John Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center

I normally stay out of politics on the site, but I am going to make an exception today, for John Lott. He is, of course, one of the preeminent academic researchers involved in studying crime and firearms issues, and is of particular note because he came into the subject from a neutral position and allowed facts and rigorous research to determine his position. That research led to his rather well-known book, More Guns, Less Crime.

Unfortunately, the majority of research in this field today is sponsored by groups with rather blatant preexisting bias, like the groups funded by Bloomberg among others. What Lott is doing right now is setting up an independent Crime Prevention Research Center to continue the honest study of crime and firearms issues and let the data speak for itself. This requires funding to pay for salaries of researchers and research assistants, and the many other assorted expenses of running such an institution. Lott has a funding project running on IndieGoGo which has not received much attention, but is well worth your time to take a look at.

Personally, I was quite humbled to discover that one of our readers took up the offer from New York Times best-selling thriller-writer Brad Thor, and donated no less than $10,000 to the CPRC in exchange for the opportunity to name a character in Thor’s upcoming novel – and he chose to put me in it! I am excited to see how I look in an action thriller novel, but that will have to wait until the book is released next summer. In the meantime, there are a bunch of other great thank-you tokens available if you donate to help out the CPRC, including signed books by Lott, Thor, and Ted Nugent, and backstage passes to a Nugent concert.

If you are willing to take a moment, please check out the CPRC’s funding campaign, and help out if you can. Peer-reviewed, authoritative science is something that can help our fight for gun rights by providing the tools we need to build effective activism.



    • I was quite surprised seeing that Swiss Lmg25 in a Belgian gun shop on this site, Belgium has very different gun laws to the U.K clearly. Semi Auto rifles were banned in the mid eighties and Handguns a decade later I think, after mass shooting incidents. Guns here though even when legal were not available for self defense, you couldn’t walk around with one or state that as a reason for owning them and not alot of people did own them really in terms of population.

      I like the freedom Americans have to bare arms, due to their constitution. For personal defense, sport, hunting, marauding redcoats, dictatorial governments etc.

      U.S crime not sure, think I go with Brad Pitt in a country with lots of guns it’s probably safer having one, only a gun can combat a gun sort of thing, there’s little risk of gun crime in the U.K though generally because there’s not many guns. Mind you shooting fruit with a bolt action, just doesn’t seem as fun. I don’t think they should be banned, cars kill people by being a lump of metal going fast nobody bans cars.

  1. Thanks for sharing.
    I have a huge ammount of respect for John Lott and his work.

    Drawing together;
    1) what Earl, kindly wrote a few days back about your site bringing people from around the world together to freely share in friendship and common interest,

    2)what you (Ian) said with regard to WWii propaganda trying to dismiss the effectiveness of the MG42,

    with 3) John Lott’s initiative here

    We see the problems caused when power tries to dismiss or obfuscate reality.

    Sooner or later that reality makes itself evident to all (much to the dismay of those who seek power). I don’t have money to donate, but I wish all involved in this, good luck.

    The mainstream subjects of climate science, economics, political science, law, internet security and psychiatry are all hopelessly corrupted by those seeking power over others.

    Prof Lott and his colleagues have independence and reality on their side, let’s hope they win in the short term, as well as their certain triumph in the long term.

  2. Is there anyway we can get the NRA or other pro-gun groups to divert some of their funding to the CPRC? If we’re gonna raise 300,000 it’s gonna take more than just private donations.maybe have them contact the NRA for funding with the knowledge that this will be an unbiased group that let’s facts speak for itself. And maybe even more ironically contact anti-gun groups for funding :p

    • SAAMI might be an appropriate source of funding.

      Another research endeavor that would take pressure off of the ownership of arms would be how to address mental illness (the real thing, schizophrenia, etc.) Before deinstitutionalization mass shootings were unheard of. In the 1700’s the mentally ill were locked up in chains before they hurt others, on the 1800’s there was a movement to take them out of jails and out of chains and into sprawling institutions in the countryside, in the 1900’s those institutions became over crowded so they were closed, and in the 2000’s they are locked up after they hurt others. This is not progress, and it is not good for anyone unless they want an excuse to ban guns and pointy objects–basically treat society in general as though they were inmates. I don’t know what the right answer is, but these days is anyone asking what the answer is? Passing out Thorazine-like drugs and hoping for the best is not working.

      I heard that Finland had some good approaches to treating schizophrenia, but the Fins have common sense, like putting silencers on hunting rifles.

      • Jacob,
        with all due respect, although some people with schizophrenia do commit violent crimes up to and including murder, the rate of homicide offending per 100,000 sufferers amongst people with schizophrenia is lower than it is for the general population.

