, economic, cultural, or other circumstances simply pushes them to some other means.[8]

Indeed K&M repeatedly point out that social, economic, cultural, or other circumstances are far more relevant to “gun violence” than any sort of easy access to firearms. You can see this especially clearly when looking at suicide rates in Japan versus those in the United States.

The Japanese have extremely strict gun control and a firearm related suicide rate of 0.04 per 100,000 while ours is more than 150 times that at 6.10 per 100,000. But looking at their overall suicide rate we see it is 23.8 per 100,000 which is more than double our 11.8 per 100,000. This is because Japan has very different social and cultural views of suicide, not because of easy access to any particular deadly instrument.

K&M do a further drill-down on demographic, historical and geographic which is far too detailed for me to go into here but their conclusions are unsurprising (at least to us “gun nuts”): There is absolutely no positive correlation between firearm availability and violent crime, murder and suicide. They do raise a very interesting (and quite valid) point in their conclusion:

Nevertheless, the burden of proof rests on the proponents of the more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death mantra, especially since they argue public policy ought to be based on that mantra.

I have often heard people say that they have a “right to feel safe.” This is actually sort of true but ultimately misleading. You absolutely have the right to take whatever measures you feel are necessary to provide for your own safety as long as you do not harm others or restrict their right to do the same. Unfortunately, those like Walker who are clamoring the loudest for safety usually want to accomplish it by restricting everyone else’s freedoms.

Check out this doozy:

European countries have strikingly more stringent gun restrictions and less gun violence. Comparatively, 15 of the 25 worst mass shootings in the past 50 years have occurred in the US.

You know what Walker? This isn’t even an undulating lie; this is actually a flat-out steaming pile of bullshit.

Through a marvelous invention known as The In-Ter-Net and Search En-Jinns I have compiled a list of the 32 worst mass shootings (that I could find…I do not claim omniscience here). I picked 32 deaths as the cut-off because that makes 10 dead the low end. So take off your shoes and break out the abacus Walker, because we’re doing some mathematical-type counting here:

Location Number killed Date
Norway attacks

77

7/22/2011
Sang-Namdo, South Korea

57

Apr-82
Port Aurthur, Australia

35

4/28/1996
VA Tech

33

4/16/2007
Cave of the Patriarchs, Hebron Israel

29

2/24/1994
Sandy Hook

28

12/14/2012
Luby’s Cafeteria

24

10/16/1991
San Ysidro McMassacre

22

7/18/1984
Dunblane, Scotland

18

3/13/1996
Erfurt, Germany

18

4/26/2002
Hungerford, UK

17

8/19/1987
Cuers, France

17

Sep-95
Kandahar, Afghanistan

16

3/11/2012
Texas Tower Sniper

16

8/1/1966
Winnenden, Germany

16

3/11/2009
Ecole Polytechnique, Montreal

15

12/6/1989
Columbine High

15

4/20/1999
Edmond, OK

15

8/20/1986
Zug, Switzerland

15

9/27/2001
Aramoana, New Zealand

14

11/13/1990
Binghampton, NY

14

4/3/2009
Luxiol, France

14

Jul-89
Fort Hood

13

11/5/2009
Cumbria, England

13

6/2/2010
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

13

4/7/2011
Aurora, CO

12

7/20/2012
Azerbaijan State Oil Academy

12

4/30/2009
McClendon, AL

10

3/10/2009
Kauhajoki, Finland

10

9/23/2008
GMAC, FL

10

6/18/1990
Red Lake, MN

10

3/21/2005
Adelaide, Australia

10

9/6/1991

A quick perusal by even the most numerically challenged shows that the US doesn’t have fifteen of the top 25 shootings. Heck we don’t even have ten of the top 25, we only have nine. And out of the top 32 we only account for 13 incidents and 35% of the dead.

Wow, only one myth down and already we’re drifting into TLDR (too long, didn’t read) territory. Why don’t we put a cork in it for now and I’ll return to the rest of Walker’s steaming cowplop soon.

avatar

About Bruce W. Krafft

I am a bit of a Johnny-come-lately to the civil rights (firearms flavor) movement, having not really gotten involved until after I hit 40. I am not really a "gun guy"; I can generally hit what I aim at, but I'm not a competitive shooter. I enjoy the craftsmanship of a fine pistol or rifle, but I am not particularly knowledgeable about firearms in general nor am I a Glock guy, or 1911 guy, I'm just a guy. What I am is passionate about civil rights, especially those of the firearm flavor.

