This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 6, 2019:
John Lott never intended to be a lightning rod in the war over the Second Amendment. He studied to be an economist, hoping to hide out in a think tank somewhere and crank out scholarly articles on economics, heavily laden with statistics. But in 1997, curious about how gun laws might be impacting violent crime, he co-authored an article with a fellow academic at the University of Chicago that concluded that the increasing presence of privately owned firearms was having a favorable impact on gun violence.
He published More Guns, Less Crime in 1998, which altered his professional life direction dramatically. Using his statistician’s mind, he proved that as more and more Americans took advantage of their right to keep and bear arms, gun violence began its decades-long decline.
Critics attacked his analysis, so Lott revised his study, republishing More Guns, Less Crime in 2010. Since then, he has written The Bias Against Guns and founded his Crime Prevention Research Center. Unwittingly, Lott has become what Newsweek called “The Gun Crowd’s Guru.”
And he’s done it again. Anti-gunners have protested that the presence of firearms on school campuses would lead to more violence: teachers should teach and not pack; students could snatch guns away from unsuspecting teachers; accidents could happen; etc., etc. With Texas and Florida proposing to expand the freedom of school teachers to carry concealed on campus, Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun group Moms Demand Action warned that this “would make school a much more dangerous place for our children.”
The same tune was sung by the Giffords Law Center (GLC), which this writer took to task last month here, calling its study of how teachers were mishandling their firearms “laughable.” (See Sources below)
We wrote at the time:
[The GLC] based its report on data obtained from another equally anti-gun group, the Gun Violence Archive, founded in 2014 and staffed with 20 eager researchers trying to find something – anything – to bolster Giffords’ position. After researching the past five years, it found some 60 “incidents” where guns were mishandled in some way in schools. Its email promotion of the study was breathless: “This week Giffords Law Center released indisputable evidence that armed adults frequently mishandled guns in schools.”
Three of those “incidents” occurred in Pennsylvania. Philly.com reported that at the Russell Byers Charter School in Center City, a middle school student bumped into a staffer’s bag during class last year and realized that it contained a firearm! That “incident” was included in the study. At a Washington County high school, a student found a loaded gun that a security guard had left behind in the Men’s Room. That outrageous “incident” made its way into the study. And in Chambersburg in Franklin County, a group of elementary school students found a teacher’s loaded gun on top of a toilet! One more “incident” to prove the point.
What Lott has done now is to answer the two questions raised by these anti-gun groups: 1) does letting teachers carry a firearm on campus and in the classroom increase the chances of gun violence?, and 2) does the presence of those teachers carrying legally deter mass shooters?
Wrote Lott: “We don’t need to guess how the policy would work. There has yet to be a single case of someone being wounded or killed from a shooting, let alone a mass public shooting, between 6am and midnight at a school that lets teachers carry guns.” Fears that students might somehow grab a firearm from a teacher and use it to commit gun violence are groundless as well, said Lott: “Students obtaining teachers’ guns have not occurred at all.”
But, noted Lott, shootings on campuses where teachers and staff are prohibited from carrying concealed have “increased significantly – doubling [in number] between 2001 and 2008 versus 2009 and 2018.”
Translation: Between 2000 and 2018 there have been zero shootings on the more than 1,000 campuses where teachers and staff are allowed to carry a firearm concealed, while those incidents have doubled in the last five years where teachers and staff were unarmed.
In his conclusion, Lott wrote:
Often gun control debates involve things that might go wrong if people are allowed to have guns…. Schools that have allowed teachers to carry guns have been remarkably safe…. While there have not been any problems at schools with armed teachers, the number of people killed at other schools has increased significantly – doubling from 2001-2008 to 2009-2018.
In his study, Lott collected the data on all K-12 shootings that took place on school campuses between the hours of 6am and midnight on school days. He found 306 cases. But 48 of them were suicides, so that left 188 shootings. In those instances, 193 people died and 267 were either wounded or injured. But none of them occurred on any of the more than 1,000 school properties where teachers and staff were permitted to carry a sidearm. In fact, the only shooting that took place on a campus where teachers were allowed to carry occurred after hours, and no one was injured.
What Lott has shown is that when teachers and staff are allowed to carry concealed, gun violence drops. Since 2000, that violence on those campuses has dropped to zero. At present more than 20 states permit teachers and staff to exercise the same freedoms on campus that they do off campus. What’s astonishing is that more states aren’t allowing their teachers and staff the same freedoms. One would think that if they really wanted to protect the kids, they would be falling over themselves to allow them the freedom to keep and bear arms on campus as well as off.
McAlvany Intelligence Advisor: Giffords’ Report on People Mishandling Guns in Schools Is Laughable
Giffords.org: Every Incident of Mishandled Guns in Schools