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John Richard Lott Jr. (1958–) is an economist known mainly for his "research" claiming to prove that less restrictive gun laws reduce crime. He originally attracted public attention with a study he co-authored with fellow economist David Mustard that was published in the Journal of Legal Studies in 1997 claiming to prove that "right-to-carry laws", which make it easier for people to obtain concealed weapons permits. Shortly before the study was published, Lott testified in front of Nebraska lawmakers claiming that the study proved that right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime. Debunkings swiftly followed: the very same year, an article in the American Journal of Public Health pointed out that "Several serious flaws in the study render the authors' conclusions insupportable." A reanalysis of the Lott and Mustard data published in 1998 by Black and Nagin found "no basis for drawing confident conclusions about the impact of right-to-carry laws on violent crime".
Lott followed this study with a book entitled More Guns, Less Crime, first published in 1998, with new editions following in 2000 and 2010. Despite additional debunkings of the claims in this book, by everyone from Stanford and Yale researchers to computer scientist Tim Lambert Lott continues to insist that he is correct about more relaxed concealed carry laws increasing public safety. In 2003, he admitted to having invented the pseudonym "Mary Rosh" to argue with his critics online (including Lambert) over the previous three years, after being criticized for being unable to provide data from, or basic information about, a survey he claimed to have conducted.
In 2013, Lott founded a phony "think tank" called the "Crime Prevention Research Center", through which he has excreted numerous methodologically shoddy non-peer-reviewed papers onto the Social Science Research Network on all manner of pro-conservative topics, ranging from police supposedly not being racist to undocumented immigrants supposedly committing crime at super-high rates to the 2020 U.S. presidential election supposedly being rife with fraud.
- Double Barreled Double Standards, Mother Jones, October 13, 2003.
- Webster et al., "Flawed gun policy research could endanger public safety", Am J Public Health 87(6) 918-921
- Meet John Lott, the Man Who Wants to Arm America's Teachers, Molly Redden, The New Republic, December 19, 2012
- Shooting Down the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis, Ian Ayres & John Donohue, NBER working paper, 2002
- Do more guns cause less crime?
- Scholar Invents Fan To Answer His Critics
- Are Black Police Officers More Likely to Kill Black People?
- The Fatal Flaw in John R. Lott Jr.’s Study on Illegal Immigrant Crime in Arizona
- The Guy Behind the Bogus Immigration Report Has A Long History of Terrible And Misleading Research, Olivia Exstrum, Mother Jones, February 7, 2018
- Comment On “A Simple Test For The Extent Of Voter Fraud With Absentee Ballots In The 2020 Presidential Election”