43 Responses to Debunking the “Pro-Gun Myth” Debunker, Part 1

  1. avatarRick says:

    one thing to take into account: in recent years gun owners feel less safe in telling anyone even remotely official that they own or keep firearms. The table where the question was asked “do you have a gun in your home” may be answered less and less truthfully over time. In my case, if any petitioner or census official asked this question I would NOT admit to owning firearms. I suspect that I am not alone in this. Which while not giving us a provable, quantifiable number, could account for significantly more gun-owning homes which would disprove the Eyebrow Man’s position even more.

    • avatarJoshinGA says:

      Thats a good point. I think that question on the census or whatever survey they are taking this from would get the same answer as the doctors office: No, but why is this any of your business anyway?

    • avatarTotenglocke says:

      The table where the question was asked “do you have a gun in your home” may be answered less and less truthfully over time.

      That graph is from Gallup and on their report, Gallup specifically states that they believe there is under-reporting because people are afraid to admit that they own guns.

  2. avatarAmarante says:

    I need sources to these:
    “As for the peer-reviewed “debunking” of Lott’s work, since its publication there have been 29 peer-reviewed national studies by criminologists and economists on the topic. Eighteen of those supported his conclusions, ten found that shall-issue laws had no effect on violent crime and only one claimed an increase; a temporary increase of one single type of crime. In addition Dr. Lott has made his entire dataset available to anyone who has asked; more than 45 different universities have taken advantage of this and not one unbiased & non-agendized academic group refuted Dr. Lott’s conclusions.”

    SOURCES PLEASE!

    • avatarSpoons Make You Fat says:

      Google is your friend. We’ll wait while you list the studies that objectively refute Lott’s work. Thanks, in advance.

    • avataranonymous says:

      > Google is your friend. We’ll wait while you list the
      > studies that objectively refute Lott’s work. Thanks, in advance.

      The d-baggery is strong with this one.

      Amarante merely asked for sources of Krafft’s statement about “29 studies”. He never stated that he was attempting to compile a “list of studies that objectively refute Lott’s work”. Although if he was, so what?

      Krafft made an assertion, and the burden is upon him to provide the evidence for it, not upon his readers to search for something that may or may not exist.

      • avatarBlehtastic says:

        The internet is not a peer reviewed journal. If you feel you can’t trust the author.

        A) stop visiting the website, or

        B) look it up yourself

      • avatarwaif says:

        I agree with this one, that the burden of proof is on the person making the assertion. I too would like to see the citations for the 29 studies, not because I hope the claim is false, but because I hope it is true.

    • avatarTotenglocke says:

      They’ve provided the sources before, but it’s not easy to search TTAG. That’s one thing I’d love to see Rob work on – getting a decent search system set up.

  3. avatarDerek says:

    “…discovered a positive correlation between gun ownership and violence.”

    And? There’s a positive correlation between the summer time and violence. Clearly vitamin E causes violent crime. We should ban the Sun.

    As always, Bruce completely destroys another anti with apparent ease… probably while laughing heartily and stroking his beard. :)

  4. avatarDisThunder says:

    Bruce, we need to get you on TV.

  5. avataranonymous says:

    > Stringent gun controls were not adopted in England
    > and Western Europe until after World War I.

    The article does not give a reason why gun controls were adopted in Europe after World War I, but let me put forward this hypothesis:

    A lot of young men, who had been trained by their governments to kill, had recently returned home from a seemingly pointless war that was fought incompetently by their leaders, resulting in a massive loss of life. These young men had good reasons to be very unhappy with their governments.

    At the same time, the elite classes were concerned about the rise of Bolshevism, especially after the 1917 Russian revolugtion. To lower and middle class workers — including the veterans of the Great War — the ideas of communism and/or socialism probably had some appeal.

    Combine those two factors, the Western governments and upper classes were scared witless that the young men they had sent off to die by the millions a few years earlier would turn those guns on them. Something had to be done to preserve the social status quo.

    • That is exactly the reason for gun control laws introduced in the UK: social control, pure & simple.
      Having criminal atrocities to hang some of them on was all the PTB needed.

  6. avatarJoshinGA says:

    Bruce, glad to see you tackling this. I read the original article and left a comment debunking several of his myths, which of course was removed, but not before it had already garnered several dozen “likes” or whatever it is they use over on HuffPo.

    Oh, and I for one enjoy reading you tear down the false arguments of antis, and such a piece could never be TL;DR.

  7. avatarScott says:

    The looks shooped, but hilarious.

