Gun Laws


Gun Laws Essay, Research Paper

States from Michigan to Nebraska to California, as well as the federal government, are considering new rules on letting law-abiding citizens carry guns. Does allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns deter violent crimes? Or does this cause otherwise law-abiding citizens to harm each other? Thirty-one states now have guaranteed their citizens the right to carry concealed handguns if applicants do not have a criminal record or a history of significant mental illness. So what have the results been?

The numbers tell the story

Using the FBI’s crime-rate data for all 3,054 U.S. counties by year from 1977 to 1992, I co-authored a study in the January 1997 Journal of Legal Studies. We found that concealed handguns deter violent crimes and produce no significant increase in accidental handgun deaths. The accompanying figures show how dramatic this drop is by illustrating how different violent crime rates change before and after the adoption of these laws. The size and timing of the decline coincide closely with the number of concealed-handgun permits issued. Counties issuing the most new permits had the greatest drops in crimes.

The study considered arrest and conviction rates, prison-sentence lengths and changes in many other handgun laws such as waiting periods, as well as income, poverty, unemployment and changing demographics. Thousands of observations made it possible to control for a whole range of other factors never included in any previous crime study.

The estimated benefits indicate that if those states without right-to-carry concealed handgun provisions had adopted them in 1992, at least 1,500 murders would have been avoided yearly. Similarly, rapes would have declined by more than 4,000, robbery by more than 11,000 and aggravated assault by more than 60,000.

Benefits all around

Surprisingly, the largest drops in violent crimes occurred in the most urban counties with the highest crime rates. Further, the benefits of concealed handguns were not limited to those who carry the weapons. By the nature of these guns being concealed, criminals cannot tell whether a potential victim is armed, thus making crime less attractive when it involves direct contact with people. Citizens who have no intention of carrying a concealed handgun benefit from the crime-fighting efforts of their fellow citizens.

While allowing either men or women to carry concealed handguns deters murder, the impact is particularly dramatic for women. The findings imply that for each additional woman carrying a concealed handgun the murder rate for women falls by three to four times more having an additional man carrying a concealed handgun lowers the murder rate for men. With women typically being weaker physically, providing a woman with a gun has a much bigger effect on her ability to defend herself.

People willing to go through the permitting process also tend to be law abiding. In Florida, almost 444,000 licenses were granted from 1987 to 1997, but only 84 people have lost their licenses for using a firearm in a felony. Most cases appear to have involved accidentally carrying a gun into restricted areas like airports or schools.

During Texas’ first two years of issuing permits in 1996 and 1997, permit holders were arrested for violent crimes at less than one-sixth the rate of other adult Texans, and these arrests rarely involved guns. Likewise, in Virginia, not a single permit holder has been involved in a violent crime. Similar results have been observed in states such as Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Listen to the men in blue

While most police have supported concealed-handgun laws, many opponents have changed their minds after adoption. For example, Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association, recently summarized his change of heart: “I lobbied against the law in 1993 and 1995 because I thought it would lead to wholesale armed conflict. That hasn’t happened. All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn’t happen. No bogeyman. I think it’s worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I’m a convert.”

Permit holders are unusually law-abiding citizens who fear for their personal safety. The police are simply not able to protect everyone all the time. As a former opponent of concealed handgun laws, Campbell County, Ky. Sheriff John Dunn says: “I have changed my opinion … These are all just everyday citizens who feel they need some protection.”

The evidence clearly indicates that we are all better off when law-abiding citizens are given a chance to defend themselves.

This article is too stupid to comment on. As already stated, America has a disgusting homicide rate, the result of the gun mentality. Back to the Third World again, eh??!! Inner-city Detroit looks like some two-bit dictatorship that Americans here about on TV and pity. Pity indeed : (

3/26/98 AllenM

Funny, David, that Detroit got to be in such sad shape with some of the toughest gun laws in the Nation.

3/26/98 Christopher

Clearly Mr. Lott is right on the money with his article. No matter where you are in the world, if you want to move large quantities of gold or cash, you arm your guards. This holds true even in countries with TOTAL bans on guns. Driving gold through Ireland or Japan will find the same armed guards. Why do they need to arm their guards? Because criminals will ALWAYS obtain weapons and resort to violence. This brings up the question: If gold is valuable enough to protect, aren’t the lives of individuals worth that or more? If most people value life more than gold, then it would stand to reason that they should have the right to protect themselves with the very finest means available. Certainly the 500,000 slaughtered in Rwanda would have been better off had they been armed…instead, their attackers found only unarmed, defenseless people. The results were too predictable. In the LA Riots, again it was the defenseless, unarmed citizens who suffered the most cruelly. Such extremes are mere examples, by the way. Violence against law-abiding citizens is to be condemned even when it is conducted by a lone unarmed criminal…and it too is worthy of being armed to defend against.

3/26/98 Bob Bailey

Seems like those in power forget 2 things. A law, any law is a limitation on our freedom. Although many laws are nessesary, many are not. A law is only good for LAWABIDING people. No amount of law will prevent sensless acts. Criminals respect armed people.Why is it that our lawmakers do not? Why are you blaming “guns” for violence ? Seems to me that it’s a morality problem.For those that do not obey the law, and for those like yourself that don’t have the spine to stand up for what is right.

3/26/98 R. Clarke

Excellent article. I only take issue with one statement: “The police are simply not able to protect everyone all the time.” This furthers the myth that the function of the police is to protect individuals. In reality, their job is much different. They are charged with investigating violations of the law, writing reports, and arresting suspects. There is a good deal of case law backing this up. Your local police department has *no obligation* to protect you from those who would harm you. For those who doubt this, or just want more info, read “The Value of Civilian Arms Possession As Deterrent To Crime Or Defense Against Crime” By Don B. Kates Jr. (Originaly published in AMERICAN J. OF CRIM. LAW (1991)). A quick search of the title at Yahoo should bring this right up.

3/26/98 Muad’Dib usul@thepoint.net_nospam

Mr. Lenan’s probing commentary notwithstanding, guns are curative, not causal as regards violence. The Justice Dept just finished a study, but haven’t released it publicly. It seems that, despite operational assumptions specifically designed to minimize the positive effect of guns on crime rates, they still found over 1.5 million defensive uses of firearms a year – which is in line with similar studies (i.e., Gary Kleck). Our “disgusting” homicide rate has been dropping steadily since 1980, in lockstep with a decline in the population’s percentage of 14-24 y.o. males – but coincident with a marked _increase_ in the passage of concealed-carry laws and permits issued, and an increase of over 40% in the number of guns in private hands. Were guns the cause of crime, the rate would be increasing. Ipso facto, the passage ” too stupid to comment on” is not the article….


