"Uber and the Great Taxicab Collapse"

The million dollar taxi cab medallions only came about from high taxi fees.  Should government protect certain business from competition?  Would the taxi cab fees been anywhere near as high as they have been without government protection?  Obviously, no.

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For those joining us from Coast-to-Coast AM, Please go to the Crime Prevention Research Center Website for information about gun control and crime

The Crime Prevention Research Center is available here.


Yet another Obama administration official using a pseudonym to hide email accounts, Lois Lerner follows Lisa Jackson and many other Obama officials

Lisa Jackson and many others at the EPA used a pseudonym to hide their identities.  In Jackson's case, she pretended to be a man, Richard Windsor, who actually won real awards granted by the EPA.  Now it turns out that Lois Lerner also disguised herself as a guy to hide her emails from prying eyes. The Washington Times reports:
. . . “In addition to emails to or from an email account denominated ‘Lois G. Lerner‘ or ‘Lois Home,’ some emails responsive to Judicial Watch’s request may have been sent to or received from a personal email account denominated ‘Toby Miles,’” Mr. Klimas told Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is hearing the case. 
It is unclear who Toby Miles is, but Mr. Klimas said the IRS has concluded that was “a personal email account used by Lerner.” . . .



Private contractor warned EPA about possibility of 'blowout' risk for tainted water at gold mine, EPA ignored warning

After weeks of badgering by the media, the EPA finally releases a very damaging report that they were warned about the likelihood of an environmental disaster in Colorado.  The EPA ignored the warning.  From the Associated Press:
. . . EPA released the documents following weeks of prodding from The Associated Press and other media organizations. EPA and contract workers accidentally unleashed 3 million gallons of contaminated wastewater on Aug. 5 as they inspected the idled Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado. 
Among the documents is a June 2014 work order for a planned cleanup that noted that the old mine had not been accessible since 1995, when the entrance partially collapsed. The plan appears to have been produced by Environmental Restoration, a private contractor working for EPA. 
"This condition has likely caused impounding of water behind the collapse," the report says. "ln addition, other collapses within the workings may have occurred creating additional water impounding conditions. Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediment from inside the mine, which contain concentrated heavy metals." . . .


Democratic pundits are publicly turning against Hillary Clinton

It has taken some time, but you know Hillary is in trouble when even the most stalwart Democratic pundits are saying that she is not being honest.
-- Mark Shields tells Judy Woodruff on the PBS Newshour that Hillary should have turned over everything over at the very outset.  Shields points out that the judge who reprimanded Hillary this past week was appointed by Bill Clinton.
-- Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post tells Hillary to "stop digging the hole."
you ought to stop — now! — with the unconvincing claim that you did nothing different from your predecessors as secretary of state. . . .
And wiping the server 
— you did work on Watergate for the House Judiciary Committee, didn’t you? . . .
-- A few days earlier, Eugene Robinson also at the Washington Post had a change of heart about Hillary's email problems. He had until that point been defending Hillary.
. . . It’s about basic respect — for us and for the truth. 
Why, when she took office as secretary of state, did she decide to route official e-mails through a server in her suburban New York mansion? There is just one plausible explanation: She wanted control.  
Clinton was no stranger to the rules of the federal government. . . .  
Even if your name is Clinton, you have no right to unilaterally decide what is included and what is not. 
So I wish Hillary Clinton would be respectful enough to say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong.” I wish she wouldn’t insult our intelligence by claiming she only did what other secretaries of state had done. None of her predecessors, after all, went to the trouble and expense of a private e-mail server. . . .


The unintended consequences of plastic bag bans

From Bloomberg:
When the city council in Austin, Texaspassed a single-use plastic shopping bag ban in 2013, it assumed environmental benefits would follow. The calculation was reasonable enough: Fewer single-use bags in circulation would mean less waste at city landfills. 
Two years later, an assessment commissioned by the city finds that the ban is having an unintended effect –- people are now throwing away heavy-duty reusable plastic bags at an unprecedented rate. The city's good intentions have proven all too vulnerable to the laws of supply and demand. 
What's true for Austin is likely true elsewhere. Plastic bag bans are one of America's most popular environmental measures of recent years . . . . 
plastic bags simply aren't that big of a problem. . . . . A more finely tuned litter survey in Fort Worth, Texas (reported in the Austin assessment) found that just 0.12 percent of the weight of litter in the city (which does not have a ban) comes from single-use bags. 
Nonetheless, . . . weight isn't the only measure of environmental impact. Single-use plastic bags pose outsized problems in the form of visual pollution on the landscape . . . . 
reducing the use of a product that's harmful to the environment is no guarantee of a positive environmental outcome. . . . To that end, the city encouraged residents to instead use reusable bags. Those bags have larger carbon footprints, due to the greater energy required to produce their stronger plastics, but the city figured the overall impact would be lower, as consumers got acquainted with the new, more durable product.  What the city didn't foresee is that residents would start treating reusable bags like single-use bags. . . .



