Less Guns, More Lawsuits

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John Lott, the controversial scholar and data-cruncher, has sued "Freakonomics" author Steven Levitt for defamation. Levitt claimed that other scholars have failed to confirm Lott's research on conceal-and-carry laws.

Hat tip: Tim Lambert, who has more posts about the stormy Lott-Levitt relationship.

Reason's Jacob Sullum and Michael W. Lynch interviewed Lott in 2000, and Julian Sanchez broke a big story on Lott for the magazine in 2003.

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  1. Lott’s gonna get burned on this one. His data is flat-out wrong. Mark my wors…

    JMJ

  2. Lott is a lunatic. He will lose and have to pay a lot of legal fees to Levitt if he takes this any further than the showboating that he usually does.

    Lott’s paper was totally and provably false. And I oppose gun control.

  3. The pro-rights movement would do well to distance themselves from Lott.

    Even though the studies and statistics coming from organizations like The Brady Campaign and The Violence Policy Center are generally laughably bad or fabricated completely, making Lott’s mistakes look positively microscopic by comparison, there’s no need for Lott’s info if it is incorrect.

  4. So is it just a coinky dink that the places that you really need to carry a guy are the places that you are not allowed to?

    My own anecdotal evidence is from living in Reno, NV where I could carry my gun at will, and then I would go to visit my pops in Oakland where it was not legal, but I wouldn’t ever go without a gun.

  5. “So is it just a coinky dink that the places that you really need to carry a guy are the places that you are not allowed to?”

    I’ve made much the same observation.

  6. Given our last conversation on guns, JMJ will probably tell us that where we’re REALLY supposed to be afraid is in “the styx” with all those gun-toting rednecks who only want to own gun so they can kill minorities.

  7. I suspect that not even JMJ believes 1/10th of what he posts here.

  8. “So is it just a coinky dink that the places that you really need to carry a guy are the places that you are not allowed to?”

    Not at all. Places with higher levels of gun crime are more likely to try to “do something” about the problem than places with lower levels.

  9. Conceal & carry certainly count as “doing something”. Hell who cares if it works.

  10. I hate it when idiots do damage to my side. Thanks John Lott, thanks a bundle.

  11. In my more paranoid moments I suspect that John Lott is a plant from the Brady campaign.

  12. Isaac,
    I in my more paranoid moments, have suspected that Micheal Moore was a republican plant.

  13. I am, of course, biased as a New York resident, but New York has very strict gun control and yet has the 6th-lowest violent crime rate of the 240 largest cities in the US. So I’d say it doesn’t really qualify as a “place you’d really need to carry” a gun.

  14. Conceal & carry certainly count as “doing something”. Hell who cares if it works.

    Crime dropped immediatly after Michigan made it easier to get a CC… I don’t think it was the CC that caused crime to drop (mostly because geting a CC licence is prohibitivly difficult enough that most people aren’t going to bother)… but it is very clear, that CC laws don’t increase crime in any way. And it certainly makes YOU safer if you carry a gun.

  15. So I’d say it doesn’t really qualify as a “place you’d really need to carry” a gun.

    So don’t carry. But don’t tell me I can’t carry if I want to.

  16. “So don’t carry. But don’t tell me I can’t carry if I want to.”

    Bingo.

  17. I am, of course, biased as a New York resident, but New York has very strict gun control and yet has the 6th-lowest violent crime rate of the 240 largest cities in the US. So I’d say it doesn’t really qualify as a “place you’d really need to carry” a gun.

    Well, you don’t have to carry a gun… but mostly because the gun isn’t going to help you when 20 cops blast you for showing your wallet, or are ramming plungers up your ass in the police station bathroom.

  18. “Not at all. Places with higher levels of gun crime are more likely to try to “do something” about the problem than places with lower levels.”

    Yes, because we all know that law-abiding citizens who are willing to jump through a bunch of state-mandated hoops in order to procure a carry license (or in the case of NYC, an ownership license that disallows concealed carry) are really just looking to go rob banks and kill people on a whim.

  19. I just read “Freakonomics” and I thought his criticism of Lott was fairly mild. Lott’s done himself a lot of damage with his antics, frankly, and might consider laying low for a while.

    Incidentally, I think it was Andrew Sullivan who suggested that Bush existed to discredit everything conservatives truly believe in.

  20. I am, of course, biased as a New York resident, but New York has very strict gun control and yet has the 6th-lowest violent crime rate of the 240 largest cities in the US. So I’d say it doesn’t really qualify as a “place you’d really need to carry” a gun.