Has anyone done a study of the effects of open carry? Why weren’t any fo the teachers involved in the Jonesboro incident armed? Or even some of the children?

3/26/98 Christopher

Jonesboro and similar tragedies will naturally continue as Public Schools mimic their government sibling known as Public Housing. Both prove that government should be quite limited in what it is permitted to operate, unless you want the violence associated with public housing and public schools to continue unabated.

3/26/98 Ron Lewenberg

Whether right-to-carry laws promote or detter violence is irrellevant to the law. The true debate is about the fundamental right of citizens to protect themselves from criminals and against the state. There is a reason why the loudest pro-confiscator here is from France. That reason is the relationship of the individual to the state. In Europe power is found in the state and lent to the people as a privelege. In America our rights are UNALIENABLE and we lend power to the state. The government has no morall or legal authority to disarm citizens. To do so is to through out our reason d’etre. For the people to promote such an action is an admission that freedom has failed. Gun control advocates don’t want to control guns, they want the government to controll us.

3/26/98 Bob

re:Ron Lewenberg Amen to that brother ! Best thing I”ve heard yet.

3/26/98 Non-Ideologue

So Mr. Lewenburg, don’t you think that Palestinians also should have the right to carry guns and defend themselves as human beings , just like Israelis? I take your comments to be universally applicable principles, not just for Americans, but also for Jewish settlers in Israel (and Arabs in the occupied territories) where religious fanatics and economically motivated families already have the right to carry guns and shoot Arabs whose families have always been there and get away with it. Right now the Palestinians, a decent percentage of whom are Christian, only can use stones to try to throw off the cruel oppressor who breaks its Oslo treaty commitments and scorns the world community. If Israel could not control the Palestinians before allowing Arafat to return (and turning over a few small pieces of land), then how can the Palestinians do it? Is gun control doomed to fail? Which is it?

3/26/98 anonymous

Was anybody else just a little suspicious of the statistics presented in this article? Were the graphs shown for just one state each, presented as an example, or are they somehow a composite of all available data? Were there any states that did not show a dramatic plunge after the legalization of concealed weapons? Also, I’d like to see a side-by-side comparison of, say, a state that adopted the measure and a nearby state that didn’t, for the same time period. The author makes some good points, but I’d like to know a little more about the data. Maybe I’m just a skeptic…

3/26/98 David Lenan

Muad’Dib: My original comment was as probing as was needed given the intelligence of the article. America’s homicide rate is disgusting, to most people at least, mabe not to someone with your character. Guns ARE the cause of these horrible crimes, the decrease in the homicide rates is almost entirely due to the fact that the baby boomers are at a point in their aging where their getting too “old” to commit crimes. Again, no one will look at the international evidence. Your post was JUST not too stupid to comment on.

3/26/98 mowgli

Seems like John Lott is on to something. We should do some serious studies on this matter. However David Lenan and others of his ilk would probably not believe those results either. Why is it that some refuse to seek the truth? They are so sure of their convictions that they reject truth and scoff at attempts to reach the truth. Give us a break David! We have to find out what will work. Or shouldn’t we? Ill grant you there is no panacea but nothings working now as you point out. What would you have us do? Wring our hands and admit there is no solution?

3/26/98 Bob

To David Lenan: Get a clue. If you took every gun in this country and destroyed it, are you silly enough to believe that that would be the end of violence ? As for “international” results, I could really care less. This is still the greatest country in the world and your article smacks of socialism. Do you own a gun ? Have you ever had to protect youself, or are you living in Utopia? Are you jealous of common men that own guns ? Where do you live ?Are you “allowed” by the authorities to even own guns , or is that just for the ruling elite ? Tell me please. I’m trying to figure out how someone can even think like this.

3/26/98 John Anderson

David Lenan: “Guns ARE the cause of these crimes”? Don’t know if you actually meant this, but if you did, you’re are excusing the people (criminals) who commit these crimes. A criminal is not responsible because they are victims of society, right? It’s these criminal-tolerant views, adopted so much by our legal system, that have been a significant contributor to higher violent crime rates. Does your view also extend to butcher knives, baseball bats, arsenic, automobiles, rocks, rope, bare hands, and other tools of intentional murders? Crime is an act of a person, and the rights of law-abiding people need not be stripped in a misguided attempt to exonerate the criminal and place blame on inanimate objects.

3/26/98 David Lenan

Bob: Your post is so full of self-righteouss I don’t even know what you think of reality. Taking the guns away wouldn’t end violence, but it would temper it down a great deal. I KNOW YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT “INTERNATIONAL” RESULTS, THAT’S PART OF THE GODDAMN PROBLEM WITH AMERICANS, SO CONCEITED!!!!! If you are an America Bob, YOU are the one being ruled by the elites. Your post smacks of ignorance, check out an atlas, discover there are other countries, discover that the smart ones banned guns, discover everyone isn’t killing everyone in these countries.

3/26/98 David Lenan

John Anderson: I don’t believe criminals are the victims of society. I would like to see those two boys be executed, they took the lives of innocent children before they could live, therefore the boys should lose thier lives. All the examples you give me are objects, but guns are the only ones that are there just to KILL!! Taking the guns away would make that a lot harder, which would be a good start in attempting to get things in order.

3/26/98 Allen VanCleve

David Lenan: Why are so terrified of freedom and self determination. When are you going to realize that your disgust in personal freedom will eventually lead to a police state. Having spent the majority of my childhood under the “care” of the state.(foster care) Ihave seen first hand what it is like to live in a nanny state. I wouldn’t wish that even on you even though it seems to be what you want.

3/26/98 David Lenan

Allen VanCleve: Banning guns doesn’t take away freedom. LOOK AT CANADA!! Canada is MORE free. While Americans were enslaving “niggers” Canadians were risking war with America to sneak blacks into Canada and FREEDOM. Canadians can walk down an inner-city street without being killed, Toronto and Vancouver are a hundred times safer than L.A. and New York. Canadians are warned when travelling to American that it’s a whole different ball game, stay alert or violence will consume you alive. The freedom argument is justification to keep the weapons, explain the examples of the other nations, other countries like Canada (a country without guns which NO other country has ANY right to criticize about freedom).