Only 45% of electric vehicle owners this year have replaced their cars with a new electric vehicle

One measure of whether people liked their electric vehicles is whether they replaced them with a new one when they traded their old car.  By that measure, despite the massive subsidies, electric vehicles aren't holding up very well.  From Edmunds:
only 45 percent of this year's hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle, down from just over 60 percent in 2012. Never before have loyalty rates for alt-fuel vehicles fallen below 50 percent.  
"For better or worse, it looks like many hybrid and EV owners are driven more by financial motives rather than a responsibility to the environment," says Edmunds.com Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell. "Three years ago, when gas was at near-record highs, it was a lot easier to rationalize the price premiums on alternative fuel vehicles. But with today's gas prices as low as they are, the math just doesn't make a very compelling case."  
To underscore the point, Edmunds calculates that at the peak average national gas price of $4.67/gallon in October 2012, it would take five years to break even on the $3,770 price difference between a Toyota Camry LE Hybrid ($28,230) and a Toyota Camry LE ($24,460). At today's national average gas price of $2.27/gallon, it would take twice as much time (10.5 years) to close the same gap. . . .



Massive EPA spill in Georgia, happened before Colorado, EPA hid spill

So much for transparency by the Obama administration.  From Fox News:
Still reeling from a disaster it created at a Colorado gold mine, the EPA has so far avoided criticism for a similar toxic waste spill in Georgia. . . .  that accident took place five months ago, the hazard continues as heavy storms -- one hit the area Tuesday -- wash more soil into the creek.  
The sediment flows carry dangerous mercury, lead, arsenic and chromium downstream to the tourist destination of Lake Oconee, which then feeds into Oconee River -- home to many federally and state protected species. 
Lead in the soil is 20,000 times higher than federal levels established for drinking water, said microbiologist Dave Lewis, who was a top-level scientist during 31 years at the Environmental Protection Agency.  
He became a whistleblower critical of EPA practices . . . . 
"Clearly, the site is a major hazardous chemical waste dump, which contains many of the most dangerous chemical pollutants regulated by the EPA," Lewis wrote in a 2014 affidavit for a court case filed by local residents that failed to prevent the EPA project: creating a low-income housing development. . . .


UN agrees to let Iranian inspectors look at military nuclear sites, Obama adm couldn't get agreement on this key part so they let UN negotiate

The most shocking part of this interview with Representative Ed Royce is the revelation that the Obama administration couldn't get agreement on this key part so they let UN negotiate it.



New op-ed at the New York Daily News: Donald Trump's big lie about 'buying' politicians

My newest piece, which is co-authored with Bradley Smith, starts this way:

For years, Trump was a major contributor to Democratic campaigns. From 1989 through 2011, Trump gave over $580,000 to Democrats, approximately $85,000 more than he donated to Republicans. He also contributed at least $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Since 2012, however, over 99% of his contributions have gone to Republicans.
Trump might have argued his political giving has changed simply because his views on health care, taxes and other issues have grown more conservative. But he has offered quite a different explanation. He says that he has given to politicians not out of conviction, but because then they “do whatever the hell you want them to do.”
These comments draw “amens” from both the angry American middle, which is furious at the political class, and knowing nods from the liberal political cognoscenti, which favors stricter campaign finance regulations that would make it easier for them to control political discussion through the elite media.
Trump’s claim to control politicians, however, appears to be nothing more than braggadocio. His one concrete example of puppetry, offered in the GOP debate: “With Hillary Clinton, I said, ‘Be at my wedding,’ and she came to my wedding . . . She had no choice, because I gave.” Leaving aside that this isn’t a pressing matter of government policy, attending a lavish Trump wedding hardly seems like something people that you have to pay people to attend.
Trump asserts that because he is financing his own campaign, he can “do what’s right for the people.” He attacks his political rivals as beholden to wealthy donors: “Bush is controlled by those people. Walker is controlled by those people.” . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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New study on Concealed Carry

