books, followed by a gradual rise in thernpercentage of the population which hasrnacquired permits. The larger the percentagernof the population with permits,rnthe greater the drop in crime. (That percentagerntypically ranges from one to fivernpercent.) Intereshngly, Lott also found arnsmall but stahshcally significant increasernin nonconfrontational property crimesrnsuch as larceny. Apparently, while concealedrnhandgun laws do not reduce thernappetite criminals have for other people’srnproperty, they do encourage the more rationalrnsubset to acquire it in ways that dornnot put their own lives at risk. And ever)’-rnone, not just gun carriers, benefits fromrnthe reduced crime rate, since aggressorsrncannot know which potential victimsrnmight have a concealed weapon. (Thernonly remaining safe zones for criminalsrnare schools, thanks to laws in many statesrnwhich forbid gun-carrying on schoolrnproperty, even by licensed adults.)rnDespite the book’s high level of statisticalrnsophistication. More Guns, LessrnCrime makes for enjoyable reading. Lottrnlays out the data in an accessible manner,rnbuilding from simpler statistical modelsrnto more complex ones, hideed, the bookrnis a good antidote to the “innumeracy”rnwhich infects even the best-educatedrnAmericans. StatisHcs are comprehensiblernif you pay attention, and More Guns,rnLess Crime is an excellent way to overcomernnumerophobia.rnThe most interesting part of the book isrnthe chapter in which Lott addresses hisrncritics, hi marked contrast to the antigunrnnumber crunchers fimded by thernfederal government’s Centers for DiseasernControl and Prevention, Lott has madernhis data readily available to any and all researchers,rneven supplying them with arncomputer disk so they needn’t key it inrnagain. Even so, certain critics have chosenrnto offer superficial talking pointsrnrather than reanalyze the data.rnLott’s most sophisticated critic is ProfrnDaniel Nagin, who engages in a form ofrnresearch called “data torturing.” Turningrndata every which way but loose, Naginrndemonstrated (and Lott conceded) thatrnconcealed handgun laws require severalrnyears to have their full effect. Nagin’srnother criticisms, however, such as the often-rnrepeated assertion that all the benefitsrnof concealed carrying vanish if one removesrnFlorida from the equation, turnrnout to be meaningless. The Florida factoidrnhas partial validity—but only if onernthrows out the data from all U.S. countiesrnwith a population of less than 100,000.rnUnder such conditions, concealed-carryrnlaws do not appear to affect the incidencernof murder or rape. Yet even if one looksrnonly at counties outside of Florida with arnpopidation of over 100,000, the data stillrnshow a large decrease in aggravated assaultrnand robbery rates.rnWhile academic critics of Lott’s researchrnhave stuck to statistical analysis,rnthe anti-gun lobbies have unleashed a furiousrnand thoroughly dishonest public relationsrncampaign against Lott himself,rnwith the most scurrilous attacks comingrnfrom the Violence Policy Center (an organizationrnwhich chides Handgun Control,rnInc., for its timidity). The VPCrnclaims that Lott’s study was “in essence,rnfunded by the firearms industry.” Inrntruth. Loft’s study wasn’t paid for by anybody:rnWhile at work on the book, herndrew his regular salar)- as a University ofrnChicago law professor. (Lott is presentlyrna member of the Yale Law School faculty.)rnThe University of Chicago, likernmany other high-ranking universities,rnwas given an endowed chair by tiie OlinrnFoundation. The Olin Foundation playsrnno role in selecting the holder of a chairrnor in determining his field of research.rnSome of the Olin Foundation’s moneyrncame from the late John M. Olin, whornacquired part of his fortune in thernfirearms and ammunition business. Tornclaim that ever)d:hing any Olin professorrndocs is “paid for by the gun industry” isrnlike claiming that everyone who gets arngrant from the Ford Foundation is subsidizedrnby the automobile industr’. Thernanti-Lott campaign continues to bearrnfruit in the form of opinion columns writtenrnby propagandists who are too lazy tornread Lott’s book and rely instead on bullet-rnpoints from groups like the VPC. Forrnexample, Molly Ivins claimed that Lottrn”himself admits, he didn’t look at anyrnother causative factors —no other variables,rnas they say.” Of course, anyonernwho bothered to crack the book wouldrnsec that Lott accounted for dozens of otherrncausal factors. These distortions showrnjust how weak the case against concealedrncarry really is.rnThe vicious campaign against Lott revealsrnthe fundamental extremism of thernanti-gun movement. Concealed handgunrnlaws are precisely the t)q3e of moderate,rn”reasonable” laws which the anti-gunrngroups claim to support. Except in Vermontrnand rural Idaho, a person must gornthrough a licensing process and backgroundrncheck in order to get a permit,rnand many states require applicants torntake safet)’ training as well (though Lottrnfound that the safety training requirementrnhad no statistically discernible effectrnon crime rates or gun accident rates).rnSo why the intense opposition to lawsrnwhich encourage controlled gun use?rnThe answer is that the anti-gun movement’srngreatest concern is not that Lottrnmight be making up his data, but tiiat therndata might be correct. In their minds,rnarmed self-defense by private citizens isrnimmoral. As Sarah Brady of HandgunrnControl, Inc., put it, “To me, the onlyrnreason for guns in civilian hands is forrnsporting purposes.” Her husband, JimrnBrady, identified the circumstances inrnwhich he believes people should be allowedrnto possess handguns: “[F]or targetrnshooting, that’s okay. Cet a license andrngo to the range. For defense of the home,rnthat’s why we have police departments.”rnMrs. Brady’s long-term goal, she told thernNew York Times, is a “needs-based licensing”rnsystem. Under the Brady system, allrnguns would be registered. The local policernchief would decide if a person whornwanted to buy a gun had a legitimatern”need.” Mrs. Brady listed hunters and securityrnguards as persons having a legitimaternneed, but not regular people whornwanted guns for self-protection.rnMuch of the anti-gun lobby’s agendarninvolves trying to restrict self-defense byrnmarketing gun restrictions as “reasonable.”rnFor example, there is currentiy arnpush to recjuire gun owners to lock uprntheir guns, in the name of preventing accessrnby juvenile criminals. But if a gunrnhas to be locked up all the time, then it isrnmuch less readily available in an emergency,rnsuch as a home invasion. Andrnconcealed handgun laws (which cost therngovernment nothing, the licensing sy.stemrnbeing paid for by user fees) are a farrnmore cost-effective way to reduce crimernthan prison construction, hiring morernpolice, subsidizing midnight basketball,rnor anything else that government does.rnThe longer the gun-prohibition lobbyrnand its political allies delay “shall issue”rnlegislation in the 19 states which do notrnhave such a law, the more people will bernmurdered, assaulted, robbed, and raped.rnAnd the more people who read MorernGuns, Less Crime, the sooner streets inrnevery state will become safe zones forrngood citizens, rather than for predators.rnDavid B. Kopel is an adjunct professor ofrnlaw at the New York University Schoolrnof Law and research director with thernIndependence Institute.rn32/CHRONICLESrnrnrn