3/26/98 Christopher

David: Your passion is appreciated, and certainly the struggle for freedom is the most noble of all battles. You are incorrect, however, to allude to Canada as having no guns. It has millions. It has handguns, rifles, and even automatic weapons. Eskimo children take rifles with them on school field trips to protect themselves from bears. Gun safety classes proliferate. These are good things. It also has a low crime rate. That’s all very nice. Canada does not have my brand of freedom, however. Banks are *Required* to get the government’s permission to purchase other banks (you don’t have much freedom without that permission). Motorists are prohibited from using radar detectors. Doctors are assigned low pay-levels (which is why so many great Canadian doctors immigrate to the US to help give us the best healthcare on the planet). These are anectdotal, of course, but they help illustrate that freedom is not the same as tranquility. Sure, a diehard Socialist can always claim that it is reasonable for governments to “limit” what doctors make (or lawyers or businessmen), but in no way is that FREEDOM! Freedom is found where people are willing to fight for their rights. This means that things can get quite violent, in fact wars are often fought over freedom. Freedom requires that you stand up to every bully and never back down. Whether you choose to do this with a particular weapon or not is immaterial (so long as you have the choice).

3/26/98 Jim Block

Allen. It is a people problem not a gun problem. Switzerland households are REQUIRED to keep assult rifles and ammunition available. You can walk down Swiss streets even more securely that Canadian streets. IT IS A PEOPLE PROBLEM, NOT A GUN PROBLEM.

3/26/98 Muad’Dib usul@thepoint.net_nospam

I see a trend emerging: Any comments whicb do not conform perfectly to Mr. Lenan’s views are “too stupid to comment on” (yet the urge to say so overwhelms, I guess). An easy, predictable debating technique, but hardly convincing, I’m afraid. What exactly was “too stupid” about my post, Mr. Lenan? Was there something wrong with my data? Was my analysis of that data flawed in some way? These are certainly a legitimate points of contention, a fact I have in no way disregarded. A debate would entail your pointing out my errors and providing alternative data and/or analysis. I, at least, have provided these – you have not. Anecdotes, repetition, allusion to “international data” you don’t provide, and SHOUTING do not make your point more acute, nor your lack of supporting evidence less apparent. Calling those who disagree with you “stupid” enhances neither your position nor your status as a person whose views should be given any weight. Quite the contrary. Guns are an emotional issue, but not immune to reasonable, methodical debate. I challenge you to step up a level from polemics to actual intellectual discourse. I, and others here, have presented our viewpoints with supporting evidence. If you disagree with me, _support_ your position rather than belittling yourself (not me, I assure you) by namecalling.

3/27/98 Fremling

See John Lott’s op-ed piece on page A14 in the Friday, March 27th, Wall Street Journal. He has an excellent analysis of the Arkansas school shooting.

3/27/98 bmp

Dear Lenin (uh, I mean, Lenan… David Lenan): If guns are the reason for the relatively high homicide rates in the U.S., please explain why two other countries, that have less gun control than the U.S., have violent crime rates as low as any other European countries? These countries are Switzerland and Israel. If guns cause crime and gun control reduces it, why is it that there was much less crime in the good old days (you know, before you socialists came to power in the 60s), when guns were commonplace and gun control was nonexistent? Hmmmmm?? Speaking of violent crime, do you know how many millions of innocent people were slaughtered by Hitler and Stalin after they disarmed the people, comrade? B.

3/27/98 David Lenan

Muad’Dib: You don’t agree that having a nation full of guns is probably the real cause of a culture that is obsessed with death? You don’t agree that getting rid of the guns would make people think twice about killing because the actual act would be harder (e.g. stabbing with a knife). Often pointless argument arises because it seems some people answer arguments about EVERY issue with the Consitution, the Declaration of Independence, Mom and apple pie. You think that’s educated argument, an issue comes up and half (not all) the people post messages that sound like something William Wallace would say in Braveheart?? Some have said everything on the “gun” debate except “the NRA fought like warrior poets, and won their freedom, forever…”

3/27/98 Steve Koege

I totally agree with Professor Lott on the merits of concealed weapons. Just the perception that an individual is armed would make a violent person think twice about committing an act of violence against another person. Considering this, crime would typically go down if you weren’t sure if you were going to be shot and killed for your troubles.

3/27/98 Steve

To the previous Steve – One thing that criminals consider is the risk involved in doing their business – crime. If that risk is too great (ie to their own cowardly lives), they will not do it. My father (a liberal BTW) has a sign on his rural property warning would-be criminals that they will be shot at. He hasn’t had a single problem while his neighbors are getting items stolen from their garages. In my town, an older man got fed up and did the same thing. Both my father and this other man raised the price to these criminals, and that’s a price they don’t want to pay.

3/27/98 FredE

Dave Lenan: the post immediately preceeding your last conclusively answers your first two questions in the negative. The historical and statistical data devastate the gun grabber position. And, gee, sorry Dave if we hick Americans keep referring to that pesky constitution. As long as the 2nd Amendment remains, this IS a constitutional issue.

3/27/98 Bob

TO all that respond: As an American I am proud of my country. Sure, we’ve got our faults and some dark history, but the fact of the matter remains that this country has done more for individual rights and freedoms than any country in the world. How can anyone argue with Foreigners, that are totally alien to our ways and thought processes? David, I tend to think of americans as the “William Wallace “types. People that would draw the line and stand for what we believe.Paris France, we are unlike the french, that would be speaking German now, if it wasn’t for Americans. You guys have no idea,no concept of our ideas of freedom. So before you argue, make sure you understand the concepts.

3/27/98 Mark Wilson

I love David’s response. Don’t confuse me with facts, I already know what the right answer should be.

3/27/98 Mark Wilson

Lenan: The US has always been a country awash in guns, yet this culture of death is a very recent phenomena. As usual, you would rather use emotion, and insult everyone who has the audacity to disagree with your ignorant opinions than even try to deal with the facts.

3/27/98 Wm Bach

David Lenan, I love the reference to William Wallace. Did you even understand what the character was talking about? Criminals and governments (often the same thing) respect only one thing – an armed populace. They do not respect your right to free speech, they do not respect your right to secure papers, they do not respect your right to a fair and impartial trial of your peers. Sixty million Americans understand this and will become very angry if you try to foist your commie crap upon them. Sleep well.

