Where does science fall on the gun control debate? John Lott replies to David Hemenway

“Sixty percent of respondents in Hemenway’s survey agreed that “evidence indicates that background checks can help keep guns out of the hands of a significant number of violent people.”  But only 31% of all those surveyed thought that the evidence was either strong (24%) or very strong (7%).  And even these numbers seem unrealistically high.  Study after study by criminologists and economists find that background checks have no effect on crime rates.  

Economists have done a lot of work on crime.  Unlike the vast majority of work in public health, it is usually much more rigorous with more detailed statistical evidence dealing with issues of causality. Economists are also much more open to the notion of deterrence than the vast majority of authors surveyed by Hemenway.  I myself was chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission.  But Hemenway steers away from economics journals.  In addition, looking at publications from only 2011 through 2013 also picks up a recent surge in public health studies and skews the sample towards those types of authors.

I was included in the list of those surveyed, but when I emailed Hemenway reporting that my responses weren’t be recorded, my emails were ignored.

Ironically, despite over 300 studies on firearms published over about three years, Hemenway frequently complains that firearms researchers just aren’t getting enough money…”

(Via.) Fox News <—Read more here

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