Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Your Typical Lott Fan

John Lott still has some fans - you know, American Renaissance magazine, Instapundit....Here's what the reviewer for AmRen said:

Not surprisingly, the decrease in crime has been greatest where there was the most to begin with, and this means cities with large black populations. As Prof. Lott explains, "While many blacks want to make guns harder to get, the irony is that blacks benefit more than other groups from concealed-handgun laws." As he notes, the percentage of young blacks in an area is the single variable that best predicts the level of violence. If the non-criminals in these places start carrying weapons it evens the odds and discourages predators – just as it does everywhere else – and there are more predators to discourage.

The graph on this page shows the average drop in violent crime the year after passage of a "shall issue" law, as a function of the percentage of the population that is black. The blacker the population the greater the benefit. Washington and New York City, which have some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, would benefit greatly from letting honest citizens carry guns.

As the graph makes clear, for areas with few blacks the declines in violence are modest, but for the country as a whole, the effect is certainly significant. Prof. Lott concludes that if the entire country had liberal concealed-carry laws, in 1992 there would have been 1,400 fewer murders, 4,200 fewer rapes, 60,000 fewer aggravated assaults, and 12,000 fewer robberies.

This makes perfect sense. What criminals fear most is the possibility that an intended victim will pull a gun and blaze away. This fear is so great that changes in concealed carry laws have a measurable effect even when only a small percentage of people actually carry guns. Once the bad guys know that people might be armed, it pays to assume everyone is armed.