I hope that people will consider downloading a copy of our new study on concealed handguns available here.  The paper shows the huge changes that have been occurring in the number of concealed handgun permits and who have been getting those permits.  It also shows how changes in the crime rate have been related to changes in crime rates across states, and I think that the paper will serve as an important resource.  Finally, if we can get another thousand downloads on the paper, I think that it will force the academics who pay attention to the rankings on the Social Science Research Network to have to deal with the points that we have raised in the paper.



Hillary Clinton's nonexistent accomplishments in the US Senate

It has been hard for Hillary Clinton's supporters to identify anything that she accomplished while Secretary of State.  Well, it should be just as hard for people to identify any real mark she made while in the US Senate.   Fifteen of the twenty bills she passed involved designating names for government buildings, honoring events, or congratulating people on their accomplishments (show in red).  The five bills of more substance are marked in blue.  Two of those five designated land in Puerto Rico as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.  A third bill renewed a grant program "to develop coordinated respite care programs."  A fourth "authorize assistance for individuals with disabilities in foreign countries, including victims of landmines and other victims of civil strife and warfare, and for other purposes."  A fifth was to extend unemployment insurance in 2001, but there was nothing unique about that bill and it appears as if it was a gift to her so that she could claim that she had something passed.

So after eight years in the Senate, Clinton's legislative accomplishments boil down to two relatively small grant programs.

Hillary Clinton's 20 bills that were passed while she was in the US Senate.
S.Con.Res. 39 (109th): A concurrent resolution to express the sense of Congress on the Purple Heart.
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: May 26, 2005
Passed Senate: Jul 28, 2005
S. 272 (109th): Caribbean National Forest Act of 2005
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Feb 3, 2005
Passed Senate: Jul 26, 2005
S.Con.Res. 112 (108th): A concurrent resolution supporting the goals and ideals of National Purple Heart Recognition Day.
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: May 21, 2004
Passed Senate: Jul 22, 2004
S. 2334 (108th): Caribbean National Forest Act of 2004
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Apr 22, 2004
Passed Senate: Oct 10, 2004
S. 1108 (108th): 225th Anniversary of the American Revolution Commemoration Act
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: May 22, 2003
Passed Senate: Apr 7, 2004
S.Con.Res. 40 (108th): A concurrent resolution designating August 7, 2003, as “National Purple Heart Recognition Day”.
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Apr 30, 2003
Passed Senate: Jul 25, 2003
S. 538 (108th): Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2003
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Mar 5, 2003
Passed Senate: Apr 10, 2003
S.Con.Res. 103 (107th): A concurrent resolution supporting the goals and ideals of National Better Hearing and Speech Month, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Apr 30, 2002
Passed Senate: May 1, 2002
S. 1777 (107th): International Disability and Victims of Landmines, Civil Strife and Warfare Assistance Act of 2002
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Dec 5, 2001
Passed Senate: Sep 13, 2002
S. 1721 (107th): A bill to designate the building located at 1 Federal Plaza in New York, New York, as the “James L. Watson United States Courthouse”.
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Nov 16, 2001
Passed Senate: Apr 30, 2002
S. 1622 (107th): Extended Unemployment Compensation bill
Sponsor: Sen. Hillary Clinton [D-NY, 2001-2009]
Introduced: Nov 1, 2001
Passed Senate: Dec 20, 2001


Panama moves to let citizens have guns: Public Safety Minister notes more guns "have allowed the US to reduce homicide"

The Panama Post:
As Panama deals with increases in crime rates, forged gun permits, and rising gang activity, the government is set to lift the ban on firearm imports, in an effort to promote personal safety.
Public Safety Minister Rodolfo Aguilera said the country will follow in the footsteps of the United States and Switzerland, where the right to bear arms is believed to lead to fewer homicides.+
“Everything seems to indicate that there is no direct correlation in the aphorism that says more guns mean more crime,” said Aguilera, who explained that relaxed gun laws have allowed the United States to reduce the homicide rate over the last 20 years. . . .
Under the current law, in effect since 2012, only state security forces can import firearms. Meanwhile, the Central American Integration System (SICA) has called for a comprehensive review of Panama’s firearm-import ban before any action is taken by the National Assembly. . . .
Further information on Panama's gun laws are available here and here.



