Lott on Kellermann

Lott grossly misrepresents Kellermann’s study. He states that “they fail to
report that in only 8 of these 444 homicide cases could it be established
that the gun involved had been kept in the home.” Kellermann et al do indeed
fail to report that, but that is because it is not true. They do note that
in 8 out of a subset of 14 cases the police report stated that the gun
involved had been kept in the home. Needless to say, 14 is not equal to 444.
Lott goes on to claim that “all or virtually all the homicide victims were
killed by weapons brought into their homes by intruders”. This claim is also
false. Table 1 of Kellermann’s paper [11] shows that only 14% of the
homicide victims were killed by intruders. My analysis of Kellermann’s
data shows only 8% of the homicide victims were killed with guns by
intruders.

Sam Kersh writes:

This does not give “you” free rein to create a 8/14ths ratio.

The 8/14 ratio does not necessarily apply to the whole group, but we
can be absolutely certain that the ratio for the whole group is NOT
8/444.

And as
you already know, only a mere 60 % of all the firearms homicides victims
also owned a firearm… Kellermann claimed 93 percent, but that was
either a math blunder or a falsehood. Unfortunately, neither of us can
say which with certainty.

Well, there are Kellermann’s actual words on this matter:

An independent review of the data from a case-control study of gun
ownership as a risk factor for homicide in the home, reported by my
colleagues and me (Oct. 7, 1993, issue), (1) has identified an
inaccuracy in our response to the letters to the editor about the
study (Feb. 3, 1994, issue). (2) In the fourth paragraph of our
response, we reported, “Ninety-three percent of the homicides
involving firearms occurred in homes where a gun was kept, according
to the proxy respondents.” What we should have said was that 93
percent of proxy respondents for victims of homicide involving
firearms provided information about the presence or absence of a gun
in the home. Sixty-two percent of this group reported that the victim
lived in a home where one or more guns were kept, not 93 percent, as
we stated in our reply.” source

Lambert muddies the water by stating, “… Table 1 of Kellermann’s
paper [11] shows that only 14% of the homicide victims were killed by
intruders. My analysis of Kellermann’s data shows only 8% of the
homicide victims were killed with guns by intruders.”

If you actually read Table 1, found on page 1086, NEJM, Oct 7, 1993, you
will find under ‘Relationship of offender to victum,’ the following:

Friend or acquaintance 130 31.0%
Stranger                15  3.6%
Unknow/unidentified     73 17.4%
Other                    6  1.4%

total                      53.4 percent

Nowhere in the table is the term “intruder” used nor does Lambert take
the trouble to define his or Lott’s use of the word.

You could have looked in the dictionary….
An intruder is someone who enters without permission.

The relevant question in the codebook is: “Is there evidence of forced
entry and/or entry without the victim’s consent?”

In 14% of the cases the answer was “yes”.

By no stretch of the imagination can this be called “all” or
“virtually all”.