Professor Lott Responds to Professor Kent

Matthew Gaylor (
Mon, 31 May 1999 09:40:13 -0400

[Note from Matthew Gaylor: For clarity I edited this message. It should be easy to follow.]

To: Matthew Gaylor <>
From: "John R. Lott, Jr." <> Subject: Re: Brooklyn College Professor Challenges Professor Lotts Statistics

Edward Kent <> wrote:
>This is BS. Most of those self-defense firearms end up killing hubby or
>his wife or one of his kids.

"John R. Lott, Jr." <> responds: This is incorrect. 1) Only a small number of murders involve people who are emotionally close to each other. The normal claim about acquaintance murders fails to note that most "acquaintances" are rival gang members or drug dealers or others that we would normally not classify as emotionally close. Chicago is the only city that breaks down this data in detail and from 1990 to 1997 14 percent of their murders involved family, friends, neighbors, or roommates. 2) Unintentional deaths in the home that result from mistakenly shooting someone who is thought to be an intruder accounts for about 30 deaths a year.

Edward Kent <> wrote:
>Lott's stats are not to be trusted. Those of the police chiefs
>nationially ARE!

"John R. Lott, Jr." <> responds: Most police support objective permitting rules so I am not sure which police chiefs you are referring to. 59 percent of managerial officers and 76 percent of street officers support such rules. I am not sure what numbers that you are referring to.

Edward Kent <> wrote:
>For every one of these we have 100 murders and accidental deaths at
>least. The CATO boys are smart enough to know that anecdotes are mere
>rhetoric -- not evidence.

"John R. Lott, Jr." <> responds:

For detailed data please see:

Edward Kent <> wrote:
>> Massad Ayoob, head of the Lethal Force Institute, which trains police and
>> military personnel, observes: "Previously unthinkable dangers can sometimes
>> only be neutralized by previously unthinkable defenses.''
>> There is no evidence that waiting periods lower crime rates. Such
>> restrictions do, however, prevent people from buying a gun to protect
>> themselves from imminent danger. Nor should adults between 18 and 21 be
>> denied Ūrearms, as if they were uniquely dangerous.
>False! And known to be false!. These guys are always lying through their
> Trigger locks would save few lives a minuscule number of children die
>in gun accidents, less than in many mundane household tragedies but
>> hinder people from defending themselves. Individual owners can best balance
>> the one risk against the other.
>A kid a day is not miniscule in my books.

"John R. Lott, Jr." <> responds: Children under age 5 had 30 accidental gun deaths in 1996. Children under age 15 had 200.
Given that there are 80 million people owning around 200 to 240 million guns, can you name another product that is as common around the home that is anywhere near as dangerous that has as low of an accidental death rate? More children under 5 die from drowning in water buckets. The ultimate issue however is one of trade-offs. Children's lives are also saved by parents and other adults being able to defend the children with guns. There are tens of thousands of defensive uses involving children each year. If you would like a more detailed discussion please see my book.

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