3/27/98 anonymous

Guns do not cause crimes people do. We have to take responsibility at some time for our society and culture and look at ourselves. Not at the drugs, guns, cars, booze etc. Are we going to ban driving because of the car accidents? The decline of our morals and ethics is to blame. In the 50s with fewer gun control laws we had fewer crimes. Parents have to take responsibility for their children, teachers for their students, bosses for their employees. You can not fire anyone anymore because you may get shot. You can not discipline any student at school because you will get sued, you cannot discipline your child because it will be taken away from you. We respect opinions and freedom of speech for criminals and restrict religious expressions. We glorify and make excuses for the criminals and forget about the victims and the people who do good. As long as you are successful and have money it is ok to be amoral and to be a crook? We have to look at ourselves and our values and make the changes. Do not mess with the Constitution that got us this far. We do not want to lose our freedoms, we should want to protect them. The 2nd amendment will guarantee the 1st and we can be around for another 200 yrs at least.

3/27/98 logos

Lenan..Are you seriouly contending the government should confiscate or otherwise make illegl the ownership of the over 200 million guns in this country? If so you are living in a dream world. The gun crime problem will not be solved by any such sweeping destruction of the Constitutional rights of US citizens. Nor will it be solved by one sweepin solution. More likely a series of solutions such as tougher sentencing, allowing citizens easier concealed carry permits, attempts to shore up the Juvenile Justice System to allow jailing offenders and later putting them in adult facilities when the come of age etc. Your comparisons of the US with other countries won’t fetch! Compare NY City and Wash. DC who have handgun control laws to other US cities which don’t. After that say something realistic please!

3/27/98 Will Briggs

Mr Lott shows a trend I want to see more of in journalism: actually including references. I get frustrated when I read that “studies show…” or “a bill recently passed into law requires…” (My only complaint about the data is I would like to have seen a measure of the statistical significance of the results.) When contrasted with the opposing editorial, this one really shines.

3/27/98 Bob

TO Paris France; I have to admit that you are right about me, or Americans in general being “superior” to any other country. I rekon that ANY armed male is SUPERIOR to one that is not. I suppose that I could make you a slave and you would have to like it because you sure could’nt do anything about it. I’ll bet that there are a lot more people immigrating here than anywhere else, in the quest to become “superior”. Any way, I”m glad you’ve finnaly realized that yes, it’s true, we are superior. As long as we retain the right to bear arms, we will stay superior.

3/27/98 John Guy

{Where is the MODERATOR of this “discussion”? If personal attacks and lewd remarks are considered appropriate in a debate, then just drop the claim to a “moderated” debate.} One would hope that no one is so tunnel-visioned as to think that to have or not to have guns are the only variables in the equation. To compare today (with many gun laws) to the 1950s (with fewer gun laws) ignore the vast differences in the societies of past and present that inspired the increase in laws. The article ASSUMES a lot more than seems reasonable in a scientific study.

3/27/98 Samuel Colt

Everybody relax! The U.S. has more guns due to our frontier heritage. Also, we chose to allow gun ownership as a foil to government tyranny. Gun ownership as defined by the Second Amendment is not for personal protection from crime, but a more important element of freedom, protection from our government should it cease to be an agent of the people. It is but one of the unique things that has made the United States the greatest country in the history of Earth. Justly deserved conceit, thank you. I DO have an atlas, by the way, and I am aware of other countries which have elitist ideas about human nature (unwashed masses, etc.) and the effects of a populace free to take responsibility for their own personal safety(The peasants have guns! Save the Queen!). Alas, the tolerant ideas that have created this prosperity also create a class of people who prey on those who follow the law. That is why I have a permit. Now if my state would follow Louisiana’s lead with car-jackers.

3/27/98 Julie Cochrane

200 or so years ago, we fought a war. At the beginning of it, we wrote down why we fought it. At the end of it we wrote down what we expected to be respected by our new government or we would throw it back out on its ear. The world may have changed a lot since then, but we have not. Fundamentally, Americans still just want to be left alone. We’re out in the world as a “Superpower” because our economic system works well, we need good trade routes to buy critical resources (like titanium) from abroad, and we learned from WWI and WWII that the rest of the world will not leave us alone to run our own country the way we like, mind our own business, and trade in peace. The only real argument against isolationism over here is that we have to enforce Pax Americana on you buggers to keep world economies and trade routes stable for what few critical resources we don’t have internally. And, of course, we’re glad to buy and sell nonessentials with you at the same time. We refer back to 200 year old documents because we meant the sentiments in them enough to fight wars over them when we said them, and we still mean them strongly enough to fight wars over them now. We refer back just to show we’re being consistent.

3/27/98 Andy

I’m from Detroit. We are getting casinos soon. We’ll probably have an increase in crime too. I pray that the state gov. passes the CCW reform soon. Criminals dont care what the laws are.

3/27/98 AllenM

D. Lenan, I think that you have an unspoken emotional context that overrides any logic you could bring to this subject. People are the problem, not the implement they use to act out. Or are we going to ban frying pans and ball point pens next?

3/27/98 Frank

On 3/26/98, David Lenan wrote: # America’s homicide rate is disgusting, to most # people at least, mabe not to someone with your character. # Guns ARE the cause of these horrible crimes, One article on this site mentioned that violent crime rates in other western countries are 10-20 times lower than ours. David, something like 50-60% of the murders are commited with firearms. Even if guns disappeared and ALL of the people that killed with guns turned into good people and did not kill with other means, we’d still have a violent crime rate five to ten times higher than other countries! Of course, it would be worse than this, since most of the people that murdered with guns would STILL be amoral sociopaths… they’d find a different weapon. Guns are used in a lot of murders not because guns cause crime, but because they are convenient to use for that purpose. They would remain convenient even if guns were banned. If you could cast a magic spell that caused all guns to cease to exist, these crooks would use something else. We have a culture of violence in America. This, unlike widespread gun ownership, is a recent development. We, as a group, have decided to forsake morality. Life has little meaning now! The only surprise is that there is not MORE violence. Combined with loose, “revolving door” justice, we’ve set ourselves up for what we’ve got. I’m glad that I now live in a state that allows me my Constitutional right to bear arms. Frank

3/27/98 Muad’Dib

Mr. Lenan: of course I don’t think that a “nation full of guns is the cause of a culture of death.” Even if we were a culture of death, guns would be a symptom. Smoking is not an effect of cancer. But that analogy is ir-releavent because I don’t live in a culture of death. I live in a life-affirming culture that affords and respects the sacrosanct rights (and responsibilities) of free individual human beings. One of those rights is the absolute right to defense of my person, my loved ones, and my freedom. Largely because my ancestors – and quite a few millions of others along the way – agreed that this was a sacrosanct right and acted accordingly, I live in the freest country on Earth. I know there are other cultures and other countries; I have even a visited a few (Canada included, which I liked very much). I prefer to be where I am. Proliferation of violence is not an effect of the availability of guns – has the clear cut example of Switzerland (since you adore international examples so much) really failed to penetrate your prejudices? violence is and has been steadily decreasing since 1980. AK was tragic but it was newsworthy precisely because it was a rare event.

