Dr. John Lott submitted a letter to The San Jose Mercury News about false claims made in a news article about U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez’s decision striking down California’s Assault Weapon Ban. The newspaper didn’t accept the letter for publication, but here is what was sent in.
Dear Letters Editor:
Your article on U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez’s decision striking down California’s Assault Weapon Ban misleadingly ignores that most of his decision focused on the impact that the assault weapon ban had on crime and mass public shootings (“much of Benitez’s argument appears to hinge on the ubiquity of modern weapons”) (Fiona Kelliher,” “We are at great peril’,” The Mercury News, June 5, 2021). But starting on page 29 and continuing through almost all the rest of his 94-page opinion, Benitez pointed out that predictions that California’s assault weapons ban would reduce mass shootings weren’t confirmed. California’s experts provided no evidence the ban reduced murder or overall crime.
Benitez was quite critical with the state’s experts. In the case of John Donohue, who you quote as claiming “We are at great peril,” Benitez stated that Donohue inaccurately described the existing research. Regarding the state’s other experts, he noted that they had improperly manipulated statistics to get the result they wanted.
John R Lott, Jr., Ph.D.