  8. avatarRalph says:

    Bragman is a liar who knows he’s a liar. He feeds the unwashed exactly the crap they love to devour. He has all the ethics of a pimp in a cheap suit.

  9. avatarChuckN says:

    Bragman discredits Lott for failing a peer-review (we’ll just gloss
    over that this in it self is untrue). So far I have yet to find
    a single peer reviewed academic journal in which Bragman has
    been published for ANY topic. Hard as it may be for Bragman to
    understand but most scientists don’t regard the Huffington Post
    as a credible academic resource (with the probable exception
    of Harvard, of course). I guess the anti-rights movement considers
    it beneath them to undergo peer-review. Gee, I wonder why?

  10. avatarMark S Wild says:

    Bruce,
    I always appreciate your data-driven take on any nonsense available as I believe that facts rule. However, you did not touch on Bragman’s assertation that “the South is the most violent region of the country.” Would you be willing to elaborate on that?

  11. avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    “The south is the most violent region in the country, and has the highest prevalence of gun carrying.”

    How do you possibly make such a statement with a straight face while ignoring the racial demographics of the murder rate in this country? 12.6% of the population perpetrate half of all the murders.

  12. avatarBob says:

    I didn’t need to muster the energy to wade all through Bragman’s assertions of how the pro gun arguments are flawed. I’m still settling back in the chair I fell out of when he attributed England’s 3X violent crime rate to lead based paint! Show me the protest signs!

  13. avatarAharon says:

    Bruce, great analysis once again! The only thing I disliked was seeing an ignorant and arrogant anti-gunner getting his name repeated in more places on the Internet.

    • avatarHal Finn says:

      In these days of Google indexing, the more pages like THIS one that show up with a search of “Walter Bragman guns”, the better. Heck the ideal would be an entire page of Google hits that lead to debunkings of his arguments coming in ranked above his page.

  14. avatarLance says:

    Thanks for more good logic RF!

  15. avatarJoseph says:

    One of the things that anyone who reads Bragman’s article as I have will notice immediately is the mocking and emotive way he frames his 18 pro-gun “myths.”

    Bragman presents them as if they are arguments being offered by an increasingly distraught and frustrated pro-gun American who grows ever more upset over their inability to sway the great and stolid Brag-MAN and his MIGHTY LOGIC!

    I find that contrary to what leftists and other members of the pro-gun camp would have us believe the individuals who are most prone to aggrandizement and a need to be validated or “feel powerful” by weaving themselves into some fantasy narrative wherein not only do all listening support their beliefs but think that the speaker is the smartest man in the room are those self-same leftists.

    The people who get caught up in their own legend are typically those liberal and other nanny-state politicians who feel a need for me to validate their view points by complying with them.

    In order to facilitate this they go to great lengths to bias potentially neutral parties against their opponents, even if the “evil-right-wing-opponent-of-the-day” isn’t actually engaging our “oh-so-HEROIC” pundit. Sorry to have taken the long way around, but these tactics have pissed me off to no end over the years, The result is that they characterize their opponents as morons or mentally ill so that those undecided Americans who’ve not heard the pro-gun or pro-life or pro-whatever side of the agenda subconciously look down on the speaker as inferior or pitiable which interferes with their ability to take in and rationally evaluate the arguments.

    And the truly irritating thing is that the “left-as-it-were” are pretty good at employing this tactic.

  16. avatarJustLeaveLawfulGunOwnersAlone says:

    “TLDR”…. hardly!!!!

    Bruce, I know this was lengthy for the normal internet blog post but having all this information, debunking statistics, links to papers/research is invaluable during these times.
    I don’t think anyone would mind if you expand on every bit of information.

    • avatarMark S Wild says:

      Interesting that those articles list ‘mass’ shooting with as little as two people, where Bruce’s cutoff was 10. Bruce’s list is more comprehensive for sure. Thanks for finding those links; I was wondering where Bragman had gotten his figure.

    • I suggest YOU check your sources.
      Your links both fail to mention my friend Derrick Bird killing a dozen people here on June 2nd 2010.
      They are also to all intents identical, thus pointing to a single origin.

      That’s a Fail then.

  17. avatarIdiotSavant says:

    I’ll concede that the articles left off a couple important shootings, but the trend is the same: The US has a disproportionate number of the world’s most deadly mass shootings.

    The Kates and Mauser article relies on Kleck’s overstated data. I say overstated because according to DOJ (www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/165476.pdf) and NIJ which is linked in the Debunking 18 Pro-Gun Myths, Kleck’s research has a positive bias.

