More Guns, Less Crime

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More Guns, Less Crime
John-R.-Lott-More-Guns-Less-Crime.jpg
Author John Lott
Country United States
Language English
Subject Gun control
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher University Of Chicago Press
Publication date

June 1, 1998 (1st ed.)

Jun 15, 2000 (2nd ed.)

May 24, 2010 (3rd ed.)
Media type Paperback (3rd ed.)
Pages 472 pp (3rd ed.)
ISBN 0-226-49366-0 (3rd ed.)
OCLC 38067725
344.73/0533 21
LC Class KF3941 .L68 1998
Preceded by Straight Shooting
Followed by The Bias Against Guns

More Guns, Less Crime is a book by John Lott that says violent crime rates go down when states pass "shall issue" concealed carry laws. He presents the results of his statistical analysis of crime data for every county in the United States during 29 years from 1977 to 2005. Each edition of the book was refereed by the University of Chicago Press. The book examines city, county and state level data from the entire United States and measures the impact of 13 different types of gun control laws on crime rates. The book expands on an earlier study published in 1997 by Lott and his co-author David Mustard in The Journal of Legal Studies.[1]

Main topics[edit]

Below are summaries of the main topics discussed in More Guns, Less Crime.

Shall issue laws[edit]

Lott examines the effects of shall issue laws on violent crime across the United States.

His conclusion is that shall issue laws, which allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, steadily decrease violent crime. He explains that this result makes sense because criminals are deterred by the risk of attacking an armed victim. As more citizens arm themselves, the danger to criminals increases.

Training requirements[edit]

Lott examines the effects of training requirements on crime rate and accident rate. He finds that training requirements have very little effect on both crime rates and accident rates.

Waiting periods[edit]

Lott examines the effects of waiting periods. These include limiting the time before purchasing a gun, and limiting the time before obtaining a concealed carry permit.

Brady Law[edit]

Lott examines the effects of the Brady law.

"Stand Your Ground" and "Castle Doctrine" Laws[edit]

The third edition of the book is the first study to examine Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine laws.

Other countries[edit]

The focus of the book is overwhelmingly on the US, but Lott does mention briefly gun ownership and crime rates in other countries, such as Great Britain, even noting that "murder rates were higher in England before guns were invented". He also notes that many countries, such as Switzerland, Finland, New Zealand, and Israel, have high gun ownership rates and low crime rates, while many other countries have both low gun ownership rates and either high or low crime rates.

Reception[edit]

NRC Report[edit]

Partially in response to Lott's book, a sixteen-member panel of the United States National Research Council was convened to address the issue of whether right-to-carry laws influenced crime rate. In 2004 they issued the report "Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review" which examined Lott's statistical methods in detail, including computation of the statistical uncertainties involved, and wrote

The committee found that answers to some of the most pressing questions cannot be addressed with existing data and research methods, however well designed. Indeed, the committee was unable to find any of the laws that it examined had any effect on crime or suicide rates. In the case of right-to-carry laws, despite a large body of research, the committee found no credible evidence that the passage of right-to-carry laws decreases or increases violent crime, and there is almost no empirical evidence that the more than 80 prevention programs focused on gun-related violence have had any effect on children's behavior, knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs about firearms. The committee found that the data available on these questions are too weak to support unambiguous conclusions or strong policy statements.[2]

The issue of right-to-carry laws was the only law that drew a dissent from the committee's otherwise universal findings that it could not reach a conclusion. In a very unusual dissent for National Research Council reports, criminologist James Q. Wilson wrote that

The direct evidence that such shooting sprees occur is nonexistent. The indirect evidence, as found in papers by Black and Nagin and Ayres and Donohue [cited in Chapter 6], is controversial. Indeed, the Ayres and Donohue paper shows that there was a “statistically significant downward shift in the trend” of the murder rate (Chapter 6, page 135). This suggests to me that for people interested in RTC laws, the best evidence we have is that they impose no costs but may confer benefits. . . . In sum, I find that the evidence presented by Lott and his supporters suggests that RTC laws do in fact help drive down the murder rate, though their effect on other crimes is ambiguous.[3]

