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More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  739 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Does allowing people to own or carry guns deter violent crime? Or does it simply cause more citizens to harm each other? Directly challenging common perceptions about gun control, legal scholar John Lott presents the most rigorously comprehensive data analysis ever done on crime statistics and right-to-carry laws. This timely and provocative work comes to the startling con ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 321 pages
Published June 15th 2000 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1998)
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Oct 20, 2008 marked it as started-and-not-finished
One of my sons-in-law is an Aussie, and shares the currently (though not historically) typical British/Canadian/Australian horror of civilian gun ownership, and particularly of civilian gun use in self-defense. Since my views on the subject are very dissimilar, we have some interesting discussions. :-) (As Christians, we both would prefer a world where nobody owned weapons, nor wanted or needed any --but that's unfortunately not the case in the world we're stuck with.) When the library where I w ...more
Sep 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
While there will always be people who are opposed to, or in favor of, gun control, I found this book to be a compelling argument in favor of increasing gun ownership and allowing the average citizen to carry a gun if they wish. Those who know me know that I am strongly against gun control, on both philosophical and practical grounds, but I also found Lott's work compelling from a professional and methodological perspective. Certainly there are some flaws...I've never seen a research study that w ...more
Brendan Carry
Mar 18, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Republicans
This is a great book if you wish to look into the rationale of conservative propagandists. The author in no way contrasts the statistics to other developed countries and utilizes the statistics that represent the minority of gun related defenses.
Tadas Talaikis
Jan 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: b-s
This book suggests it is is a "research", when actual research:

"Right-to-carry handgun laws trigger a 13% to 15% increase in violent crime a decade after the typical state adopts them, suggests a new statistical analysis of 33 US states." source

References to other research papers.


Review of More Than 130 Studies Provides Powerful Evidence That Gun Control Saves Lives

So, this book seems intelligent, but misses basics of rules of statistics.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Consider two books: Arming America and More Guns Less Crime. Published in 1999 and 1998 respectively the former attracted the ire of the gun lobby the latter seduced it but both are a remarkable couple in that neither is at all factual.
Arming America relied on probate records and information that very likely skewed by location, and era. But the main thesis of the book that American gun ownership is a more recent invention remains intact-unproven but intact. Arming America never made any claim t
May 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone who loves statistics
Shelves: politics
This book was the result of a study on gun control laws, mainly non-discretionary concealed-handgun laws (aka "shall issue laws"), and crime rates. The study is very extensive in that in includes data from all 3,000+ counties in the U.S. over more than a 15 year period. However like any the study isn't complete (he only studies data available i.e. not all counties kept records as detailed as he would have liked, he doesn't look at statistics from other countries) and isn't perfect. One thing goo ...more
عمران ابن مصر
Everyone who wants to understand the role of guns in violence in America must read this book. The result of heroic research, including data collected from nearly every county in the US over a period of fifteen years, it proves that permitting people to carry concealed handguns reduces the risk of violent crimes, including homicide and rape, while increasing the risk of nonviolent crimes, such as burglary. Furthermore, those who hold licenses to carry concealed guns are not likely to use them exc ...more
Feb 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
I didn't actually finish reading this book. First, because the writing is academic style, which made it a bit tedious. And second, because I found other sources discrediting the research claims in this book. ...more
Jan 20, 2009 marked it as to-read
I own lots and lots and lots of guns.
Jim Knight
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it
If true, the statistics are pretty compelling. Lott makes a counterintuitive argument that more conceited carriers makes for a safer society and he bases it on statistics. I’ve also read a lot of counter arguments about it and people who question his statistics. He does a good job in the book of aggressively answering the critics and arguing mathematically against the counter-arguments. He does also make the point that most concealed carriers are statistically more law abiding than the public.

Jacob Greenmyer
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely incredible. Without doubt the most in depth statistical analysis of concealed carry guns and their relation to crime.

Amongst many excellent points that are the result of careful scholarship, 3 main points are made very obvious to the reader by the end of this empirical study:

1. Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law abiding (permit holders commit murders at 1/182nd the rate of the general population). Therefore, permit holders are much more trustworthy to not commit murd
Greg Linster
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: partially-read
In this book, the economist John Lott stirs the pot by asking some tough questions. He's more interested in what the data says when it comes to the following questions: Will gun control increase or decrease the number of lives lost? Will these laws improve or degrade the quality of life when it comes to violent crime?

Considering the title of the book, I'm sure you can take a guess as to what his research findings conclude. Despite mounds of sound empirical evidence, opponents of guns can't seem
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book explains the detailed studies the author conducted, which show that concealed-carry permit laws reduce violent crime, and to a lesser extent, property crime. He has conducted studies spanning almost 30 years for several US States. The book is bit heavy on statistics, charts and explanations of study methodology, but the study results are clearly explained as well. In this third edition, Lott includes data for states that passed carry laws more recently, as well as his responses to a lo ...more
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another behavioral economics book. This one analyzes the impact of concealed carry legislation on crime. Pretty heavy analysis over many decades. In ALL cases, for every county in the United States, conceal carry means less crime.

This book is the reason that virtually all free states have implemented Shall Issue laws.

This book makes bed wetting liberals heads explode.
Steven Clark
Finished this book, recommended to me by a gun-loving friend and colleague of mine.

I tried hard – and succeeded, I dare think – to maintain an open mind throughout the book, looking up references where needed, etc.

