Attack on 2A Researcher, Dr. John Lott, Rebuffed by Defenders

Dr. John Lott. researcher and author, is now working as an adviser to the Justice Department's Office of Justice program. (Dave Workman photo)
Dr. John Lott. researcher and author, is now working as an adviser to the Justice Department’s Office of Justice program. (Dave Workman photo)

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- When a California gun control advocate went on the warpath in The Hill criticizing the hiring of author and firearms researcher John Lott as an advisor to the Justice Department’s Office of Justice program, the reaction was swift in defense of Lott’s work.

Griffin Dix, president of the Oakland/Alameda County Brady Campaign chamber and a former trustee of the Brady organization declared research done by Lott, author of “More Guns, Less Crime” was flawed. Dix said Lott’s “research and conclusions were found to be false by a number of well-respected researchers, such as John Donohue of Stanford; Donohue and Ian Ayers concluded in The Stanford Law Review that Lott’s thesis was “without credible statistical support.” He claimed that Lott’s “track record is cringe-worthy.”

Lott has appeared at several Gun Rights Policy Conferences, explaining his research to always-interested audiences. He founded the Crime Prevention Research Center and authored several books about his firearms-related research.

Lott’s defenders, responding in The Hill, offered a far different perspective.

John R. Lott's More Guns Less Crime
John R. Lott’s More Guns Less Crime

First came Andrew Pollock, who succeeded Lott as president of the Crime Prevention Research Center in November. He countered, “In this case, it’s true enough that Donahue et al found in a 2003 study that guns were associated with increases in crime. But a review of their work, also published in the Stanford Law Review, argued that Donahue and his partner ‘simply misread their own results … Their own most general specification that breaks down the impact of the law on a year-by-year basis shows large crime-reducing benefits.”

He was followed two days later by Michael R. Weisser, whose short bio notes he “wrote a weekly gun-violence column for Huffington Post and is a Patriot Life Benefactor member of the NRA,” observed this about Dix’s critique: “(It) reflects the continued inability of the gun-control advocacy community to address the fundamental issues that prevent us from making an effective response to the problem of gun violence.”

AmmoLand checked the Stanford Law Review critique (Vol. 55, No. 4 (Apr., 2003), pp. 1313-1369) to which Pollock alluded. Written by Florenz Plassmann and John Whitley, here is what the Abstract said: “Analyzing county-level data for the entire United States from 1977 to 2000, we find annual reductions in murder rates between 1.5% and 2.3% for each additional year that a right-to-carry law is in effect. For the first five years that such a law is in effect, the total benefit from reduced crimes usually ranges between approximately $2 billion and $3 billion per year. Ayres and Donohue have simply misread their own results. Their own most general specification that breaks down the impact of the law on a year-by-year basis shows large crime-reducing benefits. Virtually none of their claims that their county-level hybrid model implies initial significant increases in crime are correct. Overall, the vast majority of their estimates-based on data up to 1997-actually demonstrate that right-to-carry laws produce substantial crime-reducing benefits. We show that their models also do an extremely poor job of predicting the changes in crime rates after 1997.” (Emphasis added.)

Dix lost his 15-year-old son in an “unintentional shooting with a gun that was stored unlocked and loaded” at the home of a friend, according to the brief bio included by The Hill.

Pollock lost his daughter in the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. In his Op-Ed, Pollock contends that two unarmed security staffers who charged at the killer and were fatally wounded might have stopped the mayhem had they been armed.

To his credit, Lott has offered no comment since taking his government job. But that hasn’t stopped Capitol Hill gun prohibitionists from going after him. In a letter to Attorney General William Barr, nine anti-gun lawmakers complain that Lott is “a pro-gun advocate who claims that widespread gun ownership can reduce crime.”

According to Plassmann and Whitley’s Stanford Law Review abstract, Lott’s contentions are more than mere speculation. But, as Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation and co-author of several books* including “Shooting Blanks: Facts Don’t Matter to the Gun Control Crowd” has pointed out, “In a free society there is always room for reasonable, rational and responsible debate of any issue. It is only when the political arguments stray into the realm of agenda fulfillment and philosophical monopoly that perspectives are lost, if not voluntarily abandoned.”

Signing the letter to Barr were Senators Dianne Feinstein, Richard Blumenthal, Patrick Leahy, Sheldon Whitehouse, Christopher Coons, Richard Durbin, Amy Klobuchar, Mazie Hirono and Cory Booker. They evidently do not want someone with Lott’s background to be anywhere near the Justice Department if, or when, it starts doling out dollars for gun control research under a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration.

