On Sharing Data

Pro-gun writers frequently make false accusations that researchers they oppose do not share their data. For example, Lott claimed that Ayres and Donohue’s data was not available even though it was on Ayres’ webpage.

Another example is Carl Moody, who claimed that Kellermann was lying because his data was not available. When I pointed out to Moody that Kellermann’s data had been available for years and years he refused to apologize to Kellermann.

In More Guns, Less Crime Lott also claimed that Kellermann’s data was unavailable, even though it was available on the web. This was explained to him on Usenet, but he insisted that something was missing while refusing to say what was missing.

In the comments to this post, Andrew Salemme gives another example. In Armed: New Perspectives on Gun Control, Don Kates claims that Kellermann only released the data for the 316 matched pairs used in his analysis. This is an extremely careless claim, since all he had to do was look at the data to see that it included information about 420 murder victims.


  1. #1 Andrew Salemme
    October 29, 2003

    Actually when Kates wrote the original article that appears (with some modifications) in Armed: New Perspectives on Gun Control the data had not been released so he couldn’t have looked at the data. The article was printed in 1995 two years before Kellermann released his data. However, Kates should have made the correction and stated that Kellermann had since released the data before printing it in the book. On the other hand the data that has been released does not support the strongly worded conclusion by Kellermann in my mind.
    49% (96) of 196 gun homicides were committed by a family member or close personal acquaintance (according to Mr. Lambert’s inspection of the data, however I believe that of the homes with guns in them the number of gun homcides committed by family/roommates was 75. So 75 of 388 homicides in the home were committed by a family member/roommate- which is 19%) Either way an implication is involved and an implication is not fact. So the conclusion should not be reported as fact.
    The problem isn’t necessarily Kellermann’s study it is the use of his study by the media, HCI, and other gun control groups that misinterpet/ incorrectly use the findings without critically citing the work.

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