This week my TV show is on gun control. I interviewed activist Leah Barrett, who wants stricter gun laws.
“Which studies?” Barrett snapped. “John Lott’s? His research has been totallydiscredited.” “Discredited” is a word the anti-gun activists use a lot. It’s as if they speak from the same playbook. “Lott is a widely discredited ideologue,” said a spokeswoman for Everytown—a Bloomberg-funded gun control group. “Completely discredited” is how the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy described Lott’s research.The left-wing site Salon says Lott “was discredited in the early 2000s.” Media Matters for America called Lott “discredited” at least 40 times. So how is Lott “discredited”? Barrett says, “He claims his data was lost on his hard drive. Well, go re-create it! He hasn’t been able to!” But that’s false. Lott’s “More Guns, Less Crime” study has been replicated often, including by the National Research Council and even by some critics.
After a hard-drive crash, Lott did lose data that supported a lesser point: 98 percent of the time, people only need to point a gun at a criminal for him to back down. But Lott did replicate that survey (he got 95 percent, close results for statistical purposes). That data is posted on his group’s website and available to anyone who wants it. Barrett continued her smear: Lott “actually impersonated a student … to say what a great professor he is.”