    Dude, you can’t fool me. I SAW The Warriors.

  21. In Russia, paranoid plant thinks you are it!

  22. Lambert is a well known, rabidly anti-gun crusader. I had some ‘discussions’ with him on my blog on the old format. If I can I will restore those pages some day.

    To take his opinion on Lott is equivelent to taking Pat Robertsons opinion of Rev. Barry Lynn at face value.

    SO far as Lott doing damage to the gun rights movement, those that think so are taking the anti-gun crusaders attacks on Lott as true.

    I am not a statistitian, but from what I have seen, every neutral reviewer of his work has upheld it, both before and after any criticisms or errors were addressed.

    If you discard as equally biased, the reviews of those that are ardently pro-gun, and those that are ardently anti-gun, the rest of the reviews are positive.

    So far as demonstrably false, please demonstrate teh falsehood.

  23. Fewer guns.

  24. Tom, that’s true enough. Lambert most assuredly has an axe to grind on the issue.

    But Lott has done enough things of his own accord to make his character somewhat questionable.

    At least Gary Kleck has never paraded around the web in drag…

  25. tomWright

    My beef with Lott is the “Mary Rosh” incident.

    It struck me as incredibly dishonest.

  26. Especially given that the online pro-gun community pays exceedingly close attention to online debates all over the place.

    Lott could have posted to any one of about a hundred different online forums and had an entire army of people familiar with his work defending him.

  27. My beef with Lott is the “Mary Rosh” incident.

    I am unfamiliar with this, can you please elaborate?

  28. Matt

    Go to the link to Julian’s story in the original post.

  29. Yah the mary rosh thing was clueless, to be charitable, on Lotts part.

    But so far as the work goes, it still holds up.

  30. Oh, crap! I’ve been “cybering” a Mary Rosh for almost two years now!

  31. John Lott is a genius, and anyone who disagrees can suck it.

  32. Born & raised in NYC- hell my people got off the boat in 1627! I NEVER go back without a pistol in my pocket. Im deeply bummed to read this stuff about Lott.
    I lived in AZ, where I had a CC permit, & in Vermont, where you DONT need a CC permit, Madison Wi, where “progressives” tried to criminalize everyone with a sidearm, Maryland, a antigunners wet dream, & now Ca, a ghastly Tommorrowland.
    Self defense is a HUMAN right, our barely understood Constitution makes that plain to those who dont hold human beings in contempt.
    I trust my nieghbors with firearms. I dont trust anti civil firearms pols w/ political power. Its as basic as letting a woman decide weather she wants this baby or not.
    Pro abortion, pro civil firearms ownership- bottom line.
    AND I ILLEGALLY modified my 80 ford to almost double the mileage! Is there no end to my perfidy????

  33. fewer guns… fewer

  34. Fewer. Oh. Magic wand? House to house search? Roadblocks? Do you include the State, or just us peasants? Hey, how about serious criminal penalties for mere citizens possessing firearms. THAT should disarm those poor dupes inclined to obey the law….i feel “safer” already! how, um, “progressive”!

  35. Well, they can almost keep guns out of prisons, so if the entire country was just a little bit more searched, monitored and restricted than a prison, we’d be free of those dangerous thingies.

  36. Joe: Not at all. Places with higher levels of gun crime are more likely to try to “do something” about the problem than places with lower levels.

    Excellent argument, about 20 years ago. The problem is that places with higher levels of gun crime (Maryland, Chicago, Washington DC) passed the laws back in the 70s, promising that they would bring the crime rate down.

    We’re still waiting.

    A Reasonable person would say, “The gun control thing isn’t working. Let’s try something else. Let’s see, Vermont always has a low crime rate.”

    But all we get is the dog-ate-my-homework excuse that “the laws that aren’t working in Chicago will work if only Texas is forced to go along.”

    So is it just a coinky dink that the places that you really need to carry a guy are the places that you are not allowed to?

    Look up the stories about multiple murders. Almost every one of them take place in or just outside a venue where concealed carry is prohibited. Schools, courtrooms, premises serving alcohol, business that prohibit their employees from carrying, etc. Or locations in the few states that prohibit or restrict licensing.

  37. “Bring lawyers… and money.” Warren Zevon (radio edit)

  38. “Oh, crap! I’ve been “cybering” a Mary Rosh for almost two years now!”

    Dammit, Steveo, this comment had me laughing so loud that other people in my office were wondering what was so funny.

  39. Fewer. Oh. Magic wand?

    No, these people are making a grammar criticism.

    It’s “fewer guns,” not “less guns.”

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