Support[edit]

A conference organized by the Center for Law, Economics, and Public Policy at Yale Law School and held at American Enterprise Institute was published in a special issue of The Journal of Law and Economics.[4] Academics of all interests in the debate were invited to participate and provide refereed empirical research.[5] As follows are some papers from that conference supported Lott's conclusions.[6]

  • Bruce L. Benson, Florida State University, and Brent D. Mast, American Enterprise Institute, "Privately Produced General Deterrence", The Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001.[7]
  • John R. Lott, Jr, "The Concealed-Handgun Debate," Journal of Legal Studies, January 1998.[8]
  • Florenz Plassmann, State University of New York at Binghamton, and T. Nicolaus Tideman, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, "Does the right to carry concealed handguns deter countable crimes? Only a count analysis can say", The Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001.[9]
  • Carlisle E. Moody, College of William and Mary, "Testing for the effects of concealed weapons laws: Specification errors and robustness," The Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001.[10]
  • David E. Olson, Loyola University Chicago, and Michael D. Maltz, University of Illinois at Chicago, "Right-to-carry concealed weapons laws and homicide in large U.S. counties: the effect on weapon types, victim characteristics, and victim-offender relationships," The Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001.[11] They found "a decrease in total homicides."
  • David B. Mustard, University of Georgia, "The Impact of Gun Laws on Police Deaths," The Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001.[12]
  • John R. Lott, Jr and John Whitley, "Safe-Storage Gun Laws: Accidental Deaths, Suicides, and Crime," The Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001..[13]
  • T. B. Marvell, Justec Research, "The Impact of Banning Juvenile Gun Possession," The Journal of Law and Economics, October 2001.[14] Marvell found evidence that right-to-carry laws reduced rape rates.

Other refereed empirical academic studies besides the original paper with David Mustard that have supported Lott's conclusions include the following.

  • William Alan Bartley and Mark A. Cohen, Vanderbilt University, "The Effect of Concealed Weapons Laws: An Extreme Bound Analysis", Economic Inquiry, 1998.[15]
  • Stephen G. Bronars, University of Texas, and John R. Lott, Jr., "Criminal Deterrence, Geographic Spillovers, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns", American Economic Review, May 1998.[16]
  • John R. Lott, Jr and John Whitley, University of Adelaide, "Abortion and Crime: Unwanted Children and Out-of-Wedlock Births," Economic Inquiry, April 2007.[17]
  • John R. Lott, Jr and John Whitley, University of Adelaide, "A Note on the Use of County-Level UCR Data," Journal of Quantitative Criminology, October 2001.[18]
  • Florenz Plassmann, State University of New York at Binghamton, and John Whitley, University of Adelaide, 'Confirming "More Guns, Less Crime"', Stanford Law Review, 2003.[19]
  • Eric Helland, Claremont-McKenna College and Alexander Tabarrok, George Mason University, 'Using Placebo Laws to Test "More Guns, Less Crime",' The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 2008.[20]
  • Carlisle E. Moody, College of William and Mary, and Thomas B. Marvell, Justec Research, "The Debate on Shall-Issue Laws", Econ Journal Watch, 2008.[21]
  • Carlisle E. Moody and Thomas B. Marvell, “The Debate on Shall-Issue Laws," Econ Journal Watch, September 2008 [22]
  • Carlisle E. Moody and Thomas B. Marvell, “ On the Choice of Control Variables in the Crime Equation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, October 2010[23]
  • Carlisle E. Moody, Thomas B. Marvell, Paul R Zimmerman, and Fasil Alemante, “The Debate on Shall-Issue Laws," Review of Economics & Finance, 2014[24]
  • Mark Giusa, "The Impact of Banning Juvenile Gun Possession," Applied Economics, October 2014. [25]

