Cover of 3rd edition of "More Guns, Less Crime" by John Lott. Available at Amazon.com now, in books stores next week.
Received the third edition of John Lott’s “More Guns, Less Crime” yesterday.
Eight years ago I read the second edition down in Florida before starting my Libertarian Party campaign for Illinois Governor.
The book was a real eye-opener then.
The new edition provides nine more years of data and critical analyses of his detractors.
Lott was teaching at the University of Chicago when he wrote the first edition. He’s not now. A lot of us think Mayor Daley had more than a little to do with that.
Note that the University of Chicago Press published John Lott's book. He taught at the U of C when the first edition of his book was published. Some think Mayor Richard Daley is the reason Lott is no longer teaching at the University of Chicago.
Even so, Lott’s book is published by the University of Chicago press.
What delicious irony.
Lott doesn’t make any mention of the specifics, but I found the following instructive of the personal sacrifice Lott has made to follow the facts he found to the policy conclusions he supports.
At the beginning of Chapter 10, entitled, “A Decade Later: Nine More Years of Data and Nine More States,” he talks of the argument and the data having been “hotly debated” and characterizes it as “unpleasant, vociferous, and even disingenuous.”
“To say that my career has suffered as a result is something of an understatement and, alas, an unpleasant warning to other scholars who dare to go against the academic grain. And, yet as this chapter will document, within the scholarly community the research has withstood criticism and remains sound.”
Later, on page 305, he adds,
“Being a target of inaccurate accusations has been an unfortunate and unpleasant experience. It certainly would have been preferable if the debate had stuck to the data and their analysis. The hypothesis that more guns connects to less crime has stood up against massive efforts to criticize it.”
“To be blunt, the debate, such as it is, has unfortunately become personalized rather than sticking to the merits of the case—on which my opponents have no case to make.” (Page 295)
Put a bit differently, on the same page he writes:
“Not a single referred academic study by economists or criminologists has found a bad effect from these laws…the basic results have replicated, which is a central scientific criterion for evaluating an argument.”
So what doesn’t Daley understand?
“Every place around the world that has banned guns appear to have experienced an increase in murder and violent crime rates,” Lott writes.
He writes this right before he talks about Chicago on page 315.
Lott recounts Chicago’s enactment of its gun ban in 1983.
Murder Rate in Chicago compared to that of the 48 other largest US cities with gun banning District of Columbia excluded. Click to enlarge.
“Chicago’s murder rate fell from 39 to 22 per 100,000 in the eight years before the law and then rose slightly to 23.
“During the seventeen years from 1983 through 1999, there has been only one year when Chicago’s murder rate fell below what it was in 1982, the last year before the ban.
Comparing Chicago's murder rate with the nine other largest US cities. Click to enlarge.
“Over the same time, the U.S. murder rate fell by 31 percent, from 8.3 to 5.7, and the murder rate for the other nine largest cities dropped by 34 percent from 17.8 to 11.7 (figure 10.14). Chicago’s murder rate doesn’t fall below its 1982 murder rate until 2002.
“It is hard to attribute the eventual drop to the ban, which went into effect twenty years earlier.”
What are the benefits of right-to-carry laws?
This chart shows the decline in the murder rate for states enacting right-to-carry legislation in the 1980'sm 1990's and during this century. Note that the longer that self-protection privilege has been in effect, the bigger the drop in the murder rate. Part of the reason is that more people start using this method to protect themselves as the years go by, but another part is that the more recently enacted laws tend to have more onerous training and cost requirements. Both deter people from getting permits. Requiring people to take eight hours of training or pay a $100 for a permit would obviously cut down on the number of poorer people who could qualify for a right-to-carry permit. Some might suggest such requirements represent racial discrimination. Click to enlarge.
“There are large drops in overall violent crime, murder, rape, and aggravated assault that begin right after the right-to-carry laws have gone into effect. In all those crime categories, the crime rates consistently stay much lower than they were before the law,” Lott writes on page 259.
And, the murder rate?
“When the laws were passed,” he explains, “the average murder rate in non-right-to-carry states was 6.3 per 100,000 people. By the first and second full years of the law it had fallen to 5.9. And by nine to ten years after the law, it had declined to 5.2. That averages to about a 1.7 percent drop in murder rates per year for ten years.”
Rapes fell almost four percent a year after passage. Stands to reason if a rapist thought a woman might have a gun, he would be more reticent to attack.
Rape rates went down significantly.
His appendix 6 shows these findings and others in detail.
So, what has Daley to lose by following the logic of this data?
Just admitting his gun control ideology is based on faith, not facts.
The year before I ran for Governor, Michigan passed a right-to-carry law.
Six years into this experiment to allow citizens to defend themselves, the Detroit Free Press wrote,
“The incidence of violent crime in Michigan in the six years since the law went into effect has been, on average, below the rate of the previous six years. The overall incidence of death from firearms, including suicide and accidents, also has declined.”
Dire predictions by the Wayne county (Detroit) Sheriff on the what would happen if the law were enacted, which I read at the time, did not occur. He admitted it a year later in a Traverse City newspaper article I read.
Southside Cleveland Democratic Party State Rep. Michale DeBose voted against Ohio right-to-carry bills two times. A bill passed in 2004.
On May 15, 2007 the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote this:
“’I was wrong,’ he said Friday.
“’I'm going to get a permit and so is my wife.
“’I've changed my mind. You need a way to protect yourself and your family.’”
If only Mayor Daley would take a chance that Chicago is no different from Cleveland.
Perhaps, if he reflected on the fact that no state that has enacted such a law has repealed it, that the only changes have been to make restrictions on those with permits looser, he might act in the best interests of his crime-weary constituents.
In the Illinois General Assembly, one Chicago state senator elected in 1992 told his table mates at the Legislative Research Unit’s new legislators’ conference that he always carried a gun.
I saw another Chicago legislator (different race) with his handgun in his shoulder holster on the House floor while he was reaching for his wallet.
And, of course, Chicago aldermen already have the right to carry concealed weapons.