3/27/98 Stan Watson

Paris (France) — “The article is too technical. As everybody knows in politics a good politicians can give every sense he wish to polls and numbers and statistics.” But this is _not_ a political article, nor meant to be one. It is a rather high level discussion of logical findings from an analysis of available data. My word, if the article itself is too technical, what would have to say about the Lott-Mustard study that has been published? There are some things in the world (most?) that are not amenable to understanding through emotion or introspection but require a level of conscious cognition to understand.

3/28/98 Dave Workman

Bravo for John Lott’s revealing research on the impact that concealed carry laws are having on crime. That such laws have been passed in 31 states, coinciding with passage of “Three Strikes” and “Hard Time for Armed Crime” legislation, is the real reason we are seeing a decline in reported violent crime. Those who have advocated restrictive gun control over the years, and other intrusions on the rights of individual citizens, are now being shown as the liars they’ve always been. In the wake of the Arkansas tragedy, I remain more firmly convinced than ever that gun control advocates are glad such shooting rampages to occur, simply in order to further their own agenda. The veneer is wearing thin, however, as from your own USA Today polling, the majority of respondents support gun ownership, and are now rejecting arguments that restrictions on our Constitutional rights will control crime.

3/28/98 Gary Stift

Thank God we do NOT have a world government! Those of you, not American – I do not care what your opinion is! This is America – and our rights and our laws are OUR business. If you want to be without guns and at the mercy of tyrants, that is fine – you can have whatever laws you want – in your country. The Lott article is a valid study of the situation in the U.S. David Lenan – whoever and wherever you are – stay there and keep your nose out of our business.

3/28/98 Ken Barnes

While the “con” article’s discussion thread appears to be moderated, this one really debases the term “intellectual capital.” To the point, Dr. Lott’s paper, which I read and commented upon in the talk.politics.guns pro-gun FAQ (see text at ) is far and away the most methodical and comprehensive study of its kind in the professional criminology literature. If there has been any serious criticism of Lott’s methodology in the literature (other than editorials) I’d be interested to see it. The folks at Handgun Control, Inc. have no case, thus far.

3/28/98 amurphy

Professor Lott,s article was on the money. I read the complete study and it was very thourough. Not like the surveys and studies by HCI and CDC. You may not like what he says, but is is factual. And that is what gripes the gun control crowd.

3/28/98 Ken

Mr. Lott forgot to mention that in cities with total bans against carrying by citizens, there is more violence compared to cities with licensed carry. A case in point is our own capitol, Washington DC where guns are totally banned, but the gun homicide rate is still very high. Ditto for cities like NY, Chicago, LA. Other countries’ cultures are probably different, but I still remember traveling to Rome and noticing that on a lot of streetcorners, there were police with submachine guns. I also had two incidents where people were bold enough to come up to me and try pickpocketing me (one actually stuck his hand into one of my front pockets!). Pretty bold if you ask me…

3/29/98 John

To Paris France: I am an American and after spending several years in Europe and visiting several countries (including France) I still choose the United States over ALL others. There isn’t space here to tell you all the reasons. Whether you want to believe it or not, gun control does not work here and never will for a variety of reasons. I carry a concealed weapon (legally) and have never had to use it. Armed law abiding citizens are not a threat to anyone except criminals. I enjoy visiting other countries. The only country that I and my family only visited once was France. We found the people to be rude and obnoxious. And you prove we were right…

3/29/98 Christopher

I’ve noticed that there are cities in this world that have total bans on civilians carrying guns, yet which still have reasonably low violent crime rates (e.g., Innsbrook and Tokyo). On the other hand, I have also seen cities that actively encourage civilians to carry weapons (e.g., Tel Aviv and Zurich), yet they also have reasonably low violent crime rates. These anecdotal, unscientific examples encourage me to disbelieve any claims that gun bans have any large effect on violent crime rates. What I have noticed, however, is that the cities with gun bans (and low violent crime rates) keep large numbers of armed police on duty at night (Innsbrook stationed soldiers on street corners when I was there last). Martial law is hardly freedom, and should be discouraged whenever possible (even if it works in reducing crime). So I’m left to conclude that trusting the common man to protect himself (in the best way available) is a better answer to crime than the passing fad of banning guns from civilians (I’m not aware of any nation that bans weapons from government employees such as police and soldiers). However, if a nation were to propose banning guns from its police, security personnel, and soldiers, then I might at least be inclined to view the dying breed of anti-gun politicians as unhypocritical.

3/29/98 Ron Boe

I believe concealed carry of firearms is much better than open carry (which I think is like carrying a big sign saying”I dare Ya!”) but question the need in MOST areas of the county. What I would like to see is a study that conpares investment of money and enforcement of automotive laws vs gun laws. Where would todays’ society benifit the most from? I think lack of enforcement of common motor vehicle laws causes more grief and death than any firearm related problems. A study made by the goverement after the 1968 rash of gun laws showed that gun related deaths and injury was a small sliver of the total death and injury pie while car related death & injury was a huge majority. This was while the Vietnam war was going pretty good! We really need to step back and look at the bigger picture; this article hopefully points this out in a back handed way.

3/29/98 Steven Poor

A few have voiced their suspicions about the the graphs and statistics quoted. These people probably did not click on the blue-colored word “study” at the top of the article, which leads you to the full study done by Lott and Mustard. If they had, they could see how in-depth this study really is. Remember, if an author writes an article, they must be as brief as possible. Listing the graphs for every state would not have been allowed by the editor, in the interests of readability.

3/29/98 mark herber

Daid Lenan: The fact that Americans rightfully claim their right to selfdefense apparently upsets you very much. I have a suggestion. Why don’t you move to one of those gun control countries which you are so fond of? Nobody here will stop you. They speak english in Canada, Ireland, England and Australia. So the language barrier is no excuse. No? Then will you admit that socialism and its consequent restrictions of citizens rights are evil? Or on a pragamatic level, that socialism “just doesn’t work”? After all, inquiring minds want to know why you would consider living in such a violent place as America when one of those peaceful socialist havens could be your home? If the revolutionaries at Concord and Lexington didn’t have guns you and I wouldn’t have the rights and liberties we now enjoy.

