DID JOHN LOTT FABRICATE A GUN USE SURVEY?….Here’s the latest on the John Lott gun-use survey controversy:
Julian Sanchez reports that someone wrote to Lott to say that he had been one of the respondents in Lott’s 1997 survey:
In my responses to the survey question concerning the defensive use of a firearm I related that I had had two occasions to do so, once in my home in March of 1980 and once in a public place.
Tim Lambert reports that James Lindgren has spoken to this person and finds him credible.
This is helpful to Lott’s argument, although it would be nice to hear from one of the students who performed the survey, rather than a respondent. I’d also like to hear a better explanation of the “technical problems” that Lindgren discusses here. Lindgren concludes that about 25 people reported defensive gun use in Lott’s survey, and then remarks that if only 2% actually fired the weapon this works out to half a person. Lott actually breaks this down further, saying that three-fourths of the shooters fired warning shots and only one-fourth fired at a person. That’s one-eighth of a person.
This kind of thing certainly smells like cooked data, so it’s reasonable for suspicions to be raised. We’ll just have to wait and see if more evidence or better explanations are forthcoming.