Opposition[edit]

Some academic studies that have rejected Lott's conclusions include the following. Most of these studies contend that there seems to be little or no effect on crime from the passage of license-to-carry laws. Some, such as Donohue's 2003 study, find a temporary increase in aggravated assaults. The National Research Council determined that Lott's data-sets can be subject to manipulation given a number of factors, so that different studies produce different results. "While the trend models show a reduction in the crime growth rate following the adoption of right-to-carry laws, these trend reductions occur long after law adoption, casting serious doubt on the proposition that the trend models estimated in the literature reflect effects of the law change."[2]

  • Rutgers sociology professor Ted Goertzel stated that "Lott's massive data set was simply unsuitable for his task", and that he "compar[ed] trends in Idaho and West Virginia and Mississippi with trends in Washington, D.C. and New York City" without proper statistical controls. He points out that econometric methods (such as the Lott & Mustard RTC study or the Levitt & Donohue abortion study) are susceptible to misuse and can even become junk science.[26]
  • Hemenway, David (2006). Private guns, public health. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 9780472023820. 
  • Ian Ayres, Yale Law School, and John Donohue III, Stanford Law School, "Shooting Down the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis," Stanford Law Review, 2003.[27] This study found a temporary increase in aggravated assaults.
  • Jens Ludwig, Georgetown University, "Concealed-Gun-Carrying Laws and Violent Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data", International Review of Law and Economics, 1998.[28]
  • Dan Black and Daniel Nagin, "Do 'Right-to-Carry' Laws Deter Violent Crime?" Journal of Legal Studies, (January 1998).[29]
  • Mark Duggan, University of Chicago, "More Guns, More Crime," National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper No. W7967, October 2000, later published in Journal of Political Economy.[30]
  • Tomislav V. Kovandzic and Thomas B. Marvell, "Right-to-Carry Concealed Firearms and Violent Crime: Crime Control Through Gun Decontrol?" Criminology and Public Policy 2, (2003).[31]
  • John J. Donahue III, Stanford Law School, 'The Final Bullet in the Body of the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis', Criminology and Public Policy, 2003.[32]
  • John Donohue and Ian Ayres. "More Guns, Less Crime Fails Again: The Latest Evidence from 1977–2006" Econ Journal Watch (2009): 218–238.[33]
  • Aneja, A.; Donohue, J. J.; Zhang, A. (29 October 2011). "The Impact of Right-to-Carry Laws and the NRC Report: Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy" (PDF). American Law and Economics Review 13 (2): 565–631. doi:10.1093/aler/ahr009. [34]

Editions[edit]