3/29/98 Brad3000

Gentlemen, I am Australian, shot IPSC there for many, many years. I was not that great at it but enjoyed it none the less. I have lived in the US for 10yrs now and my wife & I are active target shooters. GunSafety begins in the head and my old club was very strict about screening out the ones with records and drug abuse. Any club with a sporting interest in firearms cannot afford to be “brought-down” by members that have a cavalier attittude about serious gun usage and safe handling. What has happened recently to gun-ownership in Australia is a political hype/knee jerk reaction using the sad event that happened in Tasmmania as justification, it will not have much impact on crime as evidenced by many surveys done in the US. We have been mugged 2 times in Australia & CT and shot at in Quebec but survived all. I am for a well screened Carry system that permits ANYONE the CHOICE of carrying. Where we live it is impossible to get one currently and this also means that we cannot use ranges in other states that we used to go to with other collegues. Each States Laws are a legal mindfield often without reciprocity. Thanks for the Bandwidth. BRAD3000.

3/29/98 John R. Lott, Jr.

Paris (France): Our study accounts for many possible reasons for why crime is changing over time: arrest and conviction rates, prison sentence lengths, income, poverty, unemployment, drug prices, the most extensive demographic information used in any crime study, many different types of gun control, etc.. There are obviously many reasons why crime is changing over time, but one thing that we also do is control for overall national and state or county level trends in crime. For example, crime may have been falling nationally between 1991 and 1992 but we found that those states who adopted concealed handguns had even greater reductions in crime rates. The variables that include can explain about 95 percent of the variation in crime rates across all American counties from 1977 to 1992. By the way, the decline in murder rates nationally since 1991 can not be explained only by the policies in New York city, nor is New York city somehow unique. Many other large cities that did not adopt the particular programs followed in New York and still had large drops in murder. As my new book shows using more recent data, the continued drop in crime rates since 1992 can also be explained by the same variables that I used earlier.

3/29/98 Pete Smith

“Likewise, in Virginia, not a single permit holder has been involved in a violent crime.” I wonder if this just means that they haven’t been arrested yet? I’ve never visited here before, have I been trolled? or is there a risk that some of the other statements of compensating for poverty and demographics might also be as glowingly general?

3/29/98 John R. Lott, Jr.

Paris (France): The reason why crime rates fell relatively more in largest cities is that they are the most sensitive to changes in drug related crimes (i.e., gang battles over drug turf). Since 1991 the U.S. government has greatly reduced its drug interdiction efforts and as a result cocaine prices fell by 50 percent between 1991 and 1996. New York with the heaviest concentration of drug usage has crime rates that are the most sensitive to changes in drug prices. I am not sure what to make about your second message. It is well known that the Mafia makes money by smuggling illegal items. The Mafia in the United States was created by prohibition. It is not surprising to me that the Mafia in Europe also thrives on providing items that are illegal there. Is the message that we should legalize guns in Europe just as we ended prohibition in the U.S.? Or, is your point that it is nearly impossible for governments to control the inflow of either drugs or guns?

3/29/98 John R. Lott, Jr.

Pete Smith: The numbers for Texas involve arrest rates, but the numbers for most other states involve the rates at which people are convicted. Licenses are suspended while people?s legal cases are pending but permanent revocation depends upon them being convicted. The bottom line is that whether the numbers are in terms of arrest rates or conviction rates, concealed handgun permit holders are much more law-abiding than the general adult population. When they are convicted it is for activities that rarely involve threats to others (e.g., accidentally carrying a concealed handgun into a prohibited place). People who use a gun defensively are also frequently arrested when the police arrive because it is difficult for the police to be completely sure who is telling the truth. Permit holders who actually who fire their guns are almost always found to have done so in self-defense. Compare that to arrests for most murders where the conviction rate conditional on arrest is about 90 percent. It is thus very misleading to look at the arrest rates for permit holders who are arrested for using their guns.

3/29/98 Jeff

Thank you Mr. Lott for interjecting a comment to clear things up. I just wish to remind the U.S. posters that it is extremely difficult for people from other cultures to understand ours. The U.S was founded on violence. Early settlers killed native americans to take their land. In 1776 we defeated the British and had to again in 1812. We fought a bloody civil war in the 1860’s, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, along with other countless wars and conflicts over the last 222 years. Possibly survival of the fittest? Whether due to tenacity or technology the strong will survive and thrive over the weak. Even today our strength is being used as we have large contingent serving as U.N peacekeepers. The U.S. is a violent group of people, like it or not, but because of this we won most of those conflicts I listed. (CONTINUED)——

3/29/98 Jeff

(CONTINUATION)——— Humans are predators, note our binocular vision for needed depth perception when hunting prey (look at birds, an eagles eyes are in front, a parrott has eyes on the side of its head). Please remember that were it not for the U.S the person from France would be speaking German today and not be allowed on the internet to voice an opinion anyway. The greatest French victory of late was the sinking of a Greenpeace ship in a New Zealand harbor. This was done by their ‘elite’ special forces group and they got caught. Other countries are not burdened with that pesky Bill of Rights either, and remember it is not a bill of privledges. We all know why the second amendment was put there, you cannot expect people from other countries to know our countries history as we do not generally know theirs. (Plese pardon me for the length of this response)

3/29/98 Bob Bailey

To John Lott Jr.; We always hear that the “police” are anti-gun and support the Brady Bill. In my hometown of 22,000, we have 19 police officers and I personally know 12 of them. None of the 12 support the Brady Bill or any additional measures for gun control. All of them support concealed carry laws. I wonder if that is typical of most police , or if it is a “southern” thing. How about a survey of police and their own individual opinions? Not the executive branch, just the common patrol officer, say, seargent and below ? I wonder if we would get different stats than the ones that we are used to hearing. Any potential there?

3/29/98 Stan Watson

Bob Bailey — Please pardon me for adding my two cents worth relative to your question because what I have to say is purely limited and has no validity statistically. I know six uniformed police officers across four states, north and south, and not a single one of them is opposed to CCW or have any desire to see more gun control laws. These police officers span from sheriff departments, to highway patrol, to medium-sized city officers. They are all, however, what one would call the rank and file.

