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Reporter biased, unbalanced, impugns research

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Dear Editor:

A recent piece criticized my being hired to update a report on the Arizona prison system (Ben Giles, “Controversial researcher hired to update prison population study,” August 11).   I am indeed best known for my work on gun control. But the report, produced by the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council (APAAC), has nothing to do with gun control. Giles doesn’t even try to draw such a link, and fails to mention that I have published many peer-reviewed research papers on sentencing and criminal penalties. One might think that the absence of debates over all my research on sentencing would be notable.

Giles claims that there has been a “wave” of research contradicting my work on gun control. But he doesn’t even try to provide balance or perspective. Had he done so, he would have noted that my original findings have been affirmed by over two-thirds of peer-reviewed, published research looking at U.S. data. Not one of these papers by criminologists, economists, and law professors found an increase in murder, rape, or robbery rates after right-to-carry laws were adopted. It is more than a little biased for Giles to only quote one of my critics.  Why not mention the published survey Professor Gary Mauser and I did showing that a 51 percent to 11 percent margin of criminologists and economists think that right-to-carry laws are more likely to reduce murder rates than increase them (Regulation, Summer 2016)?

Giles impugns The Crime Prevention Research Center for its association with the likes of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. The CPRC could not be prouder of that association. We also boast an academic board of advisers consisting of faculty from such places as Harvard, the Wharton Business School, the University of Chicago, and the University of Michigan. These are among the top researchers in the world on a variety of issues such as law and economics, corporate crime, criminal psychology, and predicting terrorist events.

Finally, Giles fails to mention that our board of academic advisers has people on both sides of the gun control debate and other crime issues.

 

John R. Lott Jr.

President, Crime Prevention Research Center

johnrlott@crimeresearch.org

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The views expressed in guest commentaries are those of the author and are not the views of the Arizona Capitol Times.

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