Letter to the Editor

Author used faulty data in book on guns

To the editor:

Peter Kinder's Oct. 26 column claims that John Lott's book, "More Guns, Less Crime," "hasn't been effectively refuted." I beg to differ and will be happy to provide the Missouri Legislature with details of the growing body of evidence to the contrary. I have been deeply involved in working with the FBI's crime data for a number of years.

First, the crime data used by Lott are so full of holes as to be unusable for the analyses he conducted. Second, Lott badly miscalculated the crime rates. Third, he used the data in a way that the data provider specifically noted was incorrect. And fourth, even if you accept his use of the data as proper (and it definitely is not), his analyses are wrong.

The details of my concerns with how Lott dealt with the FBI's crime data are spelled out in journal articles and on a Web site (http://cgi.cse.unsw.edu.au/~lambert/cgi-bin/blog/2003/10#maltz).


Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice and Information and Decision Sciences

University of Illinois at Chicago

Evanston, Ill.