Media Matters doesn't even try to look at the arguments on the other side

Media Matters has a new piece written up about me entitled: "The Nine Worst Claims About Guns From John Lott's New Book."  It is really amazing how weak their criticisms of my book "At the Brink" are.  Since they have continually refused to let me respond to their posts in the comment section of their website, my responses are shown here:

1) Lott: "Facts And Figures" Prove "Establishing 'Gun-Free Zones' (At Schools, For Example) Actually Makes Mass Shootings More Likely."

Media Matters: Most Recent Mass Shootings Have Occurred Where Guns Are Allowed

Their evidence?  A report from Mayors Against Illegal Guns claims most mass shootings since January 2009 have occurred where guns could be lawfully carried.  The problem is that Media Matters doesn't even bother to respond to what I have already shown is wrong with the MAIG report, see here.

2) Lott: "In 1996, Obama Supported A Ban On Handguns."

Media Matters: Fact Checkers Have Dismissed Survey Answer As Evidence That Obama Wants To Ban Handguns

Again, Media Matters doesn't even try to address the evidence for this statement.
Obama has consistently supported gun control legislation that came up while he was in the Illinois state legislature and the U.S. Senate.
For example, when Obama ran for the Illinois state senate the political group, Independent Voters of Illinois (IVI), asked him if he supported a “ban [on] the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns” and he responded “yes.” Realizing how damaging this could prove in the general election, his presidential campaign “flatly denied” Obama ever held this view, blaming it instead on a staffer from his state senate race.
But then IVI provided Politico the questionnaire with Obama’s own handwritten notes revising another answer. Members of IVI’s board of directors, some of whom have worked on Obama’s past campaigns, told Politico that “I always believed those to be his views, what he really believes in, and he’s tailoring it now to make himself more palatable as a nationwide candidate.”
But the IVI questionnaire isn’t the only one out there.
3) Lott: Assault Weapons "Inflict The Same Damage" As "Small-Game Hunting Rifles." 

Media Matters: An Assault Weapon Typically Fires A More Powerful Round Than A Small-Game Hunting Rifle, Resulting In Devastating Tissue Damage

To put it simply, I made the claim that the .223 caliber is simply considered by many states to be too light to be used to hunt deer and other large animals.  Is that statement false?  Does Media Matters directly deal with that claim at all?  The reason for the government regulations that prevent using such caliber bullets is that it is more likely to wound than to kill these larger animals.  I will add the list of states here tomorrow.

As of December 2009, the states that banned deer hunting with .223 caliber bullets were:
Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  Many other states, such as Alaska, ban that caliber of bullet for hunting even larger animals such as caribou.
UPDATE: The issue might be even a little more complicated for other states.  Peter Blumberg wrote this to me: "Maryland requires a minimum of 1200 foot-pounds of energy for a rifle bullet to be legal for hunting deer.  The typical loads sold by Remington are a trifle below this."
4) Lott: Civilian Holders Of Permits To Carry A Concealed Gun Have "Prevented Mass Shootings On Many Occasions."

Media Matters: Shooting Rampages Are Not Typically Ended By Civilians Carrying Concealed Firearms

Media Matters relies on Mother Jones of all places to claim that I am incorrect here.  But there is an obvious error that Mother Jones made.

If they had read the first paragraph of my article, the reason that they couldn't find civilian defensive gun uses stopping the attacks should have been obvious: they only looked at cases where more than three people have been killed (or as Mother Jones says "at least four people") and I pointed out that all but one of those cases took place where permitted concealed handguns were banned. . . .

5) Lott: Law Enforcement Backs Legislative Effort To Force States To Recognize Concealed Carry Permits Issued In All Other States.

Media Matters: Law Enforcement Groups Oppose Proposal To Expand Concealed Carry

Media Matters relies on a survey from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, but they again ignore the long discussion that I have on the other side here.

6) Lott: "Germany, Despite Having Some Of The Strictest Gun-Control Laws Anywhere, Has Been The Scene Of Two Of The Three Worst School Shootings In The World." 

Media Matters: The Two Worst School Shootings In The World Occurred In The United States

I was discussing the worst K-12 school shootings before Newtown.  Media Matters raises the Virginia Tech College attack and the Newtown attack.  And that responds to my claim exactly how?

7) Lott: The "Vast Majority" Of Studies Have Found Concealed Carry Reduces Homicide.

Media Matters: Lott's Thesis That More Guns Lead To Less Crime Has Been Thoroughly And Repeatedly Debunked

Media Matters then cites a list of studies that only look at one side of the issue without mentioning the studies that find the benefits.  Hint: to show the percentage of studies that find a particular result you have to look at all the studies.  A list of all the studies is available here.  By the way, the one paper that claimed to find a cost from these laws did so because of data errors.

The last two points were dealing with operation "Fast and Furious."  Regarding Media Matter's weight on the Department Of Justice Office Of The Inspector General, I would simply refer people to the part of my book that deals with these points where I discussed the fact that the report simply took Obama officials at their word and did not investigate any contradictions in their statements (while I have much more in the book, you can see something here).

Original material from Media Matters (click on to make larger).  Given Media Matters' proclivity to alter statements and doctor photos, I have found it necessary to make photos of their pages after they have put them up.

Of course, Media Matters pattern is to engage in hit-and-run attacks.  They make claims, won't let me post responses in their comment section, and they won't respond to my responses (presumably for fear that their readers might actually see the responses).  At some later point they will repeat the claims again and ignore any responses that I have made.

Other attacks from Media Matters are responded to here.



Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. Lott, Dealing with MediaMatters must be like dealing with a person who has "borderline personality syndrome". They (the author of their piece and his fans who post "attaboys!" in the comment section)are lowbrows who somehow believe they are highbrows. How did that come about? Are the schools taking the "self esteem" project to an exreme? I'm serious - they seem to have no idea that they have no idea. Yet again, it would be funny if it weren't so serious.

3/18/2013 10:36 PM  

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