- Page 3
- Lott writes ``If national surveys are correct, 98
percent of the time that people use guns defensively, they merely have
to brandish a weapon to break off an attack.''
fact, Kleck's survey  indicates that 24% fired
the weapon and the NCVS indicates that 38% fired the
weapon . Five other surveys give numbers between
34% and 67% .
In the second edition Lott changes ``national surveys'' to ``a
national survey that I conducted''. This is a fabrication.
There is no evidence that Lott ever conducted such a survey. Lott
provides some details about what he claims to have done in
a letter to The Criminologist  and a phone
conversation with James Lindgren .
- The survey was conducted over three months in early 1997.
- 2,424 people were surveyed. (This would have required well over
10,000 phone calls and about five full-time interviwers over the
- The interviewers were students and Lott does not remember any
of their names.
- Lott did not retain any records of reimbursing the students for their
- The data was lost in a computer crash.
- Lott does not remember what happened to the tally sheets or what
the questions were.
Unfortunately for Lott, he first made the claim about 98% brandishing
on Feb 6, 1997  before the survey he alleges it
came from was completed. Even if he did conduct a survey (unlikely,
given the lack of evidence that he did), he has not told the truth
about the origin of the 98% figure.
- Page 4
- Lott claims that Lawrence Southwick 
that the probability of serious injury from an attack is 2.5 times
greater for women offering no resistance
than for women resisting with a gun. In contrast, the probability of
women being seriously injured was almost 4 times greater when
resisting without a gun than with resisting with a gun. ...
Men also fare better with guns, but the differences are significantly
smaller. Behaving passively is 1.4 times more likely to result is
serious injury than resisting with a gun. Male victims, like females
also run the greatest risk when they resist without a gun, yet the
difference is again much smaller: resistance without a gun is only 1.5
times as likely to result in serious injury than resistance with a
gun. The much smaller difference for men reflects the fact that a gun
produces a smaller change in a man's ability to defend himself than it
does for a woman.
Southwick's description of his findings is very different from Lott's
(page 362 of )
Table 6 also reports the number of serious injuries received by those
who choose each set of actions. The only significant difference here
is in the likelihood of receiving an injury if one takes no action.
What Southwick noted and Lott failed to report to his readers is that
none of the numbers Lott reported are statistically significant.
Here are 95% confidence intervals
(calculated from the data in table 6 of )
for the injury rate ratios mentioned by Lott:
All of the confidence intervals include the number 1. This
means that resisting with a gun is not associated with a statistically
significant lower injury rate for women or men. Nor are the
differences between the ratios for men and women statistically significant.
|female: no resist/gun
|male: no resist/gun
Even if the ratios were statistically significant they would not prove
that resisting a
criminal attack with gun is a safer choice than not offering
resistance. Correlation is not the same as causation.
The correlation in the NCVS data could equally well come about if
serious injury made with-gun resistance less likely or if there were
other differences between with-gun resistors and others. The BJS
warns against drawing the conclusions that Lott
- Page 5
- The ``hot burglary'' rate in Canada is 9% 
which is less than than that for the US. The ``hot burglary'' rate
in England is indeed higher than that for the US, but if that is
enough to conclude that guns cause this difference, we should also
conclude that guns cause the US homicide rate to be far higher than
that of England. Lott also claims that American burglars spend more
time than their foreign counterparts ``casing'' a house. This is
pure speculation--he has no evidence at all for this claim.
Cook and Ludwig conducted a multi-variate analysis of gun prevalence
and burglary in the US  and found that where there
were more guns the burglary rate was actually higher (that is, more
guns, more burglary). Moreover, the ``hot burglary'' rate was not
lower where there were more guns.
- Page 10
- Lott states that child-resistant bottle caps actually
have resulted in ``3,500 additional poisonings of children under age 5
annually from [aspirin-related drugs] ...[as] consumers have been
lulled into a less-safety-conscious mode of behavior by the
existence of safety caps.'' I reviewed the literature on this topic
and found that the only study to conclude that child-resistant
packaging caused harm is the one cited by Lott. All the other studies
(none of them mentioned by Lott) found substantial reductions in
poisonings . The most recent and sophisticated
study  found a 45% reduction in deaths.
Furthermore, no evidence for the claimed ``lulling'' effect
exists--studies have found that people do not store medicines with
child-resistant caps differently from medicines without them.
- Page 11
- Lott claims that the National Crime Victimization
Survey does not weight regions by population and relies too heavily
on urban data. Lott offers no evidence for this claim and
apparently would have us believe that the NCVS has been conducted
incompetently for over 25 years and no-one has noticed and made the
trivial fix to the problem. He also falsely claims that a
law-enforcement agency asks the NCVS questions. In fact, the NCVS
is conducted by the Census Bureau, which is not a law-enforcement
- page 11
- Lott claims that ``fifteen national polls...imply
that there are 760,000 defensive handgun uses to 3.6 million defensive
uses of ant type of gun per year''. However, the reference he
cites  gives a table containing data from thirteen polls.
