Michael Luo of the New York Times on permitting rate to those who should have had their permits revoked in North Carolina

UPDATE: The New York Times apparently doesn't believe that they should interview people whom they are going to attack in their news articles. I actually had an email exchange with Mr. Valone on Thursday where he told me that Valone asked Luo if he had talked to me because of the research that I had done on the law-abiding behavior of permit holders. It was on that point not the general point of concealed carry laws that Valone said that Luo should interview me. From Human Events.
In the article, Luo referred to John Lott, whose statistical crime analysis shows that crime falls when gun ownership increases, but he quickly dismissed Lott’s research as discredited. Valone said when he asked Luo if he had contacted Lott, the reporter told him: “There is no reason to call John Lott.” . . .
Original: From the article:
In about half of the felony convictions, the authorities failed to revoke or suspend the holder’s permit, including for cases of murder, rape and kidnapping. . . . While the figure represents a small percentage of those with permits, more than 200 were convicted of felonies . . . .
I would like to address multiple attacks from Mr. Luo, but the New York Times doesn't let you discuss those points in a public forum like my website here if you want them to publish your letter. So I will limit myself to the above quote. Say that there were 225 felons/2 (half not revoked)/5 years of data = 23. (If it were 250 or more, he would have rounded the number up.) If the number of active permits were 240,000. But 23/240,000 is 0.0096 percent. That is the percent of people who committed felonies annually and who didn't get their permits revoked. If you want to look at over the full five year period it is 0.04 percent. The real question here is how many of that 0.0096 or 0.04 percent committed another crime with a gun while they were supposed to not have a permit. It is interesting that the article never mentions this so I assume that the number was likely zero.

All this of course assumes that Mr. Luo got these numbers correct. I would also like to know a lot more about these felonies. There are other issues that I have with Mr. Luo's results, but this is a first pass. The rate that permit holders are getting in trouble for felonies is 0.019 percent.

In More Guns, Less Crime (p. 246) I show the results from having called up various sheriff's offices in North Carolina.  Their discussion of the types of cases indicated that the crimes committed did not involve the use of a gun.

As to what other research as found, here is a table from the third edition of More Guns, Less Crime. You can buy a copy of the book with its extensive literature review for just $3.42 here.

UPDATE: There are a lot of comments on Mr. Luo's news article. A nice collection is here at Instapundit.

UPDATE 2: See also this.

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Blogger Patrick Downs said...

"The plural of "anecdote" is not "data"" LOVE IT!
This was a good comment from that NYT story:

Jeff McCulloch / North Carolina said:

"Figures lie...

Although Luo claims to have done data-matching between criminal databases and permit-holders, he admitted confirming only a dozen matches with the NC State Bureau of Investigation.

Data matching between large databases is subject to high rates of "false positives" depending on the number and type of parameters matched. To quote one data mining whiz: "The problem is that if you're trying to search a couple of large data sets for something that occurs infrequently, the number of true hits (if any) is likely to be far less than the number of false positives."

...and liars figure

When asked whether Luo would confirm all matches with the SBI, or whether he would do statistical analysis of his data, determining what percentage of North Carolina permit-holders commit crimes, or whether he would simply provide misleading anecdotal examples as he did on a November 13, 2011 piece on restoration of gun rights for felons, Luo refused to answer.

How Luo creates a false impression

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data": By pulling a small number of anecdotes rather than verifying all of the data, Luo hopes to paint a false portrait of NC concealed handgun permit-holders as criminals.

Selective data: Luo has a reputation among researchers for cherry-picking research to support his assertions, and for failing to disclose the gun-related leanings of researchers he cites.

12/28/2011 11:41 AM  
Blogger John A said...


If you are convicted of a feloby, do you not lose thr tight of gun ownership without that having to be explicitly stated in the conviction?

12/28/2011 3:11 PM  

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