    Lott no longer publishes in peer reviewed journals because of his ethical fails. He keeps changing his data and omitting important calculations and downright lying. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/10/double-barreled-double-standards

  18. avatarJC says:

    “Lott no longer publishes in peer reviewed journals because of his ethical fails. He keeps changing his data and omitting important calculations and downright lying.”

    If we are talking some missing data then one should consider the testimony from some of those below, of which there are more. This isn’t like the global warming climate-gate where data was purposely destroyed before it could be peer reviewed.

    From: Dan Kahan
    Date: Thu Feb 13, 2003 12:49:32 AM US/Eastern
    To: letters@washpost.com
    Cc: John Lott
    Subject: Feb. 11, “A Fabricated Fan and Many Doubts”

    Dear Editor:
    A column appearing in the Post yesterday (Feb. 11, “A Fabricated Fan and Many Doubts”) implies that economist John Lott made up the claim that a computer malfunction destroyed data from his research on gun control. At the time Lott was engaged in this research, we were colleagues at the University of Chicago Law School. I clearly recall John relating the computer data-loss incident to me then — many years before the current controversy about his work arose.
    Just so you know, I’m not relating this information to you because I support Lott’s position on guns (I don’t). I’m relating it to you because I think journalists — even the ones you employ to write political gossip columns like this one — should live up to their professional obligation to check out the facts before they make claims harmful to an individual’s reputation.
    Yours,
    Dan M. Kahan

    *****************************************************************
    Dan M. Kahan
    Professor of Law
    Yale Law School
    PO Box 208215
    New Haven, CT 06520 (regular mail)
    127 Wall Street
    New Haven, CT 06511 (courier)
    (203) 432-8832
    (815) 366-1458 (fax)

    From: Floydzudd@aol.com
    Date: Tue Feb 11, 2003 2:50:46 PM US/Eastern
    To: letters@washpost.com
    Subject: Article about John Lott in today’s Post

    Dear Editor:

    The Washington Post unfairly casts doubt about whether John Lott suffered a hard disk crash on his computer in 1997 ( A Fabricated Fan and Many Doubts, February 11). I was co-authoring a paper with him at the time and I was affected by some data that were lost. We lost a very large data set that had been used to estimate the wage premium paid to workers exposed to long-term latent hazards in the workplace. The loss prevented us from performing additional research and significantly delayed publication.

    Sincerely,

    Richard L Manning, PhD
    203 Putnam Road
    New Canaan, CT 06840

    From: Lawrence Kenny
    Date: Tue Feb 11, 2003 2:21:58 PM US/Eastern
    To: jlott@aei.org
    Subject: Wash Post letter

    John:
    This is what I sent to the Washington Post.

    John Lott and I worked together on a project examining the impact on government spending of women being granted voting privileges. Some of this research, utilizing older census data, was published in the Journal of Political Economy in December 1999. But the publication of other research utilizing recent survey data was set back when the basic data was lost in 1997 when John’s hard disk crashed. Thus, assertions that John fabricated the story of his disk crashing are incorrect.

    Lawrence W. Kenny
    Professor of Economics
    University of Florida

    Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003 23:55:13 -0800 (PST)
    From: Jonathan Karpoff
    To: letters@washpost.com
    Subject: John Lott

    Dear Editor,

    A column the Post published this week implies that John Lott fabricated a story that a computer crash destroyed some data related to his gun research. I have collaborated with Lott on two research projects — neither related to guns — and remember him talking about the crash several years ago. The crash indirectly affected one of our projects, as Lott had to divert much time to re-create his lost databases. I recall him telling me how some of his philosophical opponents refused to help him by returning a copy of some of his data, despite the fact that the only reason they had the data in the first place was that Lott had given the data to them!

    During our collaborations, John Lott has been an exemplar of integrity in academic research. It is not always easy to work with John, as we sometimes have disagreed over how best to conduct our tests and write up our results. But always, Lott has been honest, insightful, and willing to consider arguments and accept data that do not agree with his prior beliefs. He is an excellent social scientist.

    It is time to put to bed any rumors that question Lott’s credibility or seriousness as a researcher. Give him credit for taking unpopular positions, sticking to those positions in the face of vitriolic personal attacks, and sharing his data and exposing his research to scrutiny more openly than his opponents. You — and I — might not like like all of his conclusions. But that makes him all the more important to engage seriously in policy debates.

