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John Lott

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John R. Lott Jr., is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who argues in favor of allowing Americans without a criminal record to own and carry guns.

"...the evidence is that, with more than 2 million defensive guns used each year, guns are used at least four times more frequently to stop crime than they are used to commit crime."

In his book More Guns, Less Crime, he presents statistical evidence for his claim that allowing adults to carry concealed weapons has significantly reduced crime in America.

Lott claims that selective reporting by US media fails to report instances of people defending themeselves (or others) via legal use of guns. For example a school shooting was reportedly ended by students who tackled the gunman, but Lott quotes Tracy Bridges who says he pointed his gun at the killer, who then dropped his weapon before being tackled. [1] (http://www.tsra.com/Lott48.htm) However, another witness contradicts this, saying that the killer put his (empty) gun down before Bridges arrived. [2] (http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/2799298.htm)

Opposition to Lott's views

His work is opposed by gun control groups and by some skeptics within the gun rights movement. Lott has been criticized for analyzing only those data which promote his pro-gun agenda, and ignoring the rest. In particular his analysis of crime statistics in those states that have tightened gun ownership laws has been criticized on these grounds.

Fake online persona

In early 2003 John Lott admitted that he had created and used "Mary Rosh" as a fake persona to defend his own works in Internet discussion forums. "Rosh" claimed to be one of Lott's former students:

"I had him for a PhD level empirical methods class when he taught at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania back in the early 1990s, well before he gained national attention, and I have to say that he was the best professor that I ever had. You wouldn't know that he was a 'right-wing' ideologue from the class."

While Lott was declining invitations to take part in such online discussions under his own name, he used the Rosh persona to defend his methods online. The identity was also used for a five star review on Amazon.com, although Lott claims that his son and wife wrote it, and he merely approved it. He states that the name "Mary Rosh" derived from the first two letters of his four sons' first names.

Lott's actions were discovered when weblogger Julian Sanchez[?] noticed that the IP address Lott used to reply to an email was the same he had used to take part in discussions under the name "Mary Rosh". After the discovery, Lott stated to the Washington Post: "I probably shouldn't have done it -- I know I shouldn't have done it -- but it's hard to think of any big advantage I got except to be able to comment fictitiously."

Lott's critics have said that the incident calls into question Lott's trustworthiness, and therefore his entire work. His defenders reject such claims as ad hominem attacks, a claim which has been countered by some critics who state that they do not say Lott's work is logically incorrect because of his assumption of a fake identity, only that he is less trustworthy now [3] (http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2003/2/6/111014/4476/33#33).

External links

Regarding Lott's research:

Regarding the Mary Rosh identity:

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