From: Edgar Suter
Subject: Re: A question
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 99 09:29:07 -0800

>Lott's book is an example of "garbage in, garbage
>out" . His book is not science and it is not
>proof or even evidence of any causal relationship
>(up or down) between fire arms and general crime
>Guns do not stop, start or prevent crime. They
>are used in hundreds of thousands of crimes. And
>careless gun owners and gun carriers allow their
>weapons to get into the hands of children,
>criminals and the untrained shooter.
>Lotts book was written to please a certain
>audience and it does that. But it will not help
>stop or prevent crime. It is not a useful book.
>Janet Bonet
>Nebraskans for Peace
>Omaha NE 68107

Dear Ms. Bonet,

Lott and Mustard compiled 17 years of data for every county in the US - that's 17 years of data for 3,054 counties. No other researchers have conducted such a large scale study. They calculated over 1,000 combinations of variables (age, sex, race, socioeconomic status, arrest rates, incarceration rates, all categories of crime rates, etc. against gun laws, concealed carry reform, Brady Law checks and waiting periods included). They found that all categories of violent crime fell on the order of about 8-10% (and some property crimes, like car theft, rose) following reform of concealed handgun licensing so that mentally competent, law-abiding adults could protect themselves where they are at greatest risk, outside their homes.

The gun ban lobby howled and generated a cottage industry to discredit Lott, much of the criticism was scurilous personal venom, like that of then-Rep. Schumer or the very careless piece by Teret, and was rebutted openly in the Wall Street Journal by Lott. The most competent and scientific of the critics were Nagin and Black who quibbled with Lott about whether or not Florida's data should be included and when the reforms in Virginia and Maine became effective. The upshot of their findings? If one manipulates the data precisely as Nagin and Black suggested, eight -- that is only eight of Lott's more than 1,000 calculations -- _still_ show a _fall_ in crime rates following CCW reform, but in those 8 calculations only, the fall becomes small enough as to become statistically insignificant. None of the other more than 1,000 statistically significant findings are affected.

"Guns do not stop, start or prevent crime," you say. What a ludicrous assertion! Millions of gun defenses occur annually in the US and I have had 2 such defenses. Here is one. One rainy night 4 years ago I left one of my favorite San Francisco restaurants then noticed a shoe untied. While kneeling down before I could tie my shoe, three gang-bangers stepped from the shadows surrounding me and trying to pin me against a brick wall. They demanded money. As they closed in I retreated as far as I could and extended my palm and shouted "No!" -- but they kept coming until I reached for my holstered pistol. My body language was so unambiguous that all three beefy hoodlums fled before I could even draw my plastic-framed, high-capacity, semi-automatic, (and legally licensed, not that is relevant to the effectiveness of my defense) Glock pistol loaded with dreaded Black Talon cartridges.

No one was injured, no police report was filed, no one went to the emergency room, and no story made the late night news. Instead I, as the unharmed single dad of a then-3 year old, went home and kissed and hugged my little boy. That night I thanked God that I was one of those lucky Californians licensed to carry a handgun for personal protection. 4 years later, my bright, happy, and loving son still has a daddy who hugs him, loves him, cooks him dinner, and goes fishing (and shooting) with him --- and so it goes for almost all of the 2.5 million mothers and fathers and others who use guns annually to protect themselves and their families. In over 98% of those protective uses, like mine, the gun isn't even fired. In only 1-in-a-thousand protective uses is the criminal killed. This is why Kellermann's "43 times as likely to kill the homeowner or family member" sound bite is so deceptive -- homeowners and other gun defenders scare attackers away a thousand times more often than they kill them.

My second gun defense occured when my son and I were attacked in our home. The only difference in the outcome of this defense is that, since I had a car license number, I _did_ file a police report.

Kleck's most vociferous academic critic, Cook, ridiculed Kleck's work until Cook reproduced Kleck's work and found as many as _4_ million protective uses annually. Cook had told us for a decade that it was critical to the debate on gun control to know how many gun defenses there are --- as long as he could pretend the number of gun defenses was small. In a most amazing (and even amusing) turn of intellectual dishonesty, as soon as Cook found that there were millions of gun defenses annually, he suddenly announced that the real number of such defenses was really unknowable and not that important in the debate.

I have attached a file referenced in Kleck's latest book, "Targeting Guns," that chronicles other dishonesty and scientific misconduct by the prohibitionist poster-boys ---- such as Kellermann's fabricated research citations. I suspect that you are inclined to offhandedly discount the claims. However, since all the references are provided, you may see for yourself. Other flaws are chronicled in my peer-reviewed papers available at our website .

Though the gun control debate usually focuses on private crime, to round out this discussion, I point to the enormity of State crime in my latest letter to JAMA below:

January 5, 1999

Tom Cole MD
Editor, JAMA
550 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Re: Wintemute GJ, Drake CM, Beuamont JJ, Wright MA, Parham CA. "Prior Misdemeanor Convictions as a Risk Factor for Later Violent and Firearm-Related Criminal Activity Among Authorized Purchasers of Handguns." JAMA December 23/30, 1998; 280(24) 2083-2087.

Dear Dr. Cole,

"In total, during the first eighty years of this century, almost 170 million men, women, and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed, or worked to death; buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed or killed in any of the myriad ways governments have inflicted death on _unarmed_, helpless citizens and foreigners. The dead could conceivably be nearly 360 million people. It is as though our species has been devastated by a modern Black Plague. And indeed it has, but a plague of Power, not germs."[1] [emphasis added] Gun control advocates, like Wintemute, who incrementally condition us towards a State monopoly on weapons are in denial that the murderous and enormous horror of State crime dwarfs all private crime.

Others may dignify Wintemute's latest results-oriented polemic by delineating its myriad flaws. We choose instead to spotlight the utter hypocrisy in JAMA's publication of this inane piece.

Would JAMA take it seriously if Neal Knox conducted research funded by Gun Owners of America, published it in The American Rifleman, claimed to support National Rifle Association goals, and was accompanied by an editorial by Charlton Heston? I would think not. So please do not be surprised that we see no "science" when gun ban activists posing as objective researchers, funded by some of the deepest pockets in the gun ban lobby,[2] publish an article purporting to support further gun control in a magazine that proselytizes gun control, all-too-fittingly accompanied by Sarah Brady's editorial.

So, Wintemute thinks that society might be served by keeping UC Davis med students who moon their professors, Lousianans who sell chickens on the Sabbath, and Arkansasans who have oral sex from owning guns. Only for the most serious crimes should we whittle away at the pool of armed Americans who can keep criminals, crazies, and would-be tyrants in awe. Arguably it is America's armed populace that has provided us some protection from the State. Except for the eloquent 1/3 billion dead at the hands of the governments this century, the familiar antics and artifice of these missionaries and propagandists of gun control would be laughable, but instead of laughing, we weep for the dead.


Edgar A. Suter MD
National Chair
Doctors for Integrity in Policy Research Inc.
5201 Norris Canyon Road, Suite 220
San Ramon, CA 94583 USA
voice 925-277-0333
FAX 925-277-1568

[1] Rummel RJ. Death by Government. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. 1994. p.9.

[2]According to Foster S. "New Health Foundation Writes Prescription for Big Government." Organizational Trends. Washington DC: Capitol Research Group. August 1996., the innocently-named California Wellness Foundation is the deepest pocket of all gun ban pressure groups, targeting California alone with $25 million (over twice the NRA's national lobbying budget) proselytizing stringent gun control under its also innocently- named "Violence Prevention Initiative."