While Donald Trump claims he believes "strongly in just about all conservative principles." he has been a Democrat, Independent, Republican and flirted with Ross Perot's Reform Party

From CNN story in February 2011:
. . . In a recent interview, Trump declared that he believes "strongly in just about all conservative principles," is "pro-life" and against gay marriage. He has attacked President Obama's health care law and said that the United States has become the "laughingstock" of the world. 
This is the same Donald Trump who has changed party affiliation from Republican to Independent to Democrat and back to Republican, according to a report. 
Trump has said in interviews with CNN that he identifies more with Democrats than Republicans; that the party handles the economy better than Republicans; that President George W. Bush was "probably the worst president in the history of the United States"; and suggested that Bush should have been impeached for what Trump called "lies" over a "horrendous mistake": the Iraq war.  
In 1999, while flirting with running for president under Ross Perot's Reform Party, Trump told the New York Daily News that he supported abortion rights and universal health care.Trump and his representatives at the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. . . . 
In a Monday interview, Trump defended his conservative bona fides."I'm a very conservative person. I'm very big into the military. I'm a great guy for defense," Trump told Greta Van Susteren of Fox News. "I am probably as conservative as anybody on your show, and that's going a pretty strong step." 
He added: "I'm a very conservative Republican. I believe strongly in just about all conservative principles." . . .
Does anyone believe that whatever Trump says that he believes today he will believe two years from now?


Donald Trump: acts like 3rd grader calling everyone names, claims he can't remember calling women names

Trump calls women from all walks of life (including "Playboy Playmate, a new mom, a newspaper columnist") Fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.  What could possibly justify such childish comments?  There are a number of news stories now that confirm the facts in Megyn Kelly's question.  Trump claims that he doesn't remember making any of those comments.

In 2011, New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote a column on Trump's financial problems.  So how does Trump respond?  He sends her back a copy of her column with "a circle drawn around Collins' face and these words: 'The Face of a Dog!'

Last year, Trump also called Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington as "a dog" in a tweet.

That is the way presidents should respond to critics?  If there is one thing that I learned a long time ago, you are unlikely to change someone else's position and convince them you are right if you make the discussion personal.  How is a president going to get Congress to go along with him if he is constantly insulting them?

The list of Trump's derogatory comments against women is incredibly long (see the Washington Post, New York Daily News, and here is a 2012 article in the left wing publication Jezebel).  People can read the long list of them for themselves.

But it isn't just obnoxious attacks on those he disagrees with.  As one of the contestants on "The Apprentice" noted: “I think it was most uncomfortable when he had one [female] contestant come around the board table and twirl around."  Or “He asked the men to rate the women — he went down the line and asked the guys, ‘Who’s the most beautiful on the women’s team?’ ”

After first saying he couldn't remember these comments, he was in complete denial: “The question on the women, I didn’t say many of those things."  One comment years ago is easy to forget.  Regular comments over a very long period of time?  That is much harder to believe.

That said, I agree with Mark Levin that context is important, especially in the case of Rosie O’Donnell.  In her case, Rosie O'Donnell had been mocking Trump before he mocked her.  I still would have responded differently.  However, I don't think that context will explain Trump's response to Gail Collins.  Collins has written very inaccurate pieces about me before, but I never thought of responding in the way that Trump did.

Just as strange, Trump has gone on a rampage with comments attacking Megyn Kelly since her question on Thursday.  He first started out saying that she was unprofessional and "really unfair."  So a guy who wants to be president, who lashes out regularly at others, spends days lashing out at Kelly after she asks him a tough question.



With all this money on a Facebook ad, Bloomberg's Everytown post on Kroger's Open Carry Policy gets just 292 likes

I have been seeing this ad from Bloomberg's Everytown for sometime, so I was pretty stunned when I noticed that as of this afternoon it still only has 292 likes.   The point of the link is to get people to sign a petition that will be delivered to Kroger.  The 279 comments also appear to be overwhelmingly by people who disagree with Everytown.  I have no idea exactly how much money Bloomberg spends on these ads, and I am sure that this is only a tiny amount of money to him.  But for a group that claims to have 2.5 million members, this is a very weak showing.  Of course, this membership number is pretty meaningless as these aren't dues paying members, just people who have agreed to be on Bloomberg's email list.  I assume that a number of those are those who support gun ownership and just want to see what Bloomberg is up to.