Where Dix asserts upfront, “Trump now seems to be searching for time bombs to put under the doormat for incoming President-elect Joe Biden. One would be to leave Biden with contracts for ‘research’ and programs that mislead Americans and that could actually increase the number of U.S. gun deaths,” Pollock has a different approach and markedly different attitude.

“Rather than attack researchers engaged in the debate,” Pollock suggests, “or try to police who should be allowed to engage in it — we should welcome a diversity of voices and perspectives into the issue of gun control.”

What’s wrong with Pollock’s approach? Apparently plenty, according to Lott’s critics. From a crowd that traditionally cries out for “diversity,” they only seem to want it when all the diverse opinions concur with their own.

Weisser also had a suggestion not likely to be taken well by the gun prohibition lobby.

“If gun-control activists are seriously committed to developing and implementing strategies that will reduce gun violence, they need to stop demonizing John Lott,” he writes.

“Instead, they need to develop a persuasive and effective narrative that will convince gun owners about the risk of owning guns,” Weisser adds. “Until and unless this occurs, gun owners will continue to cite John Lott’s research as one of the reasons why they won’t give up their guns.”

By no small coincidence to this debate comes a report in the New York Post revealing, “Nearly 90 percent of suspects arrested on gun charges this year are back on the streets, which the NYPD says has fueled a historic spike in shootings that have left more than 1,756 dead or wounded.”

But New York City is an environment where it is nearly impossible for honest citizens to qualify for a carry permit, and in the rare cases where the permit is issued, it is prohibitively expensive for average citizens. Maybe that’s why the Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition recently sued New York City recently in federal court over the city’s restrictive carry permit policies.

It is also because of headline news such as the situation in New York that people across the country won’t give up their guns, either.

(*Alan Gottlieb and author Dave Workman have collaborated on seven books, the most recent being ‘Good Guys with Guns’ published in 2019 by Merril Press, 175 pages, paperback.)



About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

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nobodyuknow
nobodyuknow
2 months ago

All of the, lying, scum bag people who are doing all of the screaming and crying about Dr. Lott are pulling all of their lies from the same source . . . The Communist Manifesto. These people are serving the hidden agenda of the Communist Democrap Party, which is to disarm every American Citizen! These Communists want to disarm every American Citizen so they can take control of the United States and not have any armed citizens to oppose them.

Cruiser
Cruiser
2 months ago
Reply to  nobodyuknow

First they are trying to divide the U.S. by class, gender, race, nationality, and anything else they can think of. There end goal is complete elimination of the American dream, and all hope. Keep America, American. “United we stand, divided we fall.”

Laddyboy
Laddyboy
2 months ago

I as a LEGAL LAW ABIDING American CITIZEN am SOOOOoooo tired of the statement of “gun violence”! There IS NO SUCH THING!! Inanimate objects can do NO VIOLENCE!!! The PERSON who is MISUSING that inanimate object IS the one doing the VIOLENCE!!! These ANTI-American GUN/CONTROL GRABBERS MUST understand that the over 25,000 ANTI-Second Amendment “rules, regulations, laws” have not stopped the individual killers and murderers from WANTON harm to other human beings. Prosecute the PERVAYER of the WANTON ILLEGAL act instead of the maker of the inanimate object! Start by going after the WANTON killers, thieves instead of the inanimate… Read more »

JSNMGC
JSNMGC
2 months ago
Reply to  Laddyboy

It’s one of the many lies about crime, criminals, and firearms. In the Lauren Boebert thread, she was encouraged to use her position expose the lies that are told everyday by cable tv, social media, and almost all politicians. Here’s the list that was provided as a starting point: There is no such thing as “gun violence” There is no such thing as an “assault weapon” What the media and politicians call an “assault rifle” is not an assault rifle AR15s are not “extremely powerful” Violent crime is not primarily driven by access to firearms High crime neighborhoods have dysfunctional… Read more »

grifhunter
grifhunter
2 months ago

The left’s critique of Lott’s work breaks down into two categories: 1) They claim in their counter articles his numbers are false and that theirs are correct. In EVRY case of such accusations Lott responds with explanations and citations to support his position. He also calls out their data to which the anti-‘s researcher fails to respond because they know they are wrong. But the press continues to cite the debunked counter article and ignores Lotts rebuttle explaining why the anti is wrong. 2) They make personal attacks about his appearance, connection to the NRA or gun companies (absolutely wrong),… Read more »

gregs
gregs
2 months ago

gottlieb is correct, leftists don’t care about data/statistics/facts. over 90% of mass shootings happen in “gun-free zones”, but leftists still want them. why? to further their agenda.
leftists want diversity, of skin color and sexual orientation, not thought.

