John Lott: Even Liberal Economists, Criminologists Turn Pro-Gun

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John Lott talks about the importance of Second Amendment gun rights.

John Lott on the importance of Second Amendment rights at a National Journalism Center event. (Photo: Lott/Facebook)

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.”

See Also: Millennials’ Not-So-Mysterious Gun Love

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.”

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Roger February 21, 2016, 9:04 am

    Gun control has become political only because of stupidity and the inability to use basic logic. No criminal or madman is going to obey any gun laws. Politicians have not said how gun control keeps guns out of the hands of criminals, but the ignorant and the people who can’t apply basic logic believe the politicians’ BS. Gun control only affects law-abiding citizens. That’s a duh….

    • Joe McHugh February 23, 2016, 6:08 pm

      Roger, You are being astute in regards to why most politicians do what they do in regulating firearms. They propose “crime fighting” laws to look like they are “doing something” about the presence of the criminal element. As a result, there are hundreds of gun laws on the federal and state code books. All of these gun laws could be repealed and replaced by a law that would address the misuse of firearms.

      This single law would be all that is needed to be passed at the federal and sate levels. “It is illegal to threaten, injure or kill a law-abiding citizen with a firearm.” A subsection that states “It is illegal to sell, trade or give a firearm to anyone who is known to have a record as being a violent felon or an adjudged dangerous psychotic.

      But what am I saying here? We are talking about politicians who pander as a life style.

  • Andrew N. February 20, 2016, 11:21 pm

    Criminologists and economists both study statistics. They make their living that way. Trends and analysis are their “bread-and-butter”, and that all points to guns equal safety, despite what the hysterical, emotional pleas of anti-gunners might say to the contrary. Statistics don’t lie. Anti-gun supporters can’t say the same.

  • Chris Spera February 19, 2016, 10:01 am

    I’m 47 years old and have grown up with guns My Grand father had a tavern and the walls had guns from top to bottom he traded bar tabs for guns! Today he would be a felon!!!!!!
    My dad had a hardware store and sold guns in the early 70’s, I can remember Kmart having hand guns for sale that all came to pass in the 80’s. My question to the gun haters is this with all the constraints on fire arms since the 70’s how much safer are you?

    I collect gun and I used to trade guns with family and friends now if I want to trade a winchester 1890 22 rifle I bought at an online auction to a friend for a colt peace maker the red tape of another background check and FFL transfer adding $ 35.00 to the cost and wasting half a day is Bullshit not to mention if I got the better end if the deal I’m now a gun dealer and as such now a felon because I don’t have an FFL.
    The feds do not want to issue me an FFL because I don’t have a store front in town and trading guns from home is a good way to have the ATF at your door in riot gear at 2:00 am.

    Can you get the picture!!!!!
    Repeal them all I say and deal with it!!!!!

    • WillR February 19, 2016, 12:11 pm

      I don’t know where you live, so maybe your state laws are different, but there’s no federal law requiring any of what you’re saying. Person to person gun sales or trades are unregulated and always have been, and there is no federal law requiring you to do a proper transfer in a private sale. All that only applies if you’re putting yourself in the business of buying and selling. Making a profit from a gun sale here or there is not the same as being a gun dealer, and the government recognizes that and they have no way of knowing what you’re doing to send the ATF anyway unless you’re not JUST selling/trading the occasional gun with friends and family.

    • WillR February 19, 2016, 12:13 pm

      You’re not a gun dealer for making a profit on a sale or getting the better deal in a trade, you’re a gun dealer if a significant percentage of your annual income comes from gun sales or you purchase guns with the intent or reselling them instead of owning them.

    • Kris February 19, 2016, 10:17 pm

      Also, you do not have to have a store front (i.e. brick and mortar store) to have an FFL. You just have to actively buy and sell guns for a business purpose, to make a profit (i.e. you have to have a business as opposed to a store front). The ATF requires an FFL holder to pursue an active business rather than securing the license simply to buy guns at wholesale for their own possession. The hardest thing about securing an FFL is passing the extensive background check.

  • Aaron G February 16, 2016, 9:49 pm

    I don’t afilliate completely with either side politically. By most accounts I share views with the Democratic side. I was raised in the city having never fired a gun for 26 years until I started living in the country. However, I love firearms and I think nothing would make this country safer than keeping weapons in the hands of its citizens. Nothing would dismay criminals from threatening the lives of innocent people more than knowing there’s a damn good chance said criminals will face armed civilians.

    Everyone who is able should own and learn to operate a firearm. You never know when your family or your country may need you.

  • Aaron G February 16, 2016, 9:49 pm

    I don’t afilliate completely with either side politically. By most accounts I share views with the Democratic side. I was raised in the city having never fired a gun for 26 years until I started living in the country. However, I love firearms and I think nothing would make this country safer than keeping weapons in the hands of its citizens. Nothing would dismay criminals from threatening the lives of innocent people more than knowing there’s a damn good chance said criminals will face armed civilians.

    Everyone who is able should own and learn to operate a firearm. You never know when your family or your country may need you.

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