Lott: Eliminating ‘Gun-Free’ Zones Would Reduce Mass Shootings and Saves Lives

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It isn’t surprising that people will miss cases or occasionally misidentify them, though the sheer number of missing cases involving defensive gun uses is startling. The FBI was unwilling to change its figures when I pointed out my findings when I was at the Department of Justice or earlier. 

My organization, the Crime Prevention Research Center, has continued this work and spent only a few thousand dollars (compared to millions spent by the FBI) and found an additional 138 cases, plus five more that were misclassified. 

Instead of 14 of 302 active shooting attacks being stopped, we found that 157 out of 440 were stopped. That’s a rate of 35.7 percent. We found a rate of 41.3 percent for 2022 cases, and that goes up still further to 63.5 percent when gun-free zones are excluded. 

A recent piece in The Hill by gun control advocate Devin Hughes (who incorrectly calls me a “former researcher”) claims that a recent study I co-authored “made a startling statistical admission . . .  no longer finding that more guns resulted in less crime.” In fact, traditional fixed-effects estimates show statistically significant results. And with new difference-in-difference estimates there is a clear, statistically significant downward trend after right-to-carry laws are adopted, and looking at results only for individual years where there are fewer observations in any particular year would reach that conclusion.  

Most empirical studies that I’ve reviewed support my original findings. The ones that don’t overwhelmingly take the mistaken approach of looking only at later years. They implicitly assume that the states that adopted concealed handgun laws most recently are issuing more concealed handgun permits. In fact, the earlier-adopting states are still issuing more permits than the recent adopters. 

A recent survey by Arthur Berg, Gary Mauser and I shows that most researchers who have published peer-reviewed empirical research on gun control believe that eliminating gun-free zones and allowing people to carry concealed handguns would reduce both mass public shootings and murder.  

— ​​John R. Lott, Jr. in Good Guys With Guns Save Lives. Don’t Believe the Hype.



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