Otis Dudley Duncan has sent me some comments on the attempts by pro-gun folks to dismiss criticism of Lott as some sort of payback for Bellesiles:

I have gone out of my way to remark that the Bellesiles case is not helpful for evaluating Lott’s work. My statement is in section 4 of the essay on Lott and surveys on your site.

Moreover, while I may have heard rumors about Bellesiles’ writing earlier, I am willing to testify under oath that the first thing of his I read was his article in Guns in America: A Reader, ed. by Jan E. Dizard et al. (1999). This was after my considerable effort to get a straight story out of Lott and, failing that, to run down the material in my article in the Jan./Feb. 2000 Criminologist. If I had had that book, I would have known about and referred to Lott’s 1997 Valparaiso University Law Review article, which included the erroneous statements about L.A. Times and Gallup polls. Obviously, my article was written without any thought of Bellesiles in mind.

After learning something about the case against Bellesiles, I did some cursory web surfing and got the general drift of the criticism. I have never studied the case in detail, but the evidence seemed overwhelming and there would have been nothing for me to say except—if one must say it—that behavior of the kind he has been found to engage in is totally unacceptable, reprehensible, and beyond the pale.

I do find interesting two comparisons between the two cases. The historians, after the Bellesiles evidence began to come apart, went into the evaluation of his writing with zeal and care. By contrast, American criminologists, while a few of them have written critically of More Guns, Less Crime, have simply had no public role in pursuing the question of Lott’s unethical behavior in attributing his purported survey results to other parties and in promulgating statistics for which absolutely no documentation can be produced. The compilation of that record has been left (so far as I know) to two people, and you know who they are. The historians seem to have different standards from the criminologists who should have been involved in compiling that record but were not. (I apologize if I have overlooked some relevant writing by American criminologists. I am assuming that some mention of it would have found its way into the Lambert web site.)

The other salient difference is that the institution that housed Bellesiles when he did his alleged research ultimately did the responsible thing and got a third-party, totally professional evaluation of it for public distribution. But neither the University of Chicago, nor Yale University, nor the American Enterprise Institute, where at various times Lott did and published his work, has lifted a finger (so far as we now know) to help clarify the record for public consumption.