CPRC in the Los Angeles Times: Yes, gun-free zones are targets — and research proves it

Jul 13, 2016 | Featured

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Dr. John Lott had a letter to the editor in the Los Angeles Times responding to an error filled op-ed by gun control advocates Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes, who appear to be part of the Bloomberg funded gun control network.

To the editor: Evan DeFilippis’ and Devin Hughes’ op-ed article defending gun control and criticizing my research is filled with flaws. (“5 arguments against gun control — and why they are all wrong,” Opinion, July 8)

The authors say that a good guy with a gun can’t stop mass public shootings, but they miss dozens of cases where police and prosecutors say concealed-carry permit holders saved multiple lives. These cases aren’t included in any FBI data. My research in the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ newsletter ACJS Today (in March 2015) also showed the FBI missed 20 mass public shootings.

They claim that I have misrepresented places as gun-free zones. Yes, an armed, identifiable off-duty officer was guarding the nightclub in Orlando, Fla., when the shooting took place last month, but my point is that such guards are the first people to be shot at. The benefit of civilian concealed carry is that killers don’t know who might stop them.

DeFilippis and Hughes ignore explicit statements by mass public shooters on why they pick gun-free zones: because it makes victims easier targets.

John R. Lott Jr., Swarthmore, Pa.

The writer is president of the Crime Prevention Research Center.

Another follow up piece in the Los Angeles Times by Paul Thornton, the letters editor, summarized the letters he published on this subject.

Gun fans and foes fire away in letters to the editor. Pro-gun crime researcher John R. Lott Jr. says his research shows that mass killers do indeed target so-called gun-free zones, and that having more people carrying concealed weapons would make everyone safer. A letter writer on the other side of this issue accuses gun nuts of blindness to the facts because of their love for firearms.



  1. Luis Leme

    It’s hard to argue with the facts, and the facts support the argument that gun-free zones are dangerous. It’s also hard to ignore common sense, and common sense suggests that all else being equal, a person with a gun has a better chance of surviving a shooting than an unarmed person.

  2. D. Clawson

    You can give the media all the correct stats INCLUDING that you got them from the FBI, DOJ, CDC or any verifiable government agency or other well know well respected source and the media will never put it out to the public. It’s not part of their agenda to completely disarm LAW ABIDING CITIZENS. An unarmed public is easier to control than armed one.
    Here are a few.
    1. All but 2 so called “mass shootings” in the last 50yrs have happened in a “Gun free zone” or other places that didn’t allow guns.
    2. Cars kill more people than guns do FOR ANY REASON YOU CAN THINK OF.
    3. Worldwide suicide stats show that Japan (where you can’t own a gun) has a higher suicide rate than we do. Japan is #14 while the US is #50. They have far fewer people as well. The most “popular” way is by throwing yourself in front of a train in Japan.
    4. Over 200k people die in hospitals here FOR PREVENTABLE REASONS per the CDC but I don’t see a call for banning hospitals.
    5. Per the FBI you are more likely to die by a blunt instrument or by someone’s feet or hands than by ANY RIFLE OF ANY KIND.That includes the incorrectly identified RIFLE called “assault weapons” such as 5he AR-15.
    6. Today more people died by being run over by a truck in France than the number of people killed by nut jobs in Columbine, Newtown, Aurora, and Orlando COMBINED.
    7. The FBI says that over 4000 DEFENSIVE gun uses happen EVERY SINGLE DAYin the USA. And in most instances the “good guy with a gun” never even has to fire a shot. The cowardly bad guy/nut job sees the gun and RUNS AWAY.
    8. White people are more likely to be killed by cops than blacks yet more BLACKS commit more crimes and are arrested more often. You would think with blacks being “contacted”, arrested and incarcerated MORE than whites the opposite would be true.
    9. You are more likely to be killed by another black person if you are black than by a white person. (See weekly killing stats for just Chicago if you are uncertain).
    10. LAW ABIDING GUN OWNERS are actually MORE law abiding than non gun owners according to the FBI.
    11. LAW ABIDING GUN OWNERS generally have to have a background check to buy and/or carry a gun. Non gun owners don’t usually get background checks. So which group of people should someone be more wary of? Someone WITH a background check or one without a check?
    All of the information I just wrote is verifiable as I said. I had to look it up so if you want to check and see if I’m wrong YOU can do the work,and look it up as well.

    • Jake S.

      I’m doing a report for school against gun control, would it be possible to tell me the links to the websites for the first, fourth, and fifth statement. Thanks in advance

      • johnrlott

        I don’t understand. The links are there. There is no “fifth” paragraph.


Visiting Ecuador’s Ministry of Government

Visiting Ecuador’s Ministry of Government

Dr. John Lott is in Ecuador, and on Monday, he met with the Minister of the Ministry of Government, Esteban Torres, for more than an hour. It was a very productive discussion about crime and gun control, with Ecuador battling drug cartels and considering legislation...