Michael Peckham has an interesting post looking at Bellesiles and Lott and how they relate to other research frauds. He thinks that they might serve as examples that deter others from research fraud.


  1. #1 ThinkTank
    January 15, 2004

    Bellesiles admitted to mistakes, denied that there was an intent to defraud and corrected his book. His thesis still stands, “a people armed and numerous” did not exist in colonial America. Lott’s research was funded by the gun industry to drive up sales of handguns, thereby driving up crime to frighten even more people into buying guns for “protection.”

  2. #2 Carl Jarrett
    January 15, 2004

    For another example of a criminologist involved in a controversy over a research survey conducted by students see:


  3. #3 Kevin Baker
    January 15, 2004

    “Lott’s research was funded by the gun industry to drive up sales of handguns, thereby driving up crime to frighten even more people into buying guns for ‘protection.’ “

    According to the BATF Americans have been purchasing about a million new handguns a year since at least 1990, yet the crime rate has been dropping each and every year since that date. Last year there was a small increase in violent crime, though, which indicates that violent crime is more tied to the economy than to “the number of guns” in circulation.

    And I believe that “More Guns, Less Crime” was first published in 1998? If that’s the case, it didn’t even affect the number of handguns purchased annually.

    (Were you aware that a pathological hatred for anything – guns, cats, hatpins – is a treatable disorder?)

    And Bellesiles might have “denied fraud” – but that doesn’t mean he didn’t willfully commit it. A bunch of historians who have read his source materials and couldn’t care less about guns believe he did.

  4. #4 ThinkTank
    January 15, 2004

    which no one has been able to do. Bellesiles said in several interviews that prior to the smear campaign by the right that he WAS a gun owning Republican. More Guns, Less Crime was about CCW, not total gun numbers. And 1 million new guns a year isn’t even more then the 2.2% pop growth rate. Add to that that 3/4ths of America doesn’t ANY guns, its people who own several that are driving that number higher then it shuold be.

  5. #5 Kevin Baker
    January 15, 2004

    Yet you assert Lott’s intent was: “to drive up sales of handguns, thereby driving up crime to frighten even more people into buying guns for ‘protection.’ “


    And it’s three million guns a year, of which one million are handguns.

    Also, being a “gun owning Republican” doesn’t mean you believe in or support the general right to arms. There are a lot of people who believe in “guns for me, but not for thee.”

    And, finally, in your world as you’ve made quite clear, “higher then(sic) it shuold(sic) be” is equivalent to “any number greater than zero.”

  6. #6 ThinkTank
    January 15, 2004

    the pro-gun groups WANT crime to be higher so they can fool people into bying MORE guns, and “higher than it should be” means anything higher than is REASONABLE. You know like other countries like UK and Australia that have dozens MAYBE hundreds of gun deaths versus the US that has 10s of thousands.

  7. #7 Kevin Baker
    January 15, 2004

    ThinkTank, I advise you to read this story from the English newspaper The Sun. Key quotes:

    “From July to September there were 289,500 violent crimes in England and Wales – compared with only 253,000 in the same period in 2002.

    “This included an 18 per cent increase in homicide and serious wounding, from 10,000 to 11,800.

    “One household in every 200 now risks the prospect of an armed burglar each year. That is a rise of 79 per cent since 1993, according to Chubb Insurance.”

    “Criminal psychologist Professor David Canter, author of the report, said: ‘Aggravated burglary is increasing.

    “‘Non-violent burglaries may be on the decline as home security increases, but this is forcing other violent or career criminals to resort to physical attack to gain access to valuables.'” (My emphasis)

    And finally:

    Britain dominates the top five in the crime league of Western countries, with only Sweden above them. (My emphasis)

    “England and Wales have 10,608 crimes for every 100,000 citizens, followed by Scotland and Northern Ireland with 8,315.

    “Germany has 7,734, France 6,880 and America – known for violent crime – just 4,157. (My emphasis)

    We don’t want violent crime to go UP – which is what we believe will happen if people like you get the “gun control” laws you want passed..

    Yes, the United States has a lot of homicide, and you can point to our ownership of guns for that, I can’t stop you. But I look at the people committing homicide, and I don’t see any way to significantly affect their behavior through gun control – because you can’t disarm them, you can only disarm people like me – and I’m not somebody you need to worry about.

    What you are suggesting as a “solution” to violent crime will result in one thing and one thing only – the victims will be disarmed. The criminals will not be. And violent crime will rise – because we already have a large population of people willing and able to use violence to take what they want.

    More later, maybe.

  8. #8 Kevin Baker
    January 15, 2004

    Something else: ThinkTank – who gets to decide what’s “reasonable”? You?

    And finally, where’s your proof. I’ve asked you for it before, but instead of providing it, you simply restate your assertion, but more broadly.

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