Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Gun News: Lott Scholarship

Meanwhile in other news, John Lott's scholarship surrounding the effect of gun laws on crime rates is still under fire. A scholarly look is here.

Lott has been subject to a lot of criticism. Some of this is because he seems to argue like a dumbass. If you are the author of a scholarly work, you should not be getting down and dirty in internet flame wars with your opponents. You especially not do so by using an assumed name and pretending to be someone else.

That said reception of Lott's work has been mixed. For those not in the know, Lott's work indicates that there is a reduction in violent crime when states pass conceal carry laws. He also indicates that property crime increases as criminals retask away from involving people. Others have used his data and methodology to replicate his results with good success. On the other hand altering his statistical methodology may change the results a lot.

The truth is that the relationship between concealed carry and crime is not as strong as people on either side would like. It is a very noisy data set and strong results one way or another seem to be dependent on the outliers. Most states falling within a region of statistical insignificance. Florida strongly supports Lott. West Virginia goes the other way. Most other states are in the insignificant middle.

Frankly I'm fine with statistical insignificance since I prefer to err on the side of freedom anyway. If anything his work still debunks the Wild West assertions of the anti-concealed carry crowd.

On a related topic, Dave Markowitz has gun ownership rates for Shall Issue states here.

No comments: