tv John Lott The War on Guns CSPAN August 29, 2019 12:20am-1:10am EDT
am president of the research center and academic most of my life. chief economist at a variety of different universities take chicago, stanford and yale. but i will talk about the misinterpretations of guns and crime. im very empirical normally i can show you lots of graphs but i am stymied on this technical history but there are a lot of issues we can talk about. o off the top of my head, a couple of the claims we frequently hear about is background checks stop about three.five dangerous people. everybody wants to stop criminals or people who might
be dangerous to get a hold of g a gun. the problem is theem claims made simply are not correct. rather than saying three three.5 million, what they say is therely has been three.5 million initial denials and almost all of those are mistakes. it is one thing to stop somebody who is a felon from it's another to stop them because they have a name similar to a felon so for example the last full annual report put out on the background checks in 2010 the obama administration there was 76000 initial denials only 48 cases were referred for prosecution and they
prosecuted 26 and got 13 convictions. often you will hear they are not enforcing the law. but that same tiny part of prosecutions was true under clinton, bush, and obama. republicans attacked democrats and vice versa for not enforcing the law. but if you talk to the people involved just because there is a similar name and then do the enforcement action. 2473 is the form you fill out your name and social security number your birthdate your
race and i color you think they are using that information but what they use is roughly phonetically similar nameme and birthday. i can give you a lot of cases where people simply because of a similar name has been stopped to buy a gun. the problem is it is the most vulnerable people in society who have been harmed the most as a result. because it is primarily minorities that are prevented as a result of the process. people tend to have names similar of their racial group hispanics to hispanics and blacks to blacks and 30 percent of black males in the united states are legally prohibited from owning guns because of a past criminal history so whose names are there times - - names to be
ntconfused with? together black males want to defend themselves. you can appeal these mistakes mot the problem is they cost money most people will find it necessary to go hire a lawyer to help them. and it could cost 3000 are up of $10000 to go through the legal process. this is through no fault of their own. so not only do you have it that minorities are overwhelmingly stopped the basically middle income and poor blacks and hispanics if it convinces meh of anything that the people that are most likely to be victims of violent v crime, poor blacks of
high crime urban areas benefit by far the most to protect themselves. and the police themselves no they arrive on the crime scene after the crimes occurred and that raises real questions about what people should do. if they have to confront a criminal themselves. it's easy to fix the problem there is no reason why these
mistakes should be occurring. companies do criminal background checks all the time. if companies when they do background checks had an error rate 100 the error rate of the federal government they would be sued out ofad existence. if you ever want to debate somebody pushing the background checks ask them why it is the federal government doesn't have to meet the same dtandards for criminal background checks that they demand private companies have to meet? if a private company used roughly phonetically similar names democrats wouldre be screaming blood he murder that's discrimination against minorities why is that good enough to require the private companies then why not require the government has to do the same thing? but if you bring this up to
iln control advocates they will scream the poison pill and say you are just trying to defeat the measure. i personally think is a lot better to say three.5 million dangerous or prohibited paper people that have been stopped than to say 35000 and even those numbers these are not dangerous criminals. they didn't realize they made a mistake i will give you one of the more egregious examples. there was a man who was 65 his wife and got threats at her job. she was going to get that concealed carry permit. he decided as a gift he would buy her a handgun and went into a store and filled out the paperwork. it turns out that 43 years earlier he got into a fist
fight with his brother and the neighbors called the police he had been arrested and pleaded guilty to domestic violence that is prohibited so the prosecution argued surely he did not forget he had a prohibition and that he should have understood when he wasas filling out the form and signing at the bottom to say everything was correct that in fact he was prohibited from buying a gun. but he was convicted of perjury and sentenced three years in jail. those are not the types of people you're not getting the hardened criminals. they may be stupid but they are not so stupid they go to somebody who will do a background sodba check if they w they spent two years in jail and they are prohibited to dore
this. so it would be nice if these could be fixed and i have often told people in the gun control movement over 20 years that if they fix a simple thing they could get these background checks on private transfers pas past. but they will fight even against the very reasonablen i changes indicates they are not really interested in getting it past. . . . .
a lot of attention over time. hello. is this on? i will try to speak loudly. anyway, you can see a set of 14 countries they have where it shows how homicide, about 30 million people in the united states higher t than it is anotr countries. here's somethinghe from "the new york times" where they have 11 countries with the united states and about three per 100,000 1000 hired in italy, canada, sweden, switzerland, other countries. there's a lot of issues with this. there's a lot more developed countries, like 36 that's neat
that kind of standard is an organization called the oecd and it is rules based on income and production that they have the first of all i just want to show you how the united states compares to all and then all developed countries. the blue line over here is the average for homicide rate. green is for the media and and red is for the united states. well below the average home is below the median, so more than half the countries around the world have a higher homicide rate. there's a couple of things to out here. a lot of people think murder and homicide is the same thing. they are not and it makes the difference in these type of crabs.
the big difference is homicide are murderers and justifiable homicides. it isn't clear to me why you want to lump together justifiable homicide along with murderers, justifiable homicides are places where police officer is being threatened by a criminal and has to kill the criminaacriminal or a civilian a gun in self-defense. the unite united states has a le justifiable homicides and other countries. it would lower thei the rate byt 20% or so from what we have here and it would make a significant difference. most countries don't, a vast majority don't report murders. they just report homicide so that makes one difference. what people often do when they make comparisons across countries is to but that's not homicide firearm homicides. if you look at firearm
homicides, the average here the united states is over here, much higher than the median. so why is the unite united statr much highesomuch higher in termm homicides than we are in terms of total homicide? if you look at the graph carefully, you can see the lines look little thicker, there are a lot fewer name. 45% of the countries in the world don't report of firearm homicide data. the countries that don't report of firearm homicide data are the countries that tend to have the highest homicide rate. so the reason why we look relatively high in terms of firearm homicide is because the countries with a high homicide rate aren't reporting the firearm homicide data so it isn't that we are higher than the other countries. it's just they are removing, they are not providing the data for thees other countries and tt
makes us look relatively worse. there is no reason to believe we are particularly high in terms of the firearm homicide if you actually had the data for all the countries. and i will mention both of these, some of the worst countries don'tse report the daa or don't report them very't accurately. places like chicago or philadelphia which have had corruption issues in terms of accurately providing crime data. that is something that we see quite common in other countries. if you look at thehe public countries, youou can see there e some that have much higher homicide rate data then we have here in the united states. brazil about six times higher than we have here. russia is hire and in the most recent years it is a little higher than we have here in the united states.
one thing that is a little bit misleading i would point out, sand i think it is misleading to talk about a u.s. homicide rate because it is varying so dramatically across the united states. states. 2% of the counties in the united states account for over half the murders in the united states. if you ever look at they make up a little over 20% of the population. but if you look at what's called a murder map which will craft out where they occur in different counties, what you will find is basically a within about a ten block area within those high murder counties you'll find over half of them occurring there so they are very heavily concentrated in a very tiny areas within the united states. and basically it is drug gang related. we have a relatively high
homicide rate compared h to many other countries simply because we have a a much worse drug gang problems above example, mexico has an even worse problem than we have here in the united states. they have extremely stric strict gun-control laws inws mexico sie 1972 they've only had one in this country is in mexico city. it's in mexico city. it's run by the military. guns are extremely expensive. they bring in drugs from the rest of the world and weapons they used. in terms of the common ownership this is from 2007 they had about 89 per 100 people.
the source for the data is the small arms survey cited in "the new york times" and "washington post." if you are interested, look up the data and if you go through the footnotes coming will find they don't provide a source for about 85% of the countries that they list. i've been asking them for five years now can you give me your source because i have problems with some of the data and they basically refused to say where they got their data from. so i don't believe these numbers but it's something that you are going to see all the time in the media. there's other problems with this, for example, even the countries that give data like switzerland.
switzerland at this point would require all able-bodied males between the ages of 18 to 36 to have a military issued machine gun and in many placesgu a han handgun. as the ownership of the guns that matter what the possession of guns that matter? i would think if you were worried about people behaving responsibly or irresponsibly, the possession of them should matter rather than the ownership. if you were to fix this for switzerland and israel for the vast majority are owned by the government. if you were to fix that, but israel in terms of progression
rates are higher than what we have here in the united states. and you get similar types of claims. for example, one of them that you will see if the united states may have over 4% of the world's population, the 42% of all of the civilian owned guns in the i world are in the united states. there are lots of problems with this beyond the fact that it's based on this nonexistent data for a lot of countries. but even those that they do havc data for will reply on a survey canada for example if you look at surveys of ownership in the early to mid 1990s, you will find about 8.5 million canadians on surveys that would sa surveyn long gone. when they started this registry in the late '90s, all of a sudden the surveys could only find about 3.5 million canadian that would say that they own the
guns. now it could be that you have a 5 million canadians before they'reil gone instantly. or you have them destroy their guns. but you would imagine if you have 5 million canadians have all of a sudden selling off c te gun, it would have been noticed by the media a little bit. hte gun stores might have noticed people trying to turn in their guns. nothing like that is talked about. in fact, there were some a increases in sales it looked like at that time. but, you could imagine once you have a registry and somebody calling you up on the phone asking whether or not you own a long gun, you might not, you might think it is from the government or something and you might be if you were breaking the law there are reasons to believe that this number is pretty worthless for multiple
reasons. it's tremendously exaggerates the u.s. share. with these numbers together. firearmid rates across the couny i also talk about gun ownership rates. one other thing about the gun ownership rates but you really want to do is not look at a number of guns per number of people. you want to look at the percentage of the population that owns guns. i could have 1% of the population own 100 guns each or i could have 100% of the population own one each. i'm talking about issues of self defense or people behaving improperly, it seems like knowing the percentage of the petition is a lot more usefuloi number they use the number and you getum this type of shows gun
ownership here and they did this relationshiget thisrelationshipd states. showing homicideho rates and displeasure of gun ownership. i'm only including some of the developed countries in here. this is not including russia were both so and i will show you what happens when you change the graph. the question is what can the united states learn from other developed countries excluding some of the ones with really high homicide rates like russia and brazil, and if you ask the question, what you find is in fact a country with a measure of homicide which is in gun ownership which i have problems,
but since you see these in "the tew york timesthenew"thenew yore that i would have let you know how sensitive the results are. you find that in fact looking at all non-us countries there's a negative relationshipon with moe are associated with frankly lower homicide rate than you would have gotten previously. if you add the high homicide rates it makes it even more negative. even if you include the united states. the thing is that the united und states it is way out her is wayy insults and again i'm using their low numbers for guns for switzerland and israel over he here. ali'll buy itall by it's self .a
lot. they would be way out here and pull the wind way bac line the n by themselves. how they are excluding some of the other observations that are there if you were to go and look at all countries, not just the developed countries, and you find that the countries that have the most gun of the lowest homicide rate. and you can look at it for fire homicide and again you find that the countries with the most gun ownershiownership rates at the t homicide rate. we see this also in terms of mass public shootings. this is from "the new york times" they published the same couple of times where they will go and use the gun ownership rate in hers from the surveys
and they will use the massat public shootings outraged from somebody called adam langford of the university of alabama and they will show this type of positive relationship again. there's a couple of problems with this. when langford started putting up these numbers and "the new york times" was using it, he wouldn't get out the list of mass public shootings about the world. he claimed that from 66 to 2012, 31% of all of the public shooters in the world were from the united states, 202 from the rest of theov row over the 47 years and 90 from the united states. they were fighting the claims in the administration to claimur ty were unique in terms of mass public shootings way out there.
i got gun control advocates to class for the list of the world and theyas refused to give it ot for years. years. so finally a couple of years ago i decided to bite the bullet you can find our list of the cases from around the world crime research.org. we bit the bullet and spent about $70,000. i don't know how to find cases where poor people are shot in africa or parts of south america in the 1960s or the 1970s. 1970s. and he never explained how he could get these from the 1960s and 70s. we looked at the last 15 years of the period of the 47 years but he looked at rather than the 202 shooters over the whole
world outside of the united states over 47 years, we've found over 3,000 just in the last three years. picking up 31% of the mass public shooters, we found that they made up about 1% of the mass public shooters so about 4.6% of the world population. orance, finland, norway, switzerland, russia, major countries plus lots of minor countries with lower rates and you can see these are some that obama would be making. i say s this every time we've gotten one of these mass shootings. this just doesn't happen in
other countries and i can show you several dozen claim whenever the administration would ask for the source, he would go on-site to study when they were not giving up the data. i p can show you comments with s over the years for the beta and he would refuse. he's giving it out now but it turns out he only included cases where one shooter was involved. in columbine you have to shootertwoshooters except for tt also he is missing these cases. if you look at the number of people killed per hundred thousand people, the gun ownership rate rather than getting the relationship, you get this negative relationship. muntries with more gun and fewer people killed in the mass
public shootings. if you look at the rate of mass public shootings, and this is even removing the most extreme cases i will mention a couple that we can quickly go through. how many guns do americans own if you look at places like "the new york times" business from a graph in "the new york times" to argue that it's been falling over time but now about 30% of american households own aol gun. they were doing stories about the risk of guns in homes and i was talking about an hour and a halhalf and towards the end of e
conversation she made the comment, she said at least this won't be too much of a problem in the future because fewer and fewer households are having to. you have your own survey and it doesn't show the drop that it shows is basically flat over time as a percentage of the population and she didn't believe me. the study that they've done about the risk of guns in the home all the time when they would mention it, mentioning the fact gun ownership is falling and only 30% of american households own it.
this is abc news results. that looks pretty hot to me. there is a general social survey shows here is the most recent survey from a lot of different sources. abc news, the general surveys from cnn, dallas, cbs, the university, nbc or wall street journal. i mention there's mentioned thf issues with it. the blue line shows the
they're much less likely to say that it's owned in the home and married men are. now it could be that he has a gun and isn't telling the wife about it. i suppose tha suppose that's a y or it could be that they lie about owning guns when they don't ownn a gun. my guess is the opposite may beg more likely to be true. they may be reticent to go and eyll people they are, how they defend their families. there is good reason to believe you will end up with more than owning ahe household
gun. why do they tak did they pick ty number they keep using time after time, and i think the reason they do that if they want to make the gun owners feel somewhat isolated, make them feel fewer and fewer people are wanting to go and own guns over time. i will give you onene example fr the survey if you look at illinois, you have to have a car to be able to go and own a gun in illinois. it is a license to own it. there's been a huge increase almost doubl doubled over the le years or so. at the same time the survey for illinois claims there's been about 30% drop in gun ownership over the period of time so you have fewer people saying they own a gun and at the same time you have a huge increase in the number of cards out there. the other thing you can look at is the number of concealed carry programs.
in 1999, there are about or 1998 is about 2 million concealed carry permit holders in the united states and there's about 18 million right now that are owned to his concealed carry permits. have concealed carry permits. and even then the increase tbecause back in 1998 he only d one state that was a constitutional carry state where you didn't have to have a permit to carry. now you have 16 states that are constitutional carry. people in those states don't foo get a permit to carry, and in fact you get a permit to carry from outside into reciprocity is actually see the number of permits level off or even fall a little bit even though you know the number that are legally carrying is going up. it really underestimates the growth that you have had and it gives you an idea that because
of the ownership rates have been changing a lot more than people might think. i would mention one other survey really quickly. this is on another question. whether or not you think teachers should be armed. if you look at all of the adults are slightly more are against teachers being armed. if you ask people that have school-age kids whether teachers should be armed, the kind of people that have the most skin in the game so to speak, their own kids or the one, who are at risk. they strongly support teachers being able to go and own gun. about 59% support. the opposition to teachers having guns basically comes from adults that don't have kids.
