Second Amendment advocate, John Lott, believes that more stringent gun control laws would make mass killings like the one that occurred recently in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, more likely rather than less.
Lott, the author of More Guns, Less Crime, said, “It’s understandable how terrifying something like that is. My concern is the types of regulations and rules – such as the ‘no guns allowed’ rule at the Aurora movie theater actually make … mass shootings more likely to happen. They don’t stop those events from occurring.”
Laws that restrict gun ownership do nothing to deter someone who’s decided to fire on fellow citizens, he said. To back up his case, Lott points out that about four percent of Colorado’s adult population has concealed handgun permits. However, due to the mandated gun-free zone at the theater, the killer was the only person who brought a gun into the Aurora movie theater. “The sign there didn’t stop the criminal from doing it,” he said.
After the mass shooting in Aurora and again after a shooting at the Sihk temple in Wisconsin, Lott was invited to debate the gun control issue with Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, a gun control advocate.
The argument grew heated when appearing on the debate moderated by CNN’s Piers Morgan. Mr. Lott was accused of having his research funded by the NRA, something both he and the NRA deny. “The NRA has never funded John Lott’s research,” a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association told CNSNews.com.
“Here’s the problem,” said Lott, “whatever characteristics you want to point to that you think makes guns bad — they may help make it easier for people to kill others, but they also make them easier for people to be able to use those guns in self-defense.” Women in particular benefit from the compact design of some handguns, he added.
Even semiautomatic weapons, which fire one shot with each trigger pull, can be beneficial, Lott said, pointing to another Colorado shooting in 2007 where a female parishioner at New Life Church in Colorado Springs was able to fire ten shots at an attacker, two of which hit him, after he killed two people in the parking lot.
On Dershowitz’s claim that guns are more likely to kill people in the gunowner’s home, Lott said that idea comes from Arthur Kellerman, an emergency room doctor who claims that guns are more likely to end up killing someone you know.
First of all, there are problems with the data, Lott said. “They assume that if you own a gun in the home and you died from a gunshot that it was that gun that was used in the death,” he explained. “In fact, when people have gone back and looked at the data, even if you include suicide, 14 percent of the deaths that were being attributed to guns being in the home could actually be attributed to those guns in the home. The other 86 percent were actually due to weapons that were being brought in from the outside.”
Dershowitz claimed that the availability of guns is directly linked to high suicide rates but Lott said that the majority of research done on the topic “doesn’t find any relationship” between gun ownership, gun regulations and total suicide.
“But even the few that do claim to find a relationship between gun ownership or gun regulations and gun suicides don’t find any effect on total suicides, Lott said. “So basically there are a lot of ways to commit suicide and if somebody wants to go and commit suicide they’re going to find a way to go and do it,” he continued.
Lott also debunked the correlation between the ease of obtaining guns and the ease of using them to kill other people. “If you look across cities, the cities that have the highest murder rates, they are the ones that tend to adopt the strictest gun control laws,” Lott said.
In the United States, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C., are some of the cities with strict gun control laws – but a relatively high number of murders.