Kopel, still claiming Levitt is "anti-gun"

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 unfair to Lott by calling him "disingenuous" for not mentioning Levitt's denial of the "rabidly antigun" charge. After all, Reynolds did not bother correcting the article and it unreasonable to expect Lott to have read the correction on Reynolds' weblog. However, it is reasonable to expect Lott to be aware of Levitt's denial if Lott is Reynolds' anonymous source. Ailes also has some pointed comments about Reynolds' misrepresentation of what the controversy has been about. Note further that Reynolds still has not explained why he called Levitt an especially ardent supporter of gun control.

Dave Kopel has also blogged on the affair. Like Reynolds, he avoids mentioning or linking to any of the recent discussion about this matter. Anyway, he starts with a false claim:

Perhaps our warnings had some effect; the panel's "charge," which we linked to from our article, focused only on examining the negative effects of firearms in society. That link is no longer operative, and a more detailed charge has replaced it; the new charge requires the panel to also consider beneficial aspects to firearms ownership.

You can see the original charge that they linked to here, courtesy of the Wayback Machine. You can compare it with the current version to see that there has been no significant change. Mark Kleiman also checked with someone on the panel who stated that the charge had not been changed. Numerous other errors of fact in the Kopel/Reynolds article are detailed here.

Kopel then points to two articles by Levitt that Kopel claims are "anti-gun". The most important point is that not even Kopel is willing to claim that that the articles are "rabid". Having failed yet again to present any evidence that Levitt is "rabidly antigun", the decent thing to do would be to withdraw the charge and apologize for the unfounded slur, but Kopel does not do this.

Anyway, Kopel somehow construes the two Levitt articles as being anti-gun. He does not dispute the accuracy of Levitt's statements, so apparently making any correct statement about harm done with guns means that you are "anti-gun". By this measure, even Lott is "anti-gun". Nor can Kopel claim that Levitt just concentrates on the harm and avoids the potential benefits, since the first paper models the effects of concealed carry laws on crime.

Kopel finishes with:

There is nothing logically inconsistent with a scholar favoring gun control to address the very large problem of criminal homicide with guns, while also recognizing that the magnitude of the problem of fatal gun accidents involving children is not nearly as large as the media imply.

Nice attempt to shift the burden of proof. If Kopel makes an unsubstantiated claim about Levitt being anti-gun, then it is up to him to prove it. It is not the responsibility of others to disprove it.


More like this

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…
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…
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…
Mac Diva is trying to figure out why Lott does the things he does. Atrios explains why he cares about Lott. Brad Delong says that I have "a very strong case". Matt Yglesias has some thoughtful comments on appropriate behaviour in this case. ArchPundit has one two posts. On Monday Glenn Reynolds…