"China to Embed Internet Police in Tech Firms," So these are the guys Obama wants to give control of the internet to?

It is good to know that these internet police will be able to stop the "spreading of rumors."  It obviously wound never be abused by the Chinese to stop people from saying true things about the government, right?  From the WSJ:
China’s government plans to embed cybersecurity police units at major Internet companies and websites to help prevent crimes such as fraud and “spreading of rumors,” state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday. 
It is an unusually hands-on approach by Beijing, which typically sets censorship standards and puts the onus on companies to comply. China’s Internet regulator has previously favored tactics such as threatening to shut down services that didn’t meet censorship requirements. . . . 

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Mother Jones joins the list of left wingers trying to discredit me and the Crime Prevention Research Center

The doctored picture above is from Mother Jones' article on me
-- not quite sure what they have done to my neck.

For several years, Mother Jones, a leftist magazine funded by people such as George Soros, and I have been having a running feud.  They are apparently willing to do anything to push for more gun control.  Even other academics, who are liberal gun control advocates, such as James Alan Fox have also taken them to task, for their misleading use of data.  Unable to win the battle of facts, Mother Jones this week published a report trying to discredit my research.

Julia Lurie, the reporter Mother Jones assigned to do a story on the Crime Prevention Research Center, somehow managed to ask me about 50 detailed questions and still write on many issues that she had not asked me about, and when she did ask about things she ignored my responses (available here).  Her piece was filled with simple factual errors. Even a brief look in my book More Guns, Less Crime or in my original research paper with David Mustard would have prevented them.

Lurie somehow couldn’t managed to talk to researchers who have found results similar to mine, and she couldn’t even mention what most of the per reviewed studies have found.

Mother Jones has gone after others, such as Bill O’Reilly, and launched a personal attack.  In my case, they claim that the work produced by the Crime Prevention Research Center isn’t “academic quality” and quotes Professor Gary Kleck as saying that credible criminologist don’t believe that “with more guns there are less crimes” and that my research "was garbage in and garbage out.”  That the “National Research Council . . . concluded that the existing research, including Lott's, provided "no credible evidence" that right-to-carry laws had any effect on violent crime.”  The attacks are misleading and out of context.

Take Lurie's points in order.

1) "The National Research Council, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, assembled a panel to look into the impact of concealed-carry laws; 15 of 16 panel members concluded that the existing research, including Lott's, provided "no credible evidence" that right-to-carry laws had any effect on violent crime.”

The National Research Council report actually concluded as follows: “The committee concludes that with the current evidence it is not possible to determine that there is a causal link between the passage of right-to-carry laws and crime rates.” The majority of the panel advocated that more money be available to academics to fund additional research.  Lurie somehow manages not to mention that despite evaluating every gun law that has been studied, the Council found no evidence supporting that any law had any impact.  

Right-to-carry laws were actually the only type of law where there was dissent. James Q. Wilson, who at the time was possibly the “most influential criminal justice scholar of the 20th century,” concluded: “I find that the evidence presented by Lott and his supporters suggests that [right-to-carry] laws do in fact help drive down the murder rate.” 

2) Where my results biased because the crack cocaine epidemic in the late 1980s and early 1990s?

My research from the very first work with David Mustard dealt with the crack cocaine issue.  As Florenz Plassmann and John Whitley (Stanford Law Review, 2003) summarize the research: 
"One of Ayres and Donohue’s greatest concerns is the apparent failure of previous research to account for the differential geographic impact of cocaine on crime. Lott’s book (and the Lott and Mustard paper) reported that including price data for cocaine did not alter the results. Using yearly county-level pricing data (as opposed to short-run changes in prices) has the advantage of picking up cost but not demand differences between counties, thus measuring the differences in availability across counties. Research conducted by Steve Bronars and John Lott examined the crime rates for neighboring counties . . . on either side of a state border. When the counties adopting the law experienced a drop in violent crime, neighboring counties directly on the other side of the border without right-to-carry laws experienced an increase. . . . Ayres and Donohue argue that different parts of the country may have experienced differential impacts from the crack epidemic. Yet, if there are two urban counties next to each other, how can the crack cocaine hypothesis explain why one urban county faces a crime increase from drugs, when the neighbor- ing urban county is experiencing a drop? Such isolation would be particularly surprising as criminals can easily move between these counties. . . . Even though Lott gave Ayres and Donohue the cocaine price data from 1977 to 1992, they have never reported using it.”
My third edition of More Guns, Less Crime in 2010 also used new data from Fryer et al that was published in Economic Inquiry that attempted to measure the impact of crack cocaine from 1980 to 2000.