one of the things we frequently hear is about the risk of people having guns. h concealed carry permits provide some interesting data on this, because what you findnt is thate have all these 18 million permit holders, but they are incredibly law-abiding. if you look at firearms related violations, you are talking about people losing their concealed carry permit for any type of firearm violation and thousands or tens of thousands of one percentage point. and police are rarely convicted of firearms violations. they are convicted of firearm violations of about less than one 20th the rate of the general population. permit holders are convicted of the firearms violations about one tenth the rate police officers are.
so, police officers are rarely convicted and permit holders were even much less rarely. i could go through this number. one of the claims is what makes them so dangerous in terms of suicide is they are very successful in committing suicide. a lot of the research that is done this firearm suicide if it were me i think the issue is to look at total suicide if it's to see any change of total suicide even if you see the drop in firearm suicide. it's probably not advisable to take six sleeping pills, but you
are unlikely to be successful in committing suicide affair. you know, what we've also have come into this says only 5% of people who cut themselves or are successful committing suicide only 7% of place and 97% of firearms used in suicide are successful and that's why we should get rid of firearms. ..
>> there are lots of ways of committing suicide in terms that of what you want to try to do go interestingly enough there is some data that most of these other types of suicide are less painful than shootinge' yourself. the other claim about australia that we hear all the hetime australia had a gun bypassed to reduce firearm
homicide by 60 percent and a similar job off firearm suicides. so they did the buyback they reduce thehe number of licensed clients at two.five they were not banned people to buy them again by 2010 gun ownership rate was clearly above then the buyback so this really had the effect of crime to which be a sharp drop then it increase. about what you find this is for firearm suicide. you conceived for both suicide and homicide the death rates were still falling 15 years
prior they did afterwards but at a slower rate. so now to take a perfectly straight line and just compare the before and after images i could pick any point the average is below before vasa perfectly straight line that did not vary at all i would say if the average is below that's a derivative reports that seems misleading because of the light is perfectlydi straight is at a slower or faster rate clicks was there discontinuity clicks so if you look at firearm suicide or harm one --dash homicide so more slowly than before.
this is something the new york times pushes a lot within thest office last couple weeks there is a graph they like to show where card deaths are falling over to that the claim is if only we can regulate cars on - - guns like we do cars that they will show how it continues to fall but if they were to go back at 1920 automobile death rates were falling dramatically beforee any federal regulations for coal companies compete with shatterproof glass or
seatbelts or collapsible steering columns if you actually see when the federal government got involved the rate stops falling and then the first regulations go into effect is at a slower a rate than before. why did the federal government involvement? they say what is the actual death ray after that is the best of everything why did it fall more slowly clicks because when the federal government says have airbags is not just airbags now they will be designed this way they will be installed this way. they micromanage exactly how they do it. if you are a general non- - - general motors or ford you
want to put airbags in your cars but if you put them in before the government tells you how to do that vv billions of dollars of investment to figureo out how you would design it. and then one or two years after you have done this the federal government comes about with their own regulations andnr then tells you has to be designed differently they could use different chemicals so now you have to rip out that investmentav and put in new money to meet those exact specifications of the federal government. with that hanging over your head what does that do to car companies going out on their own to try to improve the safety of their cars? they don't do it. they wait until the federal government tells them and guess what? the federal government isn't
fast and doing things and know you are shocked this never happened before with government regulations so it slows down the rate of safety improvement. people don't see that because they justay compare the before-and-after averages. there are a lot of other things i could go through but i would suggest you go to our website at prior research.org and go through the myths and they also suggest that you go to the website after 30 seconds a little pop-up will occur you can subscribe to the e-mail list.
every couple weeks a group of academics around the country that does research on these questions and will have the current topics have a people subscribe to the e-mail list clicks a few people do. do you find it useful? do you like it? he shakes his head yes. [laughter] i thank you will find it useful we are academics from harvard, wharton school, university of michigan and other places that do research on these things and we try to make sure people areak educated along the lines i have been talking about so far. thank you very much.