After I concluded yesterday that Kopel had probably added the attribution to Kleck in one Lott op-ed, Lott has weighed in, contradicting Kopel's story. In this posting Lott writes:
"My vague recollection of what happened is that David Kopel (Research Director at the Independence Institute) called me up asking for more information on who had done self-defense surveys and I mentioned that among them was Gary Kleck."
This is contradicted by Kopel's account of what he thinks happened (see yesterday for a summary). It is ridiculous to suppose that Kopel would have needed to ask Lott who had done self-defence surveys. Kopel stated he was well aware of Kleck's work. You can see an earlier reference Kopel made to Kleck's survey here.
It is very odd that Lott can recollect, even vaguely, something that is so obviously false.
Lott also argues that he "never attributed this number to anyone else other than [him]self", writing:
"The relevant passage from the op-ed reads:"Other research shows that guns clearly deter criminals. Polls by the Los Angeles Times, Gallup and Peter Hart Research Associates show that there are at least 760,000, and possibly as many as 3.6 million, defensive uses of guns per year. In 98 percent of the cases, such polls show, people simply brandish the weapon to stop an attack."
If the reference in the second sentence had been to "these" polls and not "such" polls, I would think that the critics would have a much better argument. Instead, I view "such polls" as merely referring back to this type of polls and not those specific polls. Still there is admittedly an error in using the plural. The most plausible explanation is that I was describing what findings had been generated by the polls, in other words I was viewing them in general as a body of research."
Even if Lott was referring to the polls as a general body of research, this contradicts his claim that he "never attributed this number to anyone else other than [him]self", since at best, only one of those polls was his.
Lastly, Lott writes:
The bottom line is that there is not a single place where I have directly attributed the 98 percent figure to Kleck or anybody else's study. The only thing that can be charge is that I likely on a couple of cases must have made some trivial plural/singular mistake.
This is nonsense. Try changing the plural to singular in one of his statements and you get this:
Polls by the Los Angeles Times, Gallup and Peter Hart Research Associates show that there are at least 760,000, and possibly as many as 3.6 million, defensive uses of guns per year. In 98 percent of the cases, such poll show, people simply brandish the weapon to stop an attack.
Changing it to "a poll shows" doesn't work either. If he really had been trying to say that the number came from his own poll, he would have written "my own poll shows". This isn't just some trivial difference.