        The killings which schizophrenia sufferers are noted for, is killing themselves, and that typically occurs during periods when their symptoms are under a better state of control, and they can view their appalling quality of life with a degree of objectivity.

        The apalling parts include; hallucinations, social pariah status with accompanying social isolation and poverty, due to their obviously being different and seeming “odd”, and having to take medications which result in them suffering from the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

        Schizophrenia is beloved of the psychiatric – state complex, because there is a chemical treatment which the condition responds to, and abnormalities in brain activity can be observed on scans. Of the other “disorders” in the current diagnostic and statistical manual, there is no test, no brain abnormality can be demonstrated, and yet psychiatrists are endowed with draconian powers to detain, medicate and “treat” by methods which in any other context would be considered torture, and/or the realm of a witch doctor.

        Add up the incidences of all of those “disorders” and divide by the population of the United state, and the “average” American is supposed to suffer around 2 1/2 of them each year.

        Aside from the usually modest, humble and withdrawn Schizoprenia sufferer; Psychopathy, Narcissism and Machiavellian personality, are not considered to be illnesses, but “personality disorders”, those who have them are not considered to be either “ill” or “insane”, and the usual consensus in the literature is that psychopaths cannot be improved by “treatment”.

        Although the ontology of each of those constructs is highly contentious, and, even if we consider them to be “real” there may be considerable overlap between them.

        Even if we just take the subjective characteristics of a grandiose (and unreasonable) sense of self worth, lack of compassion for others, and a tendency to be manipulative of others, we’re not dealing with nice people.

        Where do the characters with those sorts of personality traits gravitate towards:
        Religious ministry
        financial services


    • If the NRA, or other organized gun groups donate to Mr Lott’s efforts, it will be written off as a tool of the NRA or the ‘Gun Lobby’. It is better to have the funding come from private intersts, which will have the appearance of unbiased research. Just my view on it. mikey

  3. Depending on the Author, there are estimates that up to 50% of private sector homicide is committed by people with psychopathic personality (score over 30 on the Hare Psychopathy checklist (revised)).

    Another predictor of criminality, including homicide offending, is low intelligence. Clearly people with low intelligence tend to end up without much money – they don’t get to earn much and they’re not that good at saving it either (though clearly not all impecunious individuals are of low intelligence – and neither are all low intelligence people or other poor people likely to offend, far from it, most are decent honest people).

    Although not politically correct to mention, there is a corellation between IQ and race, and this imperfectly correlates with homicide offending rate too (I did read a paper which tried to investigate the difference by looking for different rates of psychopathy in different races).
    There were charts up on the US DOJ website (Some of John R Lott’s books reproduce them, they’ve since disappeared from the DOJ website) showing homicide offending rates in the United state, by race, over time. Approximately 12% of the Us population (on a racial basis) commit approximately 50% of the homicides.

    I hope that anyone reading that is getting suitably restless and uncomfortable?

    Because away from that aggregated average – the colour of a person’s skin (or the size of their bank balance – mine is none existant! or country of birth or religion, or their iq score), tells you nothing at all about the content of that individual’s character.

    So far, I’ve covered private sector homicide. What if there were institutions who claimed the legal “right” to commit various offences – giving them different names to obfuscate what they were really doing?

    Murder becomes “restoring order” or “law enforcement” or “countering a threat” or even “implementing an agreement”.

    Such institutions exist, and the non war homicides attributable to them in the 20th century alone dwarf all private sector homicides in all of human history

    – you can probably add in all war deaths in all of human history too and the 20th century figure will still be bigger.

    The now long retired Prof Rudolph Rummel, at the university of Hawaii devoted his career to researching what he named “democide” and his figure (almost certainly a gross under estimate ) for non war murder of populations by the institutions claiming a monopoly on the legal use of force (states) in the 20th century was around 220,000,000.

      • Kevin,
        That is sad news. I hadn’t heard.

        On the same subject, I was alarmed to see “A tribute to Don Kates” a few days back. fortunately that turned out to be a tribute to his continuing work in the field.

    • Keith,

      I agree that the contribution to the homicide rate by those suffering from Schizophrenia is small. The homicide rate is driven by drug dealers killing other drug dealers. The problem is that all, or nearly all, of the mass shootings of late have involved people with severe psychological problems, people who, fifty years ago, would have been institutionalized before the shootings. 20 drug dealers shot in a day by other drug dealers every day of the year, to the public, is just something for the criminal justice system to sort out. 20 school kids shot in a day by someone with profound mental issues, and people want to confiscate guns door to door.

      Again, Idon’t have the answers and my suggestion was to fund some real research into the topic. And it is an interesting topic, and a heart breaking one, not just for the victims of violence but for the thousands of unfortunates who have severe mental illness who are at best on a sort of maintenance program by big pharma while having little hope of actually being cured, and at worst become homeless, or spend their lives in jail for petty offenses. And it is a tough question, surely there are psychiatrists out there who would consider visiting this blog as evidence of a mental issue, and certainly the opposing side in the gun rights fight would gladly weaponize psychiatry to their advantage.

      But what is going on now, I’d say, is not working for anyone except the enemies of liberty. Psychiatry today is sort of like the cop who won’t patrol the bad side of town where the violence is, but spends his time writing parking tickets in safe neighborhoods. They would rather counsel people who don’t have big problems (the claim that everyone has mental issues, etc.), while spending as little time as possible with those who are having profound issues. Big pharma owns the APA and I don’t expect anything useful to come from there, so shouldn’t that be what privately funded research is for, how to solve problems when no one else is trying?

      The Finnish interventions for those who are developing schizophrenia involves some unique counseling and no Thorazine-like drugs, actually no drugs at all except sleeping pills if they are having insomnia, nor are they locked up. The goal being to cure the victim and have them lead a normal life. I don’t know if what I’ve heard is for real or not, but if it is, and it was done here, it would be wonderful to everyone, except to those looking for an excuse to limit liberties and to pharmaceutical companies. Besides the people not dead and the lives not wasted, the gun banners would hardly have a leg to stand on without mass shootings,, to the public it would be a dead issue.

  4. I feel remiss that I haven’t blogged on Lott’s initiative, because although my blog started out with a goal of being all technical, since the renewed attacks on gun ownership in the USA (there’s a new round starting up with anti-gun politicians coordinating with anti-gun managers in the ATF gun police), I backtracked on that goal. That cost me some good readers and commenters and I regret that, especially as my default position on partisan politics is a libertarian-tinged jaundiced view best expressed by the old Neil Innes song: “No matter who you vote for, the Government always gets in.”

    So it’s good to see the plug here.

    I disagree that individuals can’t raise this kind of money. Individuals funded a documentary about a bestial rogue abortionist (now in prison) that the usual Hollywood funding sources wouldn’t touch with a bargepole, to the tune of over a million dollars, even AFTER the filmmakers got thrown off Kickstarter for their politics. I have to believe that movie is a less popular idea than the idea of truly studying crime.

    I’ll even refrain from bashing Brad Thor, even though he’s picked the side of a noxious wannabee and slimed my Regiment and some of its living legends. OK, maybe I didn’t refrain entirely, but I moderated what I really think of the guy.

    Mental illness and its treatment are a disaster in the US (and Canada and UK, and probably the rest of the West). A good part of that is the boneheaded deinstitutionalization program, which appealed to liberals (We’ll set them free to “do their own thing!” Yay!) and conservatives (We’ll stop spending money on these nutcases! Yay!) alike. Of course, a person with schizophrenia or the sort of personality disorders that lead to violence is neither “free” nor economical for the rest of society. For a very excellent view of the whole policy disaster, read Clayton Cramer’s My Brother Ron. It’s US-centric but tells the story of institutions and deinstitutionalization, interwoven with Cramer’s own family tragedy. What I didn’t get from it is a really clear idea of how to solve these problems.

    If Lott succeeds with his crime institute, maybe someone similar can do one to study mental illness as a multidimensional social problem. I suspect the answer is medical but as we say in engineering, “You can’t schedule an invention.” (Or discovery). And a part of me suspects that there is no answer and that mental illness will always be with us.

  5. Guns are the answer to mental cases who go postal. we should be allowed to shoot back to stop these psychos. the real problem is not the loons who commit the mass shootings, the problem is the liberal loons who use the mass shootings as an excuse to ban guns, and don’t allow people to own and carry guns to defend themselves from the gone postal psychos. mass shootings are rare, as rare as the psychos who commit them. liberals and communists are the real problem, always have been, and there are enough of them who vote to make things go from good to bad and bad to worse. and there is no such thing as a rogue abortionist, abortionists are all rogue, but i digress.

    • That article now displays a correction without calling it a “Correction,” but it undermines her position a little:

      Updated May 15, 2014 3:38 p.m.: The article was updated to clarify that CDC estimates for nonfatal, violent gun injuries “include only injuries caused by violent assault, not accidents, self-inflicted injuries, or shootings by police.”

      She only quotes anti-gun researchers, and elides some details of their affiliations: the guy at Johns Hopkins is at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and sits in a chair of anti-gun studies endowed by Bloomberg and tasked with generating “studies” to support Bloomberg’s a priori position.

      She certainly knew that. Why did she leave it out? Integrity issue?

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