John Lott asks Just One Question


I would ask gun control advocates one question: name a single place in the entire world where murder rates fell after gun control laws were passed.

It’s essentially the same as what I have been asking since 2004.

Also from this review of his new book:

Another reason that a third edition is essential is that critics have had twelve years to critique Lott’s proposition.  As Lott states, however, “not a single refereed study finds the opposite result, that right-to-carry laws have a bad effect on crime.”  Lott’s latest edition also addresses the impact of “Castle Doctrine” laws, which refer to the adage that “a man’s home is his castle” and make it unnecessary for potential crime victims to retreat as far as possible before using a firearm in self-defense.

Also addressed by the new third edition is the federal “assault weapons” legislation, which took effect in 1994 but terminated in 2004.  Gun control advocates predicted an explosion in murder and violent crime when the ban expired, but rates actually declined substantively.  As Lott notes, “rarely do we get a chance to look at the impact of gun laws when they are first passed and then when they are eliminated.”


12 thoughts on “John Lott asks Just One Question

  1. Umm, where I wrote, “than I am”, please substitute “than they are.” Sorry, some of us earnest socially-awkward folks confuse our pronouns when not paying enough attention, or when it’s late at night and we’ve been drinking. hic.

  2. I think I recall reading (I don’t remember where) that the murder rate in England decreased after guns were invented. (according to parish records, and suchlike)

    For the people who want to do away with all guns, were that possible, I ask them if they are also willing to do away with everybody who is bigger, stronger, younger and meaner than they are, and anybody who joins a group with the intention of using the strength of numbers to beat up on people. (democracy is inherently evil, I think)

  3. I don’t even get to the point of discussing pro/con stuff. The fact that it’s a Constitutional right is all I need. Gun control idiots would go ballistic at the idea of ignoring the First, Fourth, or Fifth Amendments — how can they then logically claim it’s okay to ignore the Second?

    If they feel guns should be limited, then let them try to change the Constitution.

  4. Woodsong,

    Gun control bigots have already contemplated abuses of the 1st amendment (can’t the FCC just not renew FoxNews’ license, see Journolist scandal) and google “photography is not a crime”, the fourth amendment has been shredded by the war on drugs, judges who will issue blanket warrants, and “exigent circumstances”, and the fifth amendment might as well not exist since Jose Padilla showed that even if you aren’t charged, you can be held for YEARS.

    It isn’t about guns, it is about control. And in order to get control the bigots need to control the press and the legal system.

  5. A few comments about these two “Just One Question”s.

    Playing the Devil’s Advocate — as to Lott’s question — is it just murders that we wish to reduce by firearms control, or are we trying to lower the death rate by all causes which could be caused by firearms (murder, manslaughter, suicide, accidents, etc)?

    And as two Joe’s question, — how do you define “safer?”

    Gun Controllers should be asked “what is the goal of your proposal?” I suspect that form most, the true goal is to not have guns around and if that means an increase in the actual death rate (by other causes – knives, pills, baseball bats, etc) then that is acceptable. We don’t like “guns,” but we’re actually OK with violence as long as it’s not caused by guns.

    In order to solve a problem the goal needs to be accurately understood. Jerry Pournelle provided a classic example of this recently The WWII Battle of the North Atlantic. Initially the tactics of the Allies were chosen to optimize the chances of sinking German submarines. Then the strategists looked at the problem and decided that this wasn’t the criterion at all: what was really wanted was for more cargo to get to England. Instead of using tactics designed to optimize the chances of sinking German subs, they switched to tactics designed to break up the submarine wolf packs, keep them submerged, and thus prevent them from attacking convoys. The new tactics didn’t sink as many German subs, but greatly increased the amount of cargo getting through.

    Back to gun control – civil rights restrictionists need to be questioned very firmly about the goal of their latest proposal. Why should society give up a civil right for a proposal that has very little chance of succeeding in its goal?

  6. I’m sure someone has or will use the UK. I have had it used against me in arguments. Which I soon point out how wrong they are, but they still hold onto it. Remember anti-gun people have mental problems. Some are just incapable of such critical thought. And if they are it could take years for them to realize how wrong they were but it does happen.

  7. The more interesting question is: Why is the murder rate so high in the USA compared to other countries? It has nothing to do with guns, as historian Eric Monkkonen proved in his studies on murder.

  8. ubu; one possible answer might be, “because the U.S. is more open and honest in the reporting”. There are several other possibilities of course, but in the scope of civil rights that’s a bit of a side issue. Civil rights are not properly linked to safety other than “safety from government interference”. That’s what it’s all about, sister.

    The Left doesn’t really care about safety, or children, et al, anyway. Those are just tools it uses to get its way, so any discussion of the same is a distraction from the issue of human rights.

    Once again, here’s a little treatise on how the Left views a “right” that it supports. Like it or not, we all recognize the contrasts, as they are huge. Another example would be the total disregard for safety in the face of the early AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. If you were paying attention to the discussion back then, you know exactly what I mean. I’m not supposed to bring this stuff up, I know, because it could brand me as a religious right-winger or a homophobe. Too bad. These are not positions on sexuality or abortion, but instead illustrate the total hypocrisy of the Left.

  9. @H: When considering the effects, why just limit them to guns? For example, when we look at suicide and murder rates, we should look at the total numbers before and after; not just gun-related deaths. After all, if suicides remain constant, before and after, what does it matter if less suicides were accomplished by gun? Or murder, for that matter?

    As for accidents, gun accidents have gone down over the years, while gun ownership has gone up; besides, gun accidents are rare enough that any change in them is almost negligible, compared to other ways you could die (even other ways of dying by guns).

    @Ubu52: “The more interesting question is: Why is the murder rate so high in the USA compared to other countries? It has nothing to do with guns, as historian Eric Monkkonen proved in his studies on murder.”

    First of all, when we control for Democrat-party-run cities (New York, Chicago, New Orleans, etc)–many of which have severe gun control–the United States is actually one of the most peaceful places in the world. Heck, I’ve read comments from more than one British person who was surprised to see how peaceful the United States is, compared to Great Brittain! But this ought to be a hint as to what the problems may be.

    Second, someone pointed out once that while Japan and Switzerland both have lower murder rates than the United States, when you combine murder and suicide, all three places come out to be about the same. Something interesting to think about…

  10. @Alpheus – I guess I didn’t write that as clearly as I meant – I was trying to include every possible thing which could be caused by firearms, not just those things which actually were caused by firearms. In other words we are agreeing, I just didn’t phrase it properly.

    I agree with Lott and Joe, I’m just trying to point out how those who disagree could twist the question to intentionally miss the point, or keep others from seeing the logic and truth of it.

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