More Guns, Less Crime
Understanding Crime and Gun
John Lott, Jr.
Does allowing people to own or
carry guns deter violent crime? Or does it cause more citizens to harm each
other? Wherever people happen to fall along the ideological spectrum, their
answers are all too often founded upon mere impressionistic and anecdotal
evidence. In this direct challenge to conventional wisdom, legal scholar John
Lott presents the most rigorously comprehensive data analysis ever done on
crime. In this timely and provocative work he comes to a startling conclusion:
more guns mean less crime.
Lott's sources are broad and
inclusive, and his evidence the most extensive yet assembled, taking full
account of the FBI's massive yearly crime figures for all 3,054 U.S. counties
over eighteen years, the largest national surveys on gun ownership, as well as
state police documents on illegal gun use. His unexpected findings reveal that
many of the most commonly held assumptions about gun control and its
crime-fighting efficacy are simply wrong. Waiting periods, gun buybacks, and
background checks yield virtually no benefits in crime reduction. Instead, Lott
argues, allowing law-abiding citizens to legal concealed handguns currently
represents the most cost-effective methods available for reducing violent crime.
In what may be his most
controversial conclusion, Lott finds that mass public shootings, such as the
infamous examples of the Long Island Railroad by Colin Ferguson or the 1996
Empire State Building shooting, are dramatically reduced once law-abiding
citizens in a state are allowed to carry concealed handguns.
Lott maintains that criminals
generally respond to deterrence: as the risks and potential costs of criminal
activity rise, criminals either commit fewer crimes or move on to other areas.
The possibility of getting shot by somebody carrying a concealed weapon
constitutes a substantial risk, and discourages any sort of physical
confrontation. Accordingly, the states now experiencing the largest reductions
in crime are also the ones with the fastest-growing rates of gun ownership.
Evidence on accidental gun deaths and suicides is also examined.
Thorough and enlightening, More
Guns, Less Crime is required reading for anyone interested in the sometimes
contentious, always critical American debate over gun control. John R. Lott, Jr.
teaches criminal deterrence and law and economics at the University of Chicago,
where he is the John M. Olin Law and Economics Fellow. He was the chief
economist at the United States Sentencing Commission during 1988 and 1989. He
has published over 70 articles in academic journals.
analysis yields a well established conclusion that supports the wisdom of the
Second Amendment to the United States Constitution rather than of those who
would limit the right of law-abiding citizens to own and carry guns. The general
reader may find of most interest chapter 7 which documents how far 'politically
correct' vested interests are willing to go denigrate anyone who dares disagree
John Lott has done us all a
service by his thorough, thoughtful scholarly approach to a highly controversial
"Armed with reams of
statistics, John Lott has documented many surprising linkages between guns and
crime. More Guns, Less Crime demonstrates that what is at stake is not just the
right to carry arms but rather our performance in controlling a diverse array of
criminal behaviors. Perhaps most disturbing is Lott's documentation of the role
of the media and academic commentators in distorting research findings that they
regard as politically incorrect."-W. Kip Viscusi, Cogan Professor of
Law and director of the Program on Empirical Legal Studies, Harvard Law School
"John Lott has done the
most extensive, thorough, and sophisticated study we have on the effects of
loosening gun control laws. Regardless of whether one agrees with his
conclusions, his work is mandatory reading for anyone who is open-minded and
serious about the gun control issue. Especially fascinating is his account of
the often unscrupulous reactions to his research by gun control advocates,
academic critics, and the news media." -Gary Kleck, professor of
Criminology and Criminal Justice, Florida State University
"Until John Lott came
along, the standard research paper on firearms and violence consisted of a
longitudinal or cross-sectional study on a small and artfully selected data set
with few meaningful statistical controls.
Lott's work, embracing all
of the data that are relevant to his analysis, has created a new standard, which
future scholarship in this area, in order to be credible, will have to live up
to." -Dan Polsby, Kirkland & Ellis
Professor of Law, Northwestern University.
"John Lott destroys the
politically correct argument that arming law abiding citizens will have a
harmful effect on their safety. There is no doubt that criminals prefer to prey
upon the unprepared. This book will arm those who read it with the important
facts they need in order to decide where they stand on the gun control
issue." -Dale Gulbrantson, executive director, Illinois Police
"This book will - or
should - cause those who almost reflexively support the limitation of guns in
the name of reducing crime to rethink their positions." -Steve Shavell,
Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
More Guns, Less Crime
Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws
John R. Lott, Jr.
University of Chicago Press
John R. Lott, Jr. teaches
criminal deterrence and law and economics at the University of Chicago, where he
is the John M. Olin Law and Economics Fellow. He was the chief economist at the
United States Sentencing Commission during 1988 and 1989. He has published over
70 articles in academic journals.