CPRC in the Chicago Tribune: “Take a gun to the mall”

Feb 24, 2015 | Featured

John Lott’s newest piece at the Chicago Tribune starts this way:

Over the weekend Somali terrorists threatened to attack the Mall of America in Minnesota. They called for a massacre similar to the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya, that killed and injured scores of people. With the large Somali population in the Twin Cities area, the threat is hard to ignore.

On Sunday, when asked a couple of times if Americans should still go to the mall, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson would only say: “I’m not telling people to not go to the mall.”

Unfortunately, Americans have learned little from terrorist attacks like this. Mall of America officials think that by posting signs banning permitted concealed handguns that they are making the mall safer. They seem to believe that terrorists will obey these signs.

Right after the Kenya attack, Ronald Noble, the secretary-general of Interpol, which is a world version of the FBI and headquartered in Lyon, France, noted two means of protecting people from mass shootings. “One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves (should be) so secure that in order to get into the soft target, you’re going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”

But Noble warned that his experience taught him that it was virtually impossible to stop killers from getting weapons and that “you can’t have armed police forces everywhere.”

“It makes citizens question their views on gun control,” he noted. “You have to ask yourself, ‘Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past, with an evolving threat of terrorism?'” . . .

The rest of the piece is available here (sign-in required, but no fee is required).

UPDATE 1: Minnesota Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Good Thunder), a former sheriff’s deputy who chairs the House Public Safety Committee, spoke out about the Mall of America being a gun-free zone.  From KMSPT TV in the twin cities:

. . . Cornish says when Minnesota’s carry law was being discussed at the Capitol a decade ago, mall officials indicated during testimony that they understood people would be allowed to carry firearms in the mall’s common areas, like the rotunda.

“They know they are not supposed to [ban guns] and it’s a bad idea in general,” Cornish tells Fox 9.

Asked to expand on why he thinks banning guns in the mall’s common areas isn’t smart, Cornish says, “A terrorist pays no attention to signs.”

“A terrorist is going to come in and cause mass casualties and couldn’t care less if you have a petty misdemeanor violation of a sign,” he continues. “It creates a kill zone of unarmed sheep for terrorists.”

Reached for comment, Mall of America spokesperson Sarah Schmidt refused to comment on mall’s gun policy. . . .

UPDATE 2: Investors Business Daily repeated much of the Chicago Tribune and other pieces by us in their own words in an editorial.  They also contained this:

. . . As John R. Lott Jr., president of the Crime Research Prevention Center, wrote in an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday, “Since at least 1950, all but two mass public shootings in America have taken place where general citizens are banned from carrying guns.” This is usually why they are selected as targets, Lott says.

In the July 2012 mass shooting inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., the shooter had a choice of seven movie theaters within 20 miles of his home that were showing the Batman movie he was obsessed with. The Cinemark Theater he chose wasn’t the closest, but it was the only one that banned customers from carrying guns inside. . . .

UPDATE 3: Erin Hill had a letter in the Chicago Tribune on February 26th referencing Media Matters and questioning whether John Lott’s research can be replicated.

Erin Hill’s Voice of the People column repeats claims by Media Matters that my research on concealed handgun laws has been discredited and cannot be replicated (“Gun Control and John R Lott Jr,” 2/26).   Yet, Hill does not directly address any of the points I made in my February 25th column regarding multiple victim public shootings.
Instead, Hill cites one unpublished paper to warn against right-to-carry laws. But, with several dozen published peer-reviewed studies, some perspective is useful regarding this national data: over two-thirds of the academic research by economists and criminologists find concealed carry reduces violent crime. None of the remaining papers have found bad effects regarding murders, rapes, robberies, accidental deaths or suicides.  
Regarding Hill’s request that I provide references showing that my research has been replicated, dozens of refereed journal papers have done so, including five in the Journal of Law and Economics (three), Journal of Legal Studies (1), and Economic Inquiry (1).  I have provided my data to a couple hundred academics worldwide. 
For seven years, Media Matters published attacks on me but did not allow my responses in the comments section of their website (my responses were collected here).


1 Comment

  1. Roscoe

    Thanks for sharing CPRC in the Chicago Tribune: “Take a gun to the mall” – Crime
    Prevention Research Center crimeresearch.org.