    Sincerely,
    Jonathan M. Karpoff

    ———————————————————————
    Jonathan M. Karpoff
    Norman J. Metcalfe Professor of Finance
    Managing Editor, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
    University of Washington School of Business
    Box 353200
    Seattle, WA 98195

  19. avatarNordic says:

    “First of all let me point out that the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility.”

    If that’s your attitude then you should have just started and ended your post with that one statement. Your attitude precludes debate, discussion, compromise, and seeking a middle ground, so why bother engaging with people who disagree with you?

    Anyway, that’s a ridiculous position. You think it’s OK for individuals to walk around with nukes strapped to their chest, putting millions of lives at risk? Were the Boston Marathon bombers exercising their second amendment rights up until the very second the bombs went off, killing three and wounding dozens of others? Do cops not have a right to stop and detain a terrorist with a bomb vest and an AK-47 slung around his shoulder because he has a “natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right” to stroll around town with the weapon of his choice?

    Did you even think about the implications of what you are saying?

    • “You think it’s OK for individuals to walk around with nukes strapped to their chest, putting millions of lives at risk?”

      Thanks for making your own irrelevance clear from the outset my making such a ridiculous assumption.
      Your post’s credibility goes downhill rapidly from there on & doesn’t deserve any response.

      • avatarMartin Gwynn Jones says:

        It is a ridiculous paragraph. It precludes discussion. It is NOT ok to carry guns around me when I am playing with my kid at a playground etc. Mike the Limey, congrats on noticing that ‘assumption’ starts with ‘ass’. We cower.

  20. avatarPaul says:

    Nicely put when you said only 13 out of 32 and only 35% of the dead. The US is leading with an ever increasing lead and that’s a problem.

    One other problem is that you keep thinking that the FBI shows the true crime rates from the US. The FBI is cutting back on reported crime rates. Also the local police departments cut down on reported crime rates also. Believe it or not it happens.

    Here’s another problem. Your claim with 29 studies for Lott’s work looks like bullshit. Prove it. What makes you think that all the data that Lott “took into account” was accurate in the first place?

    Another big US problem: weapons manufacturing and (legal) trading means a lot of money. In other words there’s an interest to not report crime and to make “independent” studies that make it look like crime rates drop when people buy weapons.

  21. avatarPaul says:

    Owning a gun is not a fundemental right or natural right. The second amendment of the US Constitution gave people the right to own guns in order to help the Government enforce the laws.

    • avatarMike the Limey says:

      Utterly wrong:
      The Second Amendment PROTECTS an already existing Right & has nothing whatsoever to do with helping the Government enforce laws.

  22. avatarresetplz says:

    “First of all let me point out that the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility.”

    Says who? The founders? Some 200-year-old scribblings on a piece of parchment by people who didn’t have a f***ing clue what was coming?

    Please don’t tell me you think your right to possess a fire stick is “God-given”. Because a. God doesn’t exist and b. s/he/it certainly wouldn’t be condoning the handing out of tools of death among his flock.

    1. If your argument is a constitutional one, then why aren’t you complaining about the prohibition on individual Americans owning tanks, choppers, poisonous gases and nukes? Where’s the outrage? (Answer: Because, like guns, that would be idiotic.)

    2. If your argument is one of law as proscribed by the constitution then why have we permitted women and minorities the vote? You’re an even greater fool if you think laws are permanent. (Answer: Laws must evolve with society.)

    3. If your argument is a constitutionally literal one, then why, if what the founders defined as “arms”–single-shot, muzzle-loaded muskets–do you own 8 semi-auto AR-15s with extended magazines and laser scopes? (Answer: Because it’s not about “citizen’s rights” it’s about grown men and their toys.)

    4. If your argument is one of defense, then you haven’t properly assessed the data. (Answer: Using guns for personal protection in a high-density, urban society is like setting trip wires in a preschool.)

    5. If your argument is one of personal liberty, then you haven’t properly thought through the logic. (Answer: Your right to freely-available killing tools infringes on our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If you don’t understand that, you have no place calling yourself an American.)

    6. If your argument is one of public safety, then you haven’t (obviously) considered what other laws are already in place. (Answer: We ban race car drivers from racing on city streets and we tell smokers to smoke outside. Guns belong at the range, not the supermarket.)

    Using guns to hide your fear of the world is not an excuse. I’m sorry you feel so threatened by others and that your only means to engage with them is through intimidation.

    The bee-keeper takes the time to learn bee behavior, to understand the risks and to take reasonable precautions. What he doesn’t do is strip naked, strap on a suicide vest and dare a bee to sting him.

  23. Pingback: Infographic: America’s Rap Sheet | Patriot Powered News

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