3/29/98 Dick Brudzynski

Lott is a paid pimp of the right-wing Olin Foundation. His suggestion in the Wall Street Journal that teachers carry concealed weapons is typical of the NRA mentality.

3/29/98 Bob

To DICK ; Hey Dick, my wife is a teacher and teaches 9th grade civics. As a result of her 20 years of teaching , many of my friends are teachers and believe it or not, we have talked about this very subject. I personally think that it would be a good idea if teachers were armed. Not a mandantory thing, but a law that would allow them to do so if it were their choice. Think about it. Who could respond in a more timley manner ? NO ONE. Like Lotts’ study points out, just knowing some teachers were armed would undoubtedly prevent some violence. My wife has a CCW permit . I am a CCW range officer and you would be suprised at the amount of teachers here in Arkansas that have permits. They are some of the most responsible and respected people I know.Why don’t you ask some teachers what they think ? You may be suprised at the answers.

3/29/98 Bob Bailey

TO Stan Watson : Your 2 cents worth was good to hear. The Sherrif here in Pope county is a personal friend of mine , and I have picked his brain a time or two on gun related issues. As sherrif, he sees all the gun applications for this county before he sends them to the state police for approval. He has stated to me and to many CCW classes that he attends that “the people that apply for the permits are not part of the problem”, and he personally likes the idea of concealed carry and actively supports it by teaching the law enforcment parts of the classes– on his own time . I can tell you this , he has got a lot of votes doing that, the last election we had , a republic candidate made the statement that “only the police and military should have guns” and after saying that, he never had a chance.

3/29/98 Stan Watson

Bob Bailey — I guess that some politicians really do commit political suicide when they open their mouth. I wouldn’t have voted for him either, and I am a life long Republican. I wonder, was he endorsed by your local Republican organization or was he one of those single candidate primary winners?

3/29/98 Bob Bailey

Stan Watson: Yes , the candidate was endorsed by the Rep. party. He was a career Army man, 20 years in the Military Police. He must have forgot that he was retired and talking to civilians.As a matter of interest, the Rep. party refused to endorse him again, saying that our current Sherrif was “unbeatable”. We are fotunate. Our sherrif has common sense, great family values and believes in a much higher authority than himself (unlike most democrats). He is the most conservative “democrat” I ever met. He has a clear unnderstanding of right and wrong. (unlike most Democrats).He is a good dude.

3/30/98 Christopher

To Dick Brudzynski: Dick, Mr. Lott’s suggestion that people consider allowing teachers to be armed was not unreasonable or unjustified. His editorial in Friday’s Wall Street Journal (one of the better days for editorials, I might add) pointed out that the killer at the High School in Pearl, Mississippi was immobilized not by the police…but by a teacher who ran to his car and retrieved his gun and SAVED the children at that school from further bloodshed. The police didn’t arrive for another four minutes or so (imagine how many innocent, young children that killer would have killed had that teacher not been armed – hence, Mr. Lott’s suggestion for reasonable consideration of such). ————– Now, since you criticized Mr. Lott’s affilliations, why you don’t you clear the record and reveal to the readers on this forum that you have been posting the one-sided text of anti-gun court cases on Compuserve for years? Who are you affilliated with, Mr. Dick Brudzynski? If you think it is fair to carp about Mr. Lott’s affiliations (which has no bearing on the statistics in a peer-reviewed document, by the way), then surely it is fair for you to be asked the same question.

3/30/98 John R. Lott, Jr.

Dick Brudzynski: The gun control advocates like the Violence Policy Center and Handgun Control have continually spread these claims about my funding that they know are false. 1) The endowment made by the Olin foundation was raised by the University of Chicago. I had nothing to do with it and absolutely no contact with the foundation. There have been Olin fellows at the University of Chicago since the 1960’s and I did not arrive here until the mid-1990’s. 2) I was given the fellowship as a reward for my past research, none of which has had anything to do with guns. The University of Chicago Law School faculty, which voted to give me the position, never asked what future research I intended to pursue. 3) Of the several hundred Olin fellows at Chicago, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Stanford, etc. since the 1960’s, I am the only one to do any research on gun control. 4) It is my understanding that the Olin Corporation gets something like one percent of its profits from Winchester ammunition, and that there is no connection between the Olin Corporation and the Olin Foundation. 5) For those interested in a more indepth discussion on this issue please see my new book More Guns, Less Crime. I found how gun control groups attack those with whom they disagree very interesting.

3/30/98 Jeff

To Dick Brudzynski – First I applaud the fact that you list your e-mail address. This lends a great deal of credibility to your response. Many anonymous posters are just mouthing off and one does not know if they are truely making an arguement or just trying to cause controversy. I must point out that in a recent school shooting, the shooter was held at gunpoint by his vice principal for 4.5 min. until police arrived. Yes the VP was breaking the law by having a firearm on school property but the little psycho was only able to kill 2 classmates until the VP apprehended him. This is not popular so was, of course, usually left out of media reports.

3/30/98 Robert Preston

There were only two things wrong with Mr. Lott’s article. As noted by another, the role of police in America is not as protectors. Secondly, Mr. Lott stated, these states “gave the right” to carry guns to citizens. No sir! The U.S. Constitution “guarantees” the right to carry….. openly, concealed or otherwise! None of the “right to carry” laws would be necessary if government would simply obey the “law of the land,” the Constitution! Each of these states recognize in their constitutions, that the U.S. Constitution is supreme, is the law of the land; and guarantee in their constitutions, the “right to keep and bear arms.” More laws=more government control! David Lenan sounds more like Vladimir Lenin. Need he be reminded that if not for an armed, gun-toting America, he wouldn’t have the right to spew out his stupity here? He contradicts himself, saying GUNS kill people, then says that falling homicide rates is due to baby-boomers getting too old to commit crimes. The 14 – 24 yr olds have always been our biggest criminal element. Homicide rates are falling because baby-boomers are the ones arming themselves and the youngsters fear armed citizens. We’re not too old to shoot street hoodlums! Komrade Lenan also praises “gun free” societies, ignoring their per capita crime rates being higher than America’s, using alternative weapons . . . and have tax rates of 50-68%, and few freedoms. Is that what this moron wants for us? GUNS=FREEDOM! (I’m a retired cop).