The claim that the research supporting right-to-carry laws somehow ignores the potential impact on crime is simply wrong.  Even worse, critics, such as Ayres and Donohue, who claim that the results could be explained away by the impact of crack cocaine have never provided any estimates that include this factor to show that is true.

Would it have been that difficult for Ms. Lurie to ask about this point if she were going to write about it?  Alternatively, Lurie could have just looked in the appendix in More Guns, Less crime to see all the discussions of crack cocaine.

3) "When [Ayres and Donohue] extended their survey by five years, they found that more guns were linked to more crime, with right-to-carry states showing an eight percent increase in aggravated assault."

This is a simple counting error.  Ayres and Donohue made the false claim, and Lurie never bothered to confirm it.  The Second edition of More Guns, Less Crime, which was published in 2000, used data from 1977 to 1996.  Ayres and Donohue’s 2003 paper used data from 1977 to 1997.  I provided Ayres and Donohue my data from 1977 to 1996 and they added one year to the data.  Adding that one year to the 20 that were already being examined didn’t make a difference.  They obtained somewhat different results because they used a different specification and misinterpreted their results.

Again, either a fast look at either the second or third editions of More Guns, Less Crime would have let her realize that this claim was incorrect.

4) Claim by Gary Kleck that I hadn’t “accounted for missing data,” and that “It was garbage in and garbage out,”  The problem is simple: in some counties not have all the cities in those counties reporting crime rate data every year.  This causes some randomness in the number of crimes reported for those counties.  The problem used to be particularly prevalent in low-population counties, but it has improved considerably over time.

Take Georgia, one state that has been singled out by some of those concerned about this problem over the period from 1980 to 1993, after which the problem had largely disappeared.  Of the state’s 159 counties over this period, the 16 least populated ones with a total of about 1 percent of Georgia’s population were missing about 35% of the police departments reporting.  By contrast, the 127 most populated counties with 97.2% of the total population averaged an under-reporting rate of 5.6%.  Since all the regressions that I had reported in my work weighted the county data by their populations, the counties with the largest problems had little impact on the results.

All data contains some errors.  The question isn’t whether data has errors, it is whether those errors are random or whether they systematically bias the results.  Starting with my first paper with David Mustard, I have dealt with this issue in many different ways.  

— The original paper with Mustard first looked at all counties and then just counties with more than 50,000 people and then those with more than 100,000 people.  If the small population counties were creating a bias in favor of right-to-carry laws, removing those small counties and looking at larger counties should eliminate that result.  But that didn’t happen. The results were very similar when just the more populous counties were used.  

— The Second edition of More Guns, Less Crime studied city, county and state level data.  Even if that particular error existed for county level data, it did not exist for city or state level data.  And, again, the results were similar.

— A 2002 paper with John Whitley explicitly examines errors in the county level data and finds no evidence of any systematic biases.  This was published in 2003 in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology.

All this information was provided to Lurie.

5) “Kleck, who conducted a controversial, yet often-cited survey on defensive gun use, observes, "Do I know anybody who specifically believes with more guns there are less crimes and they're a credible criminologist? No.” 

So does Gary Kleck acknowledge that James Q. Wilson was a credible criminologist?  A survey just completed by Gary Mauser of people who published on firearm issues in refereed criminology journals from 2000 to 2014 found that 31% thought that right-to-carry laws lowered murder rates, 15% said that it increased murder rates, 46% said that the laws had no effect, and 5.1% said that they didn’t know.  While the largest category of criminologists agree with Gary Kleck that right-to-carry laws have no impact on crime rates, the second largest group of researchers do believe the more guns, less crime hypothesis.

6) What I actually claimed about the views of economists and criminologists was that the vast majority of published peer-reviewed papers looking at the impact that right-to-carry laws had on US crime rate found that they reduced violent crime rates and the rest of the papers claimed that there was no effect for murder, rape and robbery (see also here).

