Dr. John Lott has an op-ed in nine newspapers across Florida about our recent research on school shootings and the attacks that it has received in letters by two members of Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action.
Palm Beach Daily News, June 28, 2019; Florida Times-Union, June 28, 2019; Daily Commercial, June 28, 2019; St. Augustine Record, June 28, 2019; Gainesville Sun, June 28, 2019; Sarasota Herald-Tribune, May 30, 2019; News Chief (Winter Haven, Florida), June 28, 2019; Ocala StarBanner, June 28, 2019; and The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida), June 28, 2019
Here is the op-ed:
Police are important, but even stationing an officer at the right part of a school at the right time, they face a tough job in stopping mass public shootings. Mass public shooters are most likely to target the officer first. We’ve seen this time and again at malls, nightclubs and schools.
Others hope that background checks on the private transfer of guns will keep criminals from getting them. But even perfectly enforcing such a law wouldn’t have prevented one mass public shooting this century. Similarly, military-style “assault weapons” bans make no sense, as hunting rifles fire the same bullets with the same rapidity, and, anyway, most mass public shootings involve handguns.
So, what is the backup plan when these other options fail?
Currently, 20 states allow teachers to carry guns under a variety of rules on school property, so we don’t need to guess what happens when teachers carry. Some states have had these rules for decades.
Utah, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and parts of Oregon allowed all permitted teachers and staff to carry guns. In others, school boards or superintendents decided. For example, in Texas, over 300 school districts have armed teachers.
After looking at all of the school shootings in the U.S. from 2000 to 2018, the Crime Prevention Research Center, of which I am the president, found two points.
‒ Commonly mentioned fears don’t occur. No student has ever gotten ahold of a teacher’s gun, nor has a teacher legally carrying a gun ever accidentally shot someone.‒ Outside of suicides or gang violence in the wee hours of the morning when schools aren’t in session, not one person has been wounded or killed from a shooting when armed teachers are around.
This research is pretty simple. It doesn’t involve complicated statistics. It simply looks at all the schools that have teachers carrying and points out that gun control advocates fears haven’t materialized.
The Ledger published two letters criticizing our work.
Leander Aulisio, with Michael Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action, claims that one recent academic paper “conclusively debunk[s] studies done by John Lott” and shows that right-to-carry laws increase crime [“Arming teachers is not the way to go,” June 5]. The study isn’t about schools, so isn’t very relevant to our present discussion. But Aulisio ignores an earlier, refereed paper by professors Carl Moody and Thomas Marvell, who use the same specifications of the paper she references and find that the results she touts are “fragile and most likely incorrect” (Econ Journal Watch, March 2019, Vol. 16, no. 1). Small, commonsense changes reverse their results. Aulisio also fails to mention that two-thirds of refereed research finds that concealed carry reduces violent crime.
Connie Durrence wants this research dismissed because I am “biased” and “inaccurate” [“Alternative research refutes idea of arming teachers,” June 2]. My research has completely changed my views on guns. Our research lists every school shooting for her to double-check. Instead of simply claiming my work is “inaccurate,” why not point to a specific error?
Let’s stop leaving our children defenseless.
John R. Lott Jr. is president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the former chief economist at the U.S. Sentencing Commission.