September 18th, 2004


John Lott -- Michael Bellesiles of the pro-gun movement?

[Note that I'm in favor of gun rights. I want John Lott's arguments to be true. However, he's admitted that he used a pseudonym to tout his own work, and may have made up data to support his arguments. I think it's important that gun rights activists investigate these accusations thoroughly, and, if necessary, disassociate themselves from Lott. If we fail to do so, we're no better than the gun-grabbers who uncritically trumpeted Michael Bellesiles fraudulent research. John Lott's response to Mother Jones.] / News / Feature

Double Barreled Double Standards
For years, John Lott has provided a vital scholarly basis to the pro-gun movement. But now his research and his integrity are drawing heavy fire.

Chris Mooney
October 13 , 2003

If economist John R. Lott didn't exist, pro-gun advocates would have had to invent him. Probably the most visible scholarly figure in the U.S. gun debate, Lott's densely statistical work has given an immense boost to the arguments of the National Rifle Association. Lott's 1998 book More Guns, Less Crime -- which extolled the virtues of firearms for self-defense and has sold some 100,000 copies in two editions, quite an accomplishment for an academic book -- has served as a Bible for proponents of "right to carry" laws (also known as "shall issue" laws), which make it easier for citizens to carry concealed weapons. Were Lott to be discredited, an entire branch of pro-gun advocacy could lose its chief social scientific basis.

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