Lott responds to the NAS Panel

As I predicted, Lott claims that the panel was stacked:

My piece in the LA Times is still accurate today. While I will write up a more substantive discussion, James Q. Wilson’s very unusual dissent in the first appendix says a lot. Wilson concluded that all the research provided “confirmation of the findings that shall-issue laws drive down the murder rate . . . .” The NAS won’t tell me how many panels have had dissents previously, though they admit that they are very rare. It is disappointing that the panel refused to let me ask questions during their presentation.

Lott misrepresents Wilson’s conclusion. Wilson did not conclude that all the research provided confirmation that shall-issue laws decrease murder, rather that the committee’s analysis of Lott’s data and models confirmed Lott’s claim about murder. His actual conclusion:

In sum, I find that the evidence presented by Lott and his supporters suggests that RTC laws do in fact help drive down the murder rate, though the effect on other crimes is ambiguous.

Wilson agrees with the rest of the committee that Lott has failed to show declines in violent crime, assault, rape and robbery—he just disagrees about murder. (On that point Wilson is mistaken, since he has misunderstood the committee’s analysis. More on this later.)

Update: Lott has altered his post. The sentence

Wilson concluded that all the research provided “confirmation of the findings that shall-issue laws drive down the murder rate . . . .”

has been replaced by

Wilson concluded that the research provides “confirmation of the findings that shall-issue laws drive down the murder rate . . . ,” though he is less convinced of the change in other crimes.

I’m afraid Lott loses the brownie points he gets for making a correction by not indicating that his post had been corrected.


  1. #1 Carl Jarrett
    December 20, 2004

    As expected, Lott carefully cherry-picks the comment to make it appear as if there is support for his work.

  2. #2 Bob H
    December 20, 2004

    “Misrepresents”? You are really stretching it. The discussion seems clear to me.

  3. #3 Mike R
    December 20, 2004

    While Lott seems to think he has a legitimate gripe about Wilson’s comment, I am very disappointed in the NAS’s over all perspective. Their inclusion of Lott at all as if he was a scholar instead of the fraud he is, was disappointing and their general tone seems more like it was written by the NRA.

  4. #4 Carl Jarrett
    December 20, 2004

    Relaxed gun laws haven’t translated into demand for licenses

    Chicago Tribune

    CHICAGO – (KRT) – Even as more states make it easier for people to carry handguns in public, citizen demand to legally carry a small firearm has lagged far behind expectations, according to law enforcement data from states that have recently relaxed their handgun laws.


  5. #5 ChrisPer
    December 21, 2004

    So Carl, the article you linked says demand is 30% less than projections. How is ‘more’ false? 70% of ‘expected’ is still ‘more’.

  6. #6 Kevin Baker
    December 28, 2004

    Don’t confuse him with logic, Chris. He’ll ask you to “prove” your assertions.

  7. #7 Carl Jarrett
    December 29, 2004

    Well, Kevin, unlike you and your buddies, I produced actual evidence rather than weak anecdotes.

    Here’s a clue for you – getting a CHL does not mean that the person is also getting a gun. Most people who are obtaining CHLs already have guns and are already carrying concealed, they are merely getting a permit for what they already do. If you don’t believe me on that point, you’re not very familiar with Gary Kleck’s research.

    The article shows that people are not turning out in droves to obtain CHLs.

  8. #8 Carl Jarrett
    December 30, 2004

    Lott has an NY Post Op-Ed on the NAS study:

    There is considerable irony in his statement – “the panel couldn’t identify a single gun-control regulation that reduced violent crime, suicide or accidents.” Right-to-Carry laws are gun control regulations and, as such, Lott is tacitly agreeing with the panel’s conclusion that his results do not hold up to scrutiny.

    As you predicted, Lott is trying to claim that the panel was stacked with anti-gun researchers.

  9. #9 ChrisPer
    December 31, 2004

    So Lott’s claim of measurable reductions in crime are more likely to be ‘no measurable effect’. Does that mean the opponents of CCW were… Let’s see now, what did they say were the reasons we shouldn’t have self-defnse guns… Just asking here.

    And will the same depth of analysis be applied to the false reports of benfits in press releases based on speculation and hype in Mouzos and Reuter, or Azanne-Smith et al.?

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