3/30/98 Garret Waddel

Right on Chief Preston and John Lott! America is only free because of honest citizens standing up and telling the truth. Paris, France can cite all of the propaganda agents it wants to, but the fact remains, the names they give you are people involved with gun-control/gun-banning politics and organizations. These people in any other decade would have been called what they are: Communist Socialists! If anyone thinks Communism is dead, they’re only ignorantly fooling themselves. The New World Order is all about Socialism (remember Kruchev said in 1961, that Socialists would take over the world without firing a shot). What stands in their way is free, armed societies! Anti-gunners are nothing more than propaganda agents of the New World Order. It’s not a peaceful they want, it’s an un-armed and imprisoned society, incapable of fighting back! Go to hell Paris! America shall remain the land of the free! We’re keeping our guns, for people like you!



3/30/98 Kaarlo Elonen

I find it interesting that everyone will admit that drunk drivers kill people but no one says that Dodge or Ford or GMC or Nissan or Toyota or (insert your favorite vehicle) kills people. It’s too easy to blame the gun and not the person using it. However with drunk drivers they will instead put the blame where it belongs and that is with the driver and not with the car. Even the criminals will say that they fear breaking into a house where they know the person has a gun because they don’t want to get shot. If that fear can extend out to the street because they don’t know who is carrying a gun then I’m all for it. The Second Admendment and concealed carry laws are needed just as much today as they were needed 200 years ago. Does anyone really believe that the criminals will turn in their guns if a law was passed that forbide ownership of guns ??

3/30/98 Stan Wojteck

Lott has right. More guns, less crime. I like this book. I am American and a patriot. I dislike peole who comes here argue with us andthat are totally alien to our way and tought process. I am a gun owner and I will never let Socialists and Communists take me off. I have a bill of right and I will take my gun in an airplane. All this immigrants who comes across in my country and steal my job and my house.

3/31/98 F. Lassen

I can’t belive the amount of people who want the honest Citizen disarmed. I live in a rural area and it takes the Sheriffs department 40 minutes to get a deputy here when a crime is commited. The place I live is beside a state hwy. leading into another state and when the sheriff is called the criminal goes acrossed the state line. I have called the sheriffs office many times because many drug deals go down here on the Hwy. There response is horrible. I have to keep a loaded gun here as I have had people drive into my yard at 1AM and 2 AM and want directions and they were on drugs or had been drinking a lot. The police and sheriffs jobs is not to protect, it is to apprehend criminals after a crime has been commited. With over 390 million Acres in the United States and only about one percent of the population of approxmately 262 million people in the US on some type of law enforcement jobs, it is easy to see they can’t help you if they are called and you have only seconds to take care of your family during a crime. Require the anti gun crowd to be sign up at police dept. and sheriffs offices saying they don’t believe in guns so the criminals will leave me and my family alone. Gun Control will lead to People Control. Thank You

3/31/98 Rob Waterson rob(at)mindspring(dot)com

I am a proud American and I do not give a damn about how they do things in Europe; we have a different attitude towards government here. I have carried a concealed weapon for several years now and never even had to draw it. I do indeed have a carry permit, but I also know that I do not NEED one; what part of “keep and bear” does the government not understand? HERE IS MY MAIN POINT: Those of you (and it warms my heart to see how many) who firmly believe in the right to keep and bear have to abandon the republicrats and the demopublicans; they have both abandoned freedom and individual rights. I find it interesting that even though they were at odds with one another at the time, both the Federalist and the Anti-Federalist would be considered Libertarians by today’s standards. Take the plunge, vote for freedom!

3/31/98 Mark Wilson

Bob Bailey: You have to differentiate Police Chiefs from Police officers. Every poll that I have read shows that police officers support the rights of citizens to be armed. Police Chiefs, especially those in big cities, are usually political appointees, and as such, usually care more about the policies of the current administration, than they do about the concerns of the citizens.

3/31/98 P (F)

You absolutely right !

3/31/98 Dr. Bill

As a person who has spent many decades dealing with measurements, I have to agree that Mr. Lott’s charts are simply too smooth to be remotely possible. He is clearly misrepresenting some real data that may or may not actually have the trends he presents; there is no statistical validation to back up what he claims with those figures. In addition, we know that violent crime has generally dropped throughout the country, so drops in murder rates etc. that center on the “anti-crime” implementation of gun-toting laws or any other local public policy initiatives of the past decade are likely just coincidental. These compelling scientific arguments having been made, there is still a vague suspicion that Mr. Lott may be correct, even to a staunch anti-gun person such as myself (I grew up in Houston TX when it was the murder capital of the civilized world and always saw stories on the evening news about petty disputes that grew to deadly confrontations given the ready access to guns, or childhood buddies killed during innocent play). Criminals have to think twice about an attack on a potential target who just might have a gun up their sleeve. However, I can’t imagine that such policies would work well in a crowded Manhattan subway, or that they could reduce our murder rates to merely several times that of European countries which don’t even necessarily arm their police.

3/31/98 P (F)

Dr. Bill: You absolutly right Sir !

4/1/98 John R. Lott, Jr.

Dr. Bill: The graphs shown in my piece trace out the quadratic regression lines for the periods before and after the concealed handgun law goes into effect. (These were the graphs discussed in the published version of January 1997 study in the Journal of Legal Studies. The version on the web does not contain this information.) If you are interested in the actual year to year variation in crime rates before and after the imposition of the laws, please see pages 136 to 138 of my forthcoming book. However, the bottom line is that for both ways the results look remarkable similar. As to you concerns about how these laws would work in New York city, I have a couple thoughts. The largest cities that I have studied who have changed their laws are Houston and Philadelphia, which why they are not as large as New York are still fairly sizable. The results also strongly indicate that concealed handgun laws reduce crime the most in the most densely populated counties. However, it is possible that the relationship be the passage of these laws and crime rates may change for the city populations above those which I have been able to study. One can only test this by actually changing the law. New York City does currently issue about 8,000 permits, but if one believes that the impact in New York would be different than it has been in other cities, it is possible to change the law gradually in stages.

4/1/98 TomC

Benjamin Disraeli once said “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” I got that quote out of a great little book called ‘How to Lie With Statistics’. For years it has been a little hobby of mine to look at the conclusions of various published studies and surveys, and find the little lies, the outright misrepresentations, the (mis) manipulation of data, etc. Little of the original data is provided, typically, yet often it is sufficient to debunk the conclusions. This tendency to lie with statistics is especially common in studies involving public policy issues where political philosophy usually trumps academic detachment (does that even exist any more?). I have no respect for anyone who intentionally misuses data and statistics to reach conclusions not supported by that data. John Lott: pass. Douglas Weil: fail.


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