Otis Dudley Duncan has written an excellent article on Lott and defensive gun use surveys. I’ll quote from the conclusion, but you really should read the whole thing:
Investigators are obliged to tell the truth about what they take from the work of other investigators and to provide verifiable evidence and complete documentation for statements made in reports on their own research. They are responsible for telling the “whole truth” about it, to use the legal phraseology, and for enabling others to confirm or falsify their results. As far as his claim about the evidence on gun brandishing obtained in 1997 is concerned, John Lott has failed on these counts. Keep in mind that the burden of proof is his, as in all inquiry. In the vernacular, Put up or shut up.
Despite his admission that he cannot document his 1997 survey, Lott continues to discuss the alleged findings from that project as if they are acceptable as statistical evidence. (See “What Surveys Can Help Us Understand About Guns?” cited earlier.) It appears that he has learned nothing from his critics about the ethical requirements of the scientific enterprise. So it is time for Lott’s supporters to advise him that his best course of action now is to retract his claims concerning the 1997 survey. Say-so and “recall” that gets more elaborate as time goes by are simply not acceptable. And it is long past time for him to retract his manifestly false allegations about what other investigators have found. His failure to do so is much more reprehensible than the Mary Rosh foolishness.
People who violate traffic laws can be sent back to school to relearn the etiquette of the road. Would that there were a comparable resource for those who violate professional ethics.