There have been three editions of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, all published by University of Chicago Press:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lott, John; Mustard, David B. (January 1997). "Crime, deterrence, and right–to–carry concealed handguns". The Journal of Legal Studies (Oxford Journals via JSTOR) 26 (1): 1–68. doi:10.1086/467988. JSTOR 10.1086/467988. SSRN 10129. 
  2. ^ a b Wellford, Charles F.; Pepper, John V.; Petrie, Carol V. Firearms and violence: a critical review. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.  ISBN 0309091241 (online book).
  3. ^ Wilson, James Q., "Appendix A, Dissent", in Wellford, Charles F.; Pepper, John V.; Petrie, Carol V., Firearms and violence: a critical review, Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, pp. 269–271  ISBN 0309091241 (online book).
  4. ^ Various authors (October 2001). "Special issue: Guns, Crime, and Safety". The Journal of Law and Economics (Chicago Journals via JSTOR) 44 (S2). 
  5. ^ Levitt, Steven D. (July 26, 2007). "Letter from Steven D. Levitt to John B. McCall".  Clarifying comments on the JLE conference issue.
  6. ^ Ayres, Ian; Donohue III, John J. (April 2003). "Shooting down the "more guns, less crime" hypothesis". Stanford Law Review (Stanford Law School via JSTOR) 55 (4): 1193–1312. JSTOR 1229603.  Pdf.
  7. ^ Benson, Bruce L.; Mast, Brent D. (October 2001). "Privately produced general deterrence". The Journal of Law and Economics, special issue: Guns, Crime, and Safety (Chicago Journals via JSTOR) 44 (S2): 725–746. doi:10.1086/323766. JSTOR 10.1086/323766. SSRN 286081. 
  8. ^ Lott Jr., John R. (January 1998). "The concealed‐handgun debate". The Journal of Legal Studies (Chicago Journals via JSTOR) 27 (1): 221–243. doi:10.1086/468020. JSTOR 10.1086/468020.  Pdf.
  9. ^ Plassmann, Florenz; Tideman, T. Nicolaus (October 2001). "Does the right to carry concealed handguns deter countable crimes? Only a count analysis can say". The Journal of Law and Economics, special issue: Guns, Crime, and Safety (Chicago Journals via JSTOR) 44 (S2): 771–798. doi:10.1086/323311. JSTOR 10.1086/323311.  Pdf.
  10. ^ Moody, Carlisle E. (October 2001). "Testing for the effects of concealed weapons laws: specification errors and robustness". The Journal of Law and Economics, special issue: Guns, Crime, and Safety (Chicago Journals via JSTOR) 44 (S2): 799–813. doi:10.1086/323313. JSTOR 10.1086/323313. SSRN 281240. 
  11. ^ Olson, David E.; Maltz, Michael D. (October 2001). "Right‐to‐carry concealed weapon laws and homicide in large U.S. counties: the effect on weapon types, victim characteristics, and victim‐offender relationships". The Journal of Law and Economics, special issue: Guns, Crime, and Safety (Chicago Journals via JSTOR) 44 (S2): 747–770. doi:10.1086/338345. JSTOR 10.1086/338345.  Pdf.
  12. ^ Mustard, David B. (October 2001). "The impact of gun laws on police deaths". The Journal of Law and Economics, special issue: Guns, Crime, and Safety (Chicago Journals via JSTOR) 44 (S2): 635–657. doi:10.1086/323312. JSTOR 10.1086/323312. SSRN 272143.  Pdf.
  13. ^ Lott Jr., John R. (October 2001). "Safe-Storage Gun Laws: Accidental Deaths, Suicides, and Crime". The Journal of Law and Economics (Chicago Journals via JSTOR) 44 (S2): 659–689. doi:10.1086/468020. JSTOR 10.1086/468020.  Pdf.
  14. ^ Marvell, Thomas B. (October 2001). "The impact of banning juvenile gun possession". The Journal of Law and Economics, special issue: Guns, Crime, and Safety (Chicago Journals via JSTOR) 44 (S2): 691–713. doi:10.1086/323314. JSTOR 10.1086/323314. 
  15. ^ Bartley, William Alan; Cohen, Mark A. (April 1998). "The effect of concealed weapons laws: an extreme bound analysis". Economic Inquiry (Wiley) 36 (2): 258–265. doi:10.1111/j.1465-7295.1998.tb01711.x.  Pdf.