7) “The organization . . . proceeds and publishes ‘academic quality’ reports that have yet to be published in peer-reviewed journals.”  

It helps provide some perspective that I have published over a 100 peer-reviewed academic journal articles.  The CPRC was only started in October 2013, and it takes time to produce research and then even more time to go the peer-review process.  Yet, despite that, we supported research published last year titled “The Impact of Right-to-carry laws on Crime: an Exercise in Replication” by Carlisle Moody, Thomas Marvell, Paul Zimmerman, and Fasil Alemante that was published in the Review of Economics and Finance in 2014.    The CPRC co-authored a paper that was published in Public Choice, which is also a peer-reviewed journal.  In addition, as Lurie knows, she was also informed that one paper at a journal had been revised and resubmitted to the journal.  In addition, another paper showing errors in a recent FBI report on active shooters was published in the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Today.

Not surprisingly, Mother Jones fails to note the CPRC's prestigious academic advisory board, with people at the top of their fields from the University of Chicago, Harvard, and the Wharton Business School. 

8) “one of the small number of very pro-gun researchers like Gary Kleck or John Lott”

This statement makes two mistakes.  First, most economists who have published research on firearms in peer-reviewed journals believe that there is a net safety benefit from people carrying guns.  For example, worldwide 83% of economists who have published on this topic believe that guns are more likely to be used in self-defense than to be used in crime and 74% believe that concealed handgun laws lower the murder rate.  As noted earlier, those who publish in criminology journals are more divided on the issue, and they are thus do not take monolithic position that the article describes for researchers.

It is strange that Kleck is labeled “pro-gun” in the same article where he is quoted as saying: “Do I know anybody who specifically believes with more guns there are less crimes and they're a credible criminologist? No.” Kleck believes guns have no net effect on crime rates, and thus he doesn’t thinks that it matters whether guns are banned or licensed or regulated in some other way.  Gary Kleck and I clearly have very different views on guns, and it is surprising that the articles lumps the two of us together.

8) “Lott claimed that it was based on a data from a survey he had conducted—but that the data had been lost in a computer crash.”

The hard disk crash was widely documented by people at the time it occurred on July 3, 1997.  The crash destroyed data for all the papers that I was working on up to that point.  A number of co-authors who I was working with also lost data for papers that we had been working on (Larry Kenny at Florida State, Richard Manning who was then at BYU, Jonathan Karpoff at the University of Washington, David Mustard at University of Georgia) and others who had contemporaneous knowledge of the crash (including Geoffrey Huck, an editor at the University of Chicago Press; Dan Kahan at Yale; and John Whitley who was at the time at the University of Adelaide in Australia).

9) Mother Jones completely manage to mangle the timeline and seems unable to accurately report the numbers for a follow-up survey that confirmed the previous results in 2002, before controversy erupted about the first survey.  The point of the 2002 survey was to see if there had been any changes in the rate of defensive gun uses since the 1997 survey, but when the earlier results were questioned, it also served as a way of replicating them.  The survey was designed differently than other surveys, such asking people only about recent crimes over the previous year rather than events that had occurred over the last 10 years or longer.  As to the timeline, the survey had started being being prepared by one of my research assistant James Knowles in June 2002, well before the controversy over the first survey occurred the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003.

10) “Rosh and Lott shared an internet address.”  This is simply false.  We had a dynamic IP address.  Julian Sanchez had put a post up on his blog site noting that “maryrosh” had an IP address in Southeastern Pennsylvania, but he asked for help with anyone who might know who the person was.  When I saw Sanchez’s post, I emailed him and told him that I had used our kids’ email address in putting posts up on an internet chatroom.  I had original started using my own email address in postings in the chatroom, but, unfortunately, some people tried to continue the discussions in unpleasant ways in person.  Since the vast majority of people using the chatroom were using pseudonyms, it seemed appropriate to follow that example.

11) The Mother Jones story original made fun of the fact that Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke is on the Crime Prevention Research Center's Board of Directors (their story has now been updated, but they have changed it without acknowledging the original post that they had up).  We are very proud of our relationship with David Clarke and believe that he brings in an important real work perspective to the Center.  They also fail to note that Professor Edgar Browning, who is also on our board, has been one of the top public finance economists in the world.