However, three of the polls are not national polls, but are confined to a
single state and two of the polls do not yield an estimate at all. Two
later surveys [22,6] could be added to this
yielding a total of ten ``national polls''.
In a reply  to an article by Otis Dudley
Duncan  that pointed out this error, Lott compounds his
error. Rather than admit to making a mistake, he falsely claims that the
table contains fifteen polls. It doesn't--there are thirteen polls listed
in that table .
- Page 24
- Lott grossly misrepresents Kellermann's study. He
states that ``they fail to report that in only 8 of these 444
homicide cases could it be established that the gun involved had been
kept in the home.'' Kellermann et al do indeed fail to report that,
but that is because it is not true. They
do note that in 8 out of a subset of 14 cases the police report
stated that the gun involved had been kept in the home. Needless to
say, 14 is not equal to 444. Lott goes on to claim that ``all or
virtually all the homicide victims were killed by weapons brought
into their homes by intruders''. This claim is also false. Table 1
of Kellermann's paper  shows that only 14% of
the homicide victims were killed by intruders. My analysis of
Kellermann's data shows only 8% of the homicide victims were killed
with guns by intruders.
This is not the only way that Lott has misrepresented Kellermann's
study. He claims that the case-control method, as used by
Kellermann, was not designed to study these sort of issues
because other factors could cause a correlation between gun
ownership and homicide. This claim is also false. Lott fails to
tell his readers that Kellermann did a multivariate analysis,
controlling for dozens of other factors. Earlier (page 4), a simple
correlation without controlling for other factors was enough for
Lott to conclude causation when it suited his purposes.
- Page 52-53
- In table 4.1
he claims that carry laws cause a 7.7% decrease in murder. However,
in table 3 of the Lott-Mustard paper the result of the same regression
is shown as a decrease of -0.0765 in the natural log of the murder
rate, which is a decrease of
. Lott has
obtained his percent changes by multiplying the change in the natural log
of the crime rates by 100. This is only an approximation to the
correct value, and for large changes, not a good one. Every single
percent change given in this table and the other tables giving percent
changes (tables 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.8, 4.9, 4.10, 4.11, 4.13, 4.14,
5.1, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 9.1, 9.3, 9.4, 9.6 and A5.1) is calculated
- Page 54
- Lott claims that there were only 200 accidental handgun
deaths in the US in 1988. While it may be true that there were 200
gun deaths were a handgun was identified as the gun type involved,
in most accidental deaths the gun type was not identified, and it is
incorrect to assume, as Lott does, that in none of these a handgun
was involved. If we assume that the handgun percentage for these
was the same as for the ones where the gun type was identified then
there were 632 accidental handgun deaths .
- Page 68
- Lott claims that blacks benefit more than other groups
from concealed-handgun laws. However, his own table 5.2 shows that
blacks did not benefit more.
- Page 113
- Lott's claim that there is no worldwide relationship
between gun ownership and crime rates is false. Using gun ownership
data from the International Crime Victimization Survey Killias found
significant correlations between gun ownership and homicide
- Page 160 (161 in 2nd edition)
- Lott falsely claims that women and blacks benefit the
most from concealed-handgun laws in terms of reduced rates of
murder. His own table 5.2 shows that the change in murder rates was
the same for blacks and whites and for women and men.
- Page 160 (161 in 2nd edition)
- Lott claims that the ``halo'' effect from shall issue
laws also protects juveniles who are not eligible for concealed
weapon permits. As discussed earlier the fact that juvenile homicides declined as
much as adult homicides is evidence that the crime decreases were
not caused by the shall issue laws, not evidence for extra benefits
from such laws. It seems as if Lott can interpret any outcome at
all as evidence for benefits from shall issue laws.
- Page 32 of 
- Lott claims that ``Guns are used for
defensive purposes about five times as often as they are used for
crimes.'' In fact, the National Crime Victimization Survey indicates
that the number of gun crimes (about 850,000 in
1996 ) is about twelve times as much as the
number of defensive gun uses (about 72,000 in
1996 ). This is surely not
surprising--criminals are more likely to be involved in a situation
where a gun might be useful, and so have more incentive to carry a
gun. They can also only choose to commit crimes on the occasions
when they are carrying a gun.
Lott arrives at his claim by taking the lowest available estimate
for gun crimes (430,000 from the FBI's UCR) and a high estimate
for defensive gun uses
(An average of the estimates computed by Kleck ,
omitting the NCVS estimate). While that
produces a ratio favourable to Lott's position, it is impossible for
both estimates to be correct. According to the respondents in
Kleck's survey (which is the basis for all the estimates computed
one fifth of his estimated 2.5 million defensive gun
uses were against gun crimes, implying that every single time a
criminal committed a gun crime, they encountered an armed victim.
This is clearly impossible.