This letter wasn’t published, but it was sent to the New York Times after their article on a new Center for American Progress Claiming that gun laws reduce crime.
Dear Letters Editor:
The Times incorrectly describes a study as showing that gun control laws reduce violence (“Gun-Control Groups Push Growing Evidence That Laws Reduce Violence,” October 11th). But the study — by the Center for American Progress — never examines how rates of violence change before and after gun laws are adopted. The study simply compares violence rates across states. Yet, states have a lot of differences beyond what gun control laws are on their books. The Center for American Progress does not account for any factors such as differences in law enforcement (e.g., arrest rates), demographics, and income. For example, rural states have higher suicide rates partially because the male/female ratio is so out of balance.
More useful academic research follows states over time to see how rates of violence change with the adoption of different laws. These changes are then compared to the states that did not change their laws.
John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D.
Crime Prevention Research Center