Yet another attack on me involving guns: Can Media Matters ever get anything right?

Media Matters has another attack on my work from December 17, 2012 under the headline "Who is gun advocate John Lott?"  Obviously, Media Matters will not let me put up responses on their website and they won't acknowledge that I have ever responded to their attacks because then they might have to respond to the substance of why their claims are wrong.

1) After Mass Shooting In Aurora, Lott Denied The Fact That America Has The Highest Rate Of Gun Deaths In The Civilized World.

Two responses to this claim about "civilized" countries is available here and here.  Here is part of the discussion from the IBD op-ed:

First, let’s just be clear that lots of nations, including “civilized” ones, suffer from both higher overall murder and gun murder rates.  Indeed, we are very far from the top. In 2011, the US murder rate was 4.7 per 100,000 people, the gun murder rate was 3.1. Much of Eastern Europe; most of South East Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa; all but one South American nation; and all of Central America and Mexico suffer even higher murder rates than we do.  For example, despite very strict gun control, Russia’s and Brazil’s homicide rates over the last decade averaged about 4 to 5 times higher than ours. Indeed, if you are going to look across all nations and not just a select few, what you find is that the nations with the strictest gun control tend to have higher murder rates. . . .    
2) On FoxNews.com, Lott Defended Gun Ownership After NFL Murder-Suicide Shooting

Media Matters defends Bob Costas' claim: "If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."  I have a hard time believing that anyone would believe that Belcher, the 6’2” 228 pound linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, couldn't have killed Perkins without a gun.  Nor did he need a gun to commit suicide.  I made those arguments in my piece available here.  Here is the question: why does Media Matters even want to defend Costas' claim?

3) Lott's "More Guns, Less Crime" Hypothesis Maintains That Gun Ownership Helps Curtail Crime and Stanford Law Review: Lott's Central Hypothesis Is "Without Credible Statistical Support."

For a survey of the literature on this point see Table 2 and the surrounding discussion available here.  Not surprisingly, Media Matters only cites those critical of my work and refuses to acknowledge that even more academic papers support my research.  So much for the oft made claim by Media Matters that my research is "discredited."  As to the Stanford Law Review piece, please note that there was another piece in the Stanford Law Review that claimed the piece that they want to cite is wrong (see here) and that I had a long discussion in the third edition of More Guns, Less Crime that shows that there were major mistakes in their piece.

The quote that Media Matters uses where they attribute the Plassmann and Whitley paper to me is explicitly reprimanded by the editors of the Stanford Law Review (see also here).

4) Economist Mark Duggan: Rate Of Gun Ownership "Significantly Positively" Correlated With Incidence Of Homicide.

Duggan uses one gun magazine sales to proxy for gun ownership.  The problem is that was the only gun magazine out of the largest 7 magazines that find that result.  I explain why just that one single magazine gets the strange result (pp. 297-298).  It is because that one magazine was seeing its sales drop during the 1990s and they had to make self purchases of the magazine to keep their promises of certain sale levels for advertisers.  These self purchased copies of the magazine were then given out free to doctors and dentist offices.  The problem was that these purchases and free give aways were not made in random counties.  The magazine made purchases in those counties where they thought that crime rates would rise.

5) In The Wall Street Journal, Lott cited dubious survey research to claim that members of law enforcement generally believe that "too often the laws disarm law-abiding citizens, not criminals, and thus make it easier for criminals to commit crime."

My response to them is available here.  This survey by PoliceOne, which is the largest private association of police officers, also provides useful information on their views.

If I have time, I will respond to the other claims, but the first ones were the strongest ones that they had.

6) "Several law enforcement associations have spoken out against the National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Act"

The National Association of Chiefs of Police has polled its members precisely on this point and 79 percent support national reciprocity.  This survey by PoliceOne also shows that street officers in the US overwhelmingly support liberal concealed carry laws.

I have tried to go through their charges in order.  If I get more time, I will go through the remaining false claims.



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