  16. ^ Bronars, Stephen G.; Lott Jr., John R. (May 1998). "Criminal deterrence, geographic spillovers, and the right to carry concealed handguns". The American Economic Review special issue: Papers and Proceedings of the Hundred and Tenth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (American Economic Association via JSTOR) 88 (2): 475–479. JSTOR 116970. SSRN 56862. 
  17. ^ Lott Jr., John R.; Whitley, John (April 2007). "Abortion and crime: unwanted children and out-of-wedlock births". Economic Inquiry (Wiley) 45 (2): 304–324. doi:10.1111/j.1465-7295.2006.00040.x. 
  18. ^ Lott Jr., John R.; Whitley, John (June 2003). "Measurement error in county-level UCR data". Journal of Quantitative Criminology (Springer) 19 (2): 185–198. JSTOR 23366840. SSRN 320102. 
  19. ^ Plassmann, Florenz; Whitley, John R. (April 2003). "Confirming "more guns, less crime"". Stanford Law Review (Stanford Law School via JSTOR) 55 (4): 1313–1369. JSTOR 1229604.  Pdf.
  20. ^ Helland, Eric; Tabarrok, Alex (December 2004). "Using placebo laws to test "more guns, less crime"". The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy (de Gruyter) 4 (1). doi:10.2202/1538-0637.1182. 
  21. ^ Moody, Carlisle E.; Marvell, Thomas B. (September 2008). "The debate on shall-issue laws". Econ Journal Watch (Atlas Network) 5 (3): 269–293.  Pdf.
  22. ^ Marvell, Thomas B. (September 2008). "The Debate on Shall-Issue Laws". Econ Journal Watch (George Mason University) 5 (3): 696–715. 
  23. ^ Marvell, Thomas B. (October 2010). "On the Choice of Control Variables in the Crime Equation". Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics (Oxford University Press) 72 (5): 696–715. 
  24. ^ Marvell, Thomas B. (2014). "The Debate on Shall-Issue Laws". Review of Economics & Finance (Better Advances Press via JSTOR): 71–81. doi:10.1086/323314. JSTOR 10.1086/323314. 
  25. ^ Giusa, Mark. "The Impact of Banning Juvenile Gun Possession". Applied Economics (Taylor Francis Online date = October 2014) 21 (4): 691–713. 
  26. ^ Goertzel, Ted (January 2002). "Myths of murder and multiple regression". The Skeptical Inquirer (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) 26 (1): 19–23.  Available online at Rutgers University–Camden.
  27. ^ Ayres, Ian; Donohue III, John J. (April 2003). "Shooting down the "more guns, less crime" hypothesis". Stanford Law Review (Stanford Law School via JSTOR) 55 (4): 1193–1312. JSTOR 1229603.  Pdf.
  28. ^ Ludwig, Jens (September 1998). "Concealed-gun-carrying laws and violent crime: evidence from state panel data". International Review of Law and Economics (ScienceDirect) 18 (3): 239–254. doi:10.1016/S0144-8188(98)00012-X. 
  29. ^ Black, Dan A.; Nagin, Daniel S. (January 1998). "Do right‐to‐carry laws deter violent crime?". The Journal of Legal Studies (Chicago Journals via JSTOR) 27 (1): 209–219. doi:10.1086/468019. JSTOR 10.1086/468019. 
  30. ^ Duggan, Mark (October 2001). "More guns, more crime". Journal of Political Economy (Chicago Journals via JSTOR) 109 (5): 1086–1114. doi:10.1086/322833. JSTOR 10.1086/322833. SSRN 245849.  NBER Working Paper No. W7967 Pdf.
  31. ^ Kovandzic, Tomislav V.; Marvell, Thomas B. (July 2003). "Right-to-carry concealed firearms and violent crime: crime control through gun decontrol?". Criminology & Public Policy (Wiley) 2 (3): 363–396. doi:10.1111/j.1745-9133.2003.tb00002.x. 
  32. ^ Donohue III, John J. (July 2003). "The final bullet in the body of the more guns, less crime hypothesis". Criminology & Public Policy (Wiley) 2 (3): 397–410. doi:10.1111/j.1745-9133.2003.tb00003.x. 
  33. ^ Ayres, Ian; Donohue III, John J. (May 2009). "More guns, less crime fails again: the latest evidence from 1977–2006". Econ Journal Watch (Atlas Network) 6 (2): 218–238.  Pdf.
  34. ^ Aneja, A.; Donohue, J. J.; Zhang, A. (29 October 2011). "The Impact of Right-to-Carry Laws and the NRC Report: Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy" (PDF). American Law and Economics Review 13 (2): 565–631. doi:10.1093/aler/ahr009. 

External links[edit]