Correcting Kopel and Reynold's claims

Max Sawicky links here, as does Brad Delong and Hesiod.

Meanwhile, in a post that seems to have drifted in from some alternate reality, the William Sjostrom take on the Kopel/Reynolds/Lott attacks on Levitt is that Brad Delong is a sleaze.

In a previous message Glenn Reynolds claimed to have taken Levitt's word that he wasn't rabidly anti-gun. In his blog it did not seem that Reynolds had taken Levitt's word, so I asked him to clarify his position. He wrote:

I was quite clear in my InstaPundit post on this: I don't know Levitt. Someone who I found credible told me he was rabidly antigun. He says he isn't. (And, the way things work, both may be honestly giving their opinions). The proof will be in how the Committee works.

So when Reynolds wrote that he

"published Levitt's response that he wasn't rabidly anti-gun, and took him at his word."

he actually meant that he

"published Levitt's response that he wasn't rabidly anti-gun, and did not take him at his word."

I also asked Dave Kopel to clarify his position on the "rabidly antigun" question. He believes that Lott his source is correct, but regrets using an inflammatory word like "rabidly". I asked for the evidence that his source produced that convinced him and was informed that it was secret. (Apparently presenting any evidence at all in support of the claim would reveal the identity of his source.)

Since neither Reynolds nor Kopel have retracted their attack on Levitt, I believe it is germane to examine the accuracy of the other statements they make in their article.

  1. They claim that the panel ignores "research into the benefits of firearms.". As Mark Kleiman pointed out last year, the project description quite clearly includes research into the benefits of firearms. Reynolds claims that the language about benefits wasn't in the document that he looked at. However, the Wayback Machine shows that the language was in the page that they linked to. (The date on the Wayback Machine's copy is a little later than their article, but the internal evidence on that page shows that it hadn't been changed since before their article was written.)
  2. They claim that:
    The committee members were not given even one of the many social-science articles detailing the failures of various gun-control laws.

    This is contradicted by Paul Blackman, who on the firearmsreg list stated that 75-80% of the articles were "anti-gun".

  3. They assert that a 1993 study by Kellermann et al that found that gun ownership was associated with a three times greater risk of becoming a victim of a homicide in the home was "junk science". They argue that
    hardly any of Kellermann's murder victims were killed with a gun from their own home, and a significant number of the murder "victims" were lawfully killed by police, and the whole factoid disappears once you account for the true rates of gun ownership among the "control group" of people who weren't murdered

    All of these claims are false. Enough of the victims were murdered by the gun in the home so that all of the extra risk from guns was associated just with gun homicide and homicide by people with access to the home gun. Only four (out of 400) were killed by police. You can speculate that the correlation may have be caused by gun ownership being more underreported in the control group, but that does not make the speculation true.

With so many inaccuracies in their article, it is probably best to entirely discount their claims about Levitt.


More like this

Glenn Reynolds comments on the CNSNews article. Despite Ayres and Donohue's best efforts, Reynolds is all agnostic on the Lott question, but fortunately he has an opinion on the study by Ludwig and Cook (who Reynolds calls "antigun researchers"): What's most striking to me, though, is…
Some responses to Glenn Reynolds' post yesterday: Tbogg considers Reynolds to be washing his hands and changing the subject. Tom Spencer observes that it is dishonest of Reynolds to respond to criticism without providing a link to that criticism. Roger Ailes reckons that Reynolds is being…
First, a recap and a time line on the Kopel/Lott/Reynolds attacks on Steve Levitt: 16 Aug 2001 Glenn Reynolds claims that the NAS panel is "stacked" with "ardent supporters of gun control", especially Levitt. 29 Aug 2001 Dave Kopel and Glenn Reynolds write an article in National Review Online…
Kevin Drum has a nice summary on Lott's anonymous attack on Levitt. Kieran Healy tells what Lott's next step will be. Brian Linse thinks Reynolds and Kopel should offer some answers. Atrios links here. And Tom Spencer has two posts. First, he observes that Reynolds' cover up for Lott raises…