Bill
Bill
2 months ago

What’s the question? When a criminal is in a gun-restricted jurisdiction, the criminal says, “This person is without defenses, and the police aren’t around. Easy pickings.” Yes, leftists, 2+2 still equals 4, although that continues to baffle you.

Tionico
Tionico
2 months ago

Friend of mine had lived in Manhattan for some twenty years. Used to live in Berkeley California (Alameda County). He had returned to NYC to assist his ageing and failing MOther in her final years, and when she went Home he took over her rent-controlled flat. Rent at $450/month in NYC was unbeatable. He was a licensed pritave detective in both New York State and California. HE could not get a Mother May I Card in either state, though legally resident in both. and with business nexus as well. His landlord began really pressing him to vacate the apartment, offering… Read more »

3l120
3l120
2 months ago
Reply to  Tionico

Interesting, that in Kali a PI is also licensed to protect individuals, i.e. bodyguard. That would be a fun gig if not armed. Takes a PPO license to protect property. Had a Kali PI license but let it lapse when I moved out of state in 2001. Back then your license would suffice for a CCW, except in a few counties.

GomeznSA
GomeznSA
2 months ago
Reply to  Tionico

Tio – you should help him write that high-tension book – it would likely be a best seller and help set both of you up quite well financially. Of course y’all would have to write it as fiction so as to not name any names 😉 (I’ll take an autographed copy as my cut)

Grim
Grim
2 months ago

Nicely stated!!!

Cruiser
Cruiser
2 months ago

I love it when the lefts plan blows up in their face.

chocopot
chocopot
2 months ago

Leftist ideology and the Leftist agenda are, and have always been, based on lies, misinformation, and deception. The greatest enemies of the Left are truth, facts, and reality. So, of course, anything Dr. Lott says will be attacked by Leftists.

Whatzit
Whatzit
2 months ago

I very much appreciate Mr. Lott’s work, however, arguing statistics and logic with people who are rabidly emotional and dedicated to total control is futile. It is not about safety. It never was. The left wants us disarmed to make us easier to dominate.

Last edited 2 months ago by Whatzit
Elisa Delaurenti
Elisa Delaurenti
2 months ago

Dr. Lott’s work and expertise is irrefutable, The gun grabbing communist klans are furious about this assignment because they’ve been sucking at the teats of U.S. bureaucrats for years now, and Dr. Lott will now have a say in how that milk money is doled out.
There are few in the world who can measure up to Dr. Lott, and we need to make sure he remains in such a position to help stop this massive money faucet to groups that have only our TOTAL disarmament on their agenda.

Mystic Wolf
Mystic Wolf
2 months ago

These communist klans as you put them are not sucking at the teats of America, what they are sucking is much lower down

Tionico
Tionico
2 months ago
Reply to  Mystic Wolf

and in a few countries besides the USA. Countries who wantus disarmed, all the better to control us. At least some of the strings running across the Pacific Ocean to Biden are quite obvious these days. And along every string flow massive quantities of.. money.

DIYinSTL
DIYinSTL
2 months ago

“Trump now seems to be searching for time bombs to put under the doormat for incoming President-elect Joe Biden.” Hah! More like a placing scintilla of objectivity within the Deep State. I certainly remember 4 years ago when there were plenty of reports about the “land mines” Obama was laying for the incoming Trump administration.

Thank you Ammoland for letting us know why Dr. Lott is taking a leave of absence from the CPRC.

Ram
Ram
2 months ago

It is true that John Lott’s book “More Guns Less Crime” was savaged for weeks in the national media. Followed by the attendant “researchers” lining up to support the media’s contention. Then the book finally went to press, came to market, and withstood every legitimate scrutiny, from every possible metric. In a similar vein, Michael Belleseilles (a darling of the left) brought out his investigation of history, which sought to remove the second amendment from the pantheon of our (basic human rights) bill of rights. The media bathed in the glory of liberty being stabbed. After receiving many rewards and… Read more »

Vince
Vince
2 months ago

 The passage of the No Gun Zone law in 1990, which banned guns in certain public places notably public schools facilitated these shootings. This law “enables and guarantees a successful mass shooting every time” by making everyone in the public school system defenseless and easy targets. This law also guaranteed the shooters’ safety by making sure they alone had weapons during the carnage. Please notice that all these shooting occur at public schools, this law does not cover private schools which have their own armed security. There have been no mass shootings at private schools in the same 30 years.… Read more »