Dr. John Lott is the go-to expert when it comes to crime data and Second Amendment rights. His studies from the Crime Prevention Center have been cited in numerous pieces, including ones published here on Townhall, about the Left’s incessant, and often ridiculous, efforts to strip Americans of their Second Amendment rights. His studies have proven that contrary to what the anti-gun Left says about concealed carry holders, they’re actually more law-abiding than law enforcement. It proved to be useful data when the Violence Policy Center, an anti-gun outfit, decided to push the narrative that concealed carry holders were killers by fudging the data between convictions and trials pending. The VPC combined the two to cook the books. As any lawyer would know, there’s an explicit difference between a conviction and a pending trial. He’s also taken a stab at the whole myth about background checks, which isn’t the magic bullet to creating safer communities.
In Oregon, Christopher Harper-Mercer was able to kill nine people at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg last year. Oregon has a universal background check law for all gun purchases. Yet, Lott took this talking point to task in 2013, when Congress was mulling a universal background check bill by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) post-Newtown. For starters, the media was blitzing the scene, rehashing the 40 percent myth—the false claim that 40 percent of all gun sales are performed without a background check—and delved into the realm of private purchases. Lott noted that the 40 percent myth is based on very old data, with a sample size that isn’t worth considering for any serious academic review. Also, the sales in the 251-person survey from which the 40 percent myth is derived were based on sales before the Brady bill mandated background checks on gun sales. Second, most private sales where background checks aren’t performed are mostly relegated to family purchases and fall within the low single digits overall. Other than that, there’s really no hard data on private sales.
Yet, for everything that Dr. Lott has done in various publications and studies over the years, he’s now compiled in one simple book: The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies. It’s one massive triggering event for any pro-gun control liberal. It details how expanding background checks doesn’t cut down on gun violence; how gun free zones leave innocent Americans vulnerable, thus making them prime targets for mass shooters; how the federal government and the institutional left are funding bogus health studies to undercut our Second Amendment rights; why women concealed carry holders are surging; and how the media is a total disaster when it comes to gun laws and the lexicon within the firearms industry that could prevent egregious mistakes in reporting gun crimes. For example, how many times have you heard a news organization demonize semiautomatic weapons, which are really quite readily available for civilian use? In fact, the vast majority of gun owners in America probably own a semiautomatic firearm.
Here are some excerpts from his book relating to the media spin and the failure of gun registries, which is one of the main courses served by anti-gun liberals as some way to help make communities safer. In actuality, it sends the message that gun owners are criminals in waiting, and that to exercise one’s right to own a gun requires them to submit their personal information to the government. It’s atrocious:
The Media SpinThe media not only ignores positive examples of defensive gun use; news reports about the scientific side of the gun control debate are just as unbalanced. Coverage generally focuses on interviewing pro-gun control academics and questioning a gun shop owner or an NRA spokesperson for the other side of the argument. Of course, the New York Times will never run a news article on studies that find that guns save lives. Even when they write about studies supporting gun control, newspapers choose only to present comments by academics who support gun control. These articles give the impression that objective, qualified scientists are concerned about using gun control to save lives, while those with a profit or some other ulterior motive are willing to say anything to keep selling these lethal weapons. One of my books, The Bias Against Guns (2003), went through example after example of these one-sided reports in the media.
Unfortunately, little has changed. In January 2016, CNN ran a lengthy news story on studies that found gun control to be effective in preventing suicides. It wasn’t just my academic research that reporters ignored on this topic; there was also no mention of the National Research Council’s research showing that suicidal individuals had merely “substituted other methods of suicide.” Nor did the studies mentioned by CNN give any consideration to research which found that firearm suicides are not so much the product of higher gun ownership as factors related to rural areas (e.g., older men in rural areas are more likely to commit suicide because of the large male-to-female imbalance).
Consider a December 2015 Deseret News article on how to curb mass shootings. The only academics interviewed were gun control advocates, namely Garen Wintemute of the UC-Davis Violence Prevention Research Program and Mark Rosenberg of the Task for Global Health. The only opposing perspective came from National Rifle Association spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen. Likewise, a January 2016 story in the New York Times on Obama’s new proposed gun control regulations balanced discussions with a pro-gun control professor and Bloomberg’s Everytown with some federally licensed gun dealers and gun owners.
Whether in Canada, Hawaii, Chicago, or Washington, D.C., police are unable to point to a single instance of gun registration aiding the investigation of a violent crime. In a 2013 deposition, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said that the department could not “recall any specific instance where registration records were used to determine who committed a crime.”
The idea behind a registry is that guns left at a crime scene can be used to trace back to the criminals. Unfortunately, guns are very rarely left at the scene of the crime. Those that are left behind are virtually never registered—criminals are not stupid enough to leave behind guns registered to them. In the few cases where registered guns were left at the scene, the criminal had usually been killed or seriously injured.
Canada keeps some of the most thorough data on gun registration. From 2003 to 2009, a weapon was identified in fewer than a third of the country’s 1,314 firearm homicides. Of these identified weapons, only about a quarter were registered. Roughly half of these registered guns were registered to someone other than the person accused of the homicide. In just sixty-two cases—4.7 percent of all firearm homicides—was the gun identified as being registered to the accused. Since most Canadian homicides are not committed with a gun, these sixty-two cases correspond to only about 1 percent of all homicides.
We must always be vigilant. Hawaii became the first state to require its gun-owning residents to be entered into a federal database. California keeps adding more anti-gun measures on its books as well. Lott’s book serves as a how-to guide in fighting these pernicious narratives that seek to undercut one of our most vital civil liberties. At the same time, liberal Democrats, especially Obama, have been the best sales team for guns over the past eight years, with over 100 million sold since 2009. We’ve seen gun sales break records consistently for months, as talk of new gun control measures from the Hill send law-abiding Americans flocking to their local FFL. Now, everyone has the ultimate guide to knowing facts about guns, the laws, the studies, and the politics to fight these left wing narratives about firearms wherever they may appear. Support for gun rights is at its highest point in 25 years, but you can never let your guard down against those who keep pushing these lies about the Second Amendment—looking at you Hillary Clinton.