Dalai Lama visits Emory
Jerry Callahan, in his March 27 letter to The Times, mentions the work of John R. Lott as the final word in guns and crime. Lott’s empirical work, on face value, was good. Many social scientists would agree that it stimulated others to examine the subject of right-to-carry laws and any relationship with crime.
When re-examined, Lott’s data shows that crime increases as RTC laws are passed. In 2004, the National Research Council reviewed Lott’s work stating, “The initial model specification, when extended to new data, does not show evidence that passage of right-to-carry laws reduces crime. No link between right-to-carry laws and changes in crime is apparent in the raw data, even in the initial sample; it is only once numerous covariates are included (by Lott) that the negative results in the early data emerge.”
In August 2012, NBER Working Paper No. 18294 found that aggravated assault rises when RTC laws are adopted. Further, RTC laws increase crime in 6 out of the 7 crime categories.
In 2002, the Violence Policy Center studied Texans with a RTC permit. They discovered that 41 of 150,000 permit holders were arrested for murder or attempted murder over a five-year period. The average permit holder was a white male living in an area with above average income and education levels, and which is composed predominantly of non-Hispanic whites. This suggests that permit holders, as a group, commit murder more often than any similar group selected at random.
But let’s use real world comparisons and common sense. Chicago has far stronger guns control laws than Atlanta. So by Lott’s rational, Atlanta should have less crime. That’s not true. Atlanta has a higher rate of murder and robbery per 100,000 than Chicago. Aggravated assault rates are more than 75 percent higher. Property crime is 55 percent higher.
Burglary is 68 percent higher. And motor vehicle thefts are 85 percent higher.
You are safer in Chicago with its gun control laws than in Atlanta with its “right to carry” laws. It’s common sense. When there are more guns, there’s more crime.
Michael W. Parker