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Trained Researcher totally demolishes gun control

Peer Review of: More Guns Less Crime

More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws by Dr. John R. Lott (third edition, ISBN 978-0226493664)

"640 people found this helpful"

"Most comprehensive crime study ever conducted"

"devastating to gun control advocates"

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This review by Candid Reviewer on May 12, 2013 of Professor John Lott's book at Amazon.

1. Professor Debunks All Criticism of Dr. Lott's Study

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More Guns Less Crime book cover
The trained reviewer spent two years conducting his own research and comprehensively refutes any and all claims that Dr. John Lott's seminal crime study: More Guns, Less Crime is biased in any way.

“I now believe wholeheartedly in the right to carry, the wisdom of the 2nd Amendment, the particularly important benefits of concealed carry for women, and the notion that more firearms in law-abiding hands does make society demonstrably safer."

"If you're anti-gun and Lott's book does not ... force you to reconsider the ... benefits of an armed society, you either did not read the book with an open mind, or you do not know how to distinguish a precisely-reasoned argument from a merely political one.”

2. Review by Ph.D. holder and Trained Researcher

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"First, some background about me: I am a Ph.D.-holder and tenured professor whose immersion in the insular politics of academia had led me to harbor many negative perceptions about firearms. Though I was never staunchly "anti-gun," I was not a gun owner, did not understand the appeal of firearms, and generally believed that gun control legislation was only common sense. That changed four years ago when I (finally) decided to look into the data on guns, crime, and public safety for myself.

"I am a trained researcher, but I conducted my research for personal not professional reasons. My wife was pregnant and I wanted hard facts--not talking point from the political parties--so I could make an informed decision about what to teach my children about firearms, and whether it would be prudent or dangerous to have one in our house.

3. "Fact After Fact Starkly Disproved Critical Claims"

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If we just made guns illegal...
"I was drawn into that research almost immediately by the sheer force of my own disbelief. I discovered fact after fact that starkly disproved the claims and "facts" so many teachers and colleagues had expressed about firearms and their relationship to violence, and which, during my long trip through academia, had led me to believe stricter gun control was just plain common sense.

"For two years, I read thousands of pages of information, starting with raw data from the FBI and CDC so that I would be better able to assess the claims I subsequently read in books, peer-reviewed journals, news publications, blogs, and so forth.

"In the course of that research, I came across numerous references to John Lott's studies, but so many of them suggested there were "fatal flaws" in his methodology (and questions about his motives) that I never bothered to read him. I simply assumed based on the sheer number of such comments that his work was indeed more propaganda than serious study.

"Nonetheless, I turned up enough information over the course of two years to completely change my view about guns. I now believe wholeheartedly in the right to carry, the wisdom of the 2nd Amendment, the particularly important benefits of concealed carry for women, and the notion that more firearms in law-abiding hands does make society demonstrably safer."

4. "I Regret Not Reading it Earlier"

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"Now that I have finally read John Lott's "More Guns, Less Crime" (3rd edition, 2010), I am ashamed that I did not consult it earlier instead of accepting at face value the facile criticisms of his work. Lott's research and claims are astonishingly thorough--meticulously explained and documented. At every turn, he (accurately and clearly) explains the challenges, assumptions, and variables that inform his findings. Often, just to cover his bases, he runs the data with, and then without, certain questionable variables (arrest rates, county sizes, etc.).
Sign: Nothing inside worth dying for
"Again and again, he shows that with only slight variations in the magnitude of the results, more concealed carry permits equals less violent crime (murder, rape, aggravated assault, and robberies involving direct contact with the victim, such as muggings). He also observes that those permits may contribute to a smaller "substitution effect" that displaces criminal activity into less-confrontational forms, such as property theft.

"On all counts, this constitutes powerful evidence that the likely presence of a defensive firearm has a statistically significant deterrence effect on criminal behavior. More concealed carry permits lead to a net decline in assaults and deaths, and a net decline in the financial costs to society. Moreover, these benefits apply to all citizens--not just those who are armed--and they increase over time, as the number of carry permits rises. They also have the greatest positive impact on African Americans and women."

5. "The Most Comprehensive Study of Firearms Ever Conducted"

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"Why should you take Lott's study seriously? Because it is the most comprehensive study of crime - let alone firearms - ever conducted. In retrospect, I am stunned that any commentator has dared to fault the quality of his data.

"If anything can be said for Lott, it is that he is meticulous in recognizing and accounting for the variables at stake. Indeed, like a responsible analyst testing a hypothesis with appropriate rigor, he tends to control in ways that actually minimize (i.e., underestimate, and perhaps even artificially suppress) the benefits of non-discretionary ("shall issue") concealed carry laws. His is the only gun control study I've seen that takes all counties into consideration (not some selective sample) and then meticulously controls for population density, arrest rates, rising/falling trends in crime prior to the passing of the carry laws, demographic factors, the number of permits issued, and so forth.

"Although his expansive, county-level approach is clearly the most precise way to analyze the impact of carry laws, he also consistently re-runs the regressions using state-level (aggregate) data to show that, while the precise results vary, the trends remain the same: more guns, less crime. Indeed, the scope and depth of his study is so far beyond any other peer-reviewed study of guns I've ever encountered that any blanket dismissal either of his findings or his methodology is manifestly disingenuous."