I can see why Lott thinks that more guns equals less crime, but I think he has missed the mark, so to speak. And reading reviews of his work, I see now that I am not alone, as his work has been largely and roundly criticized by other experts in the field.

Basically, he claims, as the ti
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: policy, economics
I'm glad I finally learned statistics! Without it, this book would seem to be written in a foreign language.

It's a dry book. Coming from a guy who likes dry writing and cold data, that's saying a lot. Still, Lott lays out convincing evidence that there is in fact a negative correlation between violent crime and the number of county-issued concealed carry permits.

When counties adopt non-discretionary permitting laws (where a concealed firearms permit shall be issued so long as the applicant meet
Christopher Armani
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Probably the most detailed and thorough research into the issue of gun control ever done. The third edition adds a new layer of data and expanded research. It's a ton of detailed information that can be difficult to wade through, but it's incredibly rewarding for those who stick with it. All the personal attacks against Mr. Lott came at him because his research was and is impeccable. And in our political climate, when you can't attack the research or the data, attack the man and try to discredit ...more
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author writes well and both the statistics and analysis are fairly exhaustive. However, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the book, and subsequent research seems to indicate that the conclusions of the book are not as certain as the author presents them (Read "FIREARMS AND VIOLENCE: A CRITICAL REVIEW" by the United States National Research Council

Additionally, while the research was extensive for its time, the author admits that there is often difficu
Julia Doolittle
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am writing an argumentative paper for school using the gun debate and the effect of the media on the debate. This book was a great source for gun rights. Because it was so focused on statistics, it was difficult for me to stay engaged but it provided great insights. Being very familiar with political studies, I have also learned that even statistics can be easily skewed.
Harding McFadden
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had a chance to meet Mr. Lott quite a few years ago when he was touring t promote this wonderful book. He was a very informative speaker, kind and intelligent, and this book shows that. Well worth your time and effort, it is every bit as interesting and educational a read today as it was nearly 20 years ago. So what are you waiting for: pick up your own copy today.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent research. Incredibly dry.

For those who wish he brought in data from other nations: to do so would be invalid. There are so many other differences that the comparison would be invalid on its face.
Cragin Shelton
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Highly documented and informative, with excellent tables showing the basis for the author's conclusions. The nature of the extensive data tables make it unsuitable to read on Kindle. Better to read as dead-tree version, or PDF if you must. ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
lots of data, 270m guns, 95% brandish and then prevents, active compliance best to avoid injury without a gun, felons avoid late night due to guns and case more, Israel citizens armed, gang murders skew #'s as they know each other, 89% murders by criminals, if guns banned more people vulnerable to crime, a benefit for criminals to ban guns, 760k defensive uses of guns, no/very few permit holders shoot police, 200 studies on gun control, AK DE highest rape rates, CA most gun owners 10m. ...more
Josh Gathany
Apr 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Even if I think Gun Control is dumb, this was not the best argument against it.
Will G
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pinker says advancing civilization. Levett says abortion. Lott says more guns. Reyes says lead.

Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly engaging and factual piece! Lott breaks down each anti-gun argument and highlights how the proposals they argue would have the opposite effect! Great read!
Dave Donarski
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lott does an amazing job of laboriously working through heavy duty statistical models and laying out all manner of ways in which his data sets and assumptions might be challenged. Then he adds more statistical analysis to those challenges. What came as a surprise to me was that only about half of the book (and this is the 3rd edition I've completed reading) is about his studies. The remainder is an unbelievably thorough response to the years of challenges his work and his character have endured ...more
May 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book, partly because it provides a well argued position and lots of supporting data that you can use to really get people wound up. I guess I always enjoy contrarian views, and it's really easy to find people whose views are contrary to this book's. The usual reaction when I mention the claim that legalizing guns will reduce crime is a simple and emotional "no, that's wrong". Then the fun begins.

The book itself presents a fairly compelling case. I've always been fascinated
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book has a really good point (non-discretionary concealed weapons permits reduce violent crime) and really good evidence, but it reads like a journal article so it was not pleasant to read through. There has got to be a better way to pitch this information - maybe The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong is the one I'm looking for. I was expecting something that was a lot easier to read, like Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works and Other Half ...more
Bill V
Mar 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To fully understand this book, I recommend having some knowledge in quantitative analysis. It's a very dry and tedious book. The part I like best is how the author addresses criticism leveled towards his research. In today's world, any critical work by one side of the political aisle will reflexively cause the other side to discredit it. I read the first edition of this book and it's currently in its 3rd printing. As I understand it the current edition discusses further critiques of the book and ...more
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John Richard Lott Jr. (born May 8, 1958) is an American economist and political commentator. Lott was formerly employed at various academic institutions including the University of Chicago, Yale University, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Maryland, College Park, and at the American Enterprise Institute conservative think tank. He is currently a Fox News ...more

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94 likes · 7 comments
“Criminals are motivated by self-preservation, and handguns can therefore be a deterrent. The potential defensive nature of guns is further evidenced by the different rates of so-called “hot burglaries,” where a resident is at home when a criminal strikes.16 In Canada and Britain, both with tough gun-control laws, almost half of all burglaries are “hot burglaries.” In contrast, the United States, with fewer restrictions, has a “hot burglary” rate of only 13 percent.” 3 likes
“Take the Colorado Springs church shooting in December 2007. A parishioner who had the minister’s permission to carry her concealed gun into the church quickly stopped the slaughter before the killer was able to enter the area where thousands of members of the congregation sat.” 1 likes
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