A headline at Vox.com last week read: “The Cincinnati nightclub shooting shows how more guns lead to more gun violence.”
Since the idea that “more guns lead to more violence” is prevalent in the anti-gun community, we decided to ask author and criminologist John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, about that headline and some other aspects of the story.
A1F Daily: A headline earlier this week at Vox.com read: “The Cincinnati nightclub shooting shows how more guns lead to more gun violence.” The story also stated: “Research reviews by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Research Center have concluded that more gun ownership leads to more gun violence. Studies have found this to be true again and again—for homicides, suicides, domestic violence and violence against police.” What does your research show on that relationship?
John Lott: These are all points that I discuss in my new book, The War on Guns. There is a huge gulf between public health researchers and research done by economists and criminologists. Unfortunately, public health researchers use very primitive statistics or conduct their tests in ways that bias their results. They rely on purely cross-sectional comparisons, comparing crime rates in different places at only one point in time. But it’s not possible to accurately account for the differences between different states or countries. Comparisons are commonly made between the United States and the UK, often with the conclusion that the UK has lower homicide rates because of its stricter gun control laws. But it’s unreasonable to assume this causation. After all, the UK had even lower homicide rates before their gun control measures went into effect.