6. "Lott Capably Defends his Integrity as a Scholar"

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"Of course, given the amount of criticism his work has received, Lott is (rightly) concerned to defend his integrity as a scholar. His seventh chapter thus quotes a series of 23 direct criticisms by other academics--each of which he capably rebuts. Whenever possible, Lott first politely plays devil's advocate: re-running his regressions in the alternative manner, some critics have suggested, only to show that the results consistently yield the same conclusion: more guns, less crime. "
Violent Crime Declines as More People Carry Guns
"He also exposes some critics' blatant ignorance of certain statistical categories (such as what it means for victims to "know" their shooters) and then lays bare salient points or critical factors those critics ignore. One devastating effect of these clear, well-reasoned rebuttals is to expose the patently un-scientific anti-gun bias that drives most critical "concerns" about Lott's study.

"Yet Lott never dispenses with civility or stoops to base political jabs. A few times, he briefly speculates on the kinds of credible concerns that could be raised about his work--politely leaving it for the reader to note, in unflattering contrast, that the criticisms that have actually been leveled at him fall very short of that standard. Ever the responsible scholar, he chiefly defends his integrity by clarifying his robust methodology and letting the data speak for itself."

7. "I Can't Say Enough about This Book's Importance"

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"I can't say enough about the importance of this book. Do not trust the claim that Lott's work has been "discredited", "fatally flawed," or "funded by the gun lobby." Lott explicitly refutes those attacks in this book, and I have verified to my own satisfaction that those are indeed false claims designed to deflect attention away from his compelling pro-gun findings.

"Read this book for yourself. It matches the findings of my own personal two-year study into these issues, though I might have saved myself a lot of time and work by consulting Lott's book sooner.

"He explains the variables and various analytical concepts very clearly (the substitution effect, the endogeneity problem, the perils of looking only at raw measures instead of slopes/trends over time, etc.). This diligent effort to empower (non-expert) readers by allowing them to understand what is at stake in the measures before delving into the data is one clear sign that his intention is to inform readers truthfully, not manipulate their political views.

"His habit of checking, re-checking, and checking his regressions again--verifying how the results change as certain variables are included or excluded--is another good sign. And yet another is the modest and precise way he reports his results: never engaging in bombastic or exaggerated claims, but always frankly acknowledging the limits of what can be reasonably concluded from the data.

"By the end of the book, you will understand many of the flawed assumptions and misunderstandings which underlie the oft-cited "evidence" that stricter gun control enhances public safety."

8. Conclusion

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"If you're anti-gun and Lott's book does not give you pause and
force you to reconsider the potential benefits of an armed society,
you either did not read the book with an open mind,
or you do not know how to distinguish a
precisely-reasoned argument from a merely political one.”

"Well done Mr. Lott. I cannot fathom the amount of energy and intellectual rigor you must have invested in this massive project, but I am grateful to you for this impressive and substantial contribution to knowledge."

Review by Candid Reviewer. May 12, 2013.

Food for Thought

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170 million new guns, 51% decrease in violent crime since 1991
SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas not only agreed with the judgment in McDonald v. Chicago (2010) that the right to keep and bear arms is applicable to state and local governments, he went even further in finding that an individual's right to bear arms is a fundamental privilege of American citizenship.

His finding in McDonald draws from a long and uninterrupted line of civil rights activists who preached the virtues of armed self-defense:

The great abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, for instance, who famously urged President Abraham Lincoln to arm the liberated slaves against their former masters, was an outspoken champion of gun rights.

Founder of the pioneering Regional Council of Negro Leadership and a longtime ally of the NAACP, Mississippi doctor T.R.M. Howard saw no reason to separate the struggle for racial equality from the case for armed self-defense.

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Civil Rights and your Right to Armed Self-Defense, Justice Clarence Thomas's concurring opinion in McDonald v. Chicago. Open Page in a new Tab

Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, image courtesy of Wikipedia.com

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . .

"Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants;
they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."

Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826) - Founding Father, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, organized the Democratic-Republican Party, "drafted and signed into law the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves that banned slave importation into the United States." Third President of the United States.

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Frederick Douglass courtesy of Wikipedia

“Asked in 1850 what advice would Douglass give to escaped blacks who feared being enslaved, he replied:
"A good revolver, a steady hand, and a determination to shoot down any man attempting to kidnap them."

– Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)
Former slave, African-American social reformer, diplomat, leader of the abolitionist movement, known for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writings. Strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and your right to defend yourself and your family with a firearm.

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Stopped by police 14.3 deaths, stopped by civilians 2.3 die
Average deaths in a shooting rampage when stopped by police: 14.3. But average deaths when stopped by civilians: far less - just 2.3.

So discourage violent criminals and terrorists from attacking your people. Encourage your qualified, law-abiding citizens to be able to defend themselves, their family and their property. Both concealed carry as well as the discretionary ordinance are entirely optional - there's no penalty and they're exempt from complying if they object for any reason at all!

Despite media misunderstanding and much misrepresentation, Universal Gun Ownership is not coercive, it's neither Mandatory Gun Ownership nor Compulsory Gun Ownership. It's simply a choice to be prepared to defend themselves and their loved ones from a violent criminal in advance...

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