While polling agencies and public perception seem to find a correlation between pro-gun-control mindsets and higher education, two groups of educators favor pro-gun policies: criminologists and economists both tend to support gun ownership, according to a recent survey by gun rights advocate John Lott.
Lott surveyed a group of researchers and academics with recently-published peer-reviewed papers in both criminology and economics journals and found that both strongly supported gun rights, reflecting what many Americans already believe, including that higher rates of gun ownership can lower crime rates and that concealed-carry makes people safer in general.
Lott teamed up with Gary Mauser, a Canadian professor at Simon Fraser University. All of the surveyed scholars had published studies based on empirical research within the past 15 years. They polled 130 authors and received 74 responses, with about a 50/50 mix of economists and criminologists.
“These criminologists and economists agree with the American people by an overwhelming margin,” explained Lott. He also pointed out that the surveyed academics weren’t politically-inclined towards being pro-gun. “Although they both lean Democrat, economists and criminologists both find strong evidence that guns are used more for self-defense than for committing crimes.”
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Both groups found that gun-free zones saw higher levels of criminal activity, did not link gun ownership to a risk of suicide and indicated that people with concealed-carry permits were much less likely to commit crimes than the general population. They also correlated higher concealed-carry rates with lower murder rates.
“The margin on whether permitted concealed handguns reduce murder rates? A staggering 40 points,” said Lott. The assessments of these number-crunching academics is in-line with public opinion. Recent Gallup polls have found that Americans largely believe that concealed-carry makes people safer by 56 percent and that and that 63 percent of Americans feel safer with a gun in the home.
Despite repeated calls for increased gun control by many politicians, a majority of people in the U.S. support gun ownership for personal protection, and the numbers back that. Even the CDC study published in 2013–called for by President Obama in 2012–found that gun ownership is on the rise and that violence on the whole is shrinking.
“Who’d have thought it,” said Lott. “At least on the subject of gun ownership, many liberal academics have apparently actually let their views be shaped by the evidence.”