CPRC in the News: C-SPAN, Washington Examiner, The New York Sun, Breitbart, and much more

Jun 21, 2023 | Media Coverage

CSPAN Washington Journal Saturday, December 17, 2022

Then again also, too, that’s no easy gantlet. It would require approval by three-quarters of the states. Mr. Newsom, whatever else one can say about him, is not dumb. He knows that the chances of getting three quarters of the states, or even two thirds of them, or even half, would be a tall order. At the moment, John Lott tells our Russell Payne, Democrats control only 17 state governments, far short of the 38 states they need for ratification.

Nor, Mr. Lott notes, do they have the votes in Congress. And one can see why. The Constitutional changes that the Democrats are pushing would raise to 21 the age at which it is legal for a person to buy a gun. The idea is that 18, 19, and 20-year-olds commit firearm-related crimes at relatively high rates. The issue, though,  isn’t whether that age group commits crimes. It’s whether those who can legally buy a gun commit crimes.

It turns out, Mr. Lott reports, that about 90 percent of murderers already have a violent criminal history and are already banned from buying a gun. “The ban affects only those who can pass a background check and legally buy a gun,” he says. Data show, he notes, that persons between 18 and 20 who can pass background checks tend to be as law-abiding as older people. So what is the point of Mr. Newsom’s gambit?

Editorial, “The 28th Amendment,” The New York Sun, June 8, 2023.

One Second Amendment advocate and firearms policy scholar, John Lott, contends that despite the popularity of these proposals, the nationwide policy changes would not affect rates of gun violence.

“The main argument in favor of this point is that 18, 19, and 20-year-olds commit firearm-related crimes at relatively high rates, and that is true,” Mr. Lott tells the Sun. “But it is irrelevant to the ban that they are pushing.”

Mr. Lott says that “The issue isn’t whether that age group as a whole commit crimes but whether those who can legally buy a gun commit crimes,” adding that “Data shows that 18 to 20-year-olds who can pass background checks tend to be as law-abiding as older people. . . .

Russell Payne, “Newsom Proposes 28th Amendment on Gun Control, Stirring Opposition From Second Amendment Advocates,” The New York Sun, June 8, 2023.

According to ATF spokesman Erik Longnecker, “As of June 1, 2023, ATF received 255,162 applications for tax-free registration.”

If you take the median number of guns in use, said John Lott Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, “you are still talking about 29 million people who are technically committing felonies at this point.”

That makes it the biggest pro-gun protest ever, bigger than the 4% who complied with a New York law to register AR-15-style rifles and pistols and the 13% in Connecticut who registered their semi-automatic weapons. It’s even bigger than the refusal by 98% in Connecticut to register bullet-holding magazines.

Paul Bedard, “Biden and ATF just created 29 million felons,” Washington Examiner, June 9, 2023.

On July 14, 2022, Breitbart News pointed to a study from the Crime Prevention Research Center — which the Center explains is not comprehensive — highlighting over 60 instances in which a concealed carry permit holder stopped a mass shooter. . . .

AWR Hawkins, “Juanita Broaddrick Praises Concealed Carry for Self-Defense, Cites Victim Who Killed Attacker,” Breitbart, June 16, 2023.

 A 2023 analysis by John Lott, Jr. of the Crime Prevention Research Council (CPRC) reviewed the distribution of murders across America using 2020 data, and determined that murders tend to be concentrated in a small set of counties. The worst 1% of counties (the worst 31 counties) had 21% of the population but experienced 42% of the murders. An appendix to the study lists the “worst 1% of counties in 2020 in terms of number of murders.” At the top of the list are Cook County, IL and Los Angeles County, CA – both in states that are A-rated for their gun control laws by the Giffords Law Center. Numbers four and five on the list are Philadelphia and New York City’s five counties, likewise in states that are classed as “restrictive” gun control states (awarded a B and an A rating, respectively, from Giffords). . . .

Staff, “Study: Restrictive Gun Control Laws “Unlikely” to Solve Problem of Youth Gun Violence,” NRA-ILA, June 5, 2023.

Dr. John Lott, Jr., a leading researcher and founder of the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), recently embarked on an unusual personal experiment: how many pro-gun control academics would literally bet in favor of their own findings, using Brazil as a case study?

What sparked the inquiry were the predictions in the wake of changes to Brazil’s laws on private gun ownership following the election of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva last October. Lula’s predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, had campaigned on a pro-gun platform and, once elected, relaxed gun laws, with the result that legal gun ownership increased six-fold during his term. In contrast, Lula’s first act as president was a radical executive order to roll back these changes, with new restrictions on gun owners and the acquisition of firearms and ammunition. “Now, they predict that Lula’s severe crackdown on gun ownership will reduce crime.”

Brazil offers a unique research opportunity because, as Lott notes, many American gun control advocates discount the evidence of increased murder rates following the implementation of local gun ban laws, on the basis that “the ban could only work if the entire country instituted the same rules.” Brazil represents such a “country-wide case” in which to explore the strength of this “less guns, less crime” hypothesis.  

Lott contacted twelve prominent researchers and professors with a put-your-money-where-your-hype-is challenge. “Let’s bet $1,000 and make it simple on whether the homicide rate in Brazil will go up or down during the first two years of Lula’s presidency. If the homicide rate goes down from what it was in 2022, I will pay you $1,000. If it goes up, you will pay me $1,000.”

Washington Post article on Brazilian gun ownership, published weeks after Lula was elected, referred to research in America showing a “strong correlation between gun ownership and homicide rates, suicides, accidental shootings and shootings by law enforcement,” and cited Johns Hopkins professor Daniel Webster: “Every 1 percent increase in firearm ownership is associated with a 0.6 percent increase in overall homicide rates and a 0.9 percent increase in firearm homicide rates.” Webster “called the belief that arming more civilians makes society safer ‘a fantasy that is put forward by the gun lobby’ – [that] is not grounded in any data.” Nonetheless, the article admits that Brazil’s homicide rate “had fallen more than 27 percent since 2017.”

This echoed a 2019 NPR article on Bolsonaro’s election, which quoted a different expert “on data-driven and evidence-based security.” According to him, “[i]n Brazil, a 1 percent rise in firearm availability increases the homicide rate by 2 percent,” and that “[v]irtually without exception, more guns equals more violence. Studies from the U.S. and around the world consistently show increases in firearm ownership and carrying are positively correlated with increases in homicide and suicide.” Interestingly, the “correlation formulas” cited in both articles include no qualifications, being presented without conditions or parameters, and both contain a flat denial of the possibility that increased access to legal guns could have a positive impact on individual safety.    

According to Lott, applying Professor Webster’s formula should have resulted in a 360% increase in the homicide rate in Brazil, based on a 600% increase in gun ownership during the relevant time, instead of which the rate declined each consecutive year, dropping by 34% in 2021. (Applying the formula in the NPR article yields an even more exquisitely inaccurate prediction of a 1,200% jump in the homicide rate.) 

Daniel Webster – currently the Bloomberg professor of American Health affiliated with Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions – was one of the dozen U.S. academics that Lott contacted (the NPR source was not in the group contacted). Lott reports that seven out of the twelve failed to respond to his emailed offer, and none of the twelve actually accepted his wager. . . .

Staff, “Hypothesis or Hyperbole Gun Control Researchers Balk at Betting on Gun Control,” NRA-ILA, May 30, 2023.

Rather, there is evidence suggesting violent criminals consider the likelihood of meeting armed resistance when choosing where to attack. Economist and More Guns, Less Crime author John R. Lott Jr. contends that the vast majority of mass public shootings have occurred in gun-free zones.

As of press time, details about a March 27 shooting at a Christian school in Nashville, Tenn., are still emerging. However, Nashville police indicated that the shooter had surveilled the location of the attack and eschewed another potential target based on its security profile. Discussing materials left by the murderer, Police Chief John Drake told reporters, “there was another location that was mentioned, but because of threat assessment by the suspect, too much security, they decided not to.”

RANDY KOZUCH, “Gun-Free Signs: An Affront To Logic And The Constitution,” America’s 1st Freedom, May 31, 2023

During an intriguing video discussion between John Lott, founder and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, and Frank Miniter, editor-in-chief of NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom Magazine, both men dissected the pipe dream by gun banners to raise the legal age for gun ownership to 21. They questioned the basis of the arguments for the increase and noted the implications for the Second Amendment.

Lott highlighted the fact that the freedom-haters calling for raising the legal age for a gun purchase frequently point to the “relatively high crime rates committed by 18, 19, and 20-year-olds.”

However, he argued that the proposed laws ignore a crucial distinction of the difference between criminals/gang bangers and law-abiding 18 to 20 olds that subject themselves to government background checks.

“The type of people who you’re stopping now[by raising the age], because you’re not allowing them to go through the background check, they’re not the same as the other ones who aren’t going through a background check,” Lott noted, suggesting that the proposed law might be misdirected.

The researcher further delved into the matter, offering compelling data from Nevada, Texas, and Michigan . . .

F Riehl, “Gun Banners Want to Raise Legal Age for Gun Ownership, But their Logic is Flawed,” Ammoland, June 5, 2023.

It’s revealing that Audrey Hale, the mass murderer at Covenant School in Nashville, selected that school because of its lack of armed security. A city council member told the New York Post that the shooter had “looked at” two other schools before deciding that “the security was too great to do what she wanted to do. So she chose a private Christian school for, probably the reason is that the security [there] is a whole lot less.”

This affirms what John Lott of Crime Prevention Research Center has been substantiating for years: The presence of an armed target greatly reduces the chance of that target turning into a statistic.

First of all, Lott reports, the number of mass public shootings (not just at churches) since 2013 has averaged fewer than five per year, far fewer than that “era” of mass shootings “ushered in” by the New Life Church shooting 16 years ago suggested by Blake.

Lott also keeps current a database documenting situations in which concealed-handgun permit holders have stopped mass shootings from occurring. He points out that his database isn’t complete, however, because the media doesn’t consider such neutering of potential mass shootings worthy of coverage:

Permit holders stopped some mass public shootings that gained extensive news coverage, but only a few stories mentioned that a permit holder stopped the attack. The stories frequently get other facts wrong.

For instance, missing from headlines was the incident in El Paso, Texas, on February 5 in which a permit holder stopped a shooter who had already shot four people and threatened others. Wrote Lott: “Many initial news reports had credited an off-duty police officer with stopping the attack.” Instead, though, it was an armed bystander who ended the rampage before it got worse.

Bob Adelmann, “CNN Got It Wrong: Safest Place to Be on Sunday Is in Church,” The New American, June 19, 2023.