At the 2015 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, I got a chance to meet the legend himself, John Lott Jr. I’ve been covering the gun beat for over three years now and this is the first time I had a chance to meet Lott in person. What a treat! To say that they guy is bright is like saying the Grand Canyon is big. The truth is that Lott is a genius. And if you’re someone who needs to see the credentials to believe it, he’s got those, in spades I might add: He holds a Ph.D. in economics from UCLA, and has held research or teaching positions at various academic institutions including the University of Chicago, Yale University, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, and Rice University.
Lott has also written eight books, including his tour de force “More Guns, Less Crime.” We talked briefly about the central thesis of that book, which as the title suggests, shows a negative correlation between gun ownership and crime rates, in other words, as more citizens carry concealed firearms for self-defense crime actually decreases. When I asked Lott about the book, he phrased thusly, “Gun ownership by law-abiding individuals has a big life-saving effect in terms of reducing violence…”
Put more succinctly, guns save lives. While we — gun owners, sportsmen, hunters, Second Amendment advocates — know that, not everyone else does. While the public’s ignorance on this issue is concerning, what’s even more troubling is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg quest to convince the public that guns are the scourge of a civilized society. I asked Lott about this, particularly, what lies the Bloomberg machine has been pumping out to achieve that objective.
Lott gave a few examples, such as the supposed risk that woman face from gun ownership and inflated stats with respect to school shootings. To take the latter example, Lott said that in the studies Bloomberg funds on school shootings, there will be a case where “Somebody used a gun defensively to save themselves from two attackers” and it will be classified “as a Newtown-type shooting.”
He then added, “I mean, it’s bizarre.” I’d argue that it’s not only bizarre, as Lott said, but downright mischievous. Prof. Lott said that we can find in-depth reporting on these examples on his website: crimepreventionresearchcenter.org.
Another interesting topic that popped up during our conversation was the lack of media attention paid to defensive gun uses, instances like the aforementioned where a good guy (or gal) with a gun stops or thwarts a criminal act. While Fox News is now giving attention to DGU stories, other major networks — ABC, NBC, CBS — have been slow to the draw.
Lott observed, “I think that has a big impact on people’s perception about the costs and benefits of gun ownership.”
Indeed. If all the non-gun owning public hears is bad news stories related to gun ownership, that will undoubtedly influence the way they think about firearms, gun owners and the larger gun community.
While we wait for the media to get on the 2A bandwagon (don’t hold your breath), thankfully, in the meantime, we have Lott and his team working tirelessly to spread the truth about guns and gun ownership. They need our help though. So make sure you do your part whenever you can.