John Lott checks the NAS... before it wrecks itself
Volokh: John Lott responds
|Last month, the National Academy of Sciences issued a 328-page report on gun control laws. The big news that has been ignored on all the blog sites is that the academy's panel couldn't identify any benefits of the decades-long effort to reduce crime and injury by restricting gun ownership. The only conclusion it could draw was: Let's study the question some more.
The panel has left us with two choices: Either academia and the government have wasted tens of millions of dollars and countless man-hours on useless research (and the panel would like us to spend more in the same worthless pursuit), or the National Academy is so completely unable to separate politics from its analyses that it simply can't accept the results for what they are.
Based on 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, and some of its own empirical work, the panel couldn't identify a single gun control regulation that reduced violent crime, suicide or accidents.
From the assault weapons ban to the Brady Act to one-gun-a-month restrictions to gun locks, nothing worked. (Something that I have been the first person to investigate empirically for many of these laws, and I also had been unable to find evidence that they reduced violent crime.)
The study was not the work of gun-control opponents. The panel was set up during the Clinton administration, and of its members whose views on guns were publicly known before their appointments all but one had favored gun control...
...It is hard to look through the NAS panel's tables on right-to-carry laws and not find overwhelming evidence that right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime... Overall, the panel's own evidence from the latest data up through 2000 shows significant benefits and no costs from these laws...