Guns, Less Crime : Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws (Studies in
Law and Economics) by John R. Lott, Jr.
the Media dares not say.
Data gleaned from all 3050
Counties in the USA.
Hardcover - 225 pages (May
1998) Univ of Chicago Pr (Trd); ISBN: 0226493636 $18.40
Paperback - 321 pages 2nd
edition (July 2000) Univ of Chicago ISBN: 0226493644 $10.80
with John Lott
See the Proof
Multiple regression analyses
are rarely the subject of heated public debate or 225-page books for laypeople.
But John R. Lott, Jr.'s study in the January 1997 Journal of Legal Studies
showing that concealed-carry weapons permits reduced the crime rate set
off a firestorm. The updated study, together with illustrative anecdotes
and a short description of the political and academic response to the study,
as well as responses to the responses, makes up Lott's informative More
Guns, Less Crime.
In retrospect, it perhaps
should not have been surprising that increasing the number of civilians
with guns would reduce crime rates. The possibility of armed victims reduces
the expected benefits and increases the expected costs of criminal activity.
And, at the margin at least, people respond to changes in costs, even for
crime, as Nobel-Prize winning economist [TAG]Gary Becker showed long ago.
Allusions to the preferences of criminals for unarmed victims have seeped
into popular culture; Ringo, a British thug in Pulp Fiction, noted off-handedly
why he avoided certain targets: "Bars, liquor stores, gas stations, you
get your head blown off stickin' up one of them."
But Lott's actual quantification
of this, in the largest and most comprehensive study of the effects of
gun control to date, a study well-detailed in the book, provoked a number
of attacks, ranging from the amateurish to the subtly misleading, desperate
to discredit him. Lott takes the time to refute each argument; it's almost
touching the way he footnotes each time he telephones an attacker who eventually
hangs up on him without substantiating any of their claims.
Lott loses a little focus
when he leaves his firm quantitative base; as an economist, he should know
that the low number of rejected background checks under the Brady Bill
doesn't demonstrate anything by itself, because some people may have been
deterred from even undergoing the background check in the first place,
but he attacks the bill on this ground anyway. But the conclusions that
are backed by evidence--that concealed-weapons permits reduce crime, and
do so at a lower cost to society than increasing the number of police or
prisons--are important ones that should be considered by policymakers.
The Wall Street Journal,
...a compelling book with
enough hard data that even politicians may have to stop and pay attention.
some of those in the field think of Lott's book.
"Lott has done us all a
service by his thorough, thoughtful, scholarly approach to a highly controversial
issue." -- Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize winning economist, Stanford University
"More Guns, Less Crime is
one of the most important books of our time." -- Thomas Sowell, Professor,
"John Lott has done the most
extensive, thorough, and sophisticated study we have on the effects of
loosening gun control laws." --Gary Kleck, Professor, Florida State University
"A model of the meticulous
application of economics and statistics to law and policy." John O. McGinnis,
Professor, Cardozo Law School
"His empirical analysis sets
a standard that will be difficult to match. . . . This has got to be the
most extensive empirical study of crime deterrence that has been doen to
date." -- Public Choice
"The standard reference on
the subject for years to come." Stan Liebowitz, Professor, University of
Texas "This book will - or should - cause those who almost reflexively
support the limitation of guns in the name of reducing crime to rethink
their position." -- Steve Shavell, Professor, Harvard University Law School
The book